because most of us felt alienated and pressured by the way society expects us to sexually available and sexually attractive in ways that make us uncomfortable, and punishes us for not conforming or for expressing that discomfort. Once you get older, though, you become more experienced and more assertive and come to realize that a lot of people were thinking the same thing you were, even people who seemed to be totally cool with it at the time. This is especially true if you’re a woman and/or not straight or cis or gender conforming. Asexual culture, on the other hand, validates only those initial feelings of discomfort and actively tries to discredit any attempt to connect them to sexism or homophobia or misogyny, because if it did, the concept of asexuality/demisexuality/aromanticism etc as distinct and special identities would start falling apart. Tumblr asexual culture does not seek to alleviate that discomfort; it instead encourages feelings of isolation and alienation and discourages challenging patriarchal norms and identification with people who don’t demonstrate the “right” kind of sexual behavior (except when it can enable one to seem even more rare and special, as when straight asexuals demand that queer people not only share their label, but also defer to them). It is utterly dependent on its members feeling constantly upset and confused by society and their own emotions and urges, and its “activism” mostly focuses on preventing others from trying to alleviate those feelings (see the unrelenting focus on a constantly shifting and largely undefined concept of “sexual attraction” as opposed to learning to accept one’s own desires and fantasies as they are, or the demand that they be exempt from learning about topics like sexual health and safety, or the ironclad resistance to examining how they are vulnerable to the messages of things like rape culture and internalized homophobia.) I do believe most people who currently identify with this label will discard it as they get older, but that does not mean it’s not concerning to see how people are being actively discouraged from recognizing that the fault lies with societal expectations, not marauding “sexuals” with whom they have nothing in common.
All the ace/demisexual/multiple/zoophile posts watchful-entity has reblogged lately seem like they would be an excellent basis for a psychosexual horror novel that would also serve as feminist social commentary. And yet I just don’t have the stomach to do it myself. gj, kids.
because it always involves them telling somebody about their utterly mundane approach to relationships, and the other person is baffled as to why they are treating these perfectly unremarkable emotions like earth-shaking revelations, so they grope for something to say because obviously the demisexual is really really concerned about it, and they end up saying stuff like “Don’t worry, you’ll find the right person someday…?” because deep down inside they have no idea wtf is going on, or why the conversation is even happening, and neither does the demisexual. And then the demisexual either is like “omg this person is so amazingly accepting I have so much hope for the future of my people!”, or they freak out and run to Tumblr and cry about misunderstood they are, because demisexuality is about so much more than finding the right person, except when it isn’t.
those tears give me life
One big reason I resent cis straight kinksters and asexuals trying to appropriate the queer tag is because their main justifications for doing so reduce queer identity to fucking. And yes, part of being queer involves who you want to fuck, but we are not protective of our ranks because we think we have some exclusive right to regale our coworkers and relatives with accounts of how we want to fuck (if anyone), what we wear when we fuck, what we like to be called when we fuck, etc. Our homophobic society, however, declares that that is our sole motivation for organizing, fighting, and banding together. We are constructed as sex-crazed perverts out to rape and convert innocents into our ranks. Therefore, when cis straight BDSM practitioners and ageplay fetishists and even the asexuals come up and say, “Hey, I’ve also based my identity around my particular type of fucking/non-fucking, so you must let me in”, we are not surprised, but we do find it profoundly homophobic and offensive. Why would we want people like that around us?
So here’s the thing about asexuality; it has no coherent definition. I see a lot of posts all over Tumblr describing the five hundred ways you can be sexually active and still call yourself asexual. Most of them sound pretty familiar and mundane to any sexually active adult, but there is a constant insistence that this is not true and asexuals experience the exact same thing differently.
As a sexually active woman with a high sex drive, I must confess that the following asexual spectrum things (culled from various asexual community posts) apply to me:
1. I would not have sex with everyone I find sexually attractive, even if I could be guaranteed that there would be no consequences to it. As I don’t live in such an ideal world, that lengthens the list some more.
2. I have had sex with people I felt no sexual attraction to because they wanted to have sex with me and I just wanted to have sex.
3. I did not develop sexual feelings for some people until after getting to know what a kind, sweet, intelligent person they were.
4. I can look at someone and appreciate their beauty without wanting to jump their bones.
5. I do not like being coerced into sex, even with people I enjoy nonsexual physical contact with.
6. The way I experience sexual pleasure and desire is not represented in popular media, and what IS depicted often alienates me.
7. It can be difficult to find people who fully understand and are willing to accommodate my sexual boundaries.
8. I can watch movies full of ostensibly hot actors and find none of them attractive.
9. I find that sexual pleasure is greatly enhanced by a feeling of mental and emotional connection with my partner, as well as providing sexual satisfaction to my partner.
In fact, the only reason I can find for not identifying myself as on the asexual spectrum is the fact that I don’t want to. No matter how many dicks I land on or pussies I faceplant in, I too could write a 100% truthful account of my sexual history and still defend it as uniquely asexual, just as long as I refused to spend too much time examining the influences of sexism and homophobia on my experiences. It’s no wonder so many of these posts contain sad comments from kids who just want to know if there are any other asexuals who simply don’t want to have sex, ever.
Here’s the other curious thing, the thing which keeps me from taking asexuality as defined by Tumblr seriously as an orientation. If, for instance, a young woman approached me and said that lately she was beginning to feel a strong attraction towards another woman, I would gently inquire if she had considered the possibility that she was bisexual or lesbian. The definitions for those orientations are fairly straightforward. I have no doubt one could locate an internet forum for 100% Straight Women who enjoy 100% Not Gay Sex with other 100% Straight Women, but most of society realizes this is bullshit. For similar reasons, frat boys who think it’s clever to call themselves lesbians are also dismissed. Nevertheless, no matter how many times you tell a Tumblr asexual/demisexual that you have experienced exactly the same thing they have just described as unique to their orientation, they will never reply with, “Have you considered the possibility that you are asexual?” Instead, you will get a lot of angry comments about how NO, it’s NOT and you just need to stop talking about things you have never experienced, even if you have experienced them, because theirs is DIFFERENT.
This is because asexuality/demisexuality etc., are not actual orientations with fixed definitions. They are a subculture that prides itself on being distinct from a vast and poorly differentiated group called “sexuals”. Don’t you dare suggest it has something to do with cultural neuroses about sex and what we think about people who pursue it freely and without apparent boundaries! They fuck, desire, want, enjoy, exactly the same except that they don’t, because they are not asexual. You will never understand this until you start calling yourself asexual and splitting every emotion you have ever felt into smaller and smaller pieces and examining each one for signs of undue sexual attraction. We all can do it! What’s stopping you, my asexual friends?
I am still waiting for an asexual to swing by and address why aces have thus far refused to engage intelligently with critiques of their community’s homophobic, sexist, and rape culture-reifying rhetoric. They could also shed some light on the curious fact that a lot of the cultural messages and pressures they complain about have been addressed quite thoroughly by feminist, queer (actual LGBT queer), and even anti-racist movements for, uh, centuries in some instances, but they nevertheless fail to incorporate this knowledge in good faith. Or hell, they could give me one good reason why I should stop questioning a movement that continues to attribute things like sexual coercion, rape, internalized homophobia and so forth to mere differences in personal wiring, as most of their arguments fall apart if you do not accept patriarchal explanations of human sexuality.
Pass it on!
It came to my attention today that a comment I made a while ago about how the homosexual community has been part of the mainstream for decades has upset some people. For that, and for my lack of explanation, I deeply apologize.
I never meant to compare us to the LGBT community in an offensive way or to compare what we’ve been through to them. What I meant to convey was that homsexuality has been, if not accepted, at least known about for a long time. It was considered something real, whether good or bad, people still acknowledged that it was a real thing. Asexuality, more often than not, is still looked upon as a joke by many people, considered not real, a cry for attention or something similar. That is the point I meant to make: that the widespread knowledge of asexuality is still in it’s infancy and every portrayal in the media will affect us in some way because that knowledge is so limited. I did use homosexuality as a reference, but only to show that they have been part of the mainstream, something known and acknowledged, for several decades and they are just now starting to become something that is being shown in a truly positive light on television. For a group like the asexual community, which has hardly any mainstream acknowledgement, it will be a long time before we have much in the way of visibility, good or bad.
So, I apologize for my offense. I never meant to belittle or erase what the gay community has gone through, only express the challenge my own community will be facing as we try to gain visibility and acknowledgement. I hope my incoherent babble makes a bit of sense, because my intention truly was never to marginalize anyone.
I want you to take a moment and ask yourself exactly what sort of view you’re approaching the ways in which homophobia expresses itself. Because your idea of homophobia is a very male-centric one. It’s rare that women are believed to be homo/bi/pan. It is. When a man comes out society will believe him, in this day and age anyway. But when a woman comes out she’s immediately disbelieved. To society women being homo/bi/pan is considered just a phase. Especially if that woman happens to be in her twenties.
Because misogyny intersects with homophobia. And I mean TRULY intersects, not the tumblr internet kind of intersect where I just put the word intersectionality at the end of the post, claim that it’s not hard, but then refuse to explain what or where things are intersecting. I’m not using it like a buzzword to prove just how SJW savvy I am but if hard pressed to explain what I mean I would deflect and then mock. I mean ACTUAL intersectionality, in that homophobia toward women is different than homophobia toward men.
Yes we share many things. But misogyny always affects the way in which women deal with homophobia, just like racism always affects the way in which POC deal with homophobia. These issues cross and modify based on these factors.
You see, women aren’t expected to have a sexual orientation, according to society. Not really. A woman is expected to be heterosexual in so far as when a man gives her the permission to be so. This affects homophobia because it means that anytime a h/b/p woman comes out society laughs at her for having an orientation that might not involve a man. Because the concept of women being able to be just as sexually autonomous is an absurd concept to society.
Ask any h/b/p woman you want. I guarantee you that she’ll attest that when she came out the immediate response was one of dismissal. Oh it’s just a phase. You just need a good man. You shouldn’t hate men! You’re not gay/bi/pan you just want attention. Those are all common things that h/b/p women endure, and it proceeds for the rest of their life. Homosexuality/bisexuality/pansexuality within women is never considered a real thing by society. It’s considered a joke. Because this society is also misogynistic, and thus a woman is not “allowed” to have a sexual orientation.
Not only that, but homosexuality was still listed as a mental disorder less than fifty years ago. That’s not even one generation of people later. In the 70s and earlier, if you were gay then it was considered about as valid of an orientation as a unicorn. You were called sick, diseased, or confused. You were subject to “medical procedures” that would “cure” the disease of homosexuality. It wasn’t valid, not back then. And there are far too many people from that era that are alive today for anybody to say that homosexuality today is considered as equally valid as heterosexuality. Because it’s still not.
Expand your horizons OUTSIDE of the anime fandom. People fawning over the yaois is not an accurate representation of society. Homosexuality is still considered a joke, and it’s more so for women.
You see, this is why I said you need to just shut up about homosexuality and its place in society. Because you’re wrong, and you’ve shown absolutely no interest in being right. All you’ve shown is an interest in being indignant. So just shut up about homosexuality. Talk about asexuality all you want, but leave homosexuality out of it. You’ve got two strikes, and the coach is calling you out. You’re not going to bat that home run that saves the game. You’re going to swing, you’re going to miss, and you’re going to fuck everything up. So just shut up about homosexuality.
“the homosexual community”
when are these people going to realize that “homosexual” was abandoned as a self-identifier fucking half a century ago for a reason and it makes you sound like goddamn jerry falwell when you call people that?
bonus points for pronouncing it “hummuhsekshul”
Asexuals: the problems you encounter are pretty much entirely attributable to sexism and homophobia
the greatest threat to your community being taken seriously is the fact that you are utterly, disgustingly oblivious to this