Portraits of asexual people

Not to veer too far off topic, but picky eaters take a lot of shit. My guess is whatever personality trait makes people irrationally annoyed at differing from social norms is the problem.

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Would your t-shirt read ‘extraordinary pedant’? That would be a great shirt. I want one. In black.

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Sorry, they only come in Dark Charcoal, Jet, or Pitch. :smile:


I moved 3 posts to a new topic: Comment links missing from BB

aka The Figleaf

I was half expecting to see a picture of my ex-wife.


Impressive inguinal ligaments.

What about the brain?

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wouldn’t it make more sense to bring this correction up in discussions on heterosexuals? There seems to be rather more of those people.

But part of the richness of English is we have so many synonyms with slightly different connotations. Eccentric, unusual, abnormal, different, special, weird, strange, etc. all mean essentially the same thing but with different connotations. It strikes me that “unusual” does a fine job of covering the role you suggest for abnormal. Let abnormal be a bad thing, we have other words to give “being a few standard deviations from the mean” a positive light.

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Must… avoid… snark!

Hmmm… Upper north shore? :wink:

I was in Lane Cove, but recently moved to Vaucluse. I’m poor, though. I just managed to score cheap accommodation there.

I have to wonder if it was really necessary to make them all look so forlorn. Are there no happy asexual people?


That really bothered me too.

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In my experience (based on friends and anecdotes), it’s not as bad as, say, homophobic prejudice, which is part of why it’s less visible. Most of what I’ve heard of is, as you say, parents and friends. It is really bizarre how intrusive well-meaning people can get when they think that you’re “missing out” or “just haven’t met the right person yet,” and of course lots of people will uncharitably assume that you’re actually gay and are trying to cover it up. There is, though, a small minority of evangelical types who think anyone who doesn’t at least want to get married and have kids is a pervert defying God’s plan, and it can be a problem if your boss is one of those and finds out.

Also, this isn’t exactly prejudice, but asexuals are not necessarily aromantic. Many of them still want to find a special someone to hug and cuddle and share their life with, they’re just not interested in sex. That can obviously be stressful if an otherwise perfect match is not also asexual. We all love to make fun of dudes who whine about not getting laid, but sex drive is a very real and powerful force for most of us; not being able to get that from the person you love can be deeply frustrating, and similarly it’s frustrating for the asexual who can’t satisfy the person they love.

In successful crossover relationships, different people work it out in different ways. Some asexuals can enjoy sex as an act of closeness and generosity towards their partner, some have open relationships where one partner gets laid elsewhere but always comes home for companionship. It varies.


Oh, fun fact: Edward Gorey was asexual.

According to the Wikipedia entry at least, the definition of Asexuality* is pretty vague and looks like it could cover people who have a really low libido or perhaps lose interest in sex for a period of time (or even just aren’t physically attracted to their partner for some reason):

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) defines an asexual as “someone who does not experience sexual attraction” and stated, “another small minority will think of themselves as asexual for a brief period of time while exploring and questioning their own sexuality” and that “there is no litmus test to determine if someone is asexual. Asexuality is like any other identity – at its core, it’s just a word that people use to help figure themselves out. If at any point someone finds the word asexual useful to describe themselves, we encourage them to use it for as long as it makes sense to do so.”

Researchers generally define asexuality as the lack of sexual attraction or the lack of sexual interest, but their definitions vary; they may use the term “to refer to individuals with low or absent sexual desire or attractions, low or absent sexual behaviors, exclusively romantic non-sexual partnerships, or a combination of both absent sexual desires and behaviors”.

I’m not claiming that it’s not a thing, just that ‘lack of sexual attraction’ could cover a huge amount of factors that may be due to hormones, diet, relationships, lifestyle, physical attraction to your partner, past experiences, culture etc. Some may be treatable in different ways, others are more complex. Japan apparently has a huge number of young people who would classify as asexual, although it presumably wasn’t a foregone conclusion that they wouldn’t be interested in sex.

My wife was sexually abused on a number of occasions during her childhood and was really turned off men in general for much of her teenage years. For a while she wasn’t really sure about her sexual orientation but now feels this was more a lack of romantic interest in men due to her experiences. I wouldn’t refer to her as a romantic asexual at all (and we do sleep together occasionally), but she’s a lot less interested in it and could quite happily go without for months at a time. From my perspective it’s less of a big deal than it used to be; there are plenty of things I value about our relationship and I knew what I was getting into beforehand. Sometimes she’s interested and that’s great, other times it triggers bad memories or she’s not interested. The important thing seems to be that we’re clear about how much we care about each other and show our love in other ways, and that we actually agree on reasonable expectations for the relationship.

There are a few interesting conversations on Reddit that could tie into this - sometimes it seems like a similar situation to gay people who married and then couldn’t understand why the attraction didn’t come before blaming themselves for their ‘defective’ nature. I guess encouraging people to clearly think through who they are and the possibility that typical relationships may not work for them can only help.

*Not this:

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Sure, but so are heterosexuality, homosexuality, and everything else. It’s pretty much par for the course.

Humans are rarely binary. Someone might be mainly interested in women, but have some interest in men. Someone else might be exclusively interested in women until they meet that one singular guy who sweeps them of their feet. A third person might be sexually interested in women but romantically interested in men. Are these people straight? Gay? Bi? Something else? There is no one right answer. It comes down to whatever identity they choose to claim.

You can have two people with the same basic drives and attitudes, one of them happy to identify as asexual, and the other not. You can have one person whose identity changes with time. It’s all good. Sex, gender, and attraction can be fluid.

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That’s quite true, but saying that you have little or no interest in sex seems like it could come from a lot more factors than with a particular sexual orientation. I have no problem with someone using the term for themselves and their sexuality is up to them, but sometimes it’s really just a matter of hormones, counseling or leaving a bad relationship. These have all been tried as cures for homosexuality and don’t work. If someone has no interest in hetero sex but fantasises about homo sex, it’s a lot more clear that going in that direction might be a good choice. Someone who has no interest in sex at all might be better off embracing that identity and looking for relationships where sex isn’t expected, but they might also be better off seeing a specialist for something that may be entirely treatable and could be a sign of an underlying and unresolved issue. This is in no way denying people’s right to self-determination, the inherent fluidity of sexuality or the existence of people who won’t see any benefit from treatment (or don’t want it in the first place), just that lack of interest in sex is much less an indication of asexuality than interest in homosexual sex is an indication of homosexuality.