“Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” – Part 1 Review

Sorry it’s taken a while to get to this. This post is a continuation of reviews of the book “Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” by Julie Sondra Decker.

Part 1 basically gives a rundown on what asexuality is and what it isn’t. There is repeated emphasis that asexuality is an orientation: not something that can (or should) be ‘fixed’, the difference between asexuality and ‘purity’, that not all asexuals are religious (actually, I’ve queried on here before why so many asexuals are actually atheists). Also, she pointed out that asexuality should not be mistaken for asexual reproduction. Basically, to cut the rundown short, Decker wanted to emphasise that asexuality is an orientation. That’s it.

Just a note on trying to be ‘fixed’. It doesn’t work. The American Psychological Association, as well most other major organisations worldwide agree that any sort of effort to change one’s sexual orientation is futile at best to downright psychologically harmful at worst. In the latest version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there was a modification to deliberately separate asexuality from disorders like Hypo Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) and Sexual Arousal Disorder (SAD). Unfortunately, the medical industry as a whole hasn’t caught on (more on that on a later post).

She also talked about asexuality and gender identity. Most asexuals identify as cisgender. This busts the myth that people are asexual because of being intersex or transgender, thus, linking asexuality to hormone situations often linked to intersexuality and transgenderism. Yes, there are many self – identified asexuals who do identify as trans or intersex, but it’s not all of them (there’s a few trans – identified people in the Asexuality group I participate in on Facebook. While a number of them do identify as trans, or fit under a non gender – conforming identity (agender, gender – fluid, etc), most are cisgender.

Next myth that was busted in the book was the idea that asexuals are “anti – sex”. Many asexuals are sex – repulsed, but most respect the fact that other people enjoy sex and deem it an important part of their lives, even if the asexual doesn’t. Anti – sexual comments and almost a reverse – discrimination, of allosexual people is usually actually frowned upon in asexual circles. Unfortunately, I’ve read that this makes people who are sex – repulsed (which is apparently statistically speaking, the majority), feel alienated, even in asexual circles. But most asexuals do respect the right for others to have consensual, legal sexual interactions.

She talked about this and I’ll further emphasise it: asexuality is not a trend or phase (for most people; some people can and do experience fluidity – she cited Dr. Lisa Diamond when pointing this out). To call asexuality a “trend” is quite frankly, ridiculous. Like really, we’re 1% of the population! It is just the way some people are wired/ built or experienced their sexuality. That’s it. It’s also not a reflection of the person to not find a “suitable” partner/ spouse (I honestly hate it wne so much value is placed on people’s ability to find a partner and get married – more on that later). I’ll talk more about this later, but I find the sentiment about this both absurd and, frankly, quite damaging.

All asexuls can’t be placed in a pidgeon hole. Som asexuals want romance (I talked about romantic orientation here). Of course, there are other variations, which i won’t describe here because I feel that i’m in danger of summarising the whole book part, which is not my intent.

A plea to the allosexual community, both from Decker and myself. If someone discloses to you that they are asexual, please respect the person and believe them. This is so important. Coming to terms that you’re anything other than straight, including asexual, can be terrifying to admit to yourself let alone anyone else. Please take our word for it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Whatever You Do, Don’t Attack the Allies

It’s easy to look at the unfairness facing the LGBT+ community (incluidng asexuals) and to demonise EVERYONE that isn’t a part of the minorities. But this is a BIG mistake.

Firstly, not everyone is out to “get us”. There ARE people who want to support us. I admit, I’m one of the lucky ones to find people that do support me. I’m not trying to deny the fact that LGBT+ people do not battle with discrimination, sometimes on a daily basis. Even misunderstandings can hurt. But not everyone who is a part of “them” are the enemy. There are people out there who want to stand by our side. There are people who WANT to understand, like really want to understand. Those sort of people shouldn’t be shot down because a few other people think otherwise.

Allies are great. We need people in our corner. The biggest mistake we can make is treat everyone else as an enemy. Please don’t.

“The Invisible Orientation – An Introduction to Asexuality Review – Introduction

In the “Introduction” of the book, “The Invisible Orientation – An Introduction to Asexuality” ,author Julie Sondra Decker tells her own story of how she never felt sexual attraction, even when she tried to date in high school. She terms herself “non sexual” after her second relationship failed.

I found this part quite empowering actually. She goes on to say that she decided after the failure of her second relationship that she was non – sexual (hadn’t heard the term asexual yet), and was determined to own her own feelings and let HER tell how she felt and not others. This part was so empowering and great to read! And someone who would’ve been so young at the time, I find even more inspiring.

One fact that I did relate to was, after reallising that she wasn’t sexually attracted to anyohne, was the alienation she felt from her peers. I truly get that. It can be isolating, espoecially when you can’t put a label on why. Or just the pure fear that you might be rejected.

Frankly, I was shocked about some of the “concerned comments” she said she recieved. Personally, I found them quite mean. They included:

“That’s not normal. You need to get checked out” (not too bad, ill – informed, yes, but not too nasty)

“You’re never going to be happy” (Ill – informed, quite unnecessary. Deliberately mean? Maybe not)

“I can fix you. I can help you”. (Well, for one, no one can “fix” something that isn’t broken and also, I think that can come off as quite a dangerous comment).

“You’re going to die alone with a house full of cats” (How rude!)

“Shut up and admit you’re gay” (This one hits me. I honestly believe that no one as a right ot “accuse” anyone of being gay, no matter what.

“Why is it such a big deal to try sex?  (Why is it a big deal NOT to?)

I’m glad for her that she obviously wasn’t too phased by these comments, and I commend her for being so strong. But I do find that some of these comments are offensive and can be very hurtful for someone who isn’t so strong and thus, such comments, I believe, shouldn’t be encouraged. LIke she herself said:

If eveyrone treats you like you’re broken, you may evenutually crack

I believe that to be true. The comments above, to me portay, yes that there is (or at least has been) a lack of awareness aboiut asexuality until recently (especially since the making of AVEN (Asexuality Visibility and Education Network) by David Jay in 2001. I also can’t help but think that asexual people do face treatment that would be at least widely criticised if it was aimed at another group of people. It would be nice if ALL discrimination and rudeness toward people was all equally condemned, that’s all I’m saying (asexual people aren’t the only ones to face such issues, I may talk more about that in another post).

 

She explained why the book was written; to put simply – to infom people asexuals (or suspected asexuals) and non – aces alike. Good move. Everyone could benefit from at least having a brief understanding of what asexuality is (and what it isn’t… something she did explain very well also).

I’ve been enjoying the iBook so far. It’s been a really good read. Next post I’m hoping to talk about “Part 1”. Watch this space!

 

We’re All Different, Even With Similarities

I think one of my biggest mistake on this blog (apart from typos and pork ypu written sentences), is I think I’ve assumed that asexuals would all be, essentially, be largely in agree acne with what I write. Few examples was my post on asexual community and the LGBT and assuming that all asexual people agree that asexuality is in fact, an orientation. Not everybody agrees with that. I respect that (now I do).

Another thing is  I’ll try not to whinge too much on here. Yes, I’m passionate about the alienation, isolation and sometimes downright I’ll – treatment that people can face, but from now on, I’ll try not to whinge.

Alphabet Soups

‘Alphabet Soups’ have been on my mind a lot since Thursday night. Anyone who’s followed this blog probably realises that I usually use LGBT+. Although, one acronym has come to mind: LGBTQQIAPA. Now THAT is an alphabet soup!

It stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual and Allies.

Another (much shorter) acronym I’ve seen is GSM (Gender and Sexuality Minorities) and GGGL.

For bloggers here who write about LGBT+ community, what acronyms/s do you use?