Questions, Round 2

All search terms appear exactly as they were typed into Google/Formspring, so I take no credit for any spelling or grammar errors.

Standard Definitional Disclaimer: Asexuality refers here to a sexual orientation among humans.  It does not have anything to do with biology, whether that means the biology of non-human asexually reproducing species, or humans with non-standard anatomy (if you’re looking for that, google intersex conditions instead). Asexuality means not experiencing sexual attraction; it does not mean or imply that we are “not sexual” in any way at all. The term is analogous to homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, etc. Asexuals are a widely varied group that may have little else in common with one another aside from not experiencing sexual attraction to others as a general rule. I can only answer for myself. My answers may include sarcasm.

On to the questions!

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Q: At what angle do asexual people masturbate? (from Formspring)
A: Well, you see, asexuals are the opposite of sexuals. Therefore, they masturbate at the exact opposite angle. In fact, they masturbate upside down. In the air. Yes, they masturbate in the open air, hanging upside down from an airplane. Setting up for their masturbatory sessions is a pain in the ass, so they don’t do it too often.

Q: how to get an asexual to want you (from a Google search)
A: You can’t. There is no such thing as a love potion. There is no magic formula you can follow to get anyone, asexual or not, to want you in any way. If you are hoping that an asexual person will find you sexually attractive, you are sure to be disappointed. You cannot convert or seduce an asexual person, so don’t try. You can (inadvertently or not) do some serious damage if you do. There are things you can do to make an asexual person feel more comfortable with you, so that if they personally feel that sex is something they are up for trying, and if their personal feelings about you are favorable, they might want to have sex with you. The most basic thing you can do to facilitate that possibility is stop trying to get them to do it. If you are willing to accept that there’s a possibility the asexual person will NEVER want to have sex, and give up the goal of making them want you, then an asexual person is more likely to be comfortable around you and enjoy your company. You must also, by the way, be willing to accept that there’s a possibility they will NEVER want to date you or be in any other sort of romantic arrangement with you. Some asexuals just don’t want that, period. And even if the person you like does want that at some point, or is at least open to the possibility, it doesn’t mean that their life circumstances are such that they are open to a relationship right NOW, or that if they were they would want it with you. Compatibility is a HUGE factor in whether or not someone will like you. If your personalities just don’t mesh well, it won’t work. Or even if they do, that STILL doesn’t mean someone will want you in whatever way it is that you want them to.

Q: are guys in porn creepy (from a Google search)
A: Depends on the porn, I guess? All of this stuff is subjective. Do I personally find guys in porn creepy? Well, not the ones that I remember seeing, though I have found the porn I’ve been exposed to either boring, laughable, or unpleasant. A lot of it seems so ridiculous that I can’t help but be baffled as to how it turns anyone. That said, it’s not a stretch to conjecture that some guys in porn might be creepy. I haven’t seen all that much porn. From what I’m told, most of it is awful but some isn’t bad. My partner tells me there’s feminist/queer porn out there that’s tastefully done, but that it’s basically like how the two of us have sex. So there’s not much of an impetus for me to watch it, and since it’s hard to find and not really available without a subscription to some site, I probably won’t end up ever seeing it because I don’t care enough to invest in it.

Q: what constitutes a creepy guy (from a Google search)
A: Basically, it’s a guy who steps over a personal boundary that should be common courtesy, sometimes in such a subtle way that you’re not totally sure if he’s bad news or just socially awkward, so you doubt your feeling that he’s a creep. But still, some part of you notices something intimidating or off about him, and you get a strong gut feeling even if you can’t place exactly why. Typically a creepy guy may do things like give you a penetrating stare, especially at parts of your body like your breasts and butt. He’s the guy who takes up your personal space and chides you to smile (as if you are not allowed to have a bad day or otherwise express themselves neutrally in public). He might say things that sound just a little bit off, things that might seem like innocuous flattery or friendliness, but those comments seem to carry an expectation that you act a certain way in response. If you’re not friendly enough, he may seem offended. He might be someone who says women are goddesses when they are doing what he wants, but as soon as they contradict him, he flies into a misogynistic rage. Beware of the guy who constantly shit-talks his crazy ex-girlfriend; she might not be so crazy after all. The sense of creepiness might come from how he treats much younger girls/women. He might say things, subtle things that might be passed off as a joke, that hint at a worldview that it’s okay to be violent towards women. He might be the type who is very forward in situations where it doesn’t seem appropriate, like personally emailing a stranger on the internet to help her achieve some sexual goal that she mentioned once in a blog post. He might follow you around, seem to be watching you, or just be the type who never seems to take the hint.

To answer the question that wasn’t asked, here’s what a creepy guy is NOT: he is not just anyone who is sexually attracted to you. It’s totally fine to be sexually attracted to somebody; the thing that makes the difference between a creep and not-a-creep is how he handles that attraction. The guy who is not a creep understands that there ARE creepy guys out there, and he will back off to give you some personal space. He doesn’t expect you to respond in a certain way, and get so angry he denounces all women when you don’t respond the way he hopes. He follows the three second rule, tries to shift his gaze to avoid making you uncomfortable. He won’t give you extravagant gifts too soon in a relationship, or otherwise try to rush you or make you uncomfortable with the pace of the relationship. He won’t stalk you. Basically, he expresses himself respectfully with some consideration for your feelings. This doesn’t mean he will never make a mistake; nobody is perfect. But if he does, he will apologize and back off.

Q: how do you have sex with a trans woman? I thought they were a myth made by the patriarchy to show that people outside the gender binary are weird. (from Formspring)
A: My girlfriend is certainly not a myth, that’s for sure.

The following question concerns rape and its effects on sexuality, and since it might be triggering I’ve placed it under a cut.

Q: does rape make you asexual? (from a Google search)
A: No, it most certainly does not. After having conducted quite a lot of research over the past year and some via an open-ended survey about people’s experiences of rape and other forms of sexual assault (which is still open, and you can find more info and links to take the survey here), I’ve found that several respondents complained that they had a lot of problems dealing with their sexuality after being raped. Rather than it being repressed entirely, as it is often assumed, these respondents were very much bothered by their sexual attraction to people who resembled their rapist in some way. In popular culture, this is often (over-) represented by a woman who after being raped cannot trust men, which is indeed a real phenomenon (and it’s understandable, I think). I’ve personally met a woman who struggled to date men she was attracted to, but could not trust, so she wanted to run away every time she met someone nice, before he had the opportunity to hurt her. However, I’ve also had respondents (both male and female) who said that they have trouble trusting women, because their perpetrators were women. One, for example, was raped by a woman when she was a child, and when she grew up enough that her bisexuality started to assert itself, she found that her sexual attraction to women was a major issue for her because it reminded her of that trauma. So, I think that rape has little if any effect on a person’s actual sexual orientation, but it does tend to make them have a much harder time dealing with it. It makes people fearful and may also affect their level of desire for sex, though some do have the desire as well but can’t fulfill it because of their fear. Keep in mind that sexual orientation is based on an overall pattern of sexual attraction, not behavior or actual level of desire for real-life sex. So a person who becomes celibate after a sexual assault cannot be said to have become asexual because they aren’t having sex. I think it’s more likely that people whose sexual orientations appear to have changed after they have been raped have actually made a conscious decision to avoid men/women/sex entirely (as the case may be), which by the way is a perfectly fine choice to make, and those people do not deserve harassment about it, or any sort of pressure to “get over it.” Many asexuals get harassed in a similar way, because people just assume that asexuality is the result of some past trauma (that the asexual person doesn’t remember, of course, so that their assertion is made unfalsifiable in a very Freudian-analysis sort of way), since they don’t believe that asexuals can legitimately exist. We are told this so often that many of us internalize the message and start to doubt ourselves. This puts asexuals who have had past trauma in a double bind, since if they choose to talk about what happened, many people will simply point to that trauma and say, “Hah! I knew it. You ARE just repressed!” There’s a lot of pressure to be the “perfect asexual” especially when it comes to how we are represented in the media. But some of us have been raped, either before or after we come to identify as asexual. In the face of these pressures, it’s good to remember the examples above of how sexuality asserts itself despite trauma.

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