Being Ace in the Midst of Christian Sex Ed

“Christian Sex Ed” is a bit of a misnomer, at least in reference to what I’m going to talk about here, but nothing else seemed suitable.  Anyway — last time, I wrote about how the messages of the Church protected me from realizing I was different, in some ways, and that still seems like an accurate assessment.  However, looking back, there were some times when, considering how I responded to certain Christian rhetoric on sex, I really should have realized I was ace.

This post is just to record a couple of reflections that I’ve yet to make sense of, for what it’s worth.

Note: These two stories aren’t being put forward as “signs of asexuality” or definite indications that a person is asexual.  It’s just interesting to look back at them and reconsider them in the context of how I now identify.

When I was younger, I got this copy of the Bible that had… glossy full-color page inserts full of modern commentary on Christian sexual ethics, basically.  This is necessary to know for the story because it was as I was flipping through the glossy pages that I came across a page that dared me (“dared”, yes, that was its choice of words) to go ask my parents three questions about sex.

While this particular edit of the Bible was a far cry from any recognizable form of “sex-positivity”, and while some of its data and argumentation may have been dubious, I do believe that the people who wrote this page did genuinely want its readers to learn about and feel comfortable talking about sex.  They clearly believed that sex is not a bad thing, and that people (including teenagers, their target demographic) should have access to information about it.  I had faith in their good intentions.  And for whatever reason, I felt obligated to listen to them.

But when I stopped and thought about it, intending to take the dare, I realized that I couldn’t think of three questions to ask.

I must’ve been at least thirteen at the time.  It wasn’t even a matter of embarrassment — I just didn’t know what to ask in the first place.  So I shrugged it off and never thought about it again.

Another time, I was looking at this same Bible, one of the glossy pages again, and came across what was purported to be a quote from a teen who had had premarital sex.  What’s interesting about this is not so much the contextual reasons for the selection of the quote and its intended rhetorical purposes, but that my reaction to it was… probably not one that the makers of the page had considered.  From memory, the quote included something along the lines of “It was just five minutes, and that was it,” which I can tell did not have the intended impact on me because my immediate thought was, “Just?  ‘Just’ five minutes?

The quote struck me because, prior to this, I had never thought about how long sex was supposed to take.  You’ll laugh, but I literally assumed it was something more-or-less instantaneous, like blinking or ripping off a bandaid.

Five minutes seemed like an impossibly long time to drag something like that out.  Why would it take that long?

And yet, despite all this evidence before me that other people were more interested in and expected more from sex than I did, I never once considered that these reactions had anything to do with my orientation.  Not once.

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