Tag Archives: celibacy

Your Sex-Normative Ideas Ain’t News

This post is inspired by recent events in the ace tumblrsphere.  Some of the highlights (cw for rape culture): from bessibels–x, x; from scarybalkanlady–x, x, x; from vhenanara, from beranyth–x, x; and the (eventual) apology.  That’s not every single post that was made, but there’s some good (and important) content in those links, so if you choose to read through these, I recommend reading all of them.

There are a lot of different possible takeaways from this, but for now, the one I want to broadcast here is that asexual awareness, asexual education, and the ace community could do more to pass on to sex-favorable and sex-indifferent people (within the community as well as without) the following important memo:  Your sex-normative ideas ain’t news.

There is a .0001% chance that you’re bringing a new idea to the table by suggesting an ace person have sex with their partner.  In the cultures that the English-speaking asexual community is primarily drawn from, you can safely presume that people in romantic relationships have already considered the possibility of having sex with each other (whether they’ve rejected that possibility or not).  The time when it’s appropriate to suggest that aces “try sex” is literally never.  The pressure to have sex, especially within established romantic relationships, is monumental and in-your-face, not some neglected, oft-forgotten possibility buried under dust in the attic.  Unless you’re sure — with good reason to be certain — that you’re conversing with a person from a wildly different cultural context (and no, not even conservative Christian environments are necessarily a determining factor) that somehow hasn’t already reached them with that idea, then you don’t need to bring that up as an potential option as if they haven’t ever thought of it before.  Your sex-normative ideas ain’t news.

When people even within our own community give advice that amounts to, “Well, have you thought about trying sex?” to people who have just expressed distress at the possibility of having sex, it’s morally reprehensible as well as oblivious to our surroundings.

It reminds me of the painful cluelessness that confronted me that time I was hanging out in a dorm living room, talking with the copilot and expressing some irritated confusion at the way sex is treated as an Important Rite of Passage for men in fictional media (to the point of his friends taking it upon themselves to “get him laid”) — a rant that took issue chiefly with forceful social expectations that regard sex as a holy ritual for masculine worth that Must Be Done irrespective of enjoyment or personal interest — when this nearby hetero couple butted in on the conversation to offer this illuminating, new, unheard-of perspective:

“Well, sex feels good.”

And I wish I had exploded then and there, just gone off on them, because even aside from the fact that the entire point of my objection had gone flying straight over their heads — ReAlLy?  “sex fEeLs GoOd”?  nev!Er HeArD that PERspective beFoRE!  it’s not LiKe my WhOlE CuLtuRe is SATURATED with ThAt iDeA!  wh!at FR!ESH I!NSIGHT!

They really did think I’d been living under a rock all my life, I swear.

Come to think of it, it’s not any different from the time I came out to a coworker as ace, and he told me “there are some things that can only be experienced… intimately,” which in context I can only assume translates to, “Well, but sex feels really good though.”

What’s with people acting like I haven’t heard that opinion before?  And not just heard it before, but seen it everywhere, in everything.  I’m drowning in it, for goodness’ sake.

Your sex-normative ideas ain’t news.

On Christians & the Sanctification of Sex

I want to be brief, which means leaving out a lot of important factors in this case, but nonetheless — I want take a moment to talk about how Christians talk about sex, and how other people talk about how Christians talk about sex.

There seems to be this idea that there’s some version of Christianity out there that categorically hates sex (and I get where that’s coming from and all, given that most Christianities are very particular about what kind of sex is acceptable, but last I checked, the Shakers were dying out).  The thing is — I see people responding to this presupposition more often than I see the thing itself.  Continue reading

Todd in the Shadows & Gendered Compulsory Sexuality

Ace Admiral’s post about the Artemis Fly Trap reminded me of the same gut reaction I had to his Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 2012 video.  I like watching Todd’s reviews because I like watching people get angry at bad media, and he’s entertaining sometimes, but there are also times when he makes cringeworthy mistakes that cut down on the enjoyment — and when it came to the song “Wanted”, the disheartening thing is how many people would unthinkingly agree with him.

Why wouldn’t they, you know?  Because “men only want one thing” = men are categorically incapable of genuinely wanting nonsexual relationships with women, right?  Asexual men, those can’t exist, right? Continue reading

The Imperative “Someday”

The other day, a friend of mine shared a sex ed video with me, pleased with its recognition of numerous orientations (even demisexuality, which is unusual for… well, anything, really), and to oblige her, I took the time to watch it.  No more than a few seconds in, as a way of introducing the subject at hand, the guy announced, “Sex is awesome!  You’re going to have it, if you haven’t already–” and I paused the video there because he had already alienated me.

I will not be bashful about being annoyed when this happens.  I hate — and will be vocal about hating — when you can tell that something meant for “everyone” isn’t meant for you.  I hate when something is designed to so blatantly not consider the potential for you to be part of its audience.  I hate when well-meaning sex education is presented with the assumption that I’m not there or that I don’t count, or that people who are undecided about ever having sex wouldn’t be exposed to education on the topic [“Yeah, but aces aren’t expected to watch sex ed videos,” you say, in which case, you can read my post on Asexuality & Sex Ed for why your attitude is harmful].

Doesn’t matter that he went on to give a mention to ace spectrum orientations or that he later affirmed the importance of consent and being “ready”.  There’s still that unwavering confidence in the idea that everyone will have consensual sex someday.

“You’re going to have it,”  he said, with such certainty that, for me, it comes off with an implicit “whether you like it or not.”

I don’t know how to explain or justify how threatening that feels.

Continue reading