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.