Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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ghosts
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Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby ghosts » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:30 am

As this has been popping up on AVEN as of late, I'd like to start a discussion here. I also can't really think of a title...

All of the anti-sex(ual) content can really get to me, as someone who cares for sexuals & who has sex. Yet, I'm told that I shouldn't speak up, that I should let people rant and vent.

I can kind of understand that... Some people coming into AVEN have had some pretty negative experiences, it seems. I can't really say that I have - I know a lot of fucking awesome people that just so happen to enjoy sex & do so responsibly & respectfully (and hey, I'm one of them). But sure enough, there are a lot of assholes out there. Sexual abuse is not just an asexual issue, as we all know. & a lot of people can't seem to wrap their heads around the concept of asexuality, so coming out can often bring a lot of frustrations to an asexual who is not being accepted by the people around them.

I know that this can bring a whole lot of anger, resentment, and frustrations to newcomers at AVEN, & I try to be understanding, because all of a sudden they have this place to go to where a lot of people will understand them, & will vent.

I think it's like this with a lot of things... I know a lot of vegetarians and vegans, & I know that some, when first becoming vegetarian/vegan will be really reactionary against people who haven't made the same choices as them. When you make a decision that you really believe in, that something is wrong & you choose to not participate in something like that, sometimes you really react against people who don't make that same decision & don't even seem to care. Sometimes feminists have the same issue - if you're a woman who's new to feminism & is learning all of these things & really examining society & all of this new information is coming at you, you might have some negative feelings towards men at first. A professor of mine had told me that when she first starting getting into African American studies in college, she said that she hated white people.

So what should we do? Do we "let" people vent without stepping in? Is it wrong of me to want to say something against all of these sentiments being voiced that make me angry, because I'm not letting people express their feelings & voice their frustrations in one of the few places they seem to be able to talk about it? And, is there a difference between generalizations against a group of people like sexuals (ie, "All sexuals are assholes", or something like "Sex is gross & people who are doing it are disgusting"), and venting like "I'm so frustrated with sexuals, they never understand me & just want to get in my pants & do disgusting things"?

I'm of the opinion that there is a difference between venting & spewing hatred (perhaps that's a bit strong of a term...), and that I'm justified in stepping in & saying something. But sometimes I have my doubts. So, what do all of you think?

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Emmarainbow
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Emmarainbow » Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:03 am

I understand what you mean... I always allow people to vent, but the sweeping statements (All sexuals are assholes for example) are the ones that really get me, and I always have to say somehthing. I think that you have to keep in perspective that not only do we live in a sexual world, but we've got to try and get sexuals to understand us and accept us. This is difficult enough to start with, but even harder if they don;t see understanding, accepting people to talk to.

AVEN is a safe place - it;s gotta be kept safe for sexuals and inbetweenies too. Maybe the immediate, reactionary response of 'bad sexuals' is all part of it, but surely we should encourage people to grow out of it as soon by possible?

When someone says that all sexuals are... whatever, they are insulting my family, friends and probably my future partner(s). I can't let that slide, and I can't allow it to foster something worse.

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Olivier
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Olivier » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:33 pm

One thing that gets me is the exclusionary aspect of the antisexuals: "Don't come in our threads if you are sexual or sex-positive", "Let us construct our sanctuary from the outside world" and worst of all "what are you doing on AVEN if you are sexual? Did you come here just to harass us?" are things you hear more and more often. A post recently (admittedly from a member of just a few days' standing) stated that he was happy he and other asexuals didn't understand sexuals, as he felt cleaner not knowing.

Again and again, antisexuals combine strong opinions with sex with the most basic ignorance of sexuality. And heaven help you if you provide a counterexample to their theories - then suddenly all the things they said were ironclad truths become opinions, and opinions immune from criticism due to their minority status, no less. Again and again, tolerant AVENites suggest that antisexuals abide by the inclusive spirit of AVEN, and start their own, exclusionary, forum if that's what they want. I'm almost tempted to set one up for them :shhh:

Every -ism has its fundamentalists, and the antisexuals are asexuality's: Ignorant, irrational, dogmatic, hypersensitive to criticism, intolerant of disagreement, sure that they're blessed as the purest of them all.

It's probably time for AVEN mods to be giving out a few more warnings for TOS violations, and judging from the avalanche of moderator postings on the latest antisexual breakout thread, I suspect they've come to the same conclusion.

Bunnyk.
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Bunnyk. » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:54 pm

Olivier, you and I share the same temptation. :lol:

I think most of what I want to say has already been said. I do try to be understanding, but some of the threads over there really bother me - and the general decline in the standards of debate at AVEN have been bothering me for quite a while.

I wish this site were more active, since most of the posters that are really rewarding to talk to are here. It's just so slow that I forget to come here for days at a time - and typically someone smarter than me has said it all before I get here, anyway!

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Placebo
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Placebo » Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:47 pm

Bunnyk. wrote:I wish this site were more active, since most of the posters that are really rewarding to talk to are here. It's just so slow that I forget to come here for days at a time - and typically someone smarter than me has said it all before I get here, anyway!



I agree. . . but I think it'll keep growing with time. I hope so, anyway!
"Now it's right for me to be me."

Phil Halvorsen, from "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" (Theodore Sturgeon)

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Dargon
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Dargon » Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:09 pm

As has been said by the posters before me, I completely understand the need to vent, and the anger some may feel at times, but much of what I saw at AVEN before I left (and the few times I have been masochistic enough to go read a few threads here and there) was all out anti-sexual elitism and genuine hatred towards sexuals. And as you have said, Ghosts, those that stand up for the sexuals (or, for that matter, are anything other than anti-sexual) get quickly shouted down.

As for the cause of this growing anti-sexual sentiment at AVEN, there are a few reasons for it, but I'm going to bring it down to two. First, the influx of new members. AS you stated, Ghosts, people new to something the feel is right often have feel resentment towards those who have not come to that conclusion. So large influx of new people helps with a large influx of anti-sexualism (not saying that all people new to asexuality are anti-sexual, but a significant portion at least start somewhere near it). The second problem, and, in my opinion, the larger of the two, is the shouting down of sex-positive asexuals and sexuals, and the amount of support that anti-sexuals get. As Oliver has said, when they get to ranting, their threads get quite exclusionary (I'm going to be an ass and sort of cite people; recently a new member came to strait-a.net (strait as in jacket), and started a thread to see the responses of people who have left AVEN. The thread was "sex is disgusting because..." and explicitly said not to post unless you were saying why sex is disgusting). Those who try to encourage people to grow past that, even if they give their sympathies and anecdotes, are the ones who are bashed, not those who are spreading ignorance and hate. By allowing this to happen, AVEN effectively encourages anti-sexualism.

Perhaps there is a third cause. Those of use, myself included, who admitted defeat, cut their losses, and left. I've noticed here, as well as at strait-a, many of the old members have become bitter with AVE; some have stopped posting in the antisexual threads, some limit themselves to JFF, others, like myself, have stopped posting alltogether, and the loss of their voices is a loss for the sex-positive side, one that brings AVEN closer to becoming what once was the now defunct non-libidoist society. (I will say, though, that for my own well being, I do not regret leaving AVEN, and things have become much less stressful since leaving. In my infrequient visits back, I can't help but feel leaving, for me at least, was the right choice).

Oliver, I do like your comparison of the anti-sexuals to the fundamentalists. It reminds me of something Greybird once said. I do not remember the context, but I liked it enough to copy the quote, as it applies very well to antisexualism on AVEN:


"An 'ism' is essentially a religion in every way except that it substitutes secular doctrines for god-based ones. It fulfills the same human need as a religion, meaning that it provides a much-needed sense of moral structire, and a sense of belonging to the 'right' group.

Its followers behave exactly like religious zealots -- holding their doctrines to be the only true way, ignoring or dismissing all scientific, statistical or logical evidence that contradicts their faith, branding those who don't agree with them as misguided or sometimes even evil, considering their own way to be morally superior, and, in some cases, having no qualms about destroying their opponent's reputations, property, livelihoods, or even their lives. They all too often destroy what they claim to represent - frequently for no other reason than to make a political statement. Strangely, they are unable to see anything wrong in their own criminal behavior since they consider it to be justified by their faith."

Anyhow, now I'm curious to this "latest antisexual breakout thread" with its "avalanche of moderator postings" Oliver mentioned, so I'm off to go read it, and probably leave a might bit pissed off.

CierraJo
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby CierraJo » Mon Apr 28, 2008 6:53 am

Olivier wrote: Every -ism has its fundamentalists, and the antisexuals are asexuality's: Ignorant, irrational, dogmatic, hypersensitive to criticism, intolerant of disagreement, sure that they're blessed as the purest of them all.


Olivier - I hope you don't consider me to be those things, though I do consider myself to be antisexual because I actively dislike sex, rather than just being indifferent to it. Going back & reading the arguments on AVEN I admit that I was probably too all-inclusive in my original post, I guess I should have been thinking more like a lawyer and less like a person. (I also think I may not have been the one to start the war, though it seems I get blamed for it by people down the line.) As you know, I have a hard time understanding sex, in all aspects - but I suppose I should keep my emotional outbursts to myself. But I also think that a little venting is necessary for all of us, and it isn't necessary to take venting personally all the time.

The good thing that came from all of it, for me, is that my boyfriend realized that he was often attacking my antisexuality unreasonably, and that maybe his concepts of sex are a little tainted. So, while I think that thread is the end of my relationship with AVEN, I am hoping it will lead to positive things in my real life.

And hopefully, y'all don't hate me TOO much.

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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Witch of Wapping » Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:00 am

I've been really worried about Aven, because it's the site people first find. I keep remembering the thread Spin started over a year ago, when the membership shot up after one of the Montel broadcast showings. Spin, you were saying even then, I think, that Aven had changed because new people who are sometimes angry were advising newer people, and you were asking calmer "old hands" to stay around, help keep things good-humoured and tolerant and keep a sense of what had gone before on Aven. (I didn't feel like an "old hand" then.) Nowadays I suppose I am an old hand, and I look round Aven meaning to stay engaged, but nine times out of ten I just get overwhelmed and creep away. I'm not even sure it is the same place as it was a year ago but it is still the best known, and I still feel protective of new people that need it.

As for antisexual opinions in particular, I hadn't even tried to read "that" thread because the title didn't draw me, until it piqued my curiosity by being Hotboxed, but don't have anything to add except the obvious: I honestly cannot see what some people are reading into the concern, intelligence, information, patience and good-humour shared by BunnyK, Ellers, Olivier and the other sexual people who choose to stay around, but you are all extraordinary. Like others, I'm not offended by venting. I do notice that one or two antisexual individuals have been around for a long time, and were contained by the earlier "style" of Aven, but are now very aware themselves of having more allies. Also, one or two of the very new members may just be taking random potshots like young idiots on more badly-behaved message boards, which in the past have got bored with Aven. It is still depressing.

There are a couple of related areas where I am worried by other changes to do with new people - one or two of them are engaged in (to me) rather strange explorations of what we mean by asexuality without much reference to what has gone before, because the continuity has gone astray, although to some extent discussions always repeat and nobody wants to stifle thought or ideas. I can't take that much further without "naming names" but you may know what I mean! "Is Asexuality a Normal Orientation?" is one of the threads that is concerning me personally.

What to do? I'm a slow poster anyway, and have made a few attempts to engage, but I spend much more time just reading Aven and thinking "aaargh", which isn't going to help anybody, and I'm not sure who Aven even belongs to any more.

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Emmarainbow
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Emmarainbow » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:39 am

I feel so guilty that I just don't have the time to keep up with aven and post there until the end of my exams. :(

Have to make up for it in the summer! :D

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Olivier
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Olivier » Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:28 pm

CierraJo wrote:Olivier - I hope you don't consider me to be those things, though I do consider myself to be antisexual because I actively dislike sex, rather than just being indifferent to it. Going back & reading the arguments on AVEN I admit that I was probably too all-inclusive in my original post, I guess I should have been thinking more like a lawyer and less like a person. (I also think I may not have been the one to start the war, though it seems I get blamed for it by people down the line.) As you know, I have a hard time understanding sex, in all aspects - but I suppose I should keep my emotional outbursts to myself. But I also think that a little venting is necessary for all of us, and it isn't necessary to take venting personally all the time.

Not at all - which is why I explicitly posted to that effect on the AVEN thread. It's clear you speak from your experiences, not irrationality, unlike some I could name, but won't. I also stand by my comments in that thread that I didn't take anything personally, because frankly 0% of my sense of personal identity and self-esteem comes from the fact that I belong to the sexual male population.

Also, perhaps unlike some others, I defended the right of all the antisexuals who vented in that thread to do so. But in doing so, in public, there has to be an expectation that anything that goes a bit over the top will attract a counterargument - and I think it's necessary not to take that personally, either.

I wouldn't give up on AVEN - these things are forgiven and forgotten pretty quickly (and I don't even think you stood out as blameworthy either, I think that honour belongs to those who started throwing around petty and crass insults and expressions of holier-than-thou superiority)

Witch of Wapping wrote:There are a couple of related areas where I am worried by other changes to do with new people - one or two of them are engaged in (to me) rather strange explorations of what we mean by asexuality without much reference to what has gone before, because the continuity has gone astray, although to some extent discussions always repeat and nobody wants to stifle thought or ideas. I can't take that much further without "naming names" but you may know what I mean! "Is Asexuality a Normal Orientation?" is one of the threads that is concerning me personally.

Witch, I knew which thread you meant before you even got to naming it. Frustration has almost got the better of me, too, but I honestly don't know how I could add more than Spoofmaster, who quoted the definition of asexuality in 30 point bolded letters and still made no impression. Some people, like the starter of that thread, seem oblivious to debate no matter how much they engage in it. On the upside, I think that thread proves there are still plenty of patient, informed AVENites willing to do what it takes to educate people, even if they haven't been successful yet on this occasion.

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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby CierraJo » Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:43 pm

Olivier wrote:Not at all - which is why I explicitly posted to that effect on the AVEN thread. It's clear you speak from your experiences, not irrationality, unlike some I could name, but won't. I also stand by my comments in that thread that I didn't take anything personally, because frankly 0% of my sense of personal identity and self-esteem comes from the fact that I belong to the sexual male population.

Also, perhaps unlike some others, I defended the right of all the antisexuals who vented in that thread to do so. But in doing so, in public, there has to be an expectation that anything that goes a bit over the top will attract a counterargument - and I think it's necessary not to take that personally, either.

I wouldn't give up on AVEN - these things are forgiven and forgotten pretty quickly (and I don't even think you stood out as blameworthy either, I think that honour belongs to those who started throwing around petty and crass insults and expressions of holier-than-thou superiority)



I did see your posts - thanks.

I have been still trolling around on AVEN a bit (and even answered a question directed to me on a different thread), but I think I will retreat for a little while at least because it was starting to have an effect on my "real life", and I think I need to sort things out on my own more rather than looking for advice from strangers - even like-minded or sympathetic strangers. But thanks again for your support & advice always.

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Dargon
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby Dargon » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:43 pm

CierraJo wrote:
Olivier wrote: Every -ism has its fundamentalists, and the antisexuals are asexuality's: Ignorant, irrational, dogmatic, hypersensitive to criticism, intolerant of disagreement, sure that they're blessed as the purest of them all.


Olivier - I hope you don't consider me to be those things, though I do consider myself to be antisexual because I actively dislike sex, rather than just being indifferent to it. Going back & reading the arguments on AVEN I admit that I was probably too all-inclusive in my original post...

...

And hopefully, y'all don't hate me TOO much.


I'm not Oliver, but I would like to say something. CierraJo, while you may still be antisexual, you are NOT one of those antisexuals. I haven't seen much of what you have posted at AVEN, but I have read your posts here, and unlike those antisexuals, you listen, learn, and try to understand. If all antisexuals tried to understand even half as much as you try, I am certain this thread wouldn't exist.

CierraJo
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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby CierraJo » Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:17 pm

Dargon wrote:CierraJo, while you may still be antisexual, you are NOT one of those antisexuals. I haven't seen much of what you have posted at AVEN, but I have read your posts here, and unlike those antisexuals, you listen, learn, and try to understand. If all antisexuals tried to understand even half as much as you try, I am certain this thread wouldn't exist.


Thanks to you too. I admit to some mis-steps though, I should have chosen my words more carefully. I am trying to understand, and it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I feel like sex is a war I have been fighting for 16 years and now I'm trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement. I am trying to put down my guns, but I am so afraid of what could happen if I do. I guess I have been using my war as a crutch as well.

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Re: Negativity, reactionary responses, etc.

Postby luvinmomofone1 » Tue May 06, 2008 2:49 pm

i am new here but i feel that i am an asexual lesbian, i was in aven forum for a bit a few months back but didnt feel like i fit in, i dont feel i fit in alot of places. i am unsure what is wrong with me...sometimes i do feel like something is wrong with me cause i dont like sex. i am 42 years old and supposed to be at my sexual peak and i find it distasteful and painful. i want all the inimacy of a relationship but not the sex. i am lonely and soon to be alone after my son leaves and i would like to meet a nice lesbian woman my age or older who may understand how i feel. i am really taken aback by thinking about the dating scene again...cause if you date and you like someone sex is always in the picture and how do you tell someone your are seriously interested in that you dont like sex without them rejecting you and leaving you alone again? this is my dillema..i hope this board can help me figure myself out more than aven did.
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