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Poster:  KAGU143
Forum: Blog Post Discussion
Post24 Jun 2015, 14:54
No new posts
To see and read the entire article by Daniel Krieger, complete with photos, click this link:
http://aplus.com/a/As-The-Asexuality-Mo ... f=twt%3Bns

(He contacted Apositive, and asked that we share his blog.)

This copy/paste is most of the text:

As The Asexuality Movement Is Gaining Traction

This summer will likely mark two important milestones in the evolution of sexuality in the United States. The Supreme Court is expected to declare gay marriage legal in all 50 states by the end of the month, and a long-awaited drug for boosting women’s libido is on its way to FDA approval.

The controversial pharmaceutical, flibanserin, is meant to whet the sexual appetite of women diagnosed with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. But while they may feel troubled by their lack of interest in sex and would very much like to change that, there's another non-sexual type of person who is more likely to be content with the absence of sexual desire for either gender: asexuals.

Now recognized as a sexual orientation in its own right, asexuality is widely misunderstood, often mistakenly viewed as a sexual problem or just celibacy, something any sexual orientation can choose. Asexuals meanwhile are not making a choice to abstain from sex. It’s who they are.

David Jay, founder of The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, in 2005.
David Jay, founder of The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, in 2005. David Jay via Flickr/Creative Commons
Estimated at roughly 1 percent of the population, according to a UK survey from a decade ago, in recent years this group has formed a vibrant online community whose hub is The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN. Founded in 2001 by David Jay, a college student who wanted other asexuals like him to realize that they are okay just as they are, the group now boasts over 80,000 registered members, and has the goals of "creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community."

Awareness is spreading and more people are identifying as asexual, but understanding still lags. So Julie Sondra Decker, an author and asexual awareness activist who along with David Jay has been a major voice in the asexual community, wrote “The Invisible Orientation.” Published last year, it’s the first book geared toward the general public that covers the basics of the asexual experience from an insider's perspective. The media attention it garnered has helped spread the word.

Courtesy Skyhorse Publishing
Courtesy Skyhorse Publishing
"The book needed to exist because there was a void," says Decker. "It's definitely reaching people that it wouldn't have otherwise." An online group like AVEN has been "a great starting point for a lot of people," she goes on, but the book widens the reach even more, especially for those not active on the Internet, and lends an air of legitimacy to the young movement, which some gleefully scoff at.

And then there are the folks who are well-intentioned but simply ignorant, including healthcare practitioners who may be too quick to diagnose a patient's lack of sexual interest as a disorder. The problem, says Decker, is that "people who don't know any better will be listening to these authority figures and assuming something must be wrong with them."

Although the most recent edition of the DSM does note that asexuality is an exception to certain sexual disorders, Decker feels it doesn't go far enough in helping doctors and patients distinguish between a sexual disorder and asexuality. While distress about lack of interest in sex could indicate a disorder, some asexuals, aware of their orientation or not, may feel profoundly troubled simply because of all the grief coming their way. "It's hard to parse out which parts of the distress are intrinsic and which parts are instilled by negative interactions with people who value sex," Decker says.

Even though asexuals still sometimes have to defend the validity of their existence when dealing with skeptics in mainstream hetero culture as well as inside the LGBT community, whose umbrella they now fall under as they march in Pride parades, acceptance has been growing. "It's definitely a different world from five years ago," says Decker, recalling when the mention of her asexuality was met with unsympathetic reactions. "More recently, so many people that I mention it to have heard of it before or they know someone else who identifies that way."

The asexual flag: black stands for asexuality, gray for gray asexuality, white denotes non-asexual partners and allies, and purple represents community.
The asexual flag: black stands for asexuality, gray for gray asexuality, white denotes non-asexual partners and allies, and purple represents community. Wikimedia
One thing that can be especially challenging for people to grasp is the broad continuum among asexuals, some of whom experience no sexual attraction, while others do but lack sexual desire or have a low level of it if they do.

Antonia, a 45-year-old asexual woman living in Brooklyn who didn't share her last name for privacy's sake, falls into the latter group, known as "gray-A," though she prefers “semi-sexual” or “semi-asexual,” which are among a host of subcategories. She can feel attracted to men, and has had a few boyfriends over the years whom she kissed and had sex with, albeit rarely. "But it's like, I could be doing something else," she says with a good-natured laugh. "Sex doesn't do anything for me."

Antonia didn't learn about asexuality until her late 30s when she was filling out an online dating profile. Trying to be as honest as possible, she wrote that she was "naturally celibate." Then she got the idea to see if there might be a pool of celibate guys to date. A few taps at the keyboard led her to an asexual dating site. "I was like, oh that's a thing!" she says.

Antonia on a recent evening in Central Park.
Antonia on a recent evening in Central Park. Daniel Krieger
This new understanding led her to discover that two of her close friends are also asexual. It's also been helpful with dating, which remains a low priority for her. "It was a big relief," she says.

Soft-spoken and with an air of serenity, Antonia seems at peace with herself. The biggest challenge for her when it comes to her asexuality is finding a community where she can fit in. She has gone to local events for asexuals like Meetup groups, but to her the scene seems to skew pretty young and is focused largely on talking about asexuality and what it all means. "I'm kind of over it," she says. "I just want to be around other people who happen to be asexual and do regular stuff." Many of the celibacy groups are religiously oriented, which she is not, though she does practice an eclectic mix of shamanic and mystical traditions.

As far as people's lack of understanding goes, it does occur sometimes. She recalls a man she’d had a dalliance with some years ago for whom it didn't compute. "He couldn't believe it," she says.

But as more people learn about asexuality through articles, books, online groups, documentaries, and asexuals coming out to their friends and family, there's bound to be a day in the not-too-distant future when saying you’re asexual is as ordinary as saying you’re gay, bi, trans, or straight.

 Comments: 1  •  Post a reply  •  Views: 3693

Poster:  Karl
Forum: Blog Post Discussion
Post01 Feb 2009, 04:45
No new posts
[This post was originally written by site member Omnes et Nihil on March 13, 2008]

The real question is why people are looking for a “cause” of sexual orientation, or specific sexual orientations, to begin with. Proof or no proof is completely beside the point. If we’re going to talk about scientific evidence, we should consider all the interpretations of the data, not just some that appear convienent. But I don’t for a moment think that it is helpful–or even makes sense–to talk about scientific evidence surrounding the “causes” of sexual orientation. In fact, I think that argument is inherently problematic.

Arguing that sexual orientation (of any kind) is genetic / learned / socialised / set in the womb / ordained by some higher power / otherwise caused… basically all boils down to accepting the premise: if people can be made heterosexual, they should be made heterosexual, and if people can’t be made heterosexual, then society should accept everyone as they are.

It’s a brilliant tactic to avoid challenging heteronormativity, because no matter what cause of sexual orientation people believe, and no matter what legal and social rights people believe people should have as a result, we’re still protecting heterosexuality’s pedestal.

Personally, I’d rather see that pedestal fall, and give people social and political rights regardless of whether their love for other people is caused by genes, their mother or the spaghetti monster.

 Comments: 4  •  Post a reply  •  Views: 13310

Poster:  Karl
Forum: Blog Post Discussion
Post01 Feb 2009, 04:29
No new posts
[This post was originally written by site member Hu on January 27, 2008]

Plainness (Llaneza)
Jorge Luis Borges, 1968

The garden’s grillwork gate
opens with the ease of a page
in a much thumbed book,
and, once inside, our eyes
have no need to dwell on objects already fixed and exact in memory.
here habits and minds and the private language
all families invent
are everyday things to me.
What necessity is there to speak
or pretend to be someone else?
The whole house knows me,
they’re aware of my worries and weakness.
This is the best that can happen.
What heaven perhaps will grant us:
not to be wondered at or required to succeed
but simply to be let in
as part of an undeniable Reality,
like stones of the road, like trees.

Borges sometimes crops up on those lists of conjectured asexuals of the past — you know, the endless lists that grow on the Wikipedia article and have to be trimmed back like vines. We have to accept that anyone who died before the very recent appearance of an asexual identity can never be anything but an object of conjecture in this regard. It’s true that sexual lust ranked extraordinarily low among Borges’s favored themes, but plenty of scholars will tell you he was gay, which is really just as credible. Whatever the case, I would imagine him a sympathetic soul and certainly a voice we can turn to. This poem in particular stands among my favorite expressions of unadorned love.

 Comments: 1  •  Post a reply  •  Views: 12804

Poster:  Karl
Forum: Blog Post Discussion
Post01 Feb 2009, 04:24
No new posts
[This post was originally written by site member Vittoria on February 28, 2008]

Sex is great. Fan-bloody-tastic. Not only is it fun, it’s good for you. Burns calories, reduces stress, lowers risk of heart attack, prostate cancer and endometriosis, reaffirms the emotional bond between partners. If people spent more time blowing each other they’d have less time to blow each other up—Make Love, Not War and all that. I love sex. More people should have it (safely). I don’t feel compelled to jump in the pile, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think anyone else who wants to shouldn’t. There are a lot worse things people could be doing with their bodies.

Yes, I’m one of those sex-positive asexuals, which some take to mean an asexual who has sex, but I’m at a loss to find a better phrase for being asexual but endorsing sex as healthy and natural. Some asexuals think every single thing to do with the act is gross, gross, gross and want to hear, see or think about none of it. Those people make me feel lucky that I find sex interesting, intellectually at least, because hating sex while living in the modern world would be rather like disdaining oxygen. It’s everywhere, so either find something about it interesting or resign yourself to being a life-long grump monkey.

I’ve been interested in sex since I was a pre-teen. As a teenager I realised that though I found sex fascinating the physical act didn’t interest me. That discovery didn’t dampen my intellectual interest, however; it made sex even more interesting because it seemed such a driving force for so many people even though it wrecks lives and can have disastrous consequences. Anything with that kind of power is inherently fascinating, as are the ever-shifting social mores and taboos.

Then there are those who protest, “But surely, if you enjoy thinking about it so much you must really want to do it!” To that I say that I’m also fascinated by serial killers—it doesn’t mean I’m planning a spree. I find many things I’m not personally interested in utterly captivating. Their very popularity is what mystifies and compels me. Certain celebrities (whose massive popularity despite their lack of talent or intelligence) fall into the same category.

Having no vested interest in sex can give a person a more unprejudiced view of the mattress rodeo. From a purely anthropological view sex is grossly inaccurately portrayed by the media, abstinence-only education is an excellent way to support the tide of unwanted pregnancy and STDs, and people aren’t doing nearly as many kinky things as frequently as you might think.

Something I love about being a sex positive asexual are the responses from sexual people I receive. People never expect you to have seen a porno or know what bukkake is, let alone where the G-spot is located or that the real person in control in a dominant-submissive scene is the submissive partner. There is a special kind of joy in being able to talk unflappably about things that turn even your most liberal friends a lovely puce. They want to know why I’m such a pervo and I say that sex is like a restaurant—sexual people find the things they like and stay with that part of the menu, but asexuals (of the sex positive variety) wander by the buffet and check everything out because it’s all odd to us. Sure, some things are at the farther end of the wowwee spectrum, but for the most part it’s all baffling to us. We’re not thinking of ourselves in those situations so it’s more academic and less personal. Sex positive asexuals can be a sex positive sexual’s best ally.

And, of course, we don’t mind listening to you bitch about how annoying sex is, either.

 Comments: 11  •  Post a reply  •  Views: 31501

Poster:  Karl
Forum: Blog Post Discussion
Post01 Feb 2009, 04:21
No new posts
[This post was originally written by site member Spin on March 5, 2008]

My partner once remarked that since an asexual person’s love wasn’t about sexual attraction, it must be something more real and deep. That with an asexual you knew you were loved for who you are.

Sorry hon–and I do really love you–but that ain’t necessarily so. I can be shallow, too.

I’ve had more frivolous crushes than I can count on people I didn’t even like, for the stupidest reasons. I’ve noticed people based on their appearance, their scent, the way they write their fours. I’ve had feelings for girls simply because I found out they liked girls too. I’ve been interested in boys because they used to be girls. I’ve liked people because I couldn’t tell if they were a boy or a girl. I’ve fawned over men and women because they had a good singing voice or artistic skill, or because they were just so damned pretty I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Yeah, I’ve seen people on the street I instantly wanted to drag home for. . .tea.

Most enduring for me are intellectual infatuations–crushes on people’s brains, which sounds like a good enough reason for obsessing about someone, doesn’t it? But I’ve fallen for total jerks because they were intelligent and articulate.

I’m not immune to shallowness, and asexuality doesn’t make my love any more true or pure. Asexuality has always contributed to shyness about pursuing these attractions or being pursued, but I don’t think I’d have made better or worse choices were I sexual.

Asexual people can love others for the wrong reasons, sexual attraction just isn’t one of them. We are as prey as anyone to all the other human weaknesses; superficiality, vanity, pride, selfishness, loneliness, pity, curiosity, rivalry, you name it. We can be charmed or fooled, we can lie to ourselves, we can mislead and use and hurt other people. Our choices are not always good, our motivations are not always honest.

Just like anybody else.

 Comments: 1  •  Post a reply  •  Views: 10342

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