So apparently the vis/ed dilemma with regard to aces having/liking sex is being rehashed again,* and I was a bit surprised to see that gray-asexuality had been brought into the conversation. The first post to do so seems to be this one, although I’m not so good at tracking things down so correct me if I’m wrong there.
In the post, which was part of a larger discussion about the implications of the word “some” in the context of a poorly-worded asexuality presentation, “further othering/removing grey/demi folks from the community” was proposed as a con to pointing out that the vast majority of aces are sex-repulsed or celibate. I’m just going to focus on that bullet point for now.
I don’t see what gray-asexuality has to do with this. “The vast majority of aces are sex-repulsed and/or celibate” is a true statement. So, what with the connection here not being readily apparent to me, I’m going to run through some possibilities.
In order for the above statement to be an untrue/damaging statement to demis and gray-as, as best I can figure, 1) asexual people would have to be a minority of the population in the ace community, and 2) being demi or gray-a would have to have direct implications for how an individual feels about sex.
Let’s just get this out of the way first. Nothing, from online discourse to in-person meetups to the statistics I’ve seen, has given me the impression that asexual people are outnumbered in this community, and given the way things stand, I would not expect this to be due to silencing or exclusion of gray-asexual and demisexual people from asexual people. While there’s plenty of hostility toward us if you go looking, the majority of that comes from outside the community, not within. I could go into more detail with my own experiences in regard to being a gray-a in the midst of absolute aces but that would be boring and positive and irrelevant, so I’m not going to unless someone asks.
More importantly: What’s the rate of sex-repulsion and celibacy among demi and gray-asexual people? I have no idea, but just as core asexuality doesn’t necessarily determine whether an individual is sex-repulsed, gray-asexuality also doesn’t necessarily determine whether an individual is not sex-repulsed. If “most aces will never have or want sex” is a misleading, elitist, or otherwise exclusive idea, then “most gray-aces will have or want sex” must be so as well.
Presumably, if a person experiences sexual attraction to someone, there’s a lower likelihood of them feeling sex-repulsed with the target of their attraction. But considering that even allosexual people can be sex-averse, it’s important to recognize that being gray-asexual is no better of a predictor of whether someone wants sex, likes sex, has sex, etc. since you can experience sexual attraction to someone without desire or deciding to act on it and all that jazz. Gray-asexuality may nudge the probability scale one way or another, but it’s not as though knowing someone is gray-a or demi allows you to predict with 100% certainty whether that person is sex-averse or sexually active or just about anything else except for the fact that they identify as gray-a or demi.
That’s why I don’t see what gray-asexuality has to do with this. Even the gray-areas of repulsion, aversion, enjoyment, and indifference don’t change the fact that the majority of aces give sex an adamant no. If anything, I’d feel more silenced and threatened by the idea that every gray-asexual person must like sex and be willing to have it.
I can see how an unspecific statement like “some asexual people are abstinent but not all of them” — while technically accurate — can still have harmful effects in many of the contexts it’s deployed in, but if something like “the vast majority aces don’t have or want sex” is a statement that harms me as a gray-ace, then I need it explained to me how.
*This is one of those things that’s really frustrating to watch because while it’s important and it’s complicated, it also feels really simple to me? Enough that I’m tempted to make some kind of guide to “how to acknowledge the majority of the community and cultivate realistic expectations while also acknowledging that not all aces have the same attitude toward sex,” but 1) I feel like that about sums it up right there, and 2) somehow I don’t feel like it’s my place to do that? I don’t know, y’all.