Q&A X

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. For a more detailed explanation on this, please check my FAQ page. 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: Very new to all this, and so much of what I’ve read hear and elsewhere through Aven makes sense to me, helps me to understand how I feel. But now I have so many questions (well, three) and only 37 characters left. Would it be okay to post more than once? (from Formspring)
A: Of course. :) You can post as many times as you want–and if you have a longer question, you can post more than once, or email me if you want. Whichever is more comfortable for you! I know some people don’t like giving their email or IP address.

Q: Thanks. Okay, firstly: I have a mood disorder, which means that periodically I get very hyper and at those times, do sometimes feel some element of sexual attraction. But not often. Does this mean it would be wrong to identify as asexual? (from Formspring)
A: No, I don’t think it’s wrong to identify as asexual in that case. You should identify however you’re comfortable identifying. If you feel really uneasy about feeling something similar to sexual attraction, you might identify as gray-asexual if that’s more comfortable for you, but some people who occasionally experience sexual attraction do identify as just asexual, because they feel that it’s still most accurate. Also, keep in mind that there’s no shame in identifying as asexual and then later changing your mind. Some of our best allies have done that. Whatever works for you, works! Don’t listen to people who tell you you’re wrong to identify that way.

Q: Secondly: even if I don’t feel any sexual attraction, I kind of like it when someone feels that way about me. My self-confidence has always been a problem, and it’s nice to feel wanted, even if the feeling isn’t reciprocated on my part. Is this wrong? (from Formspring)
A: Nope, it’s totally understandable, and I kinda feel that way myself, although I tend to be conflicted about it. Sometimes I have actually felt a little sad when I felt my partner wasn’t very attracted to me, because I felt like I couldn’t fulfill what she was looking for. I think having these feelings is not only understandable, but also allows you to have more empathy for your girlfriend, if she feels rejected because you don’t feel sexually attracted to her, which could be very helpful when you do raise the issue with her. (transitioning to the next question…)

Q: Thirdly: as I said at first, I recognise so much of myself in what I’ve read, and feel a lot more comfortable for having done so. But I have no idea how to raise this with my girlfriend; she may have guessed already, but it’s still a awkward prospect. (from Formspring)
A: Knowing how to bring up topics like this is always tricky. For me personally, whenever I have a serious issue to discuss it always helps to write down what I want to say beforehand, even if I intend to just talk it out without actually giving the person the letter I wrote. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t go as well as I’d expected, and in that case it’s useful to write a letter to explain what you mean without interruptions. Or sometimes it is so daunting to even begin the discussion that I just use the letter to start it. Your girlfriend may not understand at first, and may feel rejected. Gently try to reassure her as much as possible that even though you’re not sexually attracted to her, you still love her and want to make it work between you in whatever way that you can. She may need some time to process it, so give her some space if she needs it. Other than that, I can’t think of much else to tell you right now–you may find some of the recent guest posts helpful, though. Best of luck!

Q: I like your definition of intellectual sexual desire and responsive sexual desire! I can relate to that too (I’m not sure I’m grey-A or asexual). I have a further question: when asexual people enjoy sex, do they just enjoy the physical pleasure, or do they also feel a deep emotional connection with their partner? From some posts I read on AVEN, it seems that asexuals only enjoy the physical part, so partnered sex isn’t really different from masturbation to them. Is this right? (reposted from comments)
A: I think it totally depends on the person. For me personally, I enjoy both the emotional connection with my partner and the physical part of it—and the physical part of it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me without an emotional connection, because masturbation is safer and easier than partnered sex while still satisfying on the physical level. Some asexuals don’t really find sex particularly pleasurable or desirable on a physical level themselves, but do really enjoy the emotional connection they get from it. Others don’t feel, enjoy, or don’t want to feel the emotional connection as much, but can enjoy the physical part of it. I’ve heard some asexuals talk about how they think they might enjoy trying casual sex or sex with prostitutes more than sex in the context of a romantic relationship, although I’m not aware of any who have actually tried it. I know there are some who have done the sex-with-friends thing (more commonly called “friends with benefits” although I dislike that term because it implies friendship doesn’t have inherent benefits), too, and from what I recall some had enjoyed it on both levels as well.

Q: So… what IS your farorite color? (from Formspring)
A: Haha, it’s blue. Usually medium – deep blues in particular. Purple is a close second.

Q: how do i know if my partner is asexual (from Google)
A: By talking to them. If you suspect your partner may be asexual, first ask them if they’ve ever heard of asexuality. If they haven’t, or if they don’t seem to understand the definition, show them AVEN. Give them time to think about it. While many asexuals have an immediate “omg this fits me so well!!” reaction when they first discover that asexuality is a real, legitimate sexual orientation, that they’re not the only one, others don’t accept it right away. Some people have a knee-jerk “What? No I’m not!” sort of reaction. Others may be afraid to accept their asexuality because they don’t want to acknowledge that they’re not “normal”—they may fear that it means they’ll always be perceived as somehow broken or wrong. Reassure your partner that if they are asexual, it doesn’t mean that they’re broken. Let them know that you don’t blame them for any sex-related relationship problems that you may be having, and that if they’re asexual it’s just a (potential) compatibility issue that the two of you didn’t know about when you first got together. (I say that it’s a potential compatibility issue, by the way, because some people find it really isn’t a big deal to date an asexual person at all.) Be honest about your emotional reaction to it, but at the same time, realize that right when they first come to understand their asexuality is not the time to bring up your personal issues with it, and give them space to think. I’d recommend giving them at least a few days, maybe a week. Don’t expect them to come to a definite conclusion within that time frame, but I think a week is a reasonable amount of time to wait to check in about how they’re feeling about it. Most of all, DON’T pressure them to have sex!

Q: does masturbation lead to asexuality
(from Google)
A: No, that’s ridiculous. I have no idea where people get ideas like that.

Q: why is a unsexual 14 year olsd girls period late (from Google)
A: You know, I’m not sure how this even led here, but I guess I’ll answer it anyway. There are a number of reasons why young girls can have late periods. It’s pretty common for girls who have just reached menarche to have irregular cycles in the first place, so it’s not necessarily anything to worry about. If a girl is underweight, or physically stressed in some way, her period may be delayed or she may stop having periods at all. All that said, I’m not a doctor, and if you’re worried about it, you should go see one. If you are the 14-year-old girl in question, you can talk to your parents/guardians or school nurse about it, if you feel unsafe talking to parents.

Q: asexual chronic masturbaters? (from Google)
A: I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean or why it has a question mark… Seriously, why would anyone define themselves—or anyone, for that matter—as a chronic masturbator? Masturbating is fine. It’s not a health condition, it’s not an addiction. It really isn’t a bad thing, it won’t hurt you, unless you do it too hard or something. But the good thing about masturbating is that you can feel what you’re doing, so you can stop being too rough with yourself.

Q: are gregory house arguments valid? (from Google)
A: Uh, which ones? Many of his arguments are, but not all. Sometimes the writers do a terrible job.

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Have you got a question you’d like me to answer? Ask me here. Remember to check the FAQ page!

March Carnival of Aces Roundup: Sexual Exploration

This month’s Carnival of Aces has been a blast, thanks everyone for participating! If you have a post that didn’t quite make the deadline, you can still post it here in the comments, and I’ll edit it into this post. I’m pretty sure I got everyone who commented or emailed me added in, but if I’ve somehow missed your post, I’m sorry! If you commented later than a certain point, it may be that I just didn’t get a chance to edit the post again between when you commented and when the post was scheduled to go up.

Also, if I got your pronouns wrong, please let me know. I did my best to check which pronouns people use, but sometimes that information is not obvious/clearly marked in a location that’s easy to find.

The topic was Sexual Exploration, which I chose intentionally to be a “double entendre” of sorts, so that we could have posts from both asexuals exploring sexuality (directly or intellectually), and posts from *sexual partners of asexuals exploring their relationships with their partners.

I think the topic was a big success—we’ve had many excellent posts on a wide variety of subjects. Here’s the full list:

From Ace-spectrum folk:

  • From VanillaAbsolute, a discussion of sexual attraction and sexual desire.
  • Isaac discusses one reason he was hesitant to identify as asexual, and learning about sexuality.
  • From henshin, a guest post on her process of self-discovery through sexual exploration.
  • Idealistic Ironist talks about the difficulties of navigating issues of sex as an asexual person.
  • Charles (from Sex, Drugs, and Dr. Who) talks about how sex ed is important for asexuals, too.
  • I wrote about “friends with benefits” and how even though asexuals might want to explore casual sex, the language typically used to describe such relationships is very exclusionary towards asexuals.
  • This post from sidneyia describes her frustrated attempts to explore sexuality in a way that didn’t come naturally to her, before she realized that she is asexual.
  • Norah talks about exploring sexuality before and after realizing that she is asexual, and a little bit about mixed relationships.

From *sexual partners of aces:

  • My own partner, C (she comments here as Cat Pajamas), kicked off the month with her post on Why Date an Asexual? Technically she posted this before I even knew I’d be doing the carnival this month, and then she helped me to hastily solidify my idea for a topic into a single phrase. When I put the call for submissions post up, she was a little upset that the post she’d worked on for the better part of a year fell so quickly from the top of the page, so I backdated the call post to bump it back up. Her post had a record-breaking number of views, with 676 people viewing my blog on Feb 4th, the day after it was added. For context, the previous high record was when the House post went up, at 403 views. Given that her post was so topical and popular, I felt like I couldn’t not include it, even though it wasn’t technically written for the carnival.
  • Laura brings the perspective of a sexual woman married to Tom, an asexual man, for 25 years. The story of how they make it work despite their conflicting orientations, and how they finally are able to move forward after Tom realizes that he is asexual is very powerful.
  • I’m excited to host a guest post by Olivier about how he and his wife explored sexuality before ultimately realizing that she is asexual. As usual, he expresses how they journeyed together with an excellent extended metaphor.

Thanks again for your participation, everyone! I hope those of you who didn’t submit have enjoyed reading along. The next Carnival will be hosted by Pip over at Hobbit Activism.

Guest Post: Traveling Together, You May Find What You Seek Close to Home

The following is a guest post for the Carnival of Aces by Olivier, who has been a very insightful and eloquent poster at AVEN for the past five years. I personally have found his and his wife’s story quite inspiring, as I find my own attitude/tendencies to be somewhat similar to his wife’s, and had I not discovered asexuality so early in life, I suspect my own story would might have ended up sounding a lot like theirs. Here is how he describes himself:

I’m a heterosexual in a 22-year relationship with an asexual. Like many longer term sexual/asexual relationships, my wife and I had not heard of asexuality until relatively recently (2007), and for many years struggled with the failures of other theories, such as sex-aversion or libido-mismatch, to adequately describe the dynamics of our relationship. I’m incredibly indebted to AVEN for helping us put a name to something that we’d known about – lived – for decades, but had always misunderstood by looking at it through weird normative lenses instead of just seeing it for what it is.

The post is pretty much as he sent it in, but I chose the title.

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So. Sexual exploration. I’d been banging around, looking for an analogy (‘cos I like analogies!) when the one I wanted sort of slapped me in the face: exploration! Or in a less 19th-century-pith-helmet way, finding somewhere nice to go on holidays together.

First, a bit of personal background. I’ve always got the impression in asexual spaces that sexual exploration is seen as something natural for sexuals to do lots of, and very much an optional thing for asexuals. I don’t necessarily disagree, but that’s not really been my personal experience. I have pretty vanilla tastes, and so in some senses I’m pretty easy to please sexually – not much exploration required. Just pack me off to the nearest beach, or city full of theatres and museums, or rainforest with waterfalls, and I’m happy. My wife on the other hand, knows that these sorts of things are generally regarded as good holiday experiences, but they do nothing much for her. Some people might decide that they’re basically a homebody and leave it at that. But not my wife, her natural reaction is to go exploring.

And so it was for us at the start. We’d do sexual stuff that I found really quite fabulous, and that my wife was putting a lot of effort into. As people who’d never heard of asexuality, and who saw both ourselves and each other as heterosexual, this seemed to me to be a perfectly normal way to approach sex and relationships. But then it would stop. And when it started again it would be something different, approached with gusto. Until it stopped. In hindsight it’s easy to see this for what it was – an asexual who thought she was sexual trying to find the thing that would do it for her. At the time however, it just seemed like the girl I was crazy about was just way more sexually adventurous than I was. Now, that’s not a bad thing, at all, but it is really, really, really, the wrong expectation to take into a long-term sexual/asexual relationship. Drama and confusion, of course, ensued.

While I was wondering what was wrong with that nice beach town with cool places to hang out, my wife would be planning a few weeks in Afghanistan to see if an element of danger made travel more fun, or a month in a place where nobody spoke a word of English, just for a challenge. And some of these places I enjoyed, and others not so much, but being with her certainly broadened my horizons. Problem was, and is, that even places that ticked all the boxes for her in theory, she didn’t much enjoy in practice. For all that drive to explore, there turned out not to be anywhere she particularly enjoyed going. And while she liked some of them well enough once she was there, she still thought that none of them were worth what you had to do to get there – airports and expense and lots of boring standing in queues.

So what’s a guy to do? My first tactic was to deal with all that boring stuff for her. Spend weeks planning. Get all the details sorted. Have things she liked – good books, tasty food – on hand for every step of the way to make all the transit fun. But when you’ve planned the perfect holiday in your head, there’s only one possible outcome: disappointment. And so with our sex life, until we finally admitted what we knew all along – all that exploration and adventure is basically not going to work for us.

So what to do?

Firstly, take a deep breath and get some perspective. For all the fact that sex is not what either of us hoped or planned, we’re ridiculously well matched and happy in every other department. In travel terms, we may not to get to travel much, but we’ve made sure our home is a great place to be, too.

Secondly, our compromise is to do stuff sexually that’s quick and not very adventurous, but is still something. Ironically, this is what works best for my adventurous wife, and leaves less adventurous me wanting more. Not at all what we would have predicted, but it works well enough for us. So it’s like taking a short drive to a beach we both like instead of spending a week in a resort, which would be torture if one of us didn’t want to be there.

And, you know, that’s not the worst, or most uncomfortable way to live. Sometimes I still get the travel bug, and sometimes even a drive to the beach is too much for my wife, but on the whole, it works, and it works well – simply because it’s shaped by the sort of people we both are. Sometimes all that exploring just makes you want to stay close to home.

Sex With Friends: An Asexual Perspective

I planned to write my post for the Carnival of Aces quite a while ago, but something came up this month that made me reconsider what I had planned to write about. I’ve decided to go with the original idea, but make it more generalized than I had originally planned. My blog is receiving a lot more attention lately (by several orders of magnitude!) than it normally does, so I’m being more cautious about what I talk about here.

Today, I want to talk about having sex with friends, and how while it may not seem intuitive, it might be a choice that some asexual people do want to make, and they can come out of it just fine. But the language we use to describe relationships like that tends to exclude asexuals, so it can be an even more difficult minefield to navigate than engaging in sexual activity while in a romantic relationship.

Back when this blog post by Snowdrop Explodes* about the phrases “friends with benefits” vs. “fuck buddies” was written, I stuck a link to it in a draft and decided to come back to it later, but then forgot about it until now. In it, Snowdrop says that he prefers the term “fuck buddies” because it is more honest than the euphemistically named “benefits” that also imply that friendships don’t normally come with benefits. In his words:

So how come the only “benefits” that are worth mentioning, or making special mention of, are sexual favours? Why is the rest of it considered not to be benefits of friendship, such that the only friends who come with benefits are the ones who’ll let you fuck them? Do you think that it is too literal-minded of me to suggest that “friends with benefits” means that all other friends are “friends without benefits”?

I don’t think it’s too literal-minded at all. At the very least, it shows that everything else in a friendship is being taken for granted. I think it’s very much worth considering the implications of the language we use to describe relationships like this on a literal level, because it says something about how we value certain things and devalue others. If on a cultural level we truly valued friendships as highly as sexual relationships, the phrase “friends with benefits” wouldn’t sit right with most people, and it would fall out of use.

I disagree with Snowdrop’s use of the term “fuck buddies” as basically a synonym for FWB, since I think (and he does note that this is how he sees others using the terms) they do indeed refer to different kinds of relationships, or at least, the same relationship viewed with very different emphases. If you say you have a “fuck buddy,” then you are saying that the primary activity that you do with that person is fuck them, just like if you say you have a “drinking buddy” or a “knitting buddy,” you’re saying you primarily drink or knit with that person, respectively. The activity is the focus, not the friendship itself. If anyone describes a friend as a “_____ buddy” to me, I will assume that they do hardly anything else but [fill in the blank] together. With the phrase “friend with benefits,” however, you indicate that the friendship comes first, and the “benefits” are an added bonus, although the fact that this particular thing is the only thing that gets to be called a “benefit” still devalues friendship.

The other term that I think really needs mentioning is “casual sex,” which wikipedia informs me has no set, commonly agreed-upon meaning. The way I tend to view it is as a wide umbrella term for different kinds of sex outside the context of a romantic relationship, including both one-time encounters with strangers and, on the other side of the spectrum, habitual encounters with friends. So both fuck buddies and FWBs are engaging in a type of casual sex, and while the relationships may be similar, the two phrases have a different emotional tenor.

To demonstrate… if I were in a relationship that I considered basically a FWB-type arrangement (for lack of a better term), I would be hurt if I found out I was being described as a “fuck buddy” to others by my FWB. Because to me, that means they consider the rest of our friendship to be shallow, nearly meaningless. It strongly implies to me that should the sex ever stop, so would our friendship.

I personally can’t imagine a situation in which I would be okay with having a relationship that focuses solely on sex. I always want to be friends first and foremost, and that includes in romantic relationships. I’m not the type of person who would be comfortable having sex with strangers, since there are so many considerations that I need my sexual partners to keep in mind about me in order to have a truly positive sexual encounter.

But with a friend? Maybe that’s possible.

Continue reading

Q&A IX

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. For a more detailed explanation on this, please check my FAQ page. 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: do asexual people get turned on (from Google)
A: I don’t actually understand what the phrase “turned on” means, so I have a hard time answering that question. If it’s just about physical arousal, then yes. If there’s necessarily some sort of mental component to it… then maybe? Some might. I don’t know whether or not I’d qualify. It’d have to be explained to me a lot better than that.

Q: why do i attract asexuals (from Google)
A: Do you really? Hm, that’s interesting. Since I don’t know who you are, I can’t comment, though.

Q: does tim gunn have aspergers (from Google)
A: No, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. If he does, he’s never mentioned it anywhere. I don’t think he shows symptoms of it either, especially given that he has a huge focus on following social niceties, so clearly he understands them well. I suspect whoever googled this was just grasping for some explanation of Tim Gunn’s celibacy and/or asexuality that makes him abnormal. It’s fine, dudes, there’s nothing wrong with him. Don’t trust whatever random person with a degree a reporter happened to pull off the street who is willing to call themselves an “expert” on human sexuality. If they haven’t heard of asexuality, they’re not really experts.

Q: can i use a straw to masturbate (from Google)
A: Wow, that is one of the weirdest search terms that has ever led here. I can understand how the masturbation part would lead here, but straws? I have no idea when I have ever mentioned straws. Good luck, whoever you are!

Q: what is a purple stripe(horizontal) on black? Or, black stripe purple stripe black stripe. Ive seen this on Bumper stickers but cant find the meaning. (reposted from a comment)
A: You know, I have no idea. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that, and I can’t find anything about it, either. Google is not turning up any answers.

Q: why is infallibility not frightening? (from Google)
A: This is taking quite a turn for the philosophical, isn’t it? To me, a person who thinks they are infallible is certainly very frightening, especially if they hold power. I suppose that to a person who thinks they are (or someone else is) infallible, it’s not frightening because then that means that they can’t go wrong. It must be especially comforting for those who believe in an infallible god, because a god is supposed to be in control of everything, therefore nothing can go wrong. It lends a powerful sense of certainty. Except that when you have to deal with some inevitable tragedy, you have to face the idea that whatever infallible god you believe in allowed that horrible thing to happen. That has extremely frightening implications to me, to the extent that I’d much rather not believe in anything like that. (Fortunately there is no evidence for any such god, anyway!) In any case, the idea that someone is infallible should be frightening; what makes it dangerous is when people aren’t frightened of it.

Q: okay. i fall somewhere in the asexual spectrum,but i’m not sure where. and it has fluctuated over my fifty years plus,so i don’t know what THAT means. anyway,i guess i just don’t understand the definition of asexual as not having sexual attraction but still having sexual interest and/or drive. do you mean that you don’t find some people more attractive than others,but you still might like sex and/or have a good sex drive? sorry i’m dense about this. if you could point me to something i could read that would help,that would be great. thanks! (reposted from a comment)
A: “Sex drive” usually refers to just an urge to feel some kind of physical sexual release, which I do get on a low grade, very infrequently. This includes masturbation, and most asexuals who have a sex drive/libido prefer to just satisfy it through masturbation. Some describe it as being like “scratching an itch”—it’s not connected to any desire to be sexual with a partner at all, and has nothing to do with sexual attraction.

What I mean by not experiencing sexual attraction is that there’s never a time for me when I look at a person and think, “Wow, I’d totally have sex with them.” I can find people beautiful, but when I stare at people because they’re pretty it’s sort of a similar feeling to looking at a gorgeous sunset—can be really breathtaking and awe-inspiring sometimes, but that never leads to me wanting to have sex with them. This I refer to as aesthetic attraction. Also included in this category is enjoyment of others’ voices and such.

With some people (although only with a few), I get feelings of wanting to be physically close to them, wanting to cuddle and kiss and so on and so forth. This I refer to as sensual or physical attraction. These desires don’t progress to a sexual level for me. I want to JUST cuddle, kiss, etc. although I am not saying that I am always necessarily opposed to having sex. It’s just not something I actively desire, whereas cuddling etc. is. This is where it gets really tricky to explain—and you’re not dense for not understanding right away, it’s taken me years to figure this stuff out!

My fiancée is sexual. Because she likes sex, and because I don’t find it repulsive or otherwise distasteful (prior to being with her I was pretty much completely neutral towards the idea of myself having sex), I wanted to have sex with her. This is not the kind of desire that we think about as a result of attraction, but rather a more intellectual sort of desire. I usually try to distinguish this kind of wanting from the kind of wanting that results from sexual attraction by calling it “sexual interest” rather than “sexual desire.” It is perhaps too subtle of a distinction, but the English language doesn’t really have any better terminology for it, so that’s what I’m stuck with. It’s not like I get this intense urge to have sex, I just want to because she enjoys it, and I’ve found that I can enjoy it too, so why not?

What I’ve discovered is that I experience something called responsive sexual desire. What this means is that I don’t so much have a “drive” to have sex—I don’t really get an urge to do it, and I certainly don’t get inspired to have sex by other people’s appearances, voices, personalities, etc. Occasionally (now that I’ve found I can enjoy sex, anyway) I might think to myself, “Oh, that might be kinda nice right now.” But it’s in this very detached, intellectual sort of way. It doesn’t feel like the sort of desperate need that I see others describing. But when my partner and I agree to have sex, after she physically arouses me, THEN I get a strong desire for it. It’s a desire that starts for me only after the physical stuff starts happening. Here is an old post I wrote about this, if you want more of an explanation.

So that’s how I can have interest in/desire for sex, even though it isn’t based on being sexually attracted to people. I hope my explanation made sense to you, let me know if you want me to try to clarify further. I hope this helps you figure out where you might be on the asexual spectrum! :) Fluctuation is quite common, too, and some people feel they are kind of in a gray area between sexual and asexual, with periods where they are more or less sexual.

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Have you got a question you’d like me to answer? Ask me here. Remember to check the FAQ page!

Guest Post: Why Date An Asexual? An Interview with C

Since I started hosting guest posts, I’ve been bugging C (aka Cat Pajamas), my partner of roughly 3.5 years (and now gayancée), to write one for me. She couldn’t come up with any ideas for the longest time, and so to help her out and make it more comfortable for her, I sent her a bunch of interview questions to answer. If the questions don’t seem to flow from one to another very well, that’s because they were asked in no particular order, just as I thought of them, over email and rearranged later. She’s really worked hard to get her thoughts down and then organize and clarify them better. I’m afraid she found my questions rather frustrating, because they were hard to answer without writing book-length responses. I love that her tendency is to go into great detail about these things… and scribble huge diagrams on my white board about them, too! <3

We don’t often hear much from sexual partners of asexual people, so my hope here is to do a little bit to fill that void. C has another post that she’s working on about sexual attraction as well. If anyone has questions for her that aren’t answered here, feel free to ask in the comments!

From here on out, my questions and comments will be in purple text.

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Hi, I’m a 26 year old MTF.  I love to talk about sexuality and some other topics.  I believe I have a very in depth experience with both sexes because I’ve gotten to experience being gay/lesbian/bi in both genders, which is pretty cool and fun to talk about since I think it’s a perspective not many people get to fully experience.

So, if you read that the same way I did, that means I’m at least 200% gay.

Besides sexuality, I have a rather large interests in PC gaming and some outdoorsy hiking/camping stuff.

Can you briefly explain how we met, and how we sort of accidentally ended up in a romantic relationship?

We ‘met’ through a mix of an LGBT group at the university we both went to and me messaging you on OKcupid. Sadly I don’t remember why I messaged you initially, although I do know I was fairly curious about asexuality. We talked online for a time before we decided to go see a movie as friends. The movie wasn’t supposed to be romantic (kung fu panda) and my plan was to just take you back to your place afterwards, but you wanted to just sit around and talk. So we went to a uh, tea/sandwich place that’s kinda artsy and we just sat around and talked.

As it turns out, if you go to see a movie with someone and then talk to them for about 5 hours afterwards and you can’t say good bye, you’re probably doomed to start some sort of romance, whether you intended to do it or not.

Before you met me, if somebody had asked you, “Would you ever date an asexual?” how would you have responded?

I would probably respond with “I’m not sure.” At the time I wasn’t really aware of asexuality and without some information about it or the person, I would probably not do anything. Although I like people that are different from the norm.

If someone asked me that before I started transitioning, I probably would have said “no” since I was quite a bit more sexually active at the time (and ignorant). Once I started transitioning, it would have certainly been closer to a yes (still based on ignorance).

What did you think when you first encountered my profile on OKCupid, and in the early part of our relationship thereafter? Why did you contact me?

When I first encountered it? Who knows! At this point, I’m not sure if there was a reason I messaged you for reasons other than “I don’t know what asexuality is” and I think we had some music groups in common.

I’m pretty sure the reason I messaged you was mainly because of asexuality, since I wasn’t really aware of it and I wanted to know more. I don’t recall wanting to date you. ;)

How did you expect things to proceed? What things surprised you?

Well, ignoring the whole “What? We are dating?” thing… I fully expected the relationship to develop very slowly sexually, so I tried my best to go very slowly. Since usually my relationships have a very sexual nature to them.

What surprised me is how comfortable you were with certain kinds of play. Also how open you were/are to various sexual activities. Based on my (old) knowledge of asexuality, I would have imagined you to be a uh, prude. Thankfully that’s not the case.
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Carnival of Aces: Call for Submissions

Apparently we didn’t have anyone doing the March carnival, so I volunteered! To that end, sorry that the call is a little bit late this month. I know that February is a short month, so it’s a little bit extra annoying because it leaves people with even less time to write. I think I will post the roundup on the 3rd of March to make up for it a little, although that’s quickly becoming standard practice for these anyway.

What is the Carnival of Aces?

A blog carnival is an event in which various people write posts around a single topic. These posts are then collected at the end of the carnival and linked together by the carnival’s host. The Carnival of Aces is a blog carnival about asexuality, hosted on asexual blogs, and it’s a fantastic way to get people talking about asexuality. If you’re an asexual blogger having writer’s block, it’s a great way to keep ideas flowing. The carnival needs volunteers to host the next several rounds, so if you have a blog and you’re interested in doing it, please go visit the master post to volunteer!

Theme: Sexual Exploration

This is sort of meant to have a double meaning. First and foremost, I want to hear from asexuals, but I also want to hear from their sexual romantic partners, because it’s kind of difficult to find perspectives from them. This may sound like a topic that’s too narrow to include a lot of asexuals, but I actually intend it to be fairly broad. Consider these questions to get you started:

  • Are you sexually active? Have you ever considered becoming sexually active? If so, why did you make the decision to become sexually active or not to become sexually active?
  • How informed are you about sex? Have you made efforts to educate yourself about sexual health even though you may never plan to have sex? If so, talk a little bit about why you value sex education even if you aren’t interested in sex yourself. If not, I challenge you to look into it some more, and report your findings. Try to discover something you didn’t know before.
  • Are you gray-asexual or demisexual? What are your experiences with sexual attraction, and how do they inform your overall identity? How do you relate to and explore your more sexual side?
  • Are you fascinated by sexuality on an intellectual level? What sort of things fascinate you about it?
  • What are some of the positive/interesting things you’ve learned about sexuality just by being part of a culture where the majority of people are sexual? What do you understand about it? What don’t you understand about it and would like to know more about? (Try to do this without any angry ranting! Don’t focus on the negative stuff, that’s not the point.)
  • Have you ever made any earnest attempts to explore sexuality (on an intellectual level, on a level of physical intimacy, whatever) and been shut down because you’re asexual, and the others involved thought that you couldn’t understand, wouldn’t be able to handle it, or for some other reason related to your asexuality?
  • Do you ever make sexual jokes? How do others respond to an asexual making such jokes? If there are any other similar situations where you’ve said or explored something considered sexual? How did others who know that you’re asexual respond to that?
  • Have you ever had casual sex or sex with a person who was a friend, but not a romantic partner? If so, how did that go? Was it successful, or just a big mess? If it was a messy situation, do you think there is anything that could’ve made it positive and safe for both of you? If you haven’t but would consider it, why?
  • Have you ever explored any kinky/BDSM activities, even if they were not sexual to you? How did it work out for you, and how did the other people involved respond?
  • Are you in or have you ever been in any sort of happy, successful relationship involving sex? How did you make it work? Are there any specific tips you have for other asexuals in similar situations? If you are happily partnered to an asexual person but not asexual yourself, how do you make it work? What challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them? What advice would you have for any other sexual people wanting to date an asexual person, or for an asexual person trying to relate to a sexual partner? If you’re low on ideas, you might try reading this post by my own partner to get some thoughts going.

Obviously not all of these will apply to everyone. These are just some potential ideas. By all means feel free to supply your own!

How do I submit a post?

You can leave a comment here with a link to your post or email the link to grasexuality [at] gmail.com. The soft deadline for this month is March 1st, although since it’s a short month and the call was posted late, you have until March 3rd to make sure your post is included when the round-up first goes up. If you submit a link to me after the round-up post goes up, I will still edit the post to include it, but your post may not get quite as much visibility as it would if it were included from the start. Please do not link me to any posts written before February 1st! Posts must be new and written sometime this month. You can link to older posts you’ve already written in your submission, but the point of the carnival is to generate new ideas and discussions, so the submissions themselves must be new.

I don’t have my own blog, can I still submit something?

Absolutely! I host guest posts here on my own blog, so if you’d like to submit one, please email me at grasexuality [at] gmail.com and I’ll be happy to put it up for you. Even if you do have a blog, maybe you don’t want to host it on yours because it’s private, or maybe asexuality is not something you want to discuss there for whatever reason. If you would, please provide a short bio for me to include at the top of your post. If you are not comfortable doing that, however, you can submit anonymously as well. If you would, please provide a short bio for me to include at the top of your post. Please review my guest posting guidelines before submitting.

By all means, please feel free to link this call post around so that more people are aware of it. The more submissions we get, the better!

Achieving a Wide Variety of Representations

Well, now that I’ve discussed how I DON’T want asexuals/asexuality to be represented in the media, it’s time to talk about how I DO want us to be represented. This is the post that I originally intended to make for this month’s Carnival of Aces,  the topic of which is Re/presentation, and which I’d encourage you to submit a post for if you haven’t done so yet. The deadline is the 31st (tomorrow) but they can be submitted a day or two late.

First, though, a couple of updates.

The Asexual Awareness Week group has started a petition to get the executive producer’s attention about the damaging portrayal of asexuality on House. Please sign it and pass it on!

If you scroll down you’ll see that the Twitter feed is back on my blog with a new account linked, so if you were following my old one you’ll want to switch to following @Lunacinzenta. I am also going to start using Publicize to automatically post links to new blog posts on Twitter, so if you prefer to follow me that way you can. I’m going to make an effort to actually continue using Twitter this time, as well.

About the ongoing House Saga: I tweeted a link to my post to Kath Lingenfelter, the writer of the episode, asking her to read it so she might better understand what’s wrong with the portrayal of asexuality in the episode. She tweeted back:

@Lunacinzenta V. well written & clearly stated. Personal anecdote about M especially upsetting. Appreciate your continuing the conversation.

I am glad that she read the post and replied. Given the limited format of this medium, it’s difficult to know exactly what she’s thinking, and I know that many people are very skeptical that she’s genuinely apologetic. I agree that she has made several troublesome statements since the whole thing started blowing up in her face. However, for a person who has never actually given much thought to the rhetoric of apologizing, on the surface of it, “I’m sorry if I offended you,” and the like seem like perfectly fine ways to apologize. That’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it? They’re crafted to seem like an apology, so that some people will accept them as one. If someone has never had much experience with weaselly abusive people, maybe doesn’t follow politics all that closely, doesn’t read a lot of social justice blogs and so on, it’s possible that they’ve just never encountered analysis of what statements like that are actually saying, so they take not-pologies at face value and even use them themselves. It’s a lack of critical thinking about that topic, certainly, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t have genuine intentions. So I’ll cut her some slack. I’m not saying that I’ve decided for sure one way or another on whether her apologies are genuine, but I don’t have enough evidence to conclusively rule out the possibility that she is sincere, so she gets the benefit of the doubt for now.

The reason I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt is because a large part of what it means to be an ally is learning from your mistakes. The damage has already been done, and because it’s a popular show on international television, it is very widespread. It can’t be reversed, but maybe it can be mitigated somewhat. The asexual community by itself is marginalized enough that we don’t have the power to do that alone. Hence the petition. I don’t want to write off potential allies for making mistakes, but rather I want to provide them with an opportunity to learn how to do better. I’m offering myself up as a consultant, for Lingenfelter or anyone else who wants to write about asexuality—if you do, get in touch! I’m trying to provide resources here on this blog by answering questions that people may have through my series of Q&A posts; if anyone has questions, you can ask them completely anonymously on Formspring.

Dealing with stereotypes

With that out of the way, I want to talk about the problematic notion of a stereotype-free portrayal of asexuality.

I think at this point we’ve reached the stage where there is a certain “stereotypical asexual” that a lot of sexual people have in mind when they think of asexuals. I don’t think they imagine that all of these traits apply to all of us. There’s room for people to break stereotypes, but there are certain things that people just automatically assume about asexuals unless they have evidence to contradict their assumptions. Like:

  1. Asexuals are unattractive.
  2. Asexuals are socially awkward and/or are on the autistic spectrum.
  3. Asexuals spend too much time on the Internet. Make up too many new words.
  4. Asexuals are cold, analytical, robot-like. Not passionate.
  5. Asexuals are either very sexually inexperienced, or have experienced sexual trauma. This causes us to have a lot of anxiety about sex.
  6. Asexuals are all celibate or would all rather be celibate.
  7. Asexuals are white. Maybe sometimes Asian.
  8. Asexuals are gender non-conforming.
  9. Asexuals are isolated, alone.
  10. Asexuals are deceptive, hide their asexuality to get dates. Or are hiding that they are NOT asexual, delusional/self-deceptive.
  11. Asexuals are aspiring cat ladies.
  12. Asexuals are all huge nerds.
  13. Asexuals have something physically wrong with them (e.g. hormone problems, hypothyroidism, brain tumors, erectile dysfunction, etc.)
  14. Asexuals think they are better than people who have sex.

This may not be a complete list of stereotypes, but it’s what I can think of off the top of my head. I fit into maybe about half of these stereotypes, and break the rest. The tricky thing is that stereotypes don’t come from nowhere. A lot of us DO fit many of them. There’s a little grain of truth hidden behind most of them, although it’s distorted because people don’t understand what’s really going on and therefore interpret what they see in a much more negative way.

Take number ten. Asexual people who are married to non-asexual people get a LOT of flack, with many people just automatically assuming that they must have led their spouse on before the marriage (I’d provide links to back this up, but mostly I see this going on in comments sections of various articles dealing with asexuality, and I forget where exactly I’ve seen it, so if anyone has any examples, feel free to provide them in the comments). They take for granted that asexuals know their orientation before getting married, which in a lot of cases is not true. A lot of asexuals spend years not understanding what’s wrong with them, and only start coming to the realization that they are asexual after they’re in a marriage that isn’t working out well for them because of the issue of sex. This is only aggravated in religious circles where abstinence before marriage is considered the only moral alternative. So the little grain of truth to the stereotype is that sometimes people find out their partners are asexual after they’re already invested in a relationship. The problem is that then they assume more understanding and control over the situation than the asexual person actually had in reality, and from that assumption they conclude that the asexual person intentionally deceived them… because they’re evil or something, I guess. The second part of this stereotype of the “deceptive asexual” was reinforced during the recent episode of House. It’s true that sometimes people identify as asexual and then later realize that they are sexual after all, but people tend to look for any instance of that happening and then interpret that as evidence that all of us are lying, or lying to ourselves. Either way, it’s hugely exaggerated and distorted from what’s really going on.

At least a third of these stereotypes, if not more, are connected to stereotypes about other groups of people, like nerds and non-NT people, which are themselves interconnected. And the asexual community does appear to have a higher-than-average proportion of nerdy people and people on the autistic spectrum. Most likely this has to do with the visible community being based on the internet—there are local meet-up groups but they aren’t seen as much as AVEN, and due to the rarity and invisibility of asexuality they’re hard to plan without the aid of the internet. Nerds tend to be more likely to actually post and stay connected to the internet communities. I’m sure there are asexuals out there who aren’t terribly well-connected to asexual communities because they aren’t online that often.

Obviously, some of these stereotypes, like 10, are so damaging that they should never be reinforced. It’d be fine to explore a character who discovers that they’re asexual after being married, but not one who lies about being asexual in order to get married, because that wouldn’t be a fair representation of reality. But when it comes to stereotypes like “asexuals have Asperger’s” and the like, there’s a point where refusing to portray an asexual with Asperger’s becomes an act of erasure. It is even more an act of erasure when it comes to non-fictional media representations. Are asexuals with Asperger’s unfit to represent the rest of us in news pieces and documentaries because they aren’t NT, because they don’t “prove” that asexuals are perfectly normal? Of course not.

But if the ONLY representations of asexuals out there are asexuals who have Asperger’s, then we have a problem. Because there are a lot of asexuals who don’t fit that stereotype, and then they are erased.

So the key thing is not to try to avoid all the stereotypes, but rather to portray a wide variety of asexual characters who are fully developed, and break stereotypes in different ways. Pay attention to the balance of how asexual characters are being portrayed, and if there are already too many portrayals of one type and not enough of others, don’t contribute to it by making yet another character fit stereotype x. At the same time, we have to be mindful that we don’t slip into tokenism, including an asexual character who ___ just because we want to fill a quota, without being mindful of whether we can write that character well or not. Certain things, like characters with traumatic pasts, are sometimes used as a cheap way to give depth to a character without fully exploring their trauma in a thoughtful way. Asexual characters with trauma, especially sexual trauma, need to be extra-thoughtfully explored because there’s a lot of room for unintended “debunking” of their asexuality. Perhaps until we are more well established as a legitimate sexual orientation, it’s best to only explore asexual characters whose sexual traumas happened because of and were not the cause of, their asexuality. I’d trust an asexual writer infinitely more than I would a non-asexual writer trying to tackle topics like this. At this stage in our visibility efforts, though, fictional characters who are asexual are quite likely to be regarded as unreliable even when they aren’t meant to be read as such at all.

But as far as non-fictional media representation goes, we should all feel free to tell our own stories, whether they make asexuality’s legitimacy seem “unassailable” or not. We do have to be careful about where and to whom we try to tell our stories, because some journalists will be unscrupulous about attacking asexuality if they can find a “flaw” that they think they can use to “disprove” asexuality. I think a lot of journalists take the idea of being “fair and balanced” too far, and insist on providing a dissenting point of view even when the dissenter is clearly making things up. And some people, like Tyra Banks, who canceled her planned segment on asexuality because she couldn’t find an asexual married couple in the United States who were willing to volunteer, are only looking for one specific kind of asexual story to tell. So there’s a lot of erasure coming from both outsiders and people within the community who are so anxious about presenting an image of asexuality that can’t be attacked that they reflexively erase people who have aspects of their past or personality that people typically latch on to in order to claim that asexuality can’t be real. Those people often have a lot of anxiety about talking about those aspects of their stories, because they are so frequently attacked or erased. It’s very understandable that someone wouldn’t want to come forward and open themselves up to that kind of hostility. It’s much easier to just omit those parts of the story. But because these parts of our stories get omitted so frequently, they’re extremely difficult for non-asexual writers to research, and since the issues aren’t well understood, asexual writers are likely to find their fiction attacked as “unrealistic.” Thus, I tend to feel quite strongly that we need to explore these trickier topics in works of non-fiction first.

Good portrayals of asexual characters and good, balanced representations of asexuality in media require a lot of research and careful thought. Many non-asexual people who have not been involved with the community really underestimate the amount of research that they need to do in order to create a fair and thoughtful representation of asexuality. Above all else, we need stories about asexuals where those characters are NOT “debunked” by the facts presented in the story. My hope is that we can get people who want to write about asexual characters to actually run their stories by real-life asexuals for critique BEFORE they are published. Maybe we need to create some sort of organized group of asexual beta readers for that purpose. I would join that group in a heartbeat if it existed.

Q&A VIII

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. For a more detailed explanation on this, please check my FAQ page. 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: I’m asexual, and one thing that always seems to come up when people find out is the whole “well, no one will ever want you if you’re not going to put out” situation. sometimes I find myself thinking the same thing. how did/do you respond to that? (from Formspring)
A: Hm… well, for me personally, in my current situation, it’s fairly easy to respond to. The assumption that just because I’m asexual I won’t “put out” is bad in the first place, and depending on the situation I may or may not correct it. Usually if I do correct it, I will say something like, “You shouldn’t assume that all asexuals don’t want to have sex, some of them are sexually active, for whatever reason.” That way they’re free to make whatever assumption they want about my own sex life without directly asking me. Then I will point out that they’re just flat-out wrong. Being engaged myself and having had my partner plainly state that while she would like to have sex with me, she would still want to be in a romantic relationship with me even if we never had sex (and indeed, we’ve gone long stretches of time without), it’s fairly easy for me to counter these arguments with personal experience. But for someone without that kind of personal experience, I understand it can be much harder! I’ve had those worries that nobody would ever want to date me because I’m asexual myself. I used to try to keep in mind examples of successful asexual couples that I knew of from browsing AVEN, but there’s also other hard evidence that you can find to contradict this idea. For example, the very existence of Celibate Passions, an online dating site specifically geared towards people who want celibate romance and friendships, disproves the notion that nobody would want to date a person who doesn’t want to have sex. You can link to it as proof, and if people continue to insist that nobody is interested against hard evidence contradicting them, then they are being unreasonable and it’s totally fair to point that out. If the conversation continues to devolve—and I know that some people would even go so far as to predict eventual relationship failures, which they see as somehow inevitable—I’d just advise you to calmly tell them they have no basis to be making such claims and that they should drop it. If they won’t, feel free to take whatever steps you need to in order to get them to leave you alone.

Q: It burns when I pee, why? (from Formspring)
A: …Yes, dear. That is indeed a burning question. And one which I am not qualified to answer. I’m glad I know it’s not someone actually looking for one!

Q: asexuals and kitties why do they match (from Google)
A: Because they are both awesome. :3

Q: Can someone become asexual or is it a condition you are born with and may be never realized you had it until you read an article on the website BBC website? (from Formspring)
A: I have heard some people report “becoming asexual” before, however I’m unclear on what exactly they mean by that. I do think that sexuality in general has at least some degree of fluidity, but it’s not the type of thing you can consciously influence. You can’t “become asexual” by sheer force of will, and people who report having done so likely do not mean asexual in the same way that we mean it. I think those people are talking about being celibate, and not realizing that there’s a difference between celibacy and asexuality (covered elsewhere on this blog ad nauseum, so I won’t go over it again). There are, however, a few people within the asexual community who used to identify as sexual and have said that they did feel sexual attraction prior to a certain point in their lives, at which point they say they became asexual. I’m recalling some very old forum posts on sites I’ve long since stopped visiting, so I can’t give any specific examples (and for privacy reasons it probably wouldn’t be best to do so anyway), but as far as I can recall, most of them felt that they were on the low end of the scale of sexual attraction or somewhere in the gray area between asexual and sexual. We tend to tread cautiously in cases where a person says that they’ve had a sudden, drastic drop in their level of interest in sex, as that can be a symptom of a number of different health conditions. If that sounds like you, then it’s a good thing to get checked out.

Q: a newbie to understanding this orientation……are there any stats on gender, as related to this? More prevalence in one or another? Also, is this ever known from an early age, as has been suggested in other sexual orientations? Do romantic asexuals feel (from Formspring)
A: I guess that last question got cut off, feel free to resubmit it for the next round! Anyway, there are some stats on gender suggesting that asexuality is vastly more prevalent in women than in men, but due to the way that these stats are collected, they’re not very reliable. Most surveys are collected from samples gathered over the internet, which leads to sampling bias, especially in cases where the links get passed around on sites like Livejournal which are largely made up of women in the first place. It is also more likely that due to cultural pressures to be sexual, asexual men are less likely to find out about asexuality and begin (publicly) identifying as asexual, even if they actually fit the definition. If not for those factors, would there still be a big gender difference? Who knows.

As for the second question, because asexuality is a lack of something rather than the presence of something, and particularly because all children are assumed to be asexual before puberty (even though that isn’t actually true), it’s very difficult for young asexuals to come to the understanding that there is a difference between them and their peers. It’s not readily apparent that there is anything different until you’ve gotten past the point at which the excuse that “you’re just a late bloomer” starts to become questionable to you, and this point varies a lot depending on the individual. Indeed, many of us are so well-trained that asexuality doesn’t exist that doubts about whether or not we’re just “late bloomers” plague us well into our twenties. There is no universally agreed-upon acceptable age at which you can determine that you are asexual for sure even within the asexual community itself, so many of the younger asexuals will be told that while it’s cool to hang out with us, they should still keep their minds open to other possibilities. We are often accused of “closing ourselves off” to possibilities by identifying as asexual by people who are not familiar with the community, but actually we may tend to be a little too cautious to leave ourselves open to those possibilities, in some cases. There are quite a few 13-14 year olds that I’ve seen already identifying as asexual, though typically people begin identifying as asexual later than that. The youngest I’ve personally heard of someone identifying as asexual is twelve.

Q: Could you add ‘sentually attracted’ as a term? I ask this as I want to flert and turn on a partner, but when the pants come down I become disinterested. As you may know it takes about 6 sec of physical contact for most guys to start pulling it out. (from Formspring)
A: Actually, I already use that term! :) The way I define it, sensual attraction is about wanting that skin-to-skin feeling, wanting to indulge in something that engages the senses without necessarily being sexual with one another. It’s not so much just wanting to cuddle, but more about wanting to be close in a sufficiently epicurean way. Like lying close while feeding each other grapes, for example.

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Have you got a question you’d like me to answer? Ask me here. Remember to check the FAQ page!

On “Better Half” – Gregory House Is Not Infallible

…Or at least, that’s how it should be written.

I’ve been watching House for years now. When I first started watching, it was sometime between the end of season two and the beginning of season three, and I burned through the first two seasons very quickly and then showed it to my best friend and then-roommate, K, who eagerly awaited season 3 with me. We would stop all our other activities and watch it together when it came on. Sometimes other people would come over to watch it with us, and we’d have little “House parties” but more often, we’d just shut the door and get quite annoyed when other people would disturb us in the middle of the show. As the seasons have worn on the show has held my interest, but it’s been waning more and more. I no longer eagerly await each episode and watch it as soon as I am able. Now weeks or months will pass before I think about getting caught up again. But I’m still watching, even though I am losing confidence in the writers.

Last week, I happened to check the AVEN home page as I (too infrequently) do, and saw that an upcoming episode of House would feature an asexual couple. I watched the preview clip with a mix of hope and deep, cynical dread. I wasn’t surprised at all to see House opposing the existence of asexuality. I was glad that Wilson said it was a “valid sexual orientation,” although the preview (terrible as usual) proved to be misleading, because he was quoting a magazine article when he said that. The show’s formula includes House being nearly always right—could the writers really take the risk of showing House being wrong about this? (Spoilers below the cut.) Continue reading