This is a good thread that I would like to discuss further. Any takers?
and highlighted for me again the difficulty that asexuals who have sex may have in getting anyone to acknowledge their asexuality, or even to acknowledge it themselves.
Why do sexually active asexuals need to have anyone acknowledge their asexuality?
The people that it's important acknowledge their asexuality are the sexually-active asexual themselves, and their partner. Maybe important isn't the right word, because I'm sure some a/s couples get by fine working out their own solutions without even knowing of asexuality, but it's helpful for any that don't want to reinvent the wheel by falling into all the pitfalls of each partner assuming that their partner approaches sexuality in a similar manner to themselves.
Even on the next level down, there are those who insist that masturbation, fantasy or fetish all exclude you from being a "true" asexual - a meme that comes up again and again from non-libdoists, therapists, and armchair psychologists alike.
And some of those armchair psychologists are sexuals on sex forums -- not so much discussing what a "true" asexual is, but what sexuals do. "If you do this and that just like us, then you are one of us...".
And that's fine if that's as far as it goes. I'm not sure if you're referring to a particular thread (now deleted) on sexforums.com where a whole heap of asexual erasure was going on in the name of "discussing commonalities". Discussing commonalities is great, but when an asexual mentions that, for example, they find masturbation to be non-sexual, it's not discussing commonalities anymore if you call them a liar - insisting that your assumptions about what masturbation is like trump their lived experience. I wish that thread hadn't been deleted, as it was a great example of what I'm talking about. Actually, the fact that that thread that started as a plea for visibility got deleted because it had devolved into an argument on whether asexuality even existed is also a good example of a more concrete form of asexual erasure.
And so the message is that if you indulge in sexual behaviour, you're sexual, despite any other evidence of asexuality - just as indulging in same-sex sexual behaviour is assumed to imply that you are homosexual, even despite other evidence of bisexuality.
The outside world looks at behavior. Two partners in a sexual relationship are considered sexual. Two partners indulging in same sex sexual behavior are considered homosexuals in a homosexual relationship. It makes sense to me and applies to that particular relationship.
I think it's ironic that in a thread drawing a parallel between bisexual erasure and the asexual equivalent, you choose to defend/justify asexual erasure by committing bisexual erasure. Was it deliberate?
who has any libido at all regardless of whether it's directed by sexual attraction
Do you think libido follows sexual attraction? (this is a curiosity question more than anything else...)
Like Dargon, I think libido is something separate to orientation, and both inform (but do not determine) sexual behaviour.
I know that's what everyone says when they're amongst understanding people, but the message that goes into visibility efforts often gets to simplified to "Meet David Jay. He could have sex but he doesn't want to - he's asexual and doesn't see the point." Or most of the Montel episode, where people were at pains to point out that they didn't have sex and were ok with that, or had had sex but didn't anymore because they didn't like it.
What if they had said they were celibates instead? Would Montel's and Joy's reactions and questions been different or the same? Would it have been easier to accept the message?
I don't know. Maybe. But it would have been a different message, so it's not a very interesting question to me.
Harmony wrote:Who really benefits from the concept of "asexuality"??
Who really benefits from any knowledge? The term asexuality has not been coined to provide people with a benefit, but rather to express what people perceive as a truth about the world as they experience it. On a less esoteric level, I personally have benefited from understanding asexuality, as it has helped explain certain dynamics within my marriage that never quite fit when combined with the assumption that my wife was heterosexual, such as how she could masturbate, but not want sex.
I would consider a proper asexual to be asexual both in theory and practice.... <snip>
In reading her entire article, I believe she is questioning the psychology definition of asexuality "does not experience sexual attraction". I am not aware that this is psychology's definition, but one of many definitions ... this particular one appearing on AVEN front page. Whatever the case, if Ms. Roy would deem a particular person not a proper asexual, then how would that change that particular person's view of themselves and the world? Would they suddenly become erased?
Well in a broader sense, yes. Many asexuals, my wife included, were very, very late to realising the nature of their sexuality because in the world they grew up in, asexuals were erased from all discussions of sexuality. That changed my wife's view of herself and the world, and caused over a decade of unnecessary stress in our relationship as both she and I struggled with attempts to fashion an orthodox heterosexual relationship for ourselves. We're not trying to do that anymore, and are happier than ever.
Ms Roy's article reinforces the understanding that we had before we discovered asexuality. We had sex, so we were both sexual. That set of understandings just about wrecked our marriage, and everything we had worked for in our lives together. It is inferior in every way to us to our present understanding of asexuality, which is completely in tune with our observed reality. Any attempt to cling to that model, in the face of many, many people's direct experience of that model's inadequacies, is a step backwards as far as I'm concerned, is harmful, and should be resisted.
That attitude that behaviour trumps orientation is the mild form of asexual erasure. When coupled with the hypocritical stance that in the case of celibacy orientation trumps behaviour, and you're looking at a systematic exclusion of recognising asexuals' orientation, using behaviour as your excuse. That to me sounds like pretty much exactly what's going on with bisexual erasure.
What is interesting is that the homosexual media implies that a particular bisexual person was posing as hetero and now his homosexual affair proves who he really is. Ms. Roy says almost the opposite: if you pose as sexual, then own it -- that is who you really are -- no asexuality cake too for you!
No, Ms Roy says that if you claim to be asexual, but have sex, then the asexual claim is just a pose, and your sexual behaviour "proves who you really are". Exactly the same. "If you're a man screwing a man, you're homosexual. Own it! -- that's who you really are -- no bisexuality cake for you". Exactly
Harmony wrote:In coming up with her own definition of asexuality; however, she is still verifying that it exists.
But by defining asexuality as being contingent on celibacy, all she is doing is verifying that celibacy exists. In the case of sexually active asexuals, she's saying: "asexuality exists, but you're not asexual". That's not exactly helpful. If I come up with my own definition of bisexuality as only applying to people who have had multiple long term sexual partners of both genders (just one of each, or short-term flings could be "experiments" after all), then while I am still accepting that bisexuality exists, I am putting my own definition above the self-knowledge of all those bisexuals out there who may not fit my terms, but know full well that they feel sexual attraction to both men and women.
Why insist on asexuals needing to conform "in theory AND in practice"? Does she apply a similar standard to other orientations? Are virgins told that they can not be heterosexual, because they have not practiced heterosexual sex? Of course not. It's hypocritical and illogical.
Harmony wrote:An even more interesting point is the one made about celibacy ... that orientation trumps behavior. To the outside world, the sexual orientation of a celibate is of no concern. A celibate is not going to have sex with you or me, so issues of orientation are irrelevant. Does everyone have to have a sexual orientation? If so, why? What is the purpose of sexual orientation?
I mean, surely the celibate themselves has an interest in understanding their own sexuality. And so why shouldn't that knowledge be part of our communal understanding of how sexuality works? How it IS? Why should our understanding of sexuality be limited to understanding the sexualities those we may potentially screw?
Dargon wrote:It is commonly accepted that if a gay person were to have sex with the opposite sex, they would likely not enjoy it (or at least not enjoy it as much as with the same sex) and would still indeed be gay. However, the aforementioned article seems to say this concept does not apply to asexuality.
I have friends who are also in a mixed-orientation marriage. He's gay, she's straight. They both wanted kids, they're great friends, she thinks he's sexy, and they have sex for her benefit, and also in the past had sex to get pregnant. He's happy with that - likes the fact that sex makes his wife happy, and still feels sexually attracted only to men. For all the "experts" out there who want to pick out behaviour like this and say "it's impossible that he's actually gay", people are just doing what they've always done, and proving that by using our free will, pretty much anything is possible, and screw what the "experts" think.
But it would be nice if we could get to a point that where people like my wife could say "I'm asexual, and I'm in a sexual relationship with my hetero husband" or my friend could say, "I'm gay but I have a perfectly satisfying sex life with my wife" and not be called a liar, when they know perfectly well what sexual attractions they feel, and both know that the real lie would be to claim heterosexuality.
Edited a few times for formatting, typos, and clarity
It's late here.