This Week, in Needless Allo Alarmism

What possesses someone to write a rambling article on asexuality when they haven’t even done enough research on the subject to have even encountered something as basic as the concept of romantic orientation?

(link cw for general aura of fail, including a statement that could be taken as an endorsement of rape) [edit 2: serious tw for rape if you read the comment section at this point]

[edit: and they just passive-aggressively liked this post.  good grief.]

That post is tiresome for a lot of reasons, and one of the primary themes it harps on is the insinuated idea of the predatory asexual out to trap someone in an unsatisfying relationship, while the threat that allosexual people pose to asexual people, certeris paribus, is largely ignored.  This “watch out!  you might accidentally date an asexual!” attitude is completely and utterly backwards, and asexual people aren’t the ones who need to be “responsible with their orientation”.  Allo folks’ selfish, damaging priorities with that paradigm are precisely the reason I’ve written things like this:

On Aces, Relationships, and Being “Up Front”

What I’m saying is — if sex-averse asexuals are asked to disclose a disinterest in sex, can’t we also ask sex-favorable people to disclose an interest in sex?  Can’t we ask allosexuals to be up front about whether they care about their sexual attraction being reciprocated?  Can’t we go beyond acknowledging aces’ existence and edit the script for romantic relationships such that it doesn’t uphold the idea of “everyone’s sex-favorable + allosexual until proven otherwise”?

[…] I refuse to prioritize aces’ responsibility to be “up front” and “disclose” their dislike of sex anywhere near as much as I will prioritize allos’ responsibility to not rape.

Todd in the Shadows & Gendered Compulsory Sexuality

And as if enforcing allosexuality on men and  telling everyone else that their feelings aren’t legitimate until a man feels the same way wasn’t enough, the culture of compulsory male sexuality also contributes to the anxieties of sex-repulsed asexual people who date allosexual people, especially male ones — because no man could really be satisfied with a nonsexual romantic relationship, it says.  A man who claims to accept your boundaries is only trying to trick you, it says.  He’s lying, it says.

And, hell, maybe he is.  I’ve heard enough to be wary.  But I also hate to see this idea naturalized (“there is no man in the world this innocent” and “unbelievably chaste”), as if sincerity in these matters is not just unlikely but impossible.

This is part of the reason why it’s so confusing to see someone (like Dan Savage) worrying that sneaky asexual people might be luring unsuspecting allosexuals into sexless relationships.

Dear allosexual people: We’re not trying to trick you.  If anything, we’re afraid of you.

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20 responses to “This Week, in Needless Allo Alarmism

  • Aqua

    It’s incredibly frustrating to see that narrative of deceptive asexuals still being spread. If the writer of the first article did any basic research, and listened to asexual peoples’ experiences, they’d know that so many asexuals who didn’t tell their allosexual partners upfront, didn’t, because they didn’t know of asexuality at the time!

    They think dating is a minefield for allosexuals, fearing that small chance of dating an asexual? Why don’t they think about how much of a minefield that dating is for asexuals, especially repulsed ones? The gendered norms about compulsory sexuality, make dating even more difficult.

  • Breakingthewordcage

    That post is completely and utterly baffling. I haven’t read anything so ludicrous in a long time. It was so nonsensical it almost read like satire. Wow.

    Anyways, I’m amazed you had the patience to go through it and point out the ridiculously wrong parts, and I’m rather dismayed by their answer. I’m starting to feel like a “let’s agree to disagree” type answer is even worse than one filled with vitriol. There’s such a huge difference between “I don’t understand your perspective” and “this is what I think and nothing you can say can make me change my mind”. Where did they even get the idea of asexuality from when they clearly know nothing at all about it?

    I’m just so bewildered by that article.

    • Spade

      That passive/nonargumentative/”thanks for the comment” attitude is pretty common on general WordPress, I’ve noticed. Polar opposite of Tumblr. I hate it too.

      And I also have the same question — they clearly didn’t even read the kind of basic article that has an overview of why some asexual people date and such, and they mouth off as if all asexuals would be too uninterested to research/talk about sex or form a community, so just what exactly was it they were reading that alerted them to the possibility at all?

  • Jo

    I saw this too when I got a pingback, it’s horrifying. Not sure if you read the rest of the site, but that dude is a misogynist arsehat. :(

    • Spade

      The banner was enough to clue me in, yeah… Also, the previous post… “Sure, I view and pass around explicit images of a person without their consent to do so, but there’s nothing WRONG with that.” No wonder they keep not responding to my efforts to clarify if they really endorse rape or not.

      I wish it wasn’t so common on WordPress for people to add “recommended articles” to their post without reading them at all.

  • acespresso

    That must be the most crass piece of a pro-allo, anti-ace, site I’ve ever witnessed. So much so, that I can’t understand the author’s motive. Is it part of a calculated anti-ace smear campaign, or just a piece of ill-informed offensive shit?
    Unless you know different; I’d say the latter! Thanks for the downside insight it offers.

    • Spade

      Yeah, another thing that was weird about it was the way it began with “you might be ace!” and then turned into “beware the asexuals! here’s how to be on your guard and keep them out of your life!” Talk about not knowing what audience you’re writing for…

    • Aqua

      The author identifies as incel/involuntarily celibate, and their site is geared towards other people like them, who want sex, and frustrated by not being able to have it. That wasn’t a piece written for asexuals. They want to avoid relationships or dating that have little or no chance of being sexual, therefore see spending time with asexuals as a waste of time. I shouldn’t have clicked that link, because that “identifying the asexual before dating them” section really creeped me out.

  • Ace in Translation

    That person is extremely ignorant and aggravating in their whole “lol I’m not gonna listen to you, we have different opinions” response. I agree with breakingthewordcage about the “let’s agree to disagree” responses.

    Can I give you one tip? You can use donotlink.com to make a new url to link to idiotic articles like that. That way, it prevents such pages from appearing higher in the search results thanks to all the clicks they received through your blog post about them and all the traffic going to that article because of you.

    Here, I made a link to this article: http://www.donotlink.com/framed?536125

  • Siggy

    Well the banner at the top said “PUAhate” and “Incel” at the top, that pretty much told us what to expect. I thought he was relatively “nice” compared to my expectations, albeit still really off-base and problematic. For example, some years ago there was a post on Heartiste that was far more hostile.

  • onlyfragments

    I don’t normally comment on such douchey hate pieces like this one, but I couldn’t help myself. And I never heard the term “involuntary celibacy”, so now I have a new creepy phrase to be grossed out by.

  • doubleinvert

    I learn so much from your blog. Thank you so much for posting what you do. For the record, this particular allosexual doesn’t think that aces and aros are out to trick me, and I strive to be someone that others won’t fear. If I ever post anything otherwise, please call me out on it.

    I completely understand the idea that disclosure should be a something that all parties involved should do. I’m trans: I’m expected to disclose and I, in turn, greatly appreciate it when cis folks disclose. It shows they’re aware of their privilege.

    I have a question regarding reciprocation. You ask, “Can’t we ask allosexuals to be up front about whether they care about their sexual attraction being reciprocated?” In all the readings I’ve done regarding asexuality over the last couple of years I must confess a bit of confusion. I’ve encountered a great deal of conversation regarding sexual attraction, but not as much about sexual interaction. Would it be safe to say that not only should we allosexuals be up front if we have a preference for being found attractive, but also regarding our preference for interaction?

    -Connie

    • Spade

      Yes! If I’m understanding you correctly, that’s what part of what I meant by “disclose an interest in sex” — rather than just assuming “of course someone in this type of relationship with me should expect that I’d want XYZ”, instead actually being up front about wanting XYZ, that sort of thing. It’s one of those general communicate-about-your-expectations bits of relationship advice that everyone passes around but most people don’t realize would apply to sexual activity, too (for some reason). Hopefully the context of the whole post that part is excerpted from makes that more clear.

  • caelesti

    Wow, for serious? Allosexuals are quite capable of giving each other miserable sex lives, no asexuals need be involved for that to happen! Just as vanilla people can be sexually incompatible without being “fooled” into a relationship with a kinky person. But let’s blame a misunderstood minority, it’s much easier than actually trying to solve our own problems. And so forth. I’m generally of the opinion that the more clear, civil, non-pressuring communication the better, regardless of the identities or type of relationship involved.

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