Q&A XI

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 asexuals avoid dating (from Google)
A: Sometimes. I avoided it for a very long time, because I felt like I would be pressured to do sexual things, and because I thought it would be very structured and have too many rules to follow. I didn’t want to follow a cultural script that would encourage others to put me in a box that I don’t fit in. So for a while I just went (or intended to go) straight from friends to “in a relationship” status with people I was interested in. Then I met my fiancée, and accidentally ended up going on a date with her even though we had planned to go out as friends. I learned that dates don’t have to be that structured, and they’re not all that different from hanging out as friends. Now, I go on dates several times a week. But not all asexuals are like me; some just don’t want to date, or don’t see the point of it.

Q: are physical looks important to asexuals (from Google)
A: They can be. For some asexuals looks don’t particularly matter, though for me they actually do. I need to have at least a neutral response to looking at a person in order to be with them, as if I find them disgusting I’m not likely to want to be around them for very long. Prettiness is a bonus, but not a strict necessity for me. I also care about the way that I look and the kind of image I present to the world, and have several different styles I wear depending on my mood, some of which are deliberately strange. Sometimes I will dress down, and sometimes I will dress up, depending on how comfortable I am getting attention for my looks that day. Occasionally I have been known to experiment with what I wear to see whether people treat me any differently than they do when I dress “normally.”

Q: I’ve found that the older I get and the more in tune with myself I become, I find that while I enjoy masturbation, I’m less interested in having a sexual partner and would prefer someone I can emotionally connect to. Could it be possible I’m asexual? (from Formspring)
A: It’s possible you might be, however it’s also fairly common for *sexual people to feel that way too, especially as they age (from what I understand). The key difference is that the asexual people don’t feel any kind of sexual attraction, while the *sexual people do. So, are there still people that you get turned on by in some way, and would have sex with if not for being primarily concerned with emotional connection? If so, you are probably not asexual. Only you can know for sure, and sometimes it can be very difficult to figure out exactly what “sexual attraction” means. Give yourself some time to think about it, and realize that it’s okay not to know the answer!

Q: To the extent that there is an answer to this in the abstract, how do you think asexuals would feel about sexual people who chose celibacy? My hope is as kindred spirits, my fear is as tourists or wannabes. (from Formspring)
A: I think most of us would feel more like kindred spirits with *sexual people who choose to be celibate. There are a lot of similar issues that both asexuals and *sexual celibate people face, so we can relate in that way, and I’ve found that celibate people tend to react to asexuality with particularly enthusiastic support. Just the other day I had an interaction with a celibate person who had the “Wow, asexuals are AWESOME!” reaction, in fact. I don’t see why asexuals would see celibate people as tourists or wannabes, however, there are some reasons why asexuals might come into conflict with celibate people. The enthusiasm they have for asexuality can be a little too much sometimes, and it can feel like we are being idealized or even fetishized (by that I mean in the same sense that some Western people get overly obsessed with Japan because they think it’s the most amazing place, and by extension Japanese people, not necessarily a sexual fetishization). A lot of times the reasons why celibate people see us as kindred spirits are not reasons that we agree with, especially in the case of religious celibacy. Asexual people are often assumed to be religious due to the confused conflation of asexuality and celibacy, but in fact many of us are atheists, some of whom even actively oppose religion. So while we generally support celibacy as a legitimate life choice, we sometimes oppose the specific reasons why some people choose to be celibate. If someone is celibate because they’ve actually thought hard about it and come to the conclusion that that’s the best choice for them, awesome! But if someone is only celibate for religious reasons, believes that celibacy is the only good choice, pushes celibacy onto other people and/or believes that asexuals are “purer” or “more enlightened” because we don’t feel sexual attraction… well, those people are not so likely to be considered “kindred spirits” to asexuals.

Q: why does my fuck buddy confide in me so much? (from Google)
A: Well, gee, I dunno, maybe your fuck buddy trusts you and thinks you’re a good friend? They must be mistaken about that, though, if you’re so annoyed or worried about having their confidence that you’d google that. Apparently you aren’t actually interested in hearing what they have to say. Way to go, jerk.

Q: does greg house get nicer (from Google)
A: That one gave me a laugh.

Q: why date (from Google)
A: Because you want to, ideally.

Q: how do different sexual customs around the world increase the incidence of sexual dysfunction? (from Google)
A: Wish I had the expertise to answer that one. If anyone else wants to take a stab at it, feel free to answer it in the comments.

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

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!

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