Being Able To Pass As Straight

There’s this idea in I’ve noticed on certain blogs about being able to ‘pass’ as being straight. That is, when looking at someone, you don’t automatically come across as not cisgender or straight. Even though I’ve never been in a relationship, for years (and for some people, probably even now), most people have classed me as straight. Some bloggers who’ve talked about this have pointed out some privileges that come with that, but I want to focus for a moment on why it can become problematic.

The biggest problem for me is my reluctance to set the record straight (no pun intended), when the topic comes up. When I first realised I was asexual, for example, I was having dinner with two friends and Tge topic of dating and marriage came up. Whilst I did participate in the discussion and went along with it, I felt a bit out of place. And there’s been other times when the conversation has come up and I just went along with it again. In fact, the only times I have mentioned asexuality, the conversation was started by me, often out of the blue.

How do you bring up asexuality if your among a group of friends in those conversations? Is there anyone who does bring if up there and the or do you just go along with it like I usually do?

Is Singleness Genetic Or A Choice?

An article in Britain’s Mail  Online has done an article about a supposed study that suggests that singleness may be at least partly genetic. The theory is that certain genes affect serotonin levels affects how you bond with others and find a partner. I’ve read some Facebook comments of people who are skeptical. But my view is maybe, just MAYBE these scientists may have somewhat of a point. Let me explain.

OK, firstly, I’m a firm believer that attraction, sexual or romantic is at least largely, is not a choice. I do believe that people’s attraction (or even platonic to a degree), can come out of the blue. I also believe that biology does play a large part of whether or not someone is attracted to someone.

The article did acknowledge, however that .environment does also play a part and that genetics are not exclusively responsible. In actual fact, people in the study who did supposedly lack serotonin were only were only 20% less likely to find a partner. There was something about attractiveness in the article and how that plays a part, but I didn’t really look at closely.

So, what do you think?

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to AsexualityPart 2 Ctd

I’m back to continue my review on ‘The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” Part 2’ by Julie Sondra Decker. Sorry for the delay in writing this.  So, the next topic that Decker was relationships, particularly intimate partnerships.

Asexual people, for the most part, want to experience intimacy on some level and desire some sort of committed relationship, romantic or otherwise (in this section of the book, her main focus seems to be romantic relationships).

There is a common misconception that romantic asexual people will automatically go for people who are asexual. However, it’s usually not so clear – cut for a number of reasons, as Decker strongly argues. Firstly, the lack of visibility of asexuality in society could mean that an asexual person could enter a sexual relationship or even marriage before realising that they are, in fact, asexual. I’ve read about this many times on Facebook. Even people who may be in their 50’s and have been married for more than ten years may have just realised with certainty that they are asexual.

Another reason why asexual people may fall for a non – asexual is because of their social group may not have any self – identified asexuals, hence, if they fall for someone in that group, they’re highly unlikely to be asexual. Talking about asexuality and attraction- just because two people are asexual, doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be emotionally attracted to each other. Attraction, regardless of orientation, rarely works out that simply.  A romantic asexual could fall for someone who isn’t asexual. It’s that old adage, I guess: you can’t choose who you fall in love with. That would go for asexual people as well.

Meet ups of asexual people do happen around the world, but they are rare and have to be deliberately planned in order for them to happen. I’ve never personally been part of one, but I have seen them talked about on Facebook sometimes. They mainly seem to happen in the US. I don’t know how many happen in Australia, or where (anyone from Australia who has been to a meetup, feel free to comment). Plus, there are no “meetup” clubs or such specifically for asexuals like, for example the gay community.

Another problem with the assumption that romantic asexual people would automatically fall for  other romantic asexuals, is the fact that asexual visibility is still at it’s infancy. There are people who may not know that they are asexual or know it’s even a thing. There is growing awareness, yes (I’ve wrote about media coverage on asexuality in the past on this blog), but it’s still limited. Also, there is a lack of awareness and acceptance in education and medical fields as a valid orientation (I’ll talk about this at a later date).

Like my above argument about attraction, it’s pretty obvious that not all romantic asexual people are going to automatically be attracted to each other. And not all asexual/ asexual relationships ideal. They can face (at least some) of the same problems that any other relationship has.

 

Next, she talked about the issue of compromise. She argued that all relationships require a level of compromise, and, in the context of sexual/ asexual relationships, that includes a certain compromise (on both sides), when it comes to sex. Contrary to poular belief, the “compromise” isn’t always on the asexual person to participate in sexual activity (I would argue that sometimes that may be deemed close to impossible in some cases, particularly if they’re sex – repulsed or sex – averse – however, for many sexual/ asexual relationships, it’s a possible compromise). Other possible compromises that can be made in an asexual/ sexual relationship that Decker listed are:

  • The sexual partner agreeing to remain celibate and take their own needs in their own hands (that was a pun)
  • Both partners agree to have sex either regularly or irregularly
  • Open relationship/ marriage
  • Polyamory
  • Other forms of physical intimacy (kissing, cuddling, etc)

In an imperfect world, sometimes, such compromises don’t work out and the relationship/ marriage ends up deteriorating and eventually ending. In these circumstances, asexual partners/ spouses are sometimes automatically viewed to be at fault for the relationship breaking down. But, as she argued, some relationships just aren’t meant to work out, and she emphasised that it was important to admit and be OK with that, however, painful it is. Everyone should be able to be honest with themselves (and I’d say regardless of the status of the relationship or gender and orientation of the partners), about whether the needs are being met in that relationship and whether conflict is reconcilable.

She talked briefly about relationship counselling. This is where prejudice and discrimination against asexual people can be come evident. According to Decker, there are therapists who don’t acknowledge asexuality as an orientation, and as such, may solely focus on the asexual as the “problem”. However, Decker didn’t discourage relationship/ marriage therapy. And there are asexual – friendly therapists as well (I mentioned one: http://https://asexualityinasexualworld.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/mama-mia-another-article-on-asexuality/

Sometimes, in an asexual/ sexual relationship, self – esteem issues and fears need to be addressed. I’ve talked before about how hard it can be to admit that you’re asexual and be OK with it (I’ll talk about it more in the future, too). This can be detrimental on the asexual person psychologically and as a result, the asexual person may stay in unhealthy relationships. This is why asexual visibility and acceptance is so important! It’s why I continue this blog, despite my doubts in the past. Nobody should have to feel like they don’t deserve to be accepted and loved! I feel so strongly about this! Self – hatred/ low self – esteem, especially when seemingly enforced by general society is so damaging it’s not funny! I’ve been there. Fortunately for me, it hadn’t got to a stage where it was both physcially or psychologically destructive, but even what I’ve experienced with myself, I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. And, I’ve got to say, hating yourself, for fearing judgement from others about your sexuality is I think one of the most destructive things that can affect one’s well – being. (Please note: I get that there are other factors that often contribute the damage of someone’s personal state. It’s just from MY OWN personal experiences, it’s been a major thing for me).

In the context of married relationships, many asexuals feel obligated to be sexual with their spouse, regardless of their personal feelings about it. Now I agree with negotiation and compromise, but just simply saying that the asexual person should ignore their own feelings isn’t right. In fact, Decker condemns such attitudes as downright abusive. I tend to agree. Each couple needs to and should be able to work out how to carry out their relationship, without one partner (e.g. the asexual partner in this case I’m talking about), feeling like their own feelings and opinions don’t matter.

Just a note: As I’ve been reading through this book, I’m surprised and, frankly, quite horrified about how asexual people are often mistreated, discriminated against and/ or dehumanised. I don’t know if this occured to anybody, but yes we asexuals are HUMAN! We have feelings, desires. We feel the way we feel and for the most part, we can’t help it. Telling us to change our orientatoin is just as futile (and probably just as damaging), as telling a gay person to go through “conversion” therapy (which has largely collapsed in the West, particularly the US).

Many asexual people are married and want children. For this reason, some women may at least tolerate sex in order to conceive a child. Also, like I said above, some people are already married before knowing what asexuality is, or the fact that it’s an orientation.

As pointed above, some asexuals are involved in non – monogamy with a sexual partner. Some people, including asexuals, actually prefer non – monogamy relationship styles, such as open relationships or polyamory. I think it’s fair to say that it wouldn’t be everyone’s taste, but it may be an option for some.

 

So, here that concludes Part 2 about relationships (there’s much more to come, so bear with me). Next time, I’ll be writing about the asexual links (or lack of) to the LGBT community and more on discrimination and how it affects the asexual community. Stay tuned.

 

Platonic Procreation

Thoughts? Stereotype of fair comment?

The Dish

As Kaitlin Mulhere reports on how asexual college students across the country have made gains for greater visibility, evolutionary psychologist Michael Woodley suggests that geniuses tend toward asexuality:

[Geniuses] are, he says, often asexual, as their brains use the space allocated to urges such as sexual desire for additional cognitive ability. “You have a trade off between what Freud would have referred to as libido and on the other hand pure abstraction: a Platonistic world of ideas,” he said. The evolutionary reason for this may lie with the theory that geniuses have insights that advance the general population. “It’s paradoxical because you think the idea of evolution is procreation, and that might be true in a lot of cases,” he explains. “But what if the way you increase your genes is by benefitting the entire group, by giving them an innovation that allows them to grow and expand and colonise new countries? ”The…

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“Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” Review Part 2 Ctd

I’m back to write the second review for Part 2 of the book (or ibook in my case), of “Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuailty” by Julie Sondra Decker.

In the post where I last talked about this, I got to the part about different types of relationships that asexual people are involved in and the role they play in their lives, including romantic relationships and attraction.

Next, she goes on to talk about libido and masturbation. It’s an embarrasing question that many asexual people get asked. Any answer  that the asexual people gives seems to backfire on the individual. So, if you really want to know – do they? Simple answer: some do – some don’t. “Why?”, might you ask. Many different reasons: comfort, libido’s high at certain types of month/ day, curiosity, etc. Many asexual people wouldn’t relate it to sex. Even those who fantasise about certain erotic situations find themselves separated from such fantasies and has no bearing on their attraction or desire.

I’ll add to, that for women, the endorphins released through self – stimulation can help soothe period pain. In both males and females, self – stimulation can be done out of curiosity. It’s actually documented that children use self – stimulation by the time they reach primary school. The reason is mainly curiosity and the exploration of one’s own body. This, obviously, has absolutely NOTHING to do with sex or sexual attraction.

She briefly talked about other asexuals who experience no libido or desire to self – stimulate at all (often called non – libidoists). The discussion in the book was very short in my opinion, compared to other topics. Not a criticism as such, just an observation I made last night. Anyone else notice this? What’s your thoughts?

 

Asexual people, as she wrote in the book, can and sometimes do participate in sexual activity with a partner (or partners). Like with anything else, reasons can vary from person to person, but a major reason is the satisfaction for a non – asexual partner. Most asexuals can do this and some are willing to, depending on their attitude toward sex itself. Some are like the sensations, some tolerate it, however, some are completely or largely repulsed by it (a lot of survey results tend to point out that a fair percentage of asexual people do describe themselves as “sex – repulsed”. So, whether sex will be a part of a relationship, I guess, depends largely on the atttitudes each party has toward sex itself and whether it can be tolerated. Decker did argue that relationships without sex can work, with the right communication and honesty from both partners.

Some asexuals are fine practising non – monogamy with a partner so they can both get their needs met. Some practice non – monogamy because they don’t favour traditional monogamous relationships (is that a form of relationship anarchy?). Of course, non – monogamy isn’t trouble – free and anyone, regardless of orientaion should be careful when entering such an arrangement.

Just a note: interestingly, (well, I think so anyway), there has been an overall backlash against non – monogamy in society, with the recent Australian sex survey indicating that over 90% of partakers in the survey expected monogamy and faithfulness from both themselves and their partners. However there are people who completely reject the whole monogamy structure, most notoably sex advice columnist, Dan Savage, who admitted that he and his spouse don’t practice monogamy. However, that really doesn’t seem to be the mainstream anymore. Anyway, back to Decker, as usual, communication is key in this area. Could I participate in this myself? I always thought that if I was ever to enter a relationship, it’ll be monogamous. Rest assured, I don’t condemn anyone who does practice non – monogamy, it’s just my preference.

Next, Decker talked about kink and fetish. Now, personally, I have no experience or real knowledge in the area, however, according to Decker, a small minority of asexuals have fetishes and are happy to be involved in roleplay and Bondage, Discipline and Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism (BDSM). For anybody who participates in such activities, particularly in a group context, sexual attraction can be seen as irrelevant. Asexual people (and anyone else for that matter), can practice BDSM simply because they enjoy the psychological thrill of the experience. There are asexual – friendly kink/ festish communities, particularly online. Major site Fetlife.com to their credit, has specific asexual – friendly areas in which asexual people are free to participate and explore the world of kink/ fetish.

Last two things I’ll talk about in this post explored in the book was to do with grey areas of sexuality, in particular, grey – sexuality. Most people acknowledge that sexuality isn’t always black and white. Studies attributed to Alfred C Kinsey back in the 1930’s  argued that sexuality for allosexual people isn’t always as simple as gay or straight. More recently, researcher Lisa M Diamond from the University of Utah have found that, particularly women’s sexuality can be more complicated than just “gay” or “straight” and can even be fluid overtime. Greysexuality isn’t necessarily about fluidity (although there are asexual people that cand their sexuality to be fluid). Greysexuality is more about bieng on the spectrum between asexual or non – asexual, with most relating to asexuailty than allosexuality. People who identify as greysexual can fall into a number of categories, including:

  • People who feel weak sexual attraction
  • People who go through phases of being asexual than allosexual
  • Peple who are confused about where they fit
  • People who get caught up in desire with their partners, but it’s not an intrinsic part of their overall experiences
  • People who only experience sexual attraction to a very small number of people
  • Experience attraction without physical response
  • People who find others to be attractive, but deliberately don’t pursue them

Note: These aren’t necessarily exlusive to asexual people and some find labels to be totally irrelevant.

The last thing I’ll talk about in this post is demisexuality. A demisexual perosn is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction to others immediately. It’s often a secondary attraction rather than primary attraction. They never experience attraction to a stranger, celebrity, etc. An emotional bond always comes first for a demisexual individual.

(This is what i found interesting), many demisexual people can still be attracted to certain physical characteristics in a person, however, only on people they are close to on an amotional level. So, for example, a demisexual man might find women with dark long  hair attractive however, they’ll never experience attraction to someone, like say, Katy Perry. It’ll always be someone that they know personally and whom they have an emotional connection with. I always wondered what role physical characteristics play in asexual (or demisexual’s) attraction to others.

That’s it for this post. Sometime next week (hopefully), I’ll conclude Part 2 of the book.

 

 

Thanks To The Followers

So, I just found out before that I’ve reached 50 followers on this blog. I just want to say THANK YOU if you’re one of them. And to those who aren’t but have been viewers or visitors on this blog, thank you anyway.