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.