20

I'm not sure if this is the right circle to post, but I feel like it's the most relevant.

for me personally, I don't think they should be included with LGB for the following reasons -

  1. asexuals aren't killed, ostracised, bullied etc just for being asexual. asexual women may be pressured into getting married to men, but that's just misogyny. lesbians go through the same thing, and so do basically single women of any age and orientation. ace men may be made fun of for being virgins, but that's just toxic masculinity. any virgin guy would experience that.

  2. asexual can sometimes be not innate, as in, a trauma response. sexual trauma from childhood or any time of your life really, can cause you to be asexual, especially sex-repulsed. no amount of trauma or life experience can turn a straight person gay. that's a very important distinction, and I don't doubt that it might lead to conversion therapy narratives against gays and lesbians.

    sidenote: this is personal (and maybe only happens online), but I've seen so much ace homophobia. I'm not sure if y'all noticed, but yeah. I was in a fb group that archived/pointed out examples of asexuals being homophobic, and there were asexuals in that group too. they (homophobic aces) made fun of gay men for being infected with HIV, by saying stuff like "haha, I'll never have HIV! I don't fling myself at random people" during a conversation about that epidemic, in regards to LGB issues. it was a tumblr post, I'm not sure how to find it, but the hyperlink is to a tumblr blog that points out ace homophobia. I've never used tumblr, and maybe this is just a very online phenomenon.

I'm not sure if this is the right circle to post, but I feel like it's the most relevant. for me personally, I don't think they should be included with LGB for the following reasons - 1. asexuals aren't killed, ostracised, bullied etc just for being asexual. asexual women may be pressured into getting married to men, but that's just misogyny. lesbians go through the same thing, and so do basically single women of any age and orientation. ace men may be made fun of for being virgins, but that's just toxic masculinity. any virgin guy would experience that. 2. asexual can sometimes be not innate, as in, a trauma response. sexual trauma from childhood or any time of your life really, can cause you to be asexual, especially sex-repulsed. no amount of trauma or life experience can turn a straight person gay. that's a very important distinction, and I don't doubt that it might lead to conversion therapy narratives against gays and lesbians. sidenote: this is personal (and maybe only happens online), but I've seen so much [ace homophobia](https://homophobicaces-blog.tumblr.com/). I'm not sure if y'all noticed, but yeah. I was in a fb group that archived/pointed out examples of asexuals being homophobic, and there were asexuals in that group too. they (homophobic aces) made fun of gay men for being infected with HIV, by saying stuff like "haha, I'll never have HIV! I don't fling myself at random people" during a conversation about that epidemic, in regards to LGB issues. it was a tumblr post, I'm not sure how to find it, but the hyperlink is to a tumblr blog that points out ace homophobia. I've never used tumblr, and maybe this is just a very online phenomenon.

29 comments

I see several problems with the term 'asexual'.

  1. It does not have a coherent definition. Depending on the person asked, it will be something like not experiencing sexual attraction, or not experiencing sexual arousal, being neutral towards sex, being repulsed by sex...on and on. It is not a meaningful term because it could mean any number of things. Someone telling me they're 'asexual' only really tells me that they feel different to their peers.

  2. The second is the structure of the word itself: -sexual. The word links itself with bi-, homo-, and hetero-sexuality, but it's fundamentally different. Not having a sexuality isn't a sexuality. It doesn't make sense.

  3. It also creates a binary of sexual attraction/arousal/interest rather than a continuum. Ie, some special women are 'asexual' and have a legitimate excuse for being uninterested in sex, but most women then don't have an excuse. I want all women to be free to avoid sex to the extent they want to without need for explanation, justification, defensiveness, labels, and identity.

3b. In a similar vein, being able to say 'some people are just asexual, shrug' lets us off the hook for investigating why that is, as we assume it's 'natural' and therefore cannot be questioned. How does putting so many young, young girls on the pill affect things? How about SSRIs? How about rampant pornography and the pornification of the media and society?

So no, I certainly don't think there's any such thing as a 'true' or 'real' asexual person. People who haven't experienced attraction, sure. People with no libido, sure. 'Asexual'? No.

Asexuals are valid but they aren't LGB. LBG people all have the common experience of same-sex attraction, asexuals do not. Asexuals have never had to protest or fight for the right to not have sex or to refrain from intimate relationships in the way that LGB people have had to fight to decriminalize homosexuality and legalize same-sex marriage.

I mean sure some people are asexual but do they need special legal recognition?

[–] disco_metal 1 points Edited

I identified as asexual for a while. Now I figure I'm bisexual and I guess it's just rare for me to notice sexual attraction. Maybe I'm just not aware of it, maybe it's not happening, I don't know. You know, there was a label popularized by the AVEN and Tumblr crowd, "gray asexual" which seems to mean very occasional sexuality, or every now and then. And you're probably familiar with "demisexual," the label for anyone who isn't sexually attracted to people on sight. I suppose they'd classify me as one of those. It gets worse; there are micro-labels I've seen like "cupiosexual" or "lithosexual." What the hell do those mean, and why do they need specific words?

The asexual community uses a split attraction model, which basically seems to be that romantic attraction/orientation can be separate and even different from sexual attraction/orientation. I do remember once stumbling across some posts somewhere (years old Tumblr posts? Reddit posts?) discussing how the split attraction model was beginning to seep into other spaces and that it was problematic because it allowed people to deny part of their sexuality. I think the post was saying how some people would claim either to be bisexual but instead of bi-romantic, hetero-romantic, or bi-romantic but instead of bisexual, heterosexual. Basically leading to a weird dynamic of "Oh, I'd be fine having sex with someone of the same gender, but not a romantic relationship" or "I'd be fine having a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex as long as we don't have sex."

What I also hate is how asexuality proper, as in, not having sexual attraction, has been subsumed by the "ace umbrella" or "ace spectrum." Now when people say "asexuality," at least the online people, tend to assume you mean the whole asexual spectrum (meaning not just asexuality but also gray asexuality, demisexuality, and whatever other labels they've made). So now you can't even say "asexual means not being sexually attracted to either men or women." I mean, even if you don't think it's a legitimate orientation, still, you've got to agree that that's annoying, right?

As for your first point, I think asexuals for the most part when they experience discrimination or harassment is because they're perceived as being gay. So it's more of a misdirected homophobia rather than "aphobia." As for your second point, I mostly disagree that it can be a trauma response. It can definitely make you very sex-repulsed or sex-averse, but I don't think that's the same as asexual. Wouldn't you still have the same underlying orientation? Because, like you said, trauma won't turn a straight person gay or a gay person straight. Why would it turn a straight person into not straight or a gay person into not gay?

I think that, if the A has to be in the acronym, and it has to stand for something, I think asexuals would fit more than allies. But again, I wouldn't say LGBA. But I do think, if say we're talking about "homo-romantic" or "bi-romantic" aces, if they're out there forming same-sex relationships and the like, then I suppose I'd count them as falling under the L, G, or B. (Like if they're basically indistinguishable from lesbians, gays, or bisexuals who just don't have sex much.)

I have met a few people who seem to be genuinely asexual, and have had some interesting conversations about it. One thing I've noticed is that pretty much every asexual person I've met has also been on the autism spectrum, or had significant autistic traits. Interestingly this is also true of trans/NB identities. I don't know what to make of that but it seems like more research needs to be done in this area. I suspect one day asexuality may be considered a symptom of autism, as it seems to overlap with sensory issues and so on.

I have met men who seem to be asexual but they usually deny it - like they will say sex is gross and they are repulsed by the idea of it (regardless of gender), but feel too embarrassed to identify as asexual. Those men were definitely on the autism spectrum.

As to whether it should be included in the LGB, well probably not, but I don't think the TQ+ crowd should be included in that either. I tend to see asexual identities as something separate from both the LGB and the TQ crowds.

As someone who's autistic and has little to no sex drive (despite being attracted to women), I'm going to hazard a guess that it's due to medication. Most anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medications have a side effect of affecting libido, and it's likely many autistic people use these as depression/anxiety is a common co-morbid condition. I would say the same for depressed/anxious women on meds who may have the same side effects (contraceptives also mess with your libido, I believe).

Good point! It's interesting though as several of the people I've spoken to have told me that they enjoy masturbating, but have no desire for sex with anyone (regardless of sex/gender). So I don't think it's always about libido, but medication and hormones are probably a huge factor for many people.

Do you see it as like the I (intersex) which you see in the LGBTQI or LGBTQIA variation of the acronym? Basically a real phenomenon, but still separate from LGB?

Yes, I think that's probably the best comparison, as it really doesn't seem to quite fit with the other categories.

[–] nothefunkind 8 points Edited

The concept of asexuality has always seemed like a label for what is a very normal response from young women about the pornified world they are expected to participate in. Especially when young people proclaim their sexuality as a part of their public image on social media, and where internet identities are pillars of social identity, how would you feel if you just didn't care about sex or didn't want to participate? A good many cases seem trauma-related. In general though, it is absolutely normal for young women to feel more apathetic than not about sex. I remember feeling like something was wrong with me when I was in my late teens/early 20s, because I had only slept with one person and didn't have 'enough' experience. I had to [falsely] convince myself that I wanted to have a lot of sex, due to the messaging that this was 'liberation'. Again, this is a scenario where young women desperately need to connect with older women who have perspective.

It is endlessly frustrating to me that the #1 thing spoken about when it comes to asexuality is whether it is a part of any given acronym or not. This should be the least of any asexual person's concerns yet it dominates the discourse both within and without asexual internet spaces.

For anyone who acknowledges the foolishness of "woman" now being an undefinable word and "lesbian" now promoted to mean "non-men attracted (in any sense of the word) to non-men," you can only imagine the ways asexuality has been twisted and exploded to mean anything and everything to anyone who actually gives a shit about acronyms, flags, pins, internet clout, or anything else related to "popular queerness."

First of all, anyone using "LGB" instead of "LGBT+++" of course wouldn't throw asexuality in there. It has nothing to do with same-sex attraction. Now if you are using "LGBT+++" and still have it out for the concept of asexuality then I'd just be confused by the lack of consistency lol.

Asexual internet culture gives me a headache for many reasons and more not mentioned in the OP. But I also think asexual internet culture is different from a lifelong lack of any inkling of experiencing sexual orientation... which is rare enough that it is now "acephobic" to imply that this is what asexuality is.

There is variety in nature. If someone reports a lifelong data pattern of being attracted to one sex or both sexes, it seems abundantly reasonable that some portion of the human population - however small - would report a lifelong data pattern of being attracted to neither sex. Whether anyone thinks any of these data patterns are "natural" or not is another question. Luckily for the case of asexuality (as a concept) this question has not resulted in mass societal rejection or death.

Do I fit the definition of asexual? Yes. But my immediate reaction to hearing the term for the first time in my twenties was "oh, we're calling that something now?" So I don't care much what you call it. I'd considered myself "naturally celibate," "too sensible" (jokingly), or more simply just a "prude" ever since I was informed what sex was. I've never had a crush, never been on a date, don't even know what sexual arousal is supposed to feel like, and view all of that as a departure from my natural course. My focus has always been on family and nurturing my valued friendships. I thought settling down with a friend was the obvious way of things until I realized most others had different relationship priorities than me which is fine. You can't always get what you want. I feel as separate from the straight experience as I do the gay experience. "LGBS," as I refer to it, all mystifies me equally though I do congratulate people for their happy unions and definitely want to hear all the relationship tea along the way because I'm nosey like that.

Is there something deeply physically or mentally wrong with me? I don't think so. My baseline has remained consistent. I have made no departures from my norm and I'm nearing 30. I get my desired camaraderie with life on the road as a tour manager for various bands/musicians, most of which a great many people have heard on the radio or seen on YouTube. I still miss my younger years, however, when friendship was more central, but life inevitably happens to all of us. Ya just gotta put on your big girl boots and move on.

I hope someday I'll have a little house to myself with a front porch, a rocking chair, a good radio signal, and a spare room for any friend passing through... or perhaps decides to stay for a while.

I wouldn't rule out living with a friend in the future, especially in your senior years! Romantic/sexual relationships end and sometimes people (especially heterosexual women) decide they don't want another one. I know a few older women who've gone that route.

[–] Raea 12 points Edited

I might be over the line here but it's been my impression that ace is a thing because our culture has completely marginalized adult humans who choose to abstain. imagine if you were a young person who just didn't want to have sex. would you rather tell your peers that you are " celibate " or " choosing abstinence " if you could also choose the popular and edgy sexual identity of ace.

I'm not saying I really know what's going on here, but if I were young I know what I would pick.

[+] [Deleted] 1 points

I don't doubt that it's real in rare cases but if someone is truly asexual and not homosexual or bisexual they're not part of the gay community.

Also I have seen and heard way too many stories along the lines of "my girlfriend claims to be asexual and never wanted to do anything with me but I loved her anyway even though I didn't feel the relationship was mutual but now she left me for a man she's actually attracted to."

Being a lesbian or bi woman who has too much trauma around sex is also a possibility of course and I am not saying they don't exist.. but I simply don't trust a lot of women who claim to be attracted to women but are not sexually attracted to them at all, because so often they just end up being straight.

Load more (7 comments)