This is one of those more personal posts, just as a heads up.
So, a long time back, anagnori got an ask from captainheartless about the resemblance between asexual discourse and Western philosophy, and anagnori ended his reply on this note:
Now, I don’t mind secular humanism at all, but I do wish people would recognize it as an ideology in its own right instead of taking it for granted as “common sense” or “just being a good person.” And I want to hear more about how religious aces think of their asexuality. I’d start a discussion myself, but I’d be worried about sounding like a preacher or proselytizer.
Clearly, this was meant like a Bat-Signal in the sky for me, since I’m a religious ace who’s much less worried than average about sounding like a preacher or a proselytizer.
That’s why y’all who came here for the asexuality posts sometimes get a serving of irrelevant religion talk on your dash, and why you get to see me floundering about with trying to talk on these areas despite my limited access to religious community and my feelings of ideological isolation from mainline Christians and how that, compounded with several other factors, hampers my exposure to outside ideas and stagnates the development of my thoughts in some pretty glaring ways. I try not to be too annoying with it, but if I were a less outspoken person, you wouldn’t get to see my fumbling with the subject at all.
It probably doesn’t seem like it, but I get consistently anxious whenever I make a post for the religion category, in a way that I don’t always for my posts for the asexuality category. That has a lot to do with audience, obviously — not that I’ve ever felt as welcome talking to Christians about Christianity as I have talking to aces about asexuality, but whatever.
Point being, I have some hangups about it. This has nothing to do with y’all or how you respond to them. I have nothing to complain about there
(except for this, which I’m still not over the asininity of, good Lord). It’s more to do with me needing to read a lot before I feel comfortable speaking on a topic (for good reason, since that’s consistently been the kind of reason I end up with my foot in my mouth). I lurked the asexual community for months and did extensive research before dipping my toe in the pool and making this blog, whereas with Christianity… Don’t take this as a request for book recommendations, but the last time I picked up a theology book, I had to put it down again when it claimed that science was invented in Europe and that the Crusades weren’t that bad.
There are theologians who don’t make me want to go quietly cry in a corner while clutching a Bible, of course, but they’re fewer in number and/or less accessible than reasonable ace bloggers are, it seems. Point being, I don’t get to read as much of that as I’d like, and so whenever I write something for this blog not connected to asexuality, I hesitate to post it.
And one of the things I think about, whenever I have to talk myself into publishing a post, is how many times I’d seen aces respond to the “You’re just religious and repressed” invalidation tactic with “That can’t be true because I’m an atheist!” and how many times I’d seen that idea argued on that grounds and how precious few people I’d seen ever question the idea that religious repression can even make someone asexual in the first place, and then I click publish because suddenly I don’t mind the possibly of annoying y’all a little.
…but I digress. There was something else I wanted to talk about here, less about being Christian while ace and more about being ace while Christian, because that’s the one that gives me more to worry about.
See, I have a little bit of a conundrum.
It’s a conundrum that’s very hypothetical and far out in the future, so it’s not too pressing a matter, but since this post is me volunteering to write more on “how religious aces think of their asexuality,” it’s the issue I picked to explore. Granted, this’ll be looking less at asexuality than at sex aversion, but hopefully that’s on-topic enough for y’all.
Let’s say I enter a romantic relationship with another Christian. Let’s say I enter a romantic relationship with a Christian who is allosexual and likes sex, because that’s what’s most likely here. Let’s say that we find ourselves compatible, date for a year or so, and begin considering marriage.
Very hypothetical and unlikely, but bear with me.
This situation comes with two complications. First, as been mentioned a few times before, I don’t know what I am.
Sex-repulsed? Sex-averse? Sex-indifferent? None of those? Something else? A mix of them all? You’d think this would be pretty easy to figure out, but hypothetical scenarios produce inconsistent results, and I’m really not interested in performing any tests in person. As a result of this confusion, I’m not certain enough to label myself sex-averse and create a relationship criterion of “no sex ever”, but I also can’t confidently promise a willingness to provide a sexual relationship andddd the pendulum seems to have swung to the repulsed range of things today, making me feel squicked out by just typing that, but I’m also someone who has experienced abstract sexual desire before, so, it’s confusing and I don’t know what I want.
Second, if I date a sweetheart who’d planned for abstinence until marriage, then that lets me off the hook initially, but the idea behind that whole concept is that “abstinence” necessarily has an expiration date.
These two complications combine to create a problem because I can’t confidently say up-front what I want or don’t want once the marriage begins. And, hey, that’s fine with me, I’m no stranger to figuring things out as I go (it’s the perfect strategy for video games where the control panel is overwhelming and has way too many unfamiliar buttons), but I can’t be sure uncertainty would be just as fine with someone else. I worry someone might say “okay, sure” to how I say I feel, but secretly have expectations going one way or the other (ha okay who am I kidding, it’s just one of those ways, not the other). And you might think most Christians would be okay with forever-nonsexual marriages, but you’d be wrong, and there is approximately no one in the Church that I could count on for support in this regard. I mean, can you picture it? I know how Christians feel about these things. I’m not naive.
This is a similar issue that any sex-repulsed ace who wants a romantic relationship deals with, but I’d be confronting it relatively late in the game, and once you’re married, you’re kind of already “locked in”, so to speak. It doesn’t make ending the relationship impossible, but it does make breaking up more of a hassle if you only discover an incompatibility after the wedding.
So the way to circumvent this would be to forgo the abstinence-until-marriage deal altogether and run some preliminary trials, but I don’t want that, for a lot of reasons, and we’ll be shelving that topic for now. (Except I gotta say, I’ve developed an annoyance reflex to that “gotta test drive the car before you buy it” saying almost on par with my reaction to “we are all sexual beings”, because after seeing people talking about aces who have sex as if they’re comparable to masturbatory aids and sex dolls, or maybe even if it weren’t for that regardless, I really don’t like the idea of being compared to an inanimate object whose primary purpose and function is the provision of a service to a user, and I will stand to hear none of it.)
The other option is to never get married, I guess. That works too, but since dating sounds nice, I wouldn’t pass up a chance at it on that account, and the thing about dating Christians is that they tend to get married a lot. There are Christians who are only interested in dating indefinitely, too, but I have reason to believe that those sort of Christians would be the kind who’d want their nonmarital romantic relationships to be definitively sexual. The abstinence crowd is the only bunch where I’d be free of that pressure, even if for a finite amount of time.
Last of all, I could try to find a Christian who is strongly sex-averse, but that’s creating a set of criteria that excludes even more people than it did before, which just makes the idea seem all the more hopeless.
There’s not much to be done about it, really, but it’s certainly something that would make dating more nerve-wracking, and if me and another person got married and went to couple’s counseling over this issue — whether of a secular or a ministerial bent — I can predict what advice to expect.
“Just have sex. Try some new things. You’ll find something you like.”
But, God, what if I don’t?