Tag Archives: celibacy

more Lehr quotes

[cw: heterosexism, misogyny, racism, classism]

“We can consider further the importance of sexual exclusivity within marriage and the impact of inclusion into the marriage contract by exploring the regulation of marriage through the requirement of consummation, which guarantees that the family is a sexual family.  Richard Collier (1995) provides a detailed analysis of the construction of appropriate sexuality and masculine identity in British law through legal cases contesting the consummation of particular marriages. In these cases, the courts decide what counts as meaningful enough sexual interaction within a marriage so that the marriage should continue… the courts can void those contracts where they — generally in conversation with ‘experts’ such as medical professionals — determine that appropriate sexuality has not taken place.”

–Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values, p. 28-29

“…In fact, the social privileging of heterosexual monogamy was part of an early twentieth-century attempt to control and civilize European immigrants, and to control and encourage white middle-class women to reproduce.  It was a social norm heavily connected to the middle-class desire to encourage the development of private family life, a life away from the public space of the street.  By forming such isolated family units, men would be influenced by the pro-social desires and needs of their wives; workers would be more hesitant to strike, both because they would be less connected to one another and because they would feel greater responsibility to their wives and children; ideal consumer units would be created; and parents would be able to support their increasingly costly children…  Within this patriarchal construction, women were accorded rights by the state and benefits from the state not as individual, but as mothers and as caretakers of others.”


“…Equally important, [creating and maintaining relationships and that embodied romantic and sexual desire] provided a rationale for addressing what had become a serious social concern — an increased number of educated, middle-class women who were choosing not to marry and not to give birth.

In the period immediately prior to the consolidation of the companionate marriage as ‘normal,’ women chose in extraordinary large numbers to forgo marriage and childbearing… The circumstances that gave rise to an ideology that defined single women and men increasingly as ‘sick’ and dangerous are instructive for us today because they reveal the complex ways by which gender, sexuality, race, class norms, and privilege were woven together through the creation of norms of family.”


“While white middle-class women were giving birth to fewer children in the late 1800s, large numbers of immigrants continued to enter the country and rates of reproduction were higher among immigrants, blacks, and the native working class than for the white middle class.  Spreading the middle-class value of sexual restraint to the working class was one answer to growing fears of ‘race suicide.’ This would only be effective, however, if combined with increasing pressure on white middle-class women to marry and give birth to more children.  President Theodore Roosevelt expressed these desires: ‘By 1906 [Roosevelt] blatantly equated the falling birth rate among native born whites with the impending threat of ‘race suicide.’  In his State of the Union message that year Roosevelt admonished the well-born white women who engaged in “willful sterility” — the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race suicide’ (Davis 1981, 209).”


“The development of hegemonic family centered around companionate heterosexual relationships and had a particularly devastating effect on women who often did not have the economic resources to choose not to marry.  The attack used against women who were choosing to not marry was that they were too androgynous — that is, not accepting of their proper place as women.”


…Does this remind you of anything?

Pap Test CBA

[cw: medical talk, genitals talk, etc.]

Found some ace blogs recommending all folks w/ cervices get pap tests.


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Why give a f*** about passing on your genes?

That’s what I kept thinking both times I saw this conversation.

It’s what I think pretty much any time “evolution” gets invoked in the context of asexuality.

I don’t get the expectation that people should want to be “useful to evolution” (the kind of language people use to talk about obeying the will of a deity).

I don’t get the moralistic personification of evolution as a gardener “weeding out” the badwrong undesirables, who judges your worth and makes you feel guilty for existing.

I don’t get the hand-wringing over “continuing the species,” like I’m supposed to care if humans stop being born one day, like I’m supposed to be personally invested in some abstract notion of Humanity Forever, like I should be sad if we got extinct in some distant future that I’ll never see.

I don’t get the notion that I should care about “passing on my genes,” as if they should have some sort of inherent value to me that extends beyond my own corporeal existence, as if I should be emotionally invested in arbitrary molecular structures the way I am in whole people and ideas and lives.

I just don’t… care?

Why are people expecting me to care?

Who is it who’s out there teaching people to care?

Regarding Virginity’s Existence

Nakiya wrote this post about sexual violence and virginity published today, and I feel selfishly relieved to see someone criticize the “virginity is a social construct” discourse (not because it isn’t a social construct, but more the context in which that phrase comes up and how it’s handled).  My personal experience has more to do with this asterisk:

*I think ‘virginity is a social construct’ as a phrase also rubs me the wrong way because of how it’s used in the sex positivity movement, a movement I want nothing to do with because of how they talk about survivors

…because.  Yeah.  Theoretically, saying “virginity is a social construct” would just mean that it’s more of a cultural, social, and interpersonal idea than it is an embodied physical status and people construct that idea in the ways we communicate about it… but the times I’ve encountered VIASC proclamations it came off more as having a vibe of “virginity doesn’t exist and has no consequences and if you treat it as something relevant to how you conceptualize anyone (including yourself) then you’re wrong” and the priority felt more like a narrow focus on “don’t say negative things about women who have enthusiastically chosen and sought sexual experience,” which, um, sure, but that doesn’t do anything to address how being sexually experienced can be socially weaponized, or to interrogate how and why that sorting mechanism has cultural relevance, or do anything to help me out as a dirty virgin prude.

Makes me think about being told the story of how Evangelical Girl* cut off a guy from participating in a conversation about sexual ethics by saying, “How can you have sexual ethics if you’re a virgin?”

*Evangelical Girl is not an evangelical Christian.  I started calling her that because of how she evangelizes about sex, and because I figure that she would hate me framing it that way.

Anyway I guess my point is the VIASC stuff as I’ve encountered it has been more about getting people to stop using the word/framework of virgin/virginity without fighting to give space to people to stay “virgins” if they want to or have a negative relationship with sex in any way and so in my brain everything has just kind of merged into feeling like VIASC is itself a hostile statement.

Also I highly recommend Nakiya’s post if you didn’t go read it first already.


[cw: rape culture]

One of the highlights of this mess of a nightmare conversation, in which a BDSM practitioner kept getting randomly defensive at me as if I had personally attacked her and kept spectacularly failing to respond to what I was actually saying instead of her tightly-wound bundle of preconceived notions, has to be this part:

Why not lay out all your sex life so we can stand here and tell you how wrong it is and how pathetically uneducated you are?

Mmmmyou mean that thing I’ve already done and that thing that’s already been happening long before now?  You’re late to the party.

I… just.  For Pete’s sake.  You’re talking to an ace on an ace blog about being ace and the issues related to that.

Being criticized for the sex I (don’t) have sure is a novel idea, a true equivalency, and a conversation I find too threatening to dare to have!  That’s why I started a public ace blog, write about being criticized for the sex I don’t have, and have repeatedly argued with the creepy rape apologists who occasionally cross paths with me!  Great going!  You really got me there!

I could probably do a whole series of posts just responding to several different points of her nonsense, but I don’t actually want this to turn into a kink blog, so I’m still thinking about how to balance the thoughts she (and similar others) have stirred with my desire to keep this mostly an ace blog.

Partnership, Desire, Desirability, and the Sex-as-Worth Principle

CN: relationship problems, body-image issues, social pressure, sex as a site of conflict, and related issues (ex. sexual abuse comes up for about a paragraph).  All the sex talk here will be non-graphic, but this post is about interpersonal conflict between partners where one doesn’t want a sexual relationship and the other one does, so brace yourselves for that if you keep reading.  Whenever I see this discussion happen, people seem very eager to consider that the partner who wants a sexual relationship might be well-meaning and non-abusive and genuinely hurt by their partner’s disinterest, so for sake of argument, that’s the narrow hypothetical I’m going to be focusing on for now…

…because even if we want to focus on their side of the story, the reassurance I see always seems to fall short of what I suspect is at the heart of the issue.

If you agree that sex is not a vitamin but also want to acknowledge potential-or-actual damage to self-esteem as a “result” of someone not being sexually desired, this post is for you.

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Patronizing Reminders and Peacemaker Gaslighting

Alternatively titled: “Mommy, where do asexuals come from?”

One of the most bizarre non-ace behaviors I’ve encountered so far is the sexual equivalent of mansplaining, which happens when some pontificating tenderfoot becomes aware of ace people and for some godforsaken reason decides to try and explain to us, unsolicited, the perspective of a non-ace person, as if we haven’t been surrounded by you people from day one.

Look at this mess.

Not only is the original post rude, presumptuous, and ignorant of context (see: allo Solas fans’ repeated refusals to make sexual content in the Solas tag more avoidable, derailing ace Solas posts with sexual comments, attacking people for ace Solas headcanons, the number of people angry about the mere existence of chastemance options, one of whom I met in person, the general anti-celibacy attitude of the fandom, etc.), BUT IT ALSO just… raises a lot of questions.

Such as: Where do you think ace-spectrum people come from?

Do you think we were transported here from another planet, for instance?  Or grew in underground pods and bloomed from the earth once we came of age?

How exactly does it come to pass that aces arrive on the internet 100% unaware of the rest of human culture outside of our recently-formed community and lacking all knowledge of the fact non-aces care about more than sex or that many people see sex as important and beautiful and “a wonderful way to express this spiritual connection that two people share” …?

Do you think ace people have isolated ourselves in self-sufficient communes for the past several centuries and are just now making contact with the outside world?

Do you think you’re the first person to tell us these things?

And, yes, just to get this out of the way: there is nothing wrong with imagining Solas had sex with Lavellan.  Duh.

I’m not aware of anyone arguing to the contrary, though, which makes this come across as a case of the Shame Clause.

Fans who interpret the Solas-Lavellan relationship as sexual (or wish it was depicted as more sexual) are not a minority and are not the ones who need protecting.

And you know what?  Given this whole situation, chiming in with “remember, sex is important to non-asexuals and there’s nothing wrong with not interpreting Solas as ace!” just comes off as gaslighting.

mood whiplash

I keep meaning to write another big theoretical/reflective post, and then things like this happen.

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No Sex *After* Marriage?

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.

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On Solving the Problem of 101 Material

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

  • We have consistently seen some of the same problems repeated in “introduction to asexuality” material.  In contexts where unsafe, exclusive, and damaging material keeps getting spread around, it’s not enough to say “go make your own”.
  • As Sciatrix pointed out, most of the people making these significantly flawed materials appear to people who never engage much/at all with community discussions above the 101 level.
  • One way to remedy this might be to spread 301 discussion in a more accessible way.
    • It’s hard to follow a full discussion on tumblr unless you’re following the participants, and since much of the asexual community is adhering to tumblr as its center, I think Agenda-style linkspams of recent kerfluffles and debates posted to tumblr’s asexuality tag could be an idea worth considering.  This would come with its own challenges, however.
  • It could also be worthwhile to put together some resources on How to Not to Hose Up Your 101 Powerpoint 101, which is what I’m thinking of doing. Continue reading