CEP: Another Two Replies

The first is from a Presbyterian and I won’t waste your time by posting it here because it’s just a longwinded request that I meet him in person.  The second is from a Methodist and contains an actual response.  Its verdict?  …Mixed.

Dear S.
Your question really got me to thinking.  Personally I have no issue with people living an asexual life style.

Dude, it’s not a lifestyle; didn’t you read?  Still, I guess it’s a good thing you’d “have no issue” with it…

As far as we can tell Jesus was asexual.

Well, He could have been bi for all we know, but yes.

Celibacy is an honored choice in the UMC.

I get the sense he doesn’t understand what asexuality itself refers to, but at least he isn’t talking about how sex is necessary to continue the species, so that’s good.

As far as marriage is concerned I would assume that the church would affirm some kind of civil union rather than marriage.

Beg your pardon?

I’m not sure the church has a stance on this.  The main thing as far as Methodist doctrine goes the main thing is that relationships be safe and emotionally/physically healthy.

Okay that’s nice, but in this three-sentence paragraph that I interrupted, he seems to be discounting the validity of nonsexual marriages.  Or at least, as best as I can figure.  What does he mean, “the church would affirm some kind of civil union” instead?  What if that’s not what the pair of sweethearts asked for?  If, hypothetically, the two of them were both out as asexual (and had no intent to have sex with each other), would the church refuse to perform a marriage?  Would they try to pressure them into making it a civil union?  I’m not sure how to interpret the phrasing here.

However, on a practical  note, I doubt that the issue would ever come up.

Well, if it came with the risk of the church affirming some kind of civil union rather than marriage, then yeah, I can imagine people deciding not to say anything.

I’d guess that many marriages that used to be sexual are no longer.  This might be due to age or health reasons or loss of interest.

…Okay.

Anyway. That’s all I can come up with off the top of my head.

Sent from my iPhone

This reply is a mixed bag.  It’s unclear whether he understands the distinction between asexuality and “an asexual lifestyle”, but his acceptance of lifelong celibacy is a mark in his favor.  Then he goes and spoils it by suggesting people in nonsexual relationships should seek civil unions and not marriage.  What’s up with that?  He doesn’t even provide a reason for it; he just assumes that’s what the church would arrange.

It appears he has forwarded/cc’d the email to two other people, so maybe we’ll hear back from these folks after he’s had more time to think on it.

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12 responses to “CEP: Another Two Replies

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    It seems like this minister seems to think that asexuality is either a choice to be celibate or a biological consequence of aging. He also doesn’t seem to understand that a person could just lack desire for sex and never have had that desire to start with.

  • sathtastic

    I wonder if this is an issue regarding the old idea that a marriage had to be consumated with sex to be lawful?, is that even still a legal issue in modern marriages?

    • acetheist

      It appears to be so, yes. And yes, that continues to be a legal issue in the United States, at least. There are places where a lack of consummation is considered grounds for annulment, and in immigration cases, marriages are investigated to see if they’re “real”, with one of the criteria for “real” being that the couple have sex. I think swankivy’s got some more information about this in one of her asexual discrimination videos.

  • doubleinvert

    It really is shocking the number of people who conflate orientation with lifestyle. It simply boggles the mind.

    -Connie

    • acetheist

      I think, in cases like these, it might be that they haven’t yet learned how to think of people as anything but just heterosexual people who make different behavioral choices.

      • doubleinvert

        Sadly, this is probably true.

      • sathtastic

        This totally made me think of the issue of Universal Human Experience!
        Perhaps its bad to bring up the idea of ‘every homophobe is a closeted homosexual’ idea, but I was once referred to a fascinating article that theorised some peoples reactions to other sexualities could make sense if these people did have non-straight sexualities themselves but believed that their experience to be the universal human experience. They may believe that everyone else of their gender has the same sexual identity as they do, and that they just make a different behavioural choice.

        I fear I may not explain it very well, the article itself is better:

        http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/03/20/typical-mind-and-disbelief-in-straight-people/

        • acetheist

          Ehh… I’ll believe that’s true of some people (it was kinda true of me for a while, after all) but I don’t like to spend much time on those sorts of explanations because the whole “homophobes are gay” thing amounts to a way to blame gay people for homophobia/heterosexism.

          However, I absolutely believe that all people have some tendency to assume that their experiences are more universal than they are, and a lot of the reactions to asexual people’s celibacy is plainly a case of allo people thinking we’re the exact same as allo people who are “denying themselves”.

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