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.