"Quality of life"

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
LucyM
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"Quality of life"

Postby LucyM » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:09 am

I was talking to a neighbor recently who fancies himself a bit of an intellectual. Anyway, when we got on the subject of relationships, I admitted to being pretty inexperienced seeing as though I don't date. That sent him off on a spiel about how it's not natural to be asexual. Furthermore, my insistence that I'm fine is just a rationalization to compensate for my lack of "fulfilling" relationships. What followed was a lecture about daddy-issues, etc. I kind of stopped paying attention after that. Not because I didn't agree with his point of view, but more so that he was starting to yammer on about how I want bang my dad or some such nonsense.

I have a bachelor's in molecular biology, and I admittedly have a very objective bend when it comes to sexuality (and life in general). Or my lack thereof. What I was taught about mental illness stated that an individual's idiosyncrasies were only considered an illness or "problem" when it interfered with the person's ability to function in society. Forgive me if I'm being too vague; the number of psych classes I took in college could fill a thimble.

Anyway, back to the point. To a sexual person, does a lack of sex indicate a compromised quality of life? When I think about it, I do feel a sense of awkwardness when it comes to how I interact with men. Most of my friends are dudes, and there have been several instances when they've developed feelings for me and I didn't know how to deal with it. For some odd reason "I'm not looking for a relationship" is interpreted as "MUST TRY HARDER." As if a lack of desire is not a legitimate excuse. This more or less affects how they view me, but not how I view myself. But if other people insist that I'm unhappy, does that mean being asexual is affecting my quality of life?

I don't believe that my capacity to enjoy life is impaired by my lack of sex, but I can't help but question my own self-reporting. I mean, if you ask a crazy person if they're crazy chances are they'll say no. Does the fact that I'm even questioning myself kind of imply I have a problem with it?

I apologize if this question is a bit inane. My brain has gone on vacation since I've been out of school. Bleh.

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Dargon
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Dargon » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:04 am

I agree with the "it's only a disorder if it causes said person distress." Of course, I would argue that schizoid personality disorder (which does affect a person's ability to function in society to some extent, but generally causes no harm or distress) is not a disorder.

That being said, I would say that to most sexuals, not having sex does indicate a compromised quality of life. I'd also say that to most romantics, not being in a romantic relationship does indicate a compromised quality of life as well.

Concerning the opposite sex friends, I have had all sorts of experiences with this. I've had people try harder, stay the same, and even end the friendship when they learned I had no romantic or sexual interest in them. That being said, I do wonder if you aren't projecting a little, noticing and interpreting things differently now that your friend's intentions are in the clear. Just as a person interested in someone may interpret normal friendly gestures as "hints," now that you know and are perhaps a little nervous about their interest in you, you may be doing the same thing.

And while a crazy person probably wouldn't think themselves crazy, you wouldn't get them treatment unless they hurt themselves or someone else.

pretzelboy
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby pretzelboy » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:35 am

One of the (numerous) problems with the idea of a "mental disorder" is that it's not operationally definable and it's inherently a value judgment. (The same is true of disease, dysfunction, and disability.) In the case that's it's pretty uncontrovercial that something is causing problems in someone's life (or will in the future), calling it a disease/disorder is pretty uncontroversial. For example, liver cancer. But in some cases, the classification of something as a disorder is or would be deeply problematic even if it causes distress. For example, if some women are distressed about not being as thin as the women in fashion magazines, saying that not being that thin is a disorder (but only if it causes distress) would be utterly inappropriate. The source of the problem is the internalization of an a norm that they simply cannot meet, and that they do not need to conform norm. The real problem is the flood of harmful images and messages concerning body-image. Calling that a disorder (even with a distress criterion) would reinforce the belief that there is something wrong with not looking just like those women.

While that hasn't been labeled a "mental disorder," homosexuality used to, and the effect was the internalize and to reinforce anti-homosexual cultural values. With lack of sexual desire, I don't think it should be considered a disorder even if it causes distress. In some cases, loss of sexual desire is a symptom of some other physical (e.g. hyperprolacinemia) or mental issues (depression can can loss of sexual desire in some people, though it can cause increased sexual desire in others; the same is true of stress.)

On my blog, I'm currently attempting to sway people in the asexual community and beyond that low sexual desire itself shouldn't ever be considered a disorder. When I first learned about asexuality, I tried to find out as much as possible on the subject, which involved a lot of searching academic databases, reading about sexual orientation, and I even delved a little into "Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder", (HSDD, the diagnosis formerly saying not being interested in sex was a mental disorder, now saying not being interested in sex is a mental disorder if it causes the person [or their partner?] distress.) As someone with a scientific bent, what I found was depressingly awful, and largely scientifically unfounded.

One of the inventors of the "disorder" has written extensively on the subject. I got about a 100 pages into her final book on the subject before her death (published in '95), and discovered that, essentially, she had somehow managed to get an MD and a Ph.D., be considered a leader in the field of sex therapy, and still be almost entirely ignorant of the long-standing tradition in the sciences to, you know, support your theories with, like, evidence and stuff. As opposed to raw conjecture and vague references to nice science words like evolution and hormones and genes to sound all scientific and stuff when making claims about how oh-so-natural late 20th century North American middle class beliefs and practices surrounding heterosexuality and gender roles are.

Anyway, there were some members of the asexual community who wrote a report about asexuality and HSDD for the people writing that section of the DSM-V, and I was one of two main people doing the academic work (rather than organizing our group and using connections to get the thing started.) Through this process--reading up on a lot of the relevant literature, interviewing some people who research human sexuality and reading other people's interviews--I've become increasingly anti-HSDD.

In my efforts to have some impact on public opinion on the matter, the first thing I did was to rewrite the Wikipedia article on Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, to include a (critical) history and a list of criticisms rather than to simply paint a picture uncritically accepting the DSM as fact.

After finishing our DSM project, in AVENues (AVEN's bimonthy newsletter), I wrote a piece that was supposedly an account of what our project was all about, but it was really a history of the diagnosis to put our project in perspective. On the same day that that issue of AVENues came out, I posted a version on my blog with citations. (Footnotes with academic references were felt to be a little to formal for AVENues.) Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder and the Asexual Community: A History. My feeling was that if people had a sense for thing's history is--the ideology underpinning it, the lack of scientific foundation, the internal contradictions, and the criticisms that have been raised against some of its more absurd implications, they would be much more critical of it. (As an example of an absurd implication, it labels as a mental disorder not wanting to have sex with your partner because they're a jerk.)

A few months later, I started (what I hope to be) a series furthering the goal of challenging HSDD (in the asexual community and, eventually, beyond), for which I've only manged to make two posts so far: 1) Is asexuality a sexual dysfunction?, and 2) Challenging HSDD. I have in my head a lot of other things I would like to write about on the subject, but the next part of the series--looking at three foundational documents to understand the ideology behind the disordering of sexual disinterest--keeps resisting being written, and I feel that needs to be written before most of the other things I want to write about.

On the subject of what is "natural," I've thought a long time about the matter, about what the argument even means, and I've come to the conclusion that "X is natural" means that "X is such a fundamental part of how I think the world works, that ~X is simply unthinkable." Thus, "Heterosexuality is natural" basically means "To me, it is simply obvious that heterosexual is what everyone is supposed to be." And "Homosexuality is unnatural" means "To me, it is simply obvious that homosexuality is totally messed up." The problem with this is that the very fact people are challenging these notions indicates these positions are less than obvious to a lot of other people. Saying, "Sex is natural" sounds like a real argument to defend a position, but it actually amounts to just asserting ones own position and saying, "Because, damnit! That's why!" Granted, it is hard to argue with that. But not because of the overwhelming force of its logic.

To defend "natural" claims, sometimes people attempt to delve into the natural world to defend such ideas, but that tends to be pretty problematic: there are things only humans do that we don't want to say are "unnatural" and there are thing other species do that we definitely don't want to say are natural. Only humans use language (other species have communication systems, but none has anything close to the full grammatical and lexical complexity that human language has, nor do those have the range of communicative topics human language has.) And in other species we can find things we certainly don't want to call "natural." Just limiting ourselves to sex: Some insects and arachnids (try to and often do) kill their partner after mating with them. Male lions will kill a female's offspring to get her to have sex with him. Mallards have about as many forced copulations as they do consensual ones.

The field of psychiatry has often tried to use what's called "the naturalistic fallacy" to sound scientific in making their personal prejudices into mental disorders. "X must have been evolutionarily maladaptive, so it must be bad." "Y must have been adaptive, so it must be good." But there are clear counter-examples (other than the above.) Really liking sugar and fat was probably quite adaptive for hunter gatherers on the plains of Africa where those important nutrients were scare. In modern society, not so much.

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ily
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby ily » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:03 pm

pretzelboy wrote:With lack of sexual desire, I don't think it should be considered a disorder even if it causes distress


I agree with this 100%. It always bothers me when I see people say "If asexuality distresses you, see a doctor" when their distress is so clearly based not around their sexuality itself, but around huge social pressures and disapproval. If you're homeless, you probably have a poor quality of life. But does that make homelessness a mental disorder? Obviously not; it's a social problem. If people stopped telling asexuals how wrong and weird we are, our quality of life would certainly improve by leaps and bounds.

Your neighbor sounds like the one with the problem, at least when it comes to social boundaries.

clouded_perception
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby clouded_perception » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:49 pm

pretzelboy wrote:With lack of sexual desire, I don't think it should be considered a disorder even if it causes distress


Agreed. I never considered this before, but you're right -- if something causes distress, it is desireable to remove the distress -- but that doesn't make anything that causes the distress a disorder. I love your thin woman example, BTW.

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Noskcaj.Llahsram
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:32 am

:dance: Givin' it up for the schizoids down here :dance:
What is love? Well, you know that feeling you get when you've been locked in a tiny dark space alone for a year? It's kind of the opposite of that.

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Lemon » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:46 am

I was going to make a comment about mental disorder but after reading further you all hit the nail on the head so all I can say is

I don't believe that my capacity to enjoy life is impaired by my lack of sex, but I can't help but question my own self-reporting. I mean, if you ask a crazy person if they're crazy chances are they'll say no. Does the fact that I'm even questioning myself kind of imply I have a problem with it?
The first error with this statement is that your capacity to enjoy life is not impaired, your capacity to enjoy sex is. Unless this causes you distress its not a problem in its self, for the multitude of reasoning above its also not a disorder.

Replace sex with something less associated with 'disorder' & 'perversion' in your scenario and its no longer a big deal (I think its fair to say that variation in taste, sexuality and attraction from the norm is often considered perversion when it simply isn't, its sex-negative to think that anything other than hetro-vanilla is 'wrong' but I think this attitude contributes to asexuality being considered a 'disorder'). For example, I love food, a minority of people don't love food - even though it's an important part of society and life, their capacity to enjoy life is not impaired by this, only their capacity to enjoy food. If we couldn't physically live without sex I'm sure we would engage in it as people who are not fussed about eating do in eating but sinc eits not vital, why bother?

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby pretzelboy » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:06 am

I remember way back when, I went to 6th grade camp, and I remember on of the big-adult-people (who was probably a college student, but to a 6th grader, that's a big adult person) who lead us around on some activity of other. He told us that for some reason or other (bad nose spray?) he had lost his sense of smell, which resulted in not being able to enjoy food. One thing I learned from him is that the sense of smell--and not just "taste" narrowly defined in terms of sensory input via taste buds--is a large part of what we consider "taste." He told us that as a result, to him, everything is pretty much like eating plain mashed potatoes.

At the time, I recall thinking that that would be rather annoying--not because enjoying food is such a vitally important part of having a happy life, but because eating food was such a vital part of life, it was unavoidable. So if everything was like eating plain mashed potatoes, it would make this unavoidable activity a matter of drudgery. (Granted, what I'm not sure I had realized is that after a while, he probably just got used to it.) But there's another point I recall thinking at the time: nothing productive would be accomplished by telling him what he was missing out on. Nothing except being really annoying.

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Lemon » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:35 am

Some one in primary school (school between 5-12 years old in the UK) once told me that if you can smell it, your eating it. Then they farted. :P

I used the example of food because I recently saw my elderly grandmother who has lost her sense of smell and so also taste. For lunch we went on a mission to find food of many textures, spicy lentil soup with crunchy garlic croutons, she enjoyed it, me not so much.

Personally I regard my asexuality is a lack, I am interested in sex, probably because like your guy with no taste who is surrounded by food magazines & people irritatingly 'Mmmmmm-ing' over delicious dishes, I am all too aware that its great and every one else but me gets to enjoy it. That's not to say I'm going to spend my life being miserable but being surrounded by sexual imagery & people all lusting this way and that is understandably annoying. Before puberty I expected to grow up into a sexual person and now I feel a bit inadequate, both in society and withing my sexual relationships.

I guess I am in the same situation as no-smell guy, while of course I can live without sex but not without food, I can't not love or hope to maintain a relationship with my sexual partner, who in turn needs to engage in bland mashed potatoes regularly, its not the end of the world to eat bland mash a few times a week but it constantly reinforce what I'm missing out on. Mashed potato texture has some positive aspects after all, as with physically ungratifying sex.

Actually no-smell guy is worse off, at least I have the satisfaction that someone is enjoying mushy potatoes, while in his situation no one is enjoying anything. We should buy him some croutons.

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Isaac » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:20 am

But you may still eat for the texture of food. I do it when a cold affects my smell.

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Noskcaj.Llahsram
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:28 pm

I do it all the time, but don't forget you got taste and flavour confused, your sense of flavour comes from smell (for example: this gum is tastes grapey) vs actual tastes which are sweet, sour, salt, bitter, Umami, [reserve right to add Fat, and calcium based on further research], I have no sense of smell now, I lost it in a thanksgiving day turkey accident
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Siggy
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Siggy » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:04 pm

I don't much idea that asexuality is a disorder if and only if it causes personal distress. It puts me in a bit of a pickle. If it were true, I'd be holding two contradictory beliefs:

1. I do not have a disorder.
2. Being aromantic is depressing to me.

It could be that I really am holding two contradictory beliefs, but I prefer the possibility that doesn't involve me being wrong. :shifty: So I agree with pretzelboy that asexuality is not a disorder even if it does cause distress. After all, it's not the asexuality itself which causes distress, but our expectations and wants influenced by cultural norms.

But I'm still rather uncomfortable with the implications of this argument. Let's say we have a woman who is of typical body weight and shape. She is distressed because she doesn't look like the models in all the magazines. Obviously, her body weight and shape are not a disorder. However, you might argue that she has body image issues, and that is a disorder. So couldn't we use the same argument, and say that I have a disorder, because I'm unhappy with being aromantic? But this contradicts with belief number 1, so I want to explore alternative possibilities first.

Possibility 1: It's a matter of degree. If the woman just looks at the magazines longingly, saying "I wish I looked like that", that's not really much distress, and not much of a disorder. If she is so distressed that she's skipping meals or obsessive-compulsively dieting, then it's a disorder. For me, I just think I'm on the losing end of the cliche, "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." It's not like I'm losing sleep over it.

Possibility 2: Let's say I'm a short person. I wish I were tall because that would help me at basketball, maybe get me a scholarship. But no matter how much I wish it, it's never a disorder. Caveat: I have trouble expressing this possibility without an analogy, so maybe it's a false analogy.

Possibility 3: I really do have a disorder. Now, where's the pill for it? :roll:

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby pretzelboy » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:03 pm

The way that I think of the idea of "disorder" is that it is one particular way of dealing with problems. We've all got problems; we've all got issues to deal with. Different sorts of problems have different sorts of solutions. By labeling something a disorder, that means that the type of solution to be opted for is a medical solution. If someone has liver cancer, by calling it a disorder/disease, it encourages people to think of dealing with it with medical means. It is assumed that the cancer itself is the problem, and the ideal solution is to get rid of it, or at least to contain it. This facilitates going to certain sorts of people to deal with it. It encourages certain kinds of research surrounding it (what causes it? how can we prevent it? what can be done to cure it?)

For certain sorts of problems (like liver cancer) this seems like a very sensible way to approach the matter. While there is a sense in which it is helpful to encourage people to accept the fact of their cancer, it's not in the context of convincing them that the problem isn't the cancer but the societal negativity towards cancer. (Though, some forms of prejudice against those who are ill can be important to counter.)

For other kinds of problems, I think that medical models seem entirely inappropriate--for example, problems of body image. The question isn't whether it's a problem. The question is whether calling it a disorder and using a medical model is the best way to deal with that particular sort of problem.

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Lemon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:29 am

Pretzel, your posts make me warm and fuzzy inside. Can I get some sort of pocket pretzel to respond to my worries and confusions? Like an articulate worry doll? <3

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Siggy
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Siggy » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:44 am

Pretzelboy, how did you get to be so insightful? I wish I had thought of that. The clues were all there.

So a "disorder" is a particular kind of problem which calls for a particular kind of solution. The nice thing about this, is that all the distinctions we've been talking about naturally follow. If a person feels no personal distress, suffers no damage to their health, then it's not a problem at all, and hardly needs a solution, much less a medical one. If a person just feels a little distress, it may not be worthwhile to treat such a small problem medically, what with all the expended effort and the side effects. As for the analogy with the basketball, that's just an example of a type problem which would be absurd to treat medically.

As for low sexual desire, I do not think it should be seen as a medical problem to be fixed. Another way of putting it: I do not think low sexual desire should be considered a disorder.

I feel like you've just encapsulated the whole disorder issue. Yay! :mrgreen:

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ily
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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby ily » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:54 pm

I took a class on African religions once, and it was interesting because here are some cultures that traditionally, did not use the medical model at all. Like, if you did have liver cancer, that was not a disorder, but a curse upon you. So the cure for it might have been religious action. That may not have done anything about the condition, but I'm sure it is a comfort to people to tie illness in with spirituality. My favorite thing in the class was a religious sect called Ngoma in which only people who had survived a certain illness could become healers (and that was the only expertise you needed). I think for cancer, this might not be the best solution, but it could provide a lot of support for people with, say, a mental illness.

The (British) teacher of that class told us that "Americans view the body like a car, just open it up and dig around". Looking back, I think what he meant was that in all cases, we automatically go to the medical model. Apparently we think it makes us really modern and effective, but it is all pretty inflexible, isn't it...

I'm just musing here...

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby Clarity » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:37 pm

ily wrote:My favorite thing in the class was a religious sect called Ngoma in which only people who had survived a certain illness could become healers (and that was the only expertise you needed). I think for cancer, this might not be the best solution, but it could provide a lot of support for people with, say, a mental illness.


That's what NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness in the US) does! It's a grassroots organization where, say, someone who has a mental illness teaches a group of other people who have mental illness, and then any of them can go on to teach the class to another group. I got trained to do continuing ed for K12 teachers--my entire training was a seminar that was only two or three hours, and my expertise is just that I've had mental illness in K12 school (I'd be part of a team, including a parent who raised a child or teen with mental illness, and a school professional).

I think that assuming that "diagnosed with a mental disorder" -> "seeks medical cure" is slightly misleading. I'm lucky, but the first mental health resource I encountered was cognitive behavioral therapy self-help, and later I joined online support groups, and then real-life communities. I've done some talk therapy, but for me the most important thing in dealing with mental illness is developing and maintaining a deep, insightful, accepting relationship with yourself and developing and maintaining a wide social support group--not to mention seeing a purpose in your life and your illness, seeing the way it creates compassion and an increased range of empathy and allows you to better understand and work with or aid other people, including those with and without mental illness.

I guess since one of the things I work on in my life is de-pathologizing and de-medicalizing mental disorders (without changing what they're called), it doesn't matter to me much what the DSM (which is pretty ridiculous on numerous accounts anyway) has in it or doesn't have in it, or whether anyone personally uses the HSDD diagnosis--it's how they use it, and whether they include negative value judgments, and so on. I can admit that I have a sexual dysfunction in that I don't function sexually in a certain way, and that's non-threatening. It has no impact on my identity, and it doesn't mean that it should be distressing or that it reduces my quality of life.

There are just so many factors in quality of life, and not having something you don't want but that would be enjoyable if you had it is just... not one to worry about. I mean, for one obvious thing, it would be very unpleasant if you wanted it but didn't have it, and for another, you can't change it, whereas you can change things that might be more important--say, careers, or pessimism vs. optimism, or social habits, or smoking vs. not smoking, or unhealthy negative beliefs, or not really doing anything you consider important, and so on. There's probably an infinite number of ways to enjoy life, find it meaningful, and make it very, very worth while--and isn't that an adequate way to define high quality of life?--so why stress over taking a different path than most other people?

Additionally, I find it narrow-minded to focus on factors in quality of life that many people in one's culture take for granted, when there are so many people who don't have some basic things. For me, the main one's mental health and control over my life owing to that mental illness. Other people might not be able to hear, or might live in desperate poverty, or might be fighting for their lives, or might have to do something very unpleasant to make a living--or just might not be able to smell.

In no way do these things devalue someone's life. Everyone makes their own narrative of what's important to them, what makes them happy, what they're trying to do, and what they struggle with, and that narrative is often going to assume the conditions they're in. They're going to find meaning and pleasure in their own lives, and that's far more important to them than anything that isn't there. People should stop and think and respect that more often. Yes, it may be a surprising contrast, and even a tragic one, to someone who's living a very different life, a life that assumes some ability or source of happiness, but if that person stopped and thought about what they didn't have in their own lives that many other people got happiness or fulfillment from, they'd realize that lacking something doesn't affect quality of life, just changes where you get it from.

I can smell and taste, but I don't taste my food. I don't know whether it's good or not--I just don't pay attention. Unless it's something (like coffee) that makes me gag, I don't care. I see that as a bonus, because I don't get disappointed or dissatisfied with my food, I don't have to spend a lot of time and money becoming a good cook and learning to shop for the best foods, and I can think about other things uninterrupted. :P

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby clouded_perception » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:49 am

Lemon wrote:Pretzel, your posts make me warm and fuzzy inside. Can I get some sort of pocket pretzel to respond to my worries and confusions? Like an articulate worry doll? <3


I'll get you one, Lemon. I'll need chloroform, a sack and a plane ticket. Pretzel, where do you live?

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby pretzelboy » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:46 am

clouded_perception wrote:
Lemon wrote:Pretzel, your posts make me warm and fuzzy inside. Can I get some sort of pocket pretzel to respond to my worries and confusions? Like an articulate worry doll? <3


I'll get you one, Lemon. I'll need chloroform, a sack and a plane ticket. Pretzel, where do you live?

In a van, down by the river.

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Re: "Quality of life"

Postby apsaf » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:07 am

I go by the principle of enjoying what you have, instead of feeling miserable because of what you "lack" or can't have. So, I enjoyed reading the above analogies with the senses. I also enjoyed the debate about disorders. But I'd like to add my perception regarding the OP's question:
But if other people insist that I'm unhappy, does that mean being asexual is affecting my quality of life?


because I've had a very similar experience regarding this:
When I think about it, I do feel a sense of awkwardness when it comes to how I interact with men. Most of my friends are dudes, and there have been several instances when they've developed feelings for me and I didn't know how to deal with it. For some odd reason "I'm not looking for a relationship" is interpreted as "MUST TRY HARDER." As if a lack of desire is not a legitimate excuse. This more or less affects how they view me, but not how I view myself.

I never thought of my asexuality (I didn't know what it was called then, so I considered it an opinion or a personal lifestyle) as "missing out" on anything. On the contrary, I've always considered it a blessing, because it allowed me to be who I wanted to be, without ever feeling that I'm giving up or sacrificing anything (like love, marriage, etc.) in order to enjoy my life. After discovering asexuality as an orientation, my whole perspective changed and I realized that the one thing I thought I was missing out on was only an idea projected onto me by my social surrounding, which is romantic and sexual.

I would say that to most sexuals, not having sex does indicate a compromised quality of life. I'd also say that to most romantics, not being in a romantic relationship does indicate a compromised quality of life as well.

I agree with the above quote by Dragon. I've always been, not just content, but really happy (and sometimes grateful) with my aromantic disposition. On the other hand, I've seen way too many romantic sexual friends being miserable, because they still haven't found the one or they're still single or they miss that feeling of "being in love." In that sense, I see their quality of life affected by the lack of romance/sex in their lives. Some of them even went to extremes to end that situation, like marrying the wrong person (the first one available), for instance.

I think that this situation might also be distressful to a romantic asexual, because of being torn between wanting a long-term relationship with someone and not being able to fulfill what's usually expected in a love relationship, i.e. the sexual part of it.
But I considered it as being pressured to do something you don't want to do to, just to please the others and not as being unhappy with your asexuality, because you yourself want the sexual experience.

Lemon said:
Before puberty I expected to grow up into a sexual person and now I feel a bit inadequate, both in society and withing my sexual relationships.

During my adolescence, I've also had this feeling of inadequacy, I've always felt different and I've been trying to "fix" myself till a few months back.

The only "trouble" caused by my asexuality is the social pressure I feel and trying to convince the others (mainly the people who genuinely care about me) that I'm happier single and that I don't care whether or not I end up a "spinster" :roll:

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you might think you lack something because you're the only one who doesn't have it. But if you don't personally experience a need for it, then that, to me, means that it has no bearing on enhancing the quality of your life.

PS: I don't consider a sexual person's view of my lack of sexual desire --that there's "something wrong with me"-- as accurate because it's just as subjective as my own view of it not being a problem at all.

(I hope I was able to make some sense of what I was trying to say! :/)
Last edited by apsaf on Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

disjointed

Re: "Quality of life"

Postby disjointed » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:25 am

Surely the self proclaimed intellectual must acknowledge that even sexual people are not humping for 24 hours a day..because they cannot so even within the sexual world there are large periods of non sexual action

this would make the physical acts..be on a par with asexuals in that the act it'self is not being performed..he can delude himself that asexuality is just easy to be compartmentalised but with most of the human race not shagging every five minutes we have more in common with sexuals than some like to think

sometimes we seek to label and others to label us..and I think to much of this goes on

I'm an average man doing average things who just happens to be asexual..apart from swapping juices i am the same as the next man

disjointed

Re: "Quality of life"

Postby disjointed » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:31 am

some people just like to label others to give an appearance of intellect whilst the whole time they haven't got a clue....I'd ignore the neighbour