Asexual Experiences

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“I think my daughter may be asexual. She thinks that platonic and familial affection is ok, but sex, kissing, and hugging of any other kind is disgusting to her. She had a boyfriend out of peer pressure and kissed him. She said she felt nothing and that it was pretty gross. She hasn’t been sexually abused and has said that she isn’t interested in girls (we have a really open relationship). I mentioned asexuality to her and she got offended. Where do I go from here? She feels so alone.”

neutrois:

parentsproject:

Question submitted Anonymously & Answered by Kara Kratcha

Kara Says

Hey there! This is a tough one. I think before I can advise you on what action to take here, it’s important to understand why a young woman might feel threatened or offended by the idea that she might be asexual. While I can’t speak for all school-aged women, I know that when I was in high school, I felt that a lot of my social value came from the illusion that I was a person with whom boys could potentially have sex. I say “illusion” because I wasn’t sexually active and wasn’t particularly interested in becoming so, but that didn’t matter as long as those around me viewed me as an attractive sexual possibility. If my potential as a sexual object were to be cut off with a label like “asexual,” I thought, then most of what made me interesting to boys, whose attention I wanted (though I wouldn’t have admitted it), would have disappeared. So although I knew about asexuality in high school, I didn’t identify as ace* personally or publicly until about halfway through college, at which point catching boys’ attention had become much less important to me.

So much of what we understand as “attraction” actually means “sexual attraction.” If a woman makes herself sexually unavailable by claiming asexuality as an identity, she might start to feel less attractive. Men might pay less attention to her when they find that she is not even potentially attracted to them (this is, of course, part of the same misogyny that all women experience). Obviously, that kind of misogynistic thinking is all nonsense, but it’s very real. If your daughter is open to having the conversation (and please remember that consent isn’t just for sexual relationships and situations—ask if she wants to talk about sexuality and attraction and pay attention to the answer, because she might not want to talk about this, no matter how close you are), talk to her about different forms of attraction. Aesthetic, sensual, and intellectual attraction are some other valid and valuable ways to experience relationships with other people. You could perhaps ask your daughter what attracts her to people and what kind of relationships she would ideally form with the important people in her life. Finding companionship can be difficult for asexual people, but being able to articulate what you want can be wildly helpful.

Even with the language and imagination to consider how asexual relationships could form for your daughter, she might think that being and calling herself asexual could be really isolating. A lot of asexual people do feel isolated. Representation of asexual people in media is very, very difficult to come by. Finding other aces can also be difficult because it’s such a small and invisible group. Luckily, the ace blogging community is lively and welcoming. Google “Carnival of Aces” and check out the website “The Asexual Agenda” to get a taste of that digital space and find more nuanced information and discussion than what you’ll find on the AVEN front page. Also, I’m not sure how old your daughter is or how much she cares about fandom, but there’s a lot of fan fiction out there that imagines existing characters (particularly the BBC’s modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes) as ace. Lots of people find it helpful to read about people and characters who are asexual rather than just reading dry definitions of a little-known sexual identity.

Finally, it’s possible that your daughter doesn’t want to be labeled asexual because she isn’t asexual. She could be sex repulsed and allosexual, grey-ace, demisexual, or something else entirely. Maybe she doesn’t like the idea of having a label for her sexuality at all. I think there’s something to be said for using “questioning” as your forever-label; it leaves open so many possibilities! Even as a parent (or maybe especially as a parent), you can’t force someone to identify with a word, even if that word seems to accurately describe their sexuality and even if they end up identifying with that word later. Leaving the word asexual aside for now and instead talking about your daughter’s specific experiences of attraction and relationships is probably your best course of action right now.

You’ve done some excellent parenting so far by letting your daughter know that asexuality even exists. Definitely strive to keep learning together. Let your daughter know that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do, no matter how she identifies. Show her that you support her for her, not her labels. Make yourself available to talk, but don’t push it. This whole sexuality thing is complicated, and your daughter doesn’t need to sort it all out right now.

Yours,

Kara

*“Ace” is to “asexual” as “gay” is to homosexual.”

***

Kara Kratcha studies English literature at a university in New York City. She tells everyone that she wants to go into publishing, but really she’s always wanted to be an advice columnist. (Kara would like to thank Everyone Is Gay for making her dream come true.) If she had to pick a label, she would probably go with “genderfluid polyamorous demiromantic grey-ace,” but usually she just kind of shrugs. Right now (like, probably literally right now) Kara is working on her senior thesis on representations of asexuality and asexual relationships in Sherlock fanfiction.

Don’t forget! Through Sept. 8th, every single pre-order for This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids will be matched by our publisher, Chronicle Books, with a donated book to a local PFLAG Chapter!!!!

What do you folks think? Any additional suggestions for this parent?

236 notes

"Corrective Therapy" for Asexuals from Medical Professionals

vaginismusandsexuality:

If anyone has followed me or seen my posts you will know I have gone through some form of ‘corrective therapy’ for being a sex adverse asexual. My counselor told me to have sex until I like it and to have various medical tests to see what was wrong with me; my doctor prescribed me 3 different medications, two of which has been clinically proven to have no significant effect on ciswomen (Viagra and Cialis, the third was a testosterone supplement). I should not have to discuss the emotional turmoil it has put me through and what it has done to me.

Of course these forms of therapy is not as bad as corrective therapy for homosexuality, that is a whole other can of worms. Just because something is not as bad as another thing does not make it harmless and unworthy of discussion.

I am wondering if other asexuals have experienced actual ‘corrective therapy’ from their medical professionals strictly for being asexual. While these events are horrible and traumatizing, I think we need to discuss these things. We need to discuss ways to counter medical professionals who doubt asexuality exists/thinks it is a medical condition so no one in the future has to go through this.

I think first we need to discuss people who have had treatment recommended to them:

  • What treatment was suggested?
  • What was the medical professionals goals with the treatment?
  • Did they expect you to be cured or was it suggested as ongoing treatment?
  • How did the medical professional explain the treatment to you?
  • Did you mention asexuality to them? How did they respond?
  • Did they bring up asexuality to you? What was their explanation of asexuality?
  • After completing treatment and, surprise, still asexual how did the medical professional respond? Did they suggest further treatment or refer you elsewhere?
  • Were you seeing the medical professional for another related/unrelated issue when the issue of your orientation came up?
  • Were you coerced in any way by family/friends/others into seeing that medical professional who recommended ‘Corrective Therapy’?

 You can either reblog a response or submit one on my page - if you want to remain anonymous just say so. If I get any feedback I want to make a post with everyones responses and will simply leave out your name if you request. Don’t feel obligated to answer all the questions, just the ones that you feel effect you. 

Also if you have other questions you think are good to ask don’t be scared to send a quick note and I’ll add them.

Thanks in advance for any feedback. =)

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Personal Ramblings about the Unassailable Asexual Topic

southpawscopic:

So Queenie’s doing the Carnival of Aces blogging event this month on the Unassailable Asexual and since Queenie’s kinda my ace-topic blog muse, I figured I’ll write about this, especially since it’s a topic near and dear to my heart.

Six or so years ago when I found AVEN and first began identifying as asexual, I pretty much was the unassailable asexual (or as close as one could get while being mentally ill). I remember back when I vlogged on Hot Pieces of Ace there was an “unassailable asexual” or “gold star asexual” topic of the week and I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a video on that topic because I didn’t have anything to contribute at the time. I’m white and was identifying as somewhat cis at the time and I’m an able-bodied person who felt that mental illness wasn’t even impacting my life in any significant way. What did I have to talk about?

Back then, I didn’t have a libido. Back then, I answered the dreaded and pervasive ~masturbation question~ with, ‘Well I don’t, but other asexuals do.” I didn’t watch porn, read erotica, or have kinks. I was sex repulsed and planned on never ever ever having sex. I had never been sexually abused and held a sex positive attitude, even if I wasn’t having sex myself. I was monogamous and planned on getting married one day, possibly adopting children. I was/am somewhat extroverted and outgoing and presented a “good face” for the community.

And now? Now I laugh at young-me IN THE FACE!

Now I’m probably one of the most “assailable” asexuals…and I don’t care!

I don’t have a term for my romantic orientation beyond “demiromantic" and I’m fine with that. I’ve started to cautiously identify as trans because gender isn’t a presentation, it’s a feeling- or lack thereof, in my case. I’ve vlogged about how my identity is all fluid and wibbly-wobbly now, how I’m poly and possibly grey-ace. I discovered I did have a libido at the ripe old age of 24 (wow self) and that I have an interest in kink. I have had sex and even enjoy having sex, under particular circumstances.

So if you’re an unassailable asexual? That is awesomesauce- go you! And if, like me, you are nowhere near those unassailable “gold star” standards- that is equally awesome. And you can come talk to me about it and we’ll ride off into the sunset together being our majestic selves. And whenever someone tries to call you a “bad ace” I will be there to defend you forever. There are no “good” or “bad” asexuals. There are just asexuals. And we’re too fabulous for the haters~ <3

48,586 notes

oryxofelia:

I’m about to cry. My 60 year old mother watched a netflix documentary and only just now found out she’s asexual. I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring up this idea to her for years. I am so glad to hear her, she’s so happy and saying “there really is nothing wrong with me!” I didn’t realize it wore on her like that. God bless the internet.

(via theheroheart)

3 notes

southpawscopic asked: I'm constantly referring people to your tumblr on the Asexual Advice blog so that might be why you have so many followers now NO REGRETS THOUGH LOVE YOUR TUMBLR~

So that’s why. Thanks, dear! (I try to redirect people to Asexual Advice, but they keep asking me for advice.)

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For reasons unknown to me, Asexual Experiences has gained a two-digit number of new followers over the weekend. This means that this blog has now over 1000 followers. When I started this blog, I never even thought that this blog would get over a hundred followers, let alone 1000. So thank you everyone for reading this blog.

1,057 notes

White Aces, Listen to Aces of Colour

apollyptica:

If we want our community to be inclusive, you need to listen to our points of view. 

There is no homogenous experiences in the ace community. What aces of colour deal with is not the same as what white aces deal with. 

Asexuality does not exist in a vacuum, and must be examined and talked about in a critical fashion. 

You must understand that there are groups of people who have had asexuality (different than our understanding of it but still the same word) forced on them or have been hypersexualized beyond compare and cannot access asexual spaces in the same way due to racism. 

Asexuality (and things like it) have an old history in certain groups, and it is vital to understand that. 

You can’t approach the experiences of aces of colour from a white perspective; you can’t. Because you won’t understand. 

Our community is multicultural, and it is important that our discourse reflects it. 

I’m reminded of what I was talking about at the International Asexuality Conference at the Asexuality and Ethnicity panel I was asked to be apart of: “You cannot parse my asexuality from my race. They are not separate. You cannot fully understand my experiences if you break them apart.” 

We are apart of this community

If asexuality discourse does not actively include aces of colour or have our voices dominate in discussions of our experiences with racism and the impact it has had on our asexuality, then it will be inaccurate. 

(via southpawscopic)

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biggayoceanbaby asked: One of the things I keep thinking about is writing about how demiromantic IS my romantic orientation. Like, pan or bi or whatever is secondary, since gender identity comes second. Even the "no cismales" thing is subsumed under that, since I'm not friends with straight cismales. So for me it's not accurate to say demiromantic is sort of secondary, like, "Oh I'm pan, but I'm also demi." Like... I'm demi. First and foremost. So maybe you could write about how those things sort of interact for you?

southpawscopic:

Oh that’s a good idea! Thank you. :)

It’s the same way for me, actually. I used to consider the demiromantic part secondary, but I’ve come to realize that- I don’t really have a primary romantic orientation? It’s nice that there are lucky people out there who know that they’re hetero/homo/bi/pan/whatever romantic, but I don’t have a concise “term” for mine. ‘Cause romantic orientation isn’t so simple and easily put into a particular box or label and that’s okay.

Yeah, we can both be “no cismales” romantic too. =P 

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shesleepsfromdreams asked: I am an asexual hispanic woman. I have been repeatedly told by my (white) friend that I'm not asexual, and need to reassess my sexuality. He recently came out to our group of friends as asexual, but continues to insinuate that I'm not asexual. His demisexual (white) girlfriend and I are stymied; her demisexuality is accepted as fact by him but my asexuality isn't real. I'm just very frustrated by this whole situation.

kirby-star-rider:

asexualpocsunite:

He’s probably stereotyping you (as a Latina) as being unable to be asexual. It’s really disgusting. If you want to, you can ask why he believes this. Otherwise I’d just cut off contact if he wanted to keep denying your identity. It’s incredibly toxic.

followers, any thoughts???

What an asshole. I’m Latin@ and asexual as well and the stereotype is that we’re never assumed to be virgin. People have always believed I have had a sexual history regardless of how I state I don’t. People think you’re a liar or you’re just an ashamed deviant who won’t admit it.

214 notes

On Dating as a Demiromantic

southpawscopic:

Queenie keeps not-so-subtly hinting at me to write more about demiromanticism, so I thought I’d give it a shot? I’m open to suggestions for topics, by the way, because “Demiromantic 101” is kinda boring. Which is why I’m gonna write about dating!

I don’t date.

Not in the “conventional” sense, anyway, I suppose. I’ll go on dates with people I’m already in romantic relationships with, sure! And I’ll go on awesome friend dates (Ink and I went to fondue last week and spent the entire time critiquing our food as if we were Gordon Ramsay- I have a lot of feels about Master Chef lately okay no judgement). But I don’t go on “dates with people with the assumption that we’re both trying to become partners if we’re compatible by the end of this date” dates.

That was a lot of dates in one sentence.

Also I keep thinking about the fruit.

I don’t date in the “conventional” sense because then people are going to expect something from me and that feels soooo contrived. I know I’m not going to magically develop romantic attraction to someone I’ve just met. And supposedly the person I’m on a date with will have some expectation about my feeling at least romantic (if not sexual) attraction towards them, if things work out well. Is that how it works? Right? People are expected to feel romantic attraction towards each other? See, I don’t even know. Do situations in romantic comedies actually happen in real life? Do some people actually fall in love at first sight? These things are so foreign to my world view, as someone who’s demiromantic.

I also don’t date because when I’m not experiencing romantic attraction, I’m pretty much aromantic. So. I don’t feel any reason or motivation to date. Because I don’t want a romantic relationship. That’s my experience with demiromanticism, which isn’t to say it’s everyone’s experience. For me, it’ll be like- oh I want a romantic relationship with this specific person*. But otherwise, nah. I’m good. 

*and as for “this specific person” for me that’s always someone who’s a good friend, whom I’ve known for some amount of time. I think the shortest amount of time I’ve known someone whom I’ve subsequently developed a crush on was 6 months? My dating pool is “the friend zone.” =P