Identity Maintenance

Time passes me by lately like water does a fish—I am always in it, it is always flowing around me, but each moment is just something I live in without really thinking about it. I pay attention only to the strong currents and my eventual destination, letting the usual ebb and tide just make its lazy circles about the unconscious.

Of course, I’m still able to focus on time and its various aspects, bring it out of the background and into the forefront as I am doing now. But that kind of focus might as well be a flash of lighting. For the most part, it passes, and I make neither an effort to live in the moment nor hold fast to hope or memory. Things happen, mostly boring and not worth reporting—or so it was for a while. Unfortunately, no news does not necessarily mean good news, even though I am significantly less likely to update without the motivation of conflict. This past summer, I’ve been beset by a number of injuries and illnesses, including a brief visit to the hospital (which fortunately turned out to mean nothing except that I should take better care not to exhaust myself). Those injuries and illnesses have continued since I started school, which means that I have missed a lot of class and my ability to keep up with assignments has suffered. My relationship with my partner suffered a lot as well—partially, indeed, as a result of my being sick so often—and now we have broken up, albeit somewhat tentatively and while keeping the possibility in mind that we may be able to resolve our differences and work back up to a romantic relationship.

With all this going on, I hadn’t really been thinking about asexuality.  Over the summer, there were still plenty of moments, from time to time, when I would see my girlfriend looking at porn and, upon hearing my comments, she would groan at me and says, “You’re so asexual.” But for the most part, it went unnoticed, and barely mattered.

I have been trying to decide what is different about the part that sex played in our relationship as compared to the part that it plays in a pairing of two sexuals, but I can’t come up with much. It’s not as if it isn’t generally enjoyable, and I can’t say that it isn’t intimate. There were periods when we go without for quite a while before either one of us would crease her brow and say, “Hm. When was the last time, anyway?” That is probably the most obvious sign of my asexuality combined with her relative lack of sexual attraction to me. The thing is, our relationship actually did seem to suffer more during the dry spells than when we were doing it relatively frequently, despite my conviction that sex should not be a necessary part of a relationship.

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Dismantling Emotional Flatulence

A few days ago, I posted about Rabbi Schmuley Boteach’s bad definition of asexuality. Now, I want to address the main point of his article.

As Ily has observed, his argument makes no sense. It is inarticulate and illogical, and there are so many gaps where he has jumped from one assumption to the other that the article is quite difficult to follow without making great leaps of inferences.

Essentially, this is an emotional argument, and it must be dealt with as such. There is a sort of reasoning to it, but it’s not the same kind of reasoning as an argument based on logic. The Rabbi looks around him and sees that a good chunk of the population does not share his values, and so he fears that society is gradually becoming more and more immoral. This rant of his (for really, that’s what it is) is just the expression of that fear. It doesn’t amount to anything else, because he has not taken the trouble to check his facts; the entire rant is based solely on his own perceptions of the world around him.

Emotional arguments are very tricky, because unlike simple misinformation, they arise from some sort of emotional need, and serve as a defense mechanism which, when taken away, would leave a person vulnerable.  Franklin from Xero Mag wrote an essay which does a great job of explaining this. I don’t usually like to challenge emotional beliefs, because it tends to lead to a great amount of hostility, and it rarely accomplishes anything, since the person whose beliefs are being challenged will tend to just sit there and vehemently deny everything that I am saying. If a person is very invested in their emotional belief, it is extremely rare that anyone will be able to get through to them. This is why arguments between atheists and Christians (for example) are almost always futile. The only thing that they can usually accomplish is to change the opinion of someone who is sitting on, or very close to, the fence.

Still, I think it’s important to talk about stuff like this. There are a lot of people out there who might start to become aware of the emotional undercurrents in their own heads which are undermining their statements. I think it’s important for people to challenge their own emotional beliefs, and not let their emotional landscapes twist facts way out of proportion. This kind of thinking affects everyone, including the asexual community. Specifically, I see certain similarities between the Rabbi’s beliefs and their rationale, and those held by some asexuals. Continue reading

Fear of Intimacy

It occurred to me that my previous post kind of vaguely hits on one of the common things that asexuality is dismissed as, i.e. fear of intimacy.

“Oh, you’re not asexual, you’re just afraid of intimacy.”

I suppose I am, to some extent, afraid if intimacy, if you define “intimacy” as being emotionally open and vulnerable to another person who may not care, which I don’t know that I would, because it seems to me (and I’m no expert on these things, so I’m not entirely sure this is what they’re referring to) that it really involves being afraid even though you’re sure that the person you care about DOES care about you in return.

Under those circumstances, I would have no problem. I’m certainly not afraid of sex; that’s fine, as long as I know my partner will look out for me. I can be emotionally open, too, if I’m sure of my partner.

But if I’m afraid of intimacy, I think asexuality is the cause, rather than the effect. I am only afraid of getting involved with other people because I know I don’t care about the same things they do, and they probably don’t care about and are not prepared to give me the things that I want out of a relationship. I’m willing to compromise, but they may not be. To get into a situation where I’m giving up so much, and getting nothing in return… well, that’s painful, and to be avoided. And that fear is actually legitimate, because it’s perfectly plausible that I’d get myself into such a situation if I don’t exercise caution.

If I were sexual, I would still have to worry about getting into a situation like that, but chances are, since I would have much more incentive to get into sexual relationships, I wouldn’t be so vulnerable in sexual situations. I would feel that I was at least getting something from them, beyond the satisfaction of seeing my partner satisfied, and so it wouldn’t be so much of a drain on me. I wouldn’t have to be so careful, because I wouldn’t have as much reason to be afraid.

Insecurity

In the middle of the night, it gets ya.

You know, overall, I’m a pretty secure person. I’ve had a lot of trauma to deal with in my life (no, not sexual trauma), so much so that honestly, looking back over my life experiences, it’s a wonder that I turned out sane. Given all the shit I’ve gone through, I ought to (at the very least) have suffered years worth of depression by now, but as it turns out, I’ve only spent about four months of my life depressed, and even then, it wasn’t constant. I am damned good at minimizing, interrupting, and conquering bad feelings. I can fucking cope.

Still, I have some issues to deal with. Continue reading