Acting Like an Asexual

I think it’s weird when people talk about “asexual behavior.”

I have no idea what that phrase means. For that matter, I don’t really know what “sexual behavior” means either, since that can cover such a broad range of activities—even ones that are fairly harmless, like dancing, can be described as sexual.

But it bothers me. There are so many things out there that are so associated with sexuality, that if an asexual (or at least a known asexual) does it, it’s considered to be contradictory to their asexuality. Flirting, for instance. I have always tried pretty hard not to say things that could be considered flirting, because it makes people assume that I’m sexual (and interested in them). But maybe I want to show romantic interest in someone… How do I do it? How can I do it without leading someone to assume that I’m sexually interested in them as well? Honestly, the fact of it is, since I’ve always avoided flirting, I have no idea how to do it, period, let alone make that distinction clear.

Another thing is making sexual jokes. For years and years, I would laugh at others’ jokes, but never say what I was thinking myself for fear of whatever they might think. I’m sure I probably came off as prudish, but I’m not really. I’m not squeamish about sex at all. In fact, I’m fairly desensitized to it. I find it kind of fascinating, in a distantly intellectual way. Ironically, I have an acquaintance who often comes to me for advice about sex, because I know more about it than she does herself, even though she is sexual.

Oh, and then there’s the big one: having sex. And one step up from that, enjoying sex. Like, if I’m asexual, and I have sex and don’t find it completely repellent, then I’m not a “true” asexual or something. Whatever. Asexuality is not celibacy, we all know that, but for the sake of the people who wander in here from google, I’ll say it again: asexuality is a preference, celibacy is a choice. I prefer not to have sex, I don’t find that it comes naturally to me. Even when I’m bed with the most attractive guy I’ve ever met, whom I’m completely in love with, I’d rather just sleep with him literally. But if he wants to have sex, I’ll do it (provided he will look out for me). And, although this hasn’t matched my actual experience yet, I believe that on some level, it can be enjoyable for me. There was that one time that if it weren’t for the physical pain that inevitably comes with not being used to it, I probably would’ve found it mildly pleasant. But I just don’t feel a need for it, and I don’t think I ever will.

I really do wish that people understood asexuality a little better, because I find myself being less than completely true to myself with other people because most people have a much more rigid view of asexuality than I do. There’s a public face and a private face, and the public one is oversimplified so that I can get along a little easier. It’s like wearing a mask of my real face, with certain features exaggerated, and others covered up. I guess it’s more like makeup than a mask. But it’s tiring to keep up sometimes, and it makes me break out under the surface, so here, I take it off. Here at least, I can recognize that although I’m close enough, I don’t completely fit the definition, and certainly not anyone’s ideas of how people that do fit that definition can or should act.

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6 thoughts on “Acting Like an Asexual

  1. There’s a public place and a private face, and the public one is oversimplified so that I can get along a little easier.

    This reminds me of my experiences as a lesbian, actually. Personally, I believe that orientation is fluid, although moreso for some people than others, and it doesn’t seem *completely* impossible to me that I could fall for a guy at some point, just unlikely enough that it makes sense to call it “impossible.” Similarly, it doesn’t seem inconsistent to me that I’ve had the occasional very-asexual crush on a guy (perhaps similar to what certain heterosexual girls will call a “girlcrush” forgetting that some of us girls have pretty much nothing but “girl crushes”) and still don’t consider myself remotely bi-romantic or bi-sexual. Yet, these are things I cannot explain to (most) other people. I basically have to pretend that there isn’t (even) that snowball’s chance in hell that there is one guy on the planet I would fall for … or… certain guys are going to keep at it, assuming perhaps that they will be the one. And it’s annoying, as you were saying, because I would prefer to be my more complex self, but people rarely seem willing to accept that — with the acception of those who have done significant thinking/ studying on a/sexuality or gender or what-have-you themselves.

    Anyway, thanks for articulating it so well.

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  2. Hey, great blog you’ve got here! I think it’s somewhat aggravating how people are always trying to “catch us” being sexual…as if by virtue of their pointing out our inconsistencies, we’ll somehow realize that we’re just like them after all. It’s odd. I’d like to think that as visibility increases, people will be more accepting of asexual diversity…

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  3. Willendork – Yeah, that is definitely annoying! But I’m glad, at least, that there are people out there who read this and DO understand, so with at least some people, I can show the more complex parts of myself and find people who relate.

    Ily – Yeah, hopefully. Although you know, I don’t see why these people think pointing out inconsistencies is going to change us or whatever, cause usually when I do it to them it just makes them mad! And thanks for linking to me! :)

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  4. Hi! I just want to say thank you so much for being brave and explaining it all so well. I seem to be just like you, at least in what I just read above. I’ve always had a problem with labels, nothing seemed to fit me. I went from straight to gay, skipped bi and back to straight, jumping back and forth between the two. The problem was always not straight enough but not that gay… Bi was not an option since I felt I didn’t qualify for one gender, let alone both.

    I think I finally figured it out – I’m asexual. Haven’t told anyone except my mum but she was along for the ride with each crush I had. The reason I haven’t told is because I got used to being just me; “weird” I called myself. What I don’t want is to feel compelled to follow the ignorant rules common people tend to make. The last thing I want is to be accused I’m not a true asexual, because they go and misinterpret something.

    Thank you for explaining what it is I fear. You asked the age old question: How do you show romantic interest when it’s taken for granted you also want sex? Also, good job on finding the right words to explain “It’s a preference!”. Can’t wait to read more…

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  5. Well, I think I have an interesting dilemma. With me, I have researched almost everything about sex that there is available online, asking others, and otherwise. And now that I know all I need to know, including about STDs…scary…I think I have no more interest. See with me, something stimulating means I have learn something new from it. If an activity is intended just for mindless pleasure or leave your brains at home, then it loses all meaning for me. Somehow, I come with my mind and it is probably the single most important organ in my body…of course, literally.
    So, as far as sex is concerned. I know it, and I am sure it feels great, but i just don’t wish to strip down and actually get down and dirty with it. I think I have ample evidence from the larger population that it ranges from the good, bad, tothe ugly. Life is about knowledge and the more you know and the more varied your experiences the better.
    Since I think I have pretty much seen and heard all I need to know, it is time to move on to greener pastures. Like traveling and seeing the whole wide world, and finding true bliss with the love of my life. So many things to accomplish, so little time-:)

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  6. A very interesting writing. I’m sexual myself, always have, definitely agree that it’s a preference. But I would like to encourage everyone to forget labels, because sexuality is not that simple. It’s more like a continuous line to slide along than certain rigid points marked asexual, sexual, gay, bi, straight. Very few, if any, people are 100% something. And as in everything, you evolve and change. I’m also somewhat androgynic. I like most men but some women. Some days I might like more men, some days women. Some days all I can think of is sex, some days I’m appalled by the thought of it.

    I think everyone wears masks in public, as you said, to make things more black-and-white and easier. Everyone has something to hide, and how funny is that everyone thinks they’re the only one with oddities and secrets. Like someone wise has said: when you get to know people, you realize no-one is normal. I just wish everyone could forget what others think and be happy as themselves.

    I am not saying that asexuality is something that anyone should try to hide or cure, but I believe sex _can_ be enjoyable for everyone. Because it can be very bad if you’re not in the mood, can’t relax, not with the right person, it is hurting, etc. And what comes to us brain-people, being able to relax and just think it as having fun is even more important, I guess. Actually I just read today, that intelligent people can enjoy sex more, because for them it’s not just some brainless, thoughtless act. For me, it’s only working when I’m with my significant other, the one I love, and just enjoying the closeness and feel of their body, and concentrating more on the sharing and caring than anything else.

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