For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

Archive for July, 2011

Life’s complicated, Part One: Sex

This series is a message to the social justice community in general, comprising mostly of bashing people’s heads together. (I sense this is going to get a lot of clicks from google, from the title. Sorry, googlers. This is not any sort of sex guide/sexual opinion piece. The opposite, in fact). Part One- Sex-positive people, Sex-negative people and asexuals.

 

Because this conversation happens:

A: “Society is far too obsessed with sex. Sex is assumed to be part of every important relationship, and those who don’t want it are seen as broken and worthless.”

B: “Clearly, you’re not looking hard enough. If you did, you’d discover sex is actually treated fairly harshly. Those who show any interest in it are often ostracised or even attacked. Large parts of our shared culture don’t provide any decent sex education and all people get is a sense of shame.”

A: “No, it’s you who isn’t looking hard enough! You don’t understand the shame and fear people have to live through when they don’t want sex. If you did, there’s no way you’d make out that it was so easy for us.”

B: “But society is fundamentally sex negative!”

A: “Nu-uh!”

B: “Ya-ha!”

A: “Nu-uh!”

B: “Ya-ha!”

And so on. And on. And on. It doesn’t just happen. It happens a lot.

Stop it.

What the fuck made you think that the entirety of at least two continents worth of culture could express its entire view of sex as: “It’s good.” Or “It’s bad”? Why are we arguing on the basis that society is some great monolithic whole? There’s shitloads of nuance here. I can’t believe it’s passing you by.

So stop using the phrase ‘sex-negative society’. It’s a stupid phrase. Stop denying the experiences of others, or assuming that, while there might be outliers, the thing that matters is what affects you.

Also, make sure that everything you say or write supports this. If you say, for example, ‘society fundamentally wants everyone to have sex’ then you have no right to be angry when someone points out that there’s some fairly hefty social pressures on a lot of people (priests, women, disabled people and queer people come to mind, but, again, even these issues have a lot of nuance- see oversexualised queer people or women without a choice) not to engage in sex, definately not the sex they want when they want it.

 

And, for the love of god, don’t try to pick the nuance apart and give it a slightly new rationalisation that serves for the next five minutes but is also clearly untrue. Such as: Poorer communities are more anti-sex, richer communities are more unthinkingly pro-sex. America is more anti-sex, Europe is more unthinkingly pro-sex. Men are allowed to have sex, but women are shamed for it (Oh, there’ll be more on this one later. Count on it). Essentially, this is an exercise in poking your head out of your thought bubble for just a minute or so and checking in with reality, rather than carrying on carving up people into groups and deciding what, in your rhetoric, people’s experiences should be. It’s a skill which academicy social justice is really, really bad at.

Say it with me, folks:

“Our society, as it is, can be a harmful place to practice sexuality and also a harmful place to refuse to practice it. This doesn’t come in simple patterns, one person can be judgemental about people who have too much or the wrong kind of sex and judgemental about people who refuse to have it. Let’s accept that each other’s problems are real and aren’t a threat to our ideologies in any way, as long as our ideologies are based on the fact that people are individuals, that the world is complicated. If not, then it’s our ideologies that need to change, not the people who they erase.”

That wasn’t so difficult, was it? Join me next time for ‘Life’s complicated: Gender’.

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STOP THE PRESSES!

Ok, so apparently they were HIDING the overwhelmingly misandraic stuff behind innocuous looking tabs and bad website design.

Canny bastards.

Now, because I’m apparently very self-indulgent today, I’m going to go over the rest of it. You may want to skip this post.

Let’s start with the equal and opposite of what Holly first mentioned. They ask what sexuality you are, including homosexual, and then Q1 assumes you want a romantic relationship with a woman.

Q6 is the textbook example of a question which could so easily have not been a leading question:

Do men get screwed by the courts in divorce?

 Yes.

 No, men and women generally get fair and equal treatment.

 No, if anything, women are the ones who get screwed by the courts.

Q9. How many dates should a man pay for?

 All of them.

 The majority of them until the relationship is established.

 The majority of them for the duration of the relationship.

 No more than the woman does.

 None. The woman should pay for them all.

Compare and contrast with the women’s survey. It’s almost like they know what answers they want, and are using a mixture of closed and open questions to get them. Almost.

Q13. Do you know anyone who has set up a secret Facebook account to conceal a relationship from his girlfriend/wife?

 Yes.

 No.

 I have done so myself.

Is it just me, or does this not make sense at all? So you create a new account so your mistress can add you as a friend. But presumably, you don’t want your ENTIRE circle of contacts to be in on it, so you have no, or very few, friends on the other account. So your mistress either knows that your new facebook account is secret because you don’t want to get caught, at which point, why aren’t you just using email? Or she thinks it’s your public account, and that you have practically no friends. And what happens when your partner’s mother or some other acquaintance searches for your name and comes up with the secret account not the public one? Or with both accounts? THIS PLAN MAKES NO SENSE. Why can you not just use email?

Q17. How often do you make an effort to be romantic?

I’ve decided to be bitter about this question. *is bitter*

Q19. Do your current/past partners recognise your efforts to be romantic?

There’s no option for ‘I haven’t dated’. Also, no option for ‘I’m not romantic,’ even if you’re using the word in the sense they’re using it.

Public health message on Q22: Have you ever lied about the number of sex partners you’ve had?

The answer ‘Yes, it’s no-one’s business but my own’ is wrong. You’re not allowed to lie to potential partners about your sexual history. /Message.

Qdidn’t makeanoteofthenumberandcbatogoback. In your opinion, how often do couples with healthy sex lives have sex?

I found out the other day that the NHS gives out sexual aids on the basis that people will have sex once a week, because that’s the average. Any more than that, no luck. Any less, what a waste.

This fascinating Radio 4 tidbit is intended to fill the void in this post where my opinion about how much sex you should be having should be.

Q24. Have you ever insincerely told a woman you love her in order to get sex?

This is possibly the best example, but all the questions here are based on the idea that men are sexually voracious and hunt women. There’s always the option to say ‘no, I’m not like that’, but there aren’t questions about, for example, how much you value romance for its own sake, or whether you’ve ever been lied to by a woman.

The statistics that are going to come out of this will be fairly strongly pointing in the direction that men do whatever they want to get sex and women never offer it willingly, because those are the questions they never ask.

Q25. Have you ever fantasised about a partner’s friend?

 Yes, I fantasise about her friends regularly.

 Yes, I have in the past, but I try to avoid it now.

 No, but I have to restrain myself from doing so.

 No, I have no interest in any of her friends.

This is the second question I nominate for the ‘How not to make a survey’ textbook. It’s simply classic as an example of a subtly moralising question. It doesn’t say “FANTASISING IS WRONG. DO YOU DO IT?” but it insinuates it with every word. And, for the record, I don’t see what’s wrong about it. Non-monogamous non-romantic asexual is essentially clueless as to why this is an issue. And is actually struggling, at this point, not to turn the entire thing into a theology debate about the teachings of Jesus, because that would just be far more interesting and relevant to modern life. Fortunately, I’m not quite that self-indulgent. *deletes theology paragraph*

Q26. Of the choices below, which sexual act do you most fantasise about engaging in with your partner?

 A threesome.

 Anal sex.

 Sex in public.

 Filming ourselves having sex.

 None of these.

If you’ve been keeping up to date with Holly’s Cosmocking series, you’ll know why this is a bad question. Essentially, Cosmo has an article lined up with “_% of men think __ is the best thing ever!”, or, more likely, “All men love ___”. And they’ll slot in the winning option. It doesn’t actually mean anything about what men love, because they’ve already decided all the answers which will be acceptable. And these answers will seem like they’re coming out of the mouths of men, not magazine editors.

Q27. Would you be willing to tell your partner that you want to engage in this fantasy together?

 Yes.

 No, I would be scared that she wouldn’t be into it.

 No, I would be scared that she’d think I was a pervert.

Here’s a subtle one. There is no option for ‘I DON’T want to engage in the fantasy with my partner. I just like fantasising about it.’ Which says a lot about our attitude to fantasies and desire (especially when you might find something, like filming sex, hot in theory but too risky in practice).

In fact, the lack of ‘No, I’m scared I wouldn’t be into it’ could say something about the way we characterise sexual exploration for men.

Public service announcement #2: For question 30: Would you be offended if a woman faked an orgasm during intercourse with you?, the answer ‘Yes,  I would be offended that I wasn’t able to pleasure her’ is the wrong answer. Orgasm =/= pleasure. Also, you have to be offended AT someone or something. Are you annoyed at her because you couldn’t pleasure her? How does that make the situation better, or prove that you’re a mature adult? Also, you know that something like 70% of… eugh, fuck it. Everyone reading this knows all this anyway.

There is a question about whether the man has faked an orgasm, though. Which I approve of.

Q35. At what point does a woman become sexually promiscuous?

Answers range from 5-50 sex partners (at least they’re acknowledging homosexuality again), then ‘never’. I think the answer is 2.

Interestingly, 2 is also the answer to the question ‘Out of the last 3 questions in this section, how many are direct repeats or rephrasings of questions at other points in the survey?’

Q11 (wait, whut?) In your opinion, of the choices below, which country has the best-dressed men? 

 U.S.

 UK.

 France.

 Spain.

 Japan.

 Germany.

 Australia.

 Brazil.

 Italy.

I skipped a load because they were dull and about cars (or about clothes, but completely ignoring the existence of charity shops). But this one reminds me of a question on a personality test, where your choice presumably says something meaningful about you. Possibly what character in Hetalia you’re most like.

Q13. Who would win in a cooking competition between you and your partner?

 I would win.

 She would win.

 I am single.

YOU ADMITTED THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE HOMOSEXUAL! YOU INVITED THEM TO TAKE YOUR SURVEY! YOU SPECIFICALLY MADE PROVISION FOR THEM! WHAT! THE! FUCK!!!

Q14 is about which body parts women like. Unsurprisingly, cock isn’t there. But nor is face, hair, smile, eyes. Any of the stuff I really go for (or would choose in my choice of same-gendered male-male queer partner *hint hint*). This is why we have headless men on the packaging of all underwear ever. Because men have this weird notion that nothing above their neck is sexy. Which must be partly being fed by the fact that the other things become sexy when you pay money at a gym, wheras your smile becomes sexy when you feel confident in the body you’re in.

Lots of questions about business and career. The statistics will show that men care about their careers and women are strangely silent on them. That’s because the statistics didn’t ask.

Q20. Do you feel that you have ever been sexually harassed in the workplace?

I like this question. There have been a handful like this, and, at this late stage in the game, I decided it was unfair to only do the problematic ones. AskMen has done some things right, and some of their questions are much less stereotyped and have much greater integrity than I expected.

Of course, what with the fact that relatively few respondents on any internet survey will have been harassed at work, and the fact that people in general, male people in particular, are taught not to recognise harassment, not to mention the disproportionate number of AskMen readers who I expect to be relatively young (thus not necessarily in career mode yet) and keen on proving their manliness through their sexual voracity (it’s a site dedicated to ‘how to be masculine’. You know it’ll attract some of that sort), what we’ll probably end up seeing is that the response to this looks tiny compared to the response to, say, ‘Would you lie for sex?’. But kudos on asking.

Q21. Do women put too much value on a man’s financial worth?

 Yes, and it bothers me that women are so shallow.

 Yes, but men put a lot of value on women’s looks, so it balances out.

 Yes, but it works to my advantage.

 No.

This was in the Women’s Survey too. It makes a lot more sense now I know it was copied directly over from the Men’s.

Q22. Of the choices listed below, which one workplace achievement gives you the greatest satisfaction?

 Completing a challenging project.

 Being publicly applauded for a job well done.

 A flirting session with the secretary.

 Humiliating a colleague by publicly defeating him in an argument.

 Winning a cross-board stare-down.

 So apart from wondering what a cross-board stare-down is (is it like the apprentice, where they’re all moody and manly and make their egos fill up the room with no sense of self-awareness? Or is it when you’re stuck in a meeting that’s really dull so decide to make stupid faces at the person across the table from you?), and kinda loosing the points I awarded them for awareness about workplace harrassment, I think this question is a good example of the rest of the survey.

Compare with the last question Holly reviews. Compare and contrast. There is an equivalent ‘status symbol’ question later, but the fact that they have this, in amongst a list of questions about career aspirations and ethics, really shows what they expect of a man. And what they don’t expect of a woman.

Where did you find all these great men anyway?

Having just read the amazing Holly Pervocracy’s review of Cosmo’s ‘Great Women’s Survey’ (summary: “this isn’t really “The Great Female Survey.” This is “The Great Female Survey About Males.” Activities that a woman might engage in that don’t include men (or at least don’t include sex/romance with men) don’t get much of a look in”) I decided to scurry over to the opposite ‘Great Men’s Survey’ to deconstruct fastidiously the appalling sexism and heterosexism within.

Q1. Who would make a better King?

Prince Harry

Prince William

Prince Charles

Buh? Where’s my manly man things? Well, I suppose ruling the country is a manly man thing. There must be more later.

 Q2. Which gender is winning?

Men

Women

It’s not a competition

This question… this question is phrased so that gender egalitarians can answer it, right? In fact, it’s phrased preferentially towards their answer. I mean, the question, in the way it’s written, doesn’t even make sense. The idea of a gender of people ‘winning’ is surely a parody of the ‘gender war’? It makes it laughable.

Q3. How should the UK reboot the economy.

Now you’re just taking the piss. ‘Is the UK still a great global power?’ ‘Should we increase our nuclear power?’ ‘When is political assassination justified?’ Really? If you genuinely had 43 questions which you could ask all men, but only men (and not, say, people), these would be it? Not, for example, ‘Do you think men should be the highest earners in a family’, ‘So, women, eh?’, ‘In ten words or less, what’s it like to have a penis?’ (Yes, all questions hetero- and cis- sexist. But the survey made me answer ‘rather not say’ for my sexuality, I don’t think they care too much).

So we get to the sexism, by and by (and by ‘the sexism’, I mean, assuming that men are men and women are women, rather than assuming that women are women and men are people, which is all over this, but doesn’t show up unless you’ve read the women’s quiz). One question asks how you work out, and somehow fails to mention dance/athletics. It doesn’t really go into the idea of ‘working out’ for pleasure, it seems like just a gruelling task men have to do. (And one of the options is ‘Personal Trainer.’ The way I understood it, personal trainers make you do at least one of the other things, they aren’t a workout option all on their own. Unless I’m VERY wrong on the functions of a personal trainer.)

(I would have loved, parenthetically, to see this question:

Q13. Which type of working out do you perform most regularly?

Long multiplication

Percentages

Long division

Trigonometry

Maths is a man thing, right?)

A lot of the questions are just lazy. For example:

Q43. Have David Cameron and Nick Clegg changed life in the UK?

So to acknowledge that Cameron is generally bad for our health, I’d have to pretend to believe that Nick Clegg has any power and influence? My answers for the two are really not the same.

Q20. Who should have been cut some slack by the media for his sexual transgressions?

List of celebrities I have vaguely heard of

None of the above. They all got what they deserved.

This is one of several questions in the survey where the only-tick-one-box system doesn’t work at all. It might work slightly better if there was an option for ‘All of them, I think the press has no particular right to judge people for their private sexual decisions, however foolish they are’ or ‘I have no idea what these men did. The only celebrity gossip I hear is the stuff that percolates down to feminist blogs.’ And, yes, this question assumes and, in assuming, will likely seem to prove, that men are harshly judgemental of those who stray outside agreed sexual behaviour, or that they are sympathetic towards those who cheat. I think what reading about the Weiner ‘scandal’ taught me is that any interaction is complicated and multifaceted. What people saw as the ‘crucial’ thing about Weinergate was always different, for some, it was that his lying to the public, for others, it was the relevance to his job, for others, it was the lack of the hypocrisy that you get when an anti-gay politician gets caught in flagrante, for others, it was that the images were foisted on people who didn’t ask for them. It’d be easy, I expect, to make a strong case why the ‘winner’ of this poll was different from the others and assume that this is what the poll ‘proves’, when he was actually voted in for a completely different reason. In the same way that I answered ‘Charlie Sheen’ for ‘Q36. Of the choices below, which male public figure are you most tired of hearing about?’, and they’ll probably assume that my reasons for being tired of hearing about him are the same as theirs, and not, say ‘It depresses me that our media can have such mawkish glee in the recovery attempts of a drug-addicted and mentally ill man simply because he’s famous.’

There are about 2 more questions which could be argued to be specifically about men. One (and I’m including this because it would never be in the woman’s version) is:

Q33. What would you rather have?

A child

A dog

Both

Neither

To misquote JRRT: “That’s cheating, you snook two questions in at once.” The question makes little more sense than ‘Would you like a car, a lollypop, both, or neither?’

Finally: Q34. Which of the following best defines a “Real Man” in 2011?

Being a great leader and motivator.

Being charismatic and popular.

Being a great seducer and/or lover.

Being a great father and husband who takes care of his family.

Being wealthy.

Having manly skills, like the ability to fix things.

None of the above.

Guess which I picked? Annoyingly, this question is the heart of the ‘Tell us your sexist views now! Wait, there isn’t an option if you don’t have any? Stop whining! What sort of man are you?’ which so dominates the Great Women’s Survey. And here, it’s just two questions, both of which have options the non-gender essentialist can tick without remorse. As Holly said about the ‘sluts and whores’ question, there is no option for ‘That word you used is not a real word! Just so you know…’ but it’s not… bad.

So what takes the place of all these questions about how gender roles are awesome, aren’t they? and how you are currently trying to ensnare your opposite-sex partner? Video games.

Or, more accurately, technology. 18 out of 43 questions, close to half, are about personal gadgets. They’re questions which make me feel more isolated than even the one about how to stimulate the British economy (If I knew that, I’d bloody well be running for Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

There is a lot of repetition. Such as ‘Which screen do you spend most time behind, not at work’ and ‘When not at work, which gadget do you most use,’ both of which have exactly the same answers. There is the casual assumption that everyone has a smart phone (I’m sorry if I prize go-anywhere rigidity and the ability to last for two weeks without mains electricity. My lifestyle needs clearly aren’t sophisticated enough for you. Wait until the apocalypse. I have an app for that.)

There is a question about who you most regularly play video games with, including an option on ‘friends, in person’, and then the next question asks whether you play games on: MY computer, MY console, MY handheld gaming device. Apparently purely social gamers like me who occasionally use other people’s consoles or watch as they play don’t exist. Or they’re all women. Or something.

So this is the Great Binary Survey, folks. Women like men. Men like computers. And also have opinions about the world, including a precise knowledge of exactly how the economy works. I feel aggrieved, as a man, that my survey was far less rebukable than the Woman one. Men like important things, like politics, and cool things, like computers. I suppose if men like important things, that makes men important, which therefore means women also like important things. Nifty.

 We’re just generally assumed to be people. And people who might be able to spot a really bad or misleading survey, at that.

(yes, this post was NOTHING to do with asexuality. At all! The reason is simple: I am very self-indulgent. Get used to it)

 

EDIT: This post now has a PART TWO. Somehow.

Said the bad asexual fairy:

Image: Pinkie Pie, the overenthusiastic and gregarious horse from My Little Pony; Friendship is Magic, is rearing up on her hind legs. She has been crudely photoshopped to resemble a Bad Asexual Fairy, with an ace-of-spades shaped wand, sparkly wings and an asexual flag over her flank. Behind her, and partly obscured by her, is a wall of text, starting with large font and ending up tiny. This says:

GREAT, YOU’RE ASEXUAL! HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT ROMANTIC ORIENTATION YOU ARE YET?! WE ALL HAVE ONE! (KINDA). THAT GUY OVER THERE IS HOMOROMANTIC, HE’S ATTRACTED TO PEOPLE OF THE SAME GENDER, BUT NOT IN A SEXUAL WAY! ISN’T THAT GREAT! BUT IT DOESN’T STOP THERE! IF THAT DOESN’T HELP, YOU CAN SPLIT YOUR CONCEPTS OF ATTRACTION DOWN INTO SMALLER AND SMALLER PARTS UNTIL YOU HAVE A REALLY GOOD IDEA WHAT MAKES YOU TICK, AND, HEY LOOK, A CONVERSATION ABOUT NON-TRADITIONAL INTIMACY MODELS, YOU COMING? SO IT DOESN’T MATTER TO US WHAT YOU DECIDE YOU ARE–THE IMPORTANT BIT IS THAT YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR LABEL FITS AND IS COMFORTABLE, AND IF THE WORDS DON’T WORK YOU SHOULD TOTALLY MAKE SOME UP!!! MAKE UP SOME WORDS! GO ON! IT’S FUN! HERE, TRY SOME PUNS!! HAVE A GOURD! DOES THIS FIT? NO? WELL, HOW ABOUT THESE? DO THESE MODELS SEEM USEFUL? LOOK! I DREWED YOU A GRAPH! AND ANOTHER GRAPH, I DIDN’T LIKE THAT ONE!! YOU ARE THE POINT OF ORIGIN! NOW YOU’RE SPECIAL!! HOORAY! LOOK, HERE’S A RIDICULOUSLY COMPLEX SPIDER CHART! HOW MANY MORE DIMENSIONS DO YOU NEED? I’M UP TO 26! YOU SHOULD SEE IF YOU CAN CHART YOUR ORIENTATIONS TO BOTH MEN AND WOMEN AND POSSIBLY NONBINARY PEOPLE!! HAVE YOU NOT QUESTIONED YOUR GENDER YET, BY THE WAY? GET THEE TO A YADARY! IT’S FUUUUUUUUN! AND WHAT MAKES GENDER ANYWAY? HAVE SOME MORE LABELS…

The image is based on a conversation Sci and I had after reading Dan Savage’s interview with DJ, and the text is all taken from that conversation. Essentially, this is the standard reaction towards anyone who enters the asexual community. It explains why asexuality is actually one of the worst places to be if you’re in denial of yourself.

I suppose I should have a serious reaction to the interview. I don’t, really. Savage is still trying to make it seem as if asexuals are trying to keep their shameful secrets until the wedding night, to ensnare people, when our actual concern is simply that asexuality should come out at about the same time as other baggage, not in the first five minutes of the first date. It’s definitely something to have been addressed by the first time you have sex, or would have had sex, and that’s not the stage, in most of Western society, by which you’ve committed an irretrievable mass of time and energy to the relationship (possibly? I know nothing about romantic norms). I think it’s reasonably obvious when a relationship is still a musing over potential and when it’s an actual thing that is committed to. The entire thing feels like a non-issue to me.

So my only strong reaction was “Bad Asexual Fairies?!!?! NOW I know what I’m wearing to World Pride!”

100% positive

This post is about holding asexuals to a particular standard of non-judgementalism in sexual matters. I’ve seen it said that the existance of judgemental asexuals reflects badly on asexuals as a whole. Which is not just wrong on the basis that it judges everyone in the minority by the standards of one member’s faults. It is also wrong because it is blatently hypocritical.

Let’s look at ‘sexuals’ (the outgroup word for ‘people who feel sexual attraction’, for any non-familiar readers) as a monolith. These people feel sexual attraction. Some proportion don’t feel especially inclined to act on that, or have more important things to do (by their own prioritising, not by any universal one), but a lot of sexual people are wired to really love sex. They seek it out. It brings them pleasure. Our aromantic research division has even uncovered evidence that sex is inextricably linked to love, closeness and commitment for many sexuals. These people have often gone through life aquiring personal evidence that sex=nice.

So they should be 100% sex-positive, right? They should realise that sex can be a really good thing, that it shouldn’t be bound, as long as it’s within the realms of genuinely consenting adults, that judgementalism about sex is never, ever acceptable.

Turns out they don’t.

Now let’s take asexuals. These people don’t experience sexual attraction. Some of them find sex enjoyable anyway, some of them like sex because they find it helps establish closeness and romantic affection. Some of them don’t like sex, which isn’t surprising. When you take all the good stuff about sex away, the attraction and arousal and self-esteem elements, you end up not with a neutral activity, like squash, but a mildly/very icky activity, like rolling around in someone else’s sweat, saliva and genital fluids while being constantly reminded that society thinks you’re broken. A lot of asexuals didn’t even find out they were asexual until they had been through years of this ordeal, or at least thinking that this ordeal was inevitable, or just thinking they were broken for not wanting it. Essentially, what you have with asexuals is a group of people who have, over the course of their lives, been assembling personal evidence that sex=not nice.

And an awful lot of these people will actively champion your right to it. But expecting 100% of them? Expecting the people who’ve had reason not to like sex, who have relied on what society says because they don’t have any internal senses or evidence which contradicts that, to be BETTER at this than you? That’s hypocrisy.

And, while we’re on the subject, and because I simply refuse to write an entire post about this, the idea that asexuals in general, demisexuals in particular, are turning slut-shaming into a faux-marginalised identity, which has been all over tumblr recently. Just no.

Saying (earnest voice) “I don’t like sex,” (while also not being the definition of asexuality) is a PERSONAL TRUTH. It, in itself, says NOTHING about what you think about people who like sex. Saying it in a snobbish voice might, and reading it in a snobbish voice because this is the internet and it’s easy to mistake tone might make it sound as if it does. But there is essentially NO WAY of getting the information of one’s lack-0f-sex-liking out without saying “I don’t like sex.” You could follow this with “I don’t have anything against those who do,” every single time you say it. But that’s unweildy, normally unneccesary and still able to be read as a subtle hint that you’re actually a slut-shamer.

Alternatively, you could continuously frame your dislike of sex as a minority status and a personal truth. You could, for example, put yourself on a ‘sexuality’ model, where no sexuality is assumed to be any ‘better’ than any other, where campaigners for alternate sexualities have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want to convert everyone, they just want freedom for those who happen to be that sexuality. This is pretty much the only way I can think of signalling to everyone that your sexuality is not something you proselytise, it’s something you are. If even that doesn’t work, I have a serious question- how can someone say they don’t like sex without that automatically meaning the same thing as sex being bad and wrong and inferior? Aside from, you know, other people just getting over themselves and realising that identities are personal, and asexuality and demisexuality clearly frame themselves as equal-but-different minorities? Because that would be ludicrous.

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