I got my first taste of Ace-phobia today. I’d always known there was severe misunderstanding, of course — I did have to convince my therapist that I was Ace, after all, and I’m still never sure whether some of my friends and family realize I’m asexual rather than lesbian. I constantly struggle with the fact that asexuality is so invisible. I want to be open about my own asexuality as much as possible, although I’m n ever sure of exactly how to do that. Asexuality is kind of hidden by default… just as most people are presumed to be straight, most people are presumed to be sexual, and unless the subject comes up, it’s hard to correct that impression.
Anyway, back to my original point. I was interviewed by Asexual News the other day. When the interview was posted, I shared it on my Facebook. Most people congratulated me on having been interviewed. One person, however, told me they were “frightened” by my “self-indulgence.”
Since I hadn’t said anything that was in the slightest self-indulgent and certainly nothing frightening, I was rather confused by this response. After some back and forth, the real issue came out: the person did not believe there is any such thing as asexuality and was offended by my labeling myself as asexual. My reference to 68 million other asexuals in the world failed to impress this person; his final words before choosing to drop me from Facebook were these:
Your level of self-importance and pretense is offensive. There is no such thing as an unsexed human. I’m also not going to keep a scorecard on how many intersexed people we may have known. Whether we elect to copulate is rather immaterial, …in the scheme of things, and pretty much a crapshoot, a lot of the time. However…
To physically engage, whether it is a sexual act or not, is a pleasurable thing. There’s also food, and heroin, and coffee, among other options. Your not valuing it places you into a bizarre minority that has no goal, no consensus value system, and no method of maintenance beyond the concept of resisting sex. You are ridiculous. I would think the same of a neutered dog, but even they still try to hump each other.
If you’re going to say that I “just don’t understand what you’re doing,” then I think I’ll have to live with that. LIfe is rather too short not to use my body as I see fit. If you think you’re doing something better, then power to you, but do not ever try to explain that nonsense to me, or anyone else with genitals.
You may think that you’re escaping gender, orientation, and sexual identity…but you’re not. You are not that clever, and you never will be.
I’m sharing this here even though the hurt I felt reading it has long since evaporated because I want my non-asexual readers to know exactly why it is that I talk about asexuality and participate in awareness campaigns and complain about offensive ads and do the myriad of other things that I do to make myself visible. There’s a special kind of pain that comes with someone informing you that your identity doesn’t exist. Trans people face it often, and unfortunately for them in many places the law attempts to deny that they are who they say they are. I’ve faced many people telling me that I’m not really asexual, but never anyone telling me that I’m making it up for self-gratification.
As for the rest of the crap that was said here, I’m having trouble understanding why anyone seriously believes as this person does. Asexuality is not a form of stating that people who don’t experience sexual attraction are better than those that do. One of my fears in hanging out with sexual people is that people will think that, though. There seems to be an attitude that anyone who isn’t interested in sex thinks sex is evil or something.
Anyway, in case anyone is wondering why I state openly that I’m Asexual or why I post about it often, or is thinking about telling me (again), “We all know you’re Asexual, stop talking about it,” this is why. The majority of people don’t know that Asexuals exist and some of them assign really bizarre and nefarious motivations to those of us who self-identify. So to combat the general attitude that Asexuals don’t exist and the specific attitude that Asexuality is some kind of snobbish fad identification, I talk about it.
I am not content to remain invisible just because that puts me one step ahead of people who are actively oppressed. I wish that I didn’t have to shout so loud, but Asexuality is so far under most people’s radars that the alternative is to remain invisible and irrelevant forever.