This was written for the July Carnival of Aces, on the topic of sex-aversion
I used to think it was really important to figure out whether I was sex-averse or sex-indifferent. I wanted to know what I was, so that I could decide on whether or not I’d be willing to have sex with an allosexual partner. I thought that if I was sex-averse then I shouldn’t be open to having sex with anybody. Whilst if I was sex-indifferent then I should be willing to compromise on sex with an allosexual partner. And I have seen this sort of advice on online asexual forums, and even given such advice myself to other aces.
Yet I’ve never been able to boil all my emotions about sex down into a single label or sentence. I feel differently about different kinds of sex, ranging from being completely averse to finding a sexual act mildly unpleasant or boring – and I’ve never worked out where to draw the line between being averse and indifferent. Then there is the issue of how broadly people define sex. If somebody views sex as being focused on penis-in-vagina (piv) intercourse, then saying I am anything other than sex-averse would be confusing to them – the sort of sex I’m more indifferent too, is probably not what they have in mind.
This post was written to tie in with the May 2014 Carnival of Aces theme of “Asexual Obstacles”
We live in a society where being sexual is the norm. The vast majority of people take it for granted that when people are in a relationship then they will be having sex. Even from the most socially conservative perspective, it is expected that married couples will have sex.
The possibility that a healthy person could just simply not desire sex is rarely considered in discussions of sexuality. And models of happy, successful, sexless relationships are largely missing in the media and sex education. If spoken about at all in mainstream culture, a lack of sexual desire is invariably associated with psychological problems, abuse, hormonal imbalances, or a need for Viagra.
This is the environment in which asexuals have to come to understand their asexuality, figure out what they want when it comes to intimacy, and navigate their first relationships. We may have progressed as a society for the phrase “no means no” to be familiar to most people (even if not always taken seriously), and the more positive “yes means yes” idea of enthusiastic consent is gaining ground. But in all this, the option of saying “never” to sex with a partner is rarely given serious attention.
A recent Feministing post on transgender people having sex with cisgender people attracted many negative comments focusing on the “dishonesty” of transgender people.
First of I’d like to say that I completely agree that it is dishonest for a transgender person and a cisgender person to have sex, full-stop. We live in a world where notions of sexual orientation and gender are defined from a cisgender persective. Since transgender people don’t fit neatly into these cisgender definitions, we are always going to be dishonest.