Posted by: Shula Asher Silberstein | 18 February 2011

Asexuals: The Invisible Community

During the past week, I wrestled with the question of why I didn’t feel inclined to respond to Dan Savage’s negative comments about asexuals. (For anyone who missed it, Savage basically said asexuals were in the business of trapping sexuals into relationships and then denying them sex to torture them.)

I still don’t know why, but I really didn’t care enough to write about it. I mean, yeah, what Savage said was ridiculous and hurtful, but it just didn’t make enough of an impression on me to drive me to write a defense or explain again how difficult relationships can be for asexual persons or any of that.

I guess I think we asexuals do far more to ourselves than the Dan Savages of the world can ever do to us. When I read asexual blogs or peruse asexual forums online, I enjoy the sense of community, but more often than not that seems overshadowed by a real sense of despair. Many asexuals seem to feel that they are the only ones in their community, that finding other asexuals in real life is a hopeless endeavor, and so forth. Sometimes it just seems like asexuality is more of a curse than anything else for some asexuals.

And I understand. I really do. Because I’m as guilty of it as anybody.

For a long time, I figured that if I wanted to meet other asexuals, I’d have to move. The little town I live in barely recognizes anyone who isn’t Christian and heterosexual, and I was sure they’d never even heard of asexuality.

Plus I wasn’t really sure whether I was romantic or not so I figured meeting other aces would have to wait until I got it all figured out.

However, all that’s starting to feel kind of far away. My financial situation isn’t really too great right now. I’m self-employed by choice, but sometimes I doubt that choice because there is so much financial pressure and so many more costs when you work for yourself… taxes are coming up and I’m nervous about doing them because what if I owe a lot of money?

My financial woes could fill a blog by themselves, but the point is that if I’m going to wait until I’m in the “right” place to meet other aces, I may be waiting a very long time. And life is really too short for all that waiting.

So that’s why I had to spend the money to get on meetup.com and get Aces United going even though I was pretty sure I was wasting my money. That’s why I had to try to find other aces in Raleigh instead of waiting until I move to a far away city. It’s too painful to think that I may never find anybody or never be in a position where I can find anybody… so like it says when Mitch and Arthur kiss for the first time, It was now or never, and the thought of never hurt too much.

Since I started my group, four people have signed up and I’ve gone on one date. Well, half a date. I managed to get lightheaded and faint halfway through the date. Think I can cross that restaurant off my list of places to go with dates from now on. Again, a story for another time, but the point is… I went on a date. With an asexual.

I wonder how much of our internal angst comes from believing that we will never find anybody, that people won’t understand, that we have to keep our asexuality to ourselves. I’ve seen the question come up recently of when an asexual should tell hir partner that s/he is ace. Honestly, I don’t understand why this is even a question. I bring it up in the pre-date phone conversation in case the person missed it on my online profiles or didn’t check me out online before asking me out. But for some people, it’s a real struggle, because if I’m asexual s/he might not want to date me, and I will never find anybody.

IMO it all comes down to self-esteem. Yeah, I may never find anybody, and my pseudo-relationship with my best friend is more comfortable than trying to get out there and seeing what’s possible… but if you make yourself invisible, you can not complain when nobody sees you.

I have heard over and over that “asexuals are not broken” and “asexuality is not a disease”. So there is no reason to hide it from people. (I’m not talking mainly about 15-year-olds here. I know there are some parents who think asexuality is another form of homosexuality and would kick their kids out for either one, which is totally wrong.)

Sometimes it can be difficult to come out, but I think asexuals have to find ways to start those conversations. There may be more aces around than you think.


Responses

  1. He wasn’t all that kind to the Asexual blogger who DID respond to him, so don’t feel too bad.

  2. Yeahh…I didn’t feel inclined to respond to Dan Savage, either. His misconceptions are obvious to anyone with a remote understanding of asexuality (and I think those are probably the only people that read my blog anyway.) And he’s so dedicated to being oppositional, it’s not like you’d get him to apologize or change his views (at least, publicly).

    I think it might take awhile before asexuals realize, as a whole, that our needs and desires should be considered on par with those of sexual people, not as something less important/worthy of respect. Hopefully though, it will change with time. And, yay for starting a meetup group! Hang in there, numbers are slow to build, but it’ll happen eventually.

  3. […] Silberstein discusses starting new asexual communities: Sometimes it can be difficult to come out, but I think asexuals have to find ways to start those […]


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