In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

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Mage
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In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby Mage » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:16 pm

Well, I don't know where else to turn because I don't have any asexual friends offline. My nonasexual friends are sympathetic, but I think they're getting annoyed at hearing me talk about this issue.

Basically, about five months ago I fell in-love with a person who is a self-described hypersexual. Our relationship has gone through some strange starts and halts, and it's clear to me that this is based on misunderstandings. To give a short version of the story, I feel a moderate/low level of sexual attraction to this person and I decided at the outset that I wanted him to understand that this is an incredibly rare occurrence for me. I typically do not experience sexual attraction, and have only felt a low level of sexual attraction (which I did not act on) towards two people before I met him. But rather than explain that I felt sexually attracted to him, I thought it would be a good idea to help him understand asexuality and my relationship to it as an orientation so as not to cause confusion. I also wanted him to understand why I probably wouldn't be the kind of sexual partner he's used to.

So I've been explaining asexuality, at his request, every time we've had special alone time together for the past five months, and he still doesn't get it. He's a feminist and I can tell he wants to respect me, but the concept just does not compute for him. I see his face fall whenever I say "I'm almost totally asexual," but he never asks how that lack of sexual attraction affects what I consider to be sexual or what I'd be willing to do with him. Rather, if I tell him about something that I do which he perceives to be sexual, he'll deny that I'm asexual (this seems to be in hopes of making me change my mind). He doesn't seem to understand that sexual attraction and sexual desire can be completely unrelated, and it's been difficult to make that clear because in his experience they are inseparable.
The farthest we've gone physically is hugging a lot and he's kissed me on the cheek. I think I'd enjoy having sex with him because from what I gather, he's skilled at giving sexual pleasure, so maybe I wouldn't find it totally boring (plus I get an endorphin rush from hugging him, so sex might be similar).

I think the advice I need is this: do you think I'd be setting myself back or somehow making asexuality/my experiences look discreditable if I went ahead and told him that I want to have sexual experiences with him?
Also, I have no frame of reference for how people initiate sex: every time I've had sex so far, the other person has literally launched themselves at me, which is frankly something I can't imagine myself ever doing to another person. But I have to wonder if it's a turn off that I'm not a...a launcher. What do you think?


By the way, I'm bringing this up not just to touch on my own life drama, but because I want to know about other people's ideas about how "deviations" from asexuality might affect the educational cause. In an ideal world, I think that it should be fine to say that I'm mostly asexual, but I don't know if this is somehow misleading.
"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
—Audre Lorde

My blog: http://acefeminisms.blogspot.com

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ily
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby ily » Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:42 pm

That does sound hard. 8| I've never wanted to initiate sex, so I can't help you there. But as for the concept not computing for him...I think that most non-asexuals don't know what questions to ask in regards to asexuality. We can't rely on them asking questions because they don't know what information they "need". It doesn't matter how progressive someone might be in other areas-- if they've never had reason to question it, I think most people do see sexuality as fitting into neat categories. But if he can't take your word for something, and be open to the idea of sexuality having gray areas, I'm not sure what to do with him. :/ Obviously your asexual identity is important to you, and it sounds like you want him to be more supportive than he's been. As far as "looking discreditable", if he doesn't buy the concept of asexuality, then whatever explanation you use may not matter much. I mean, people who've never experienced sexual attraction and have never wanted to do anything sexual get disbelief all the time. I guess you might just want to think about how you'd feel if you had sex with him and then he's still like, "See, you're not asexual!" or something. Would that bother you? It sounds like you've explained your situation to him in great detail, so I'm not sure how you would be misleading him. I wish you luck, whatever you end up deciding. :)

Mage
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby Mage » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:15 am

Ily, you're right. I shouldn't expect him to know what to ask me. I feel like it couldn't be more clear that "does not experience sexual attraction," only means that and is not a reflection of my attitudes toward sex, but I suppose if one has always experienced sexual attraction towards the people they want to have sex with then attraction would be synonymous with desire. It's true that I don't typically want sex and that this situation is different because I am attracted to this person, but I still see my desire as being separate from my attraction.

Actually, I'm starting to question if what I'm experiencing is sexual attraction at all, and if the previous times I thought I was sexually attracted I was experiencing a different kind of attraction. Maybe I shouldn't even say I'm sexually attracted to him, and just tell him I'd be open to sexual experiences. :| Obviously no one can really help me decide if I've experienced sexual attraction or not, but I think this is part of why I'm ambivalent when it comes to confessing.

It's definitely important to me that my ace identity be recognized before I have sex, so that my (hypothetical) sexual partners will understand that I'm usually disinterested and probably won't experience sex the same way they do. I've definitely had that scene replay in my head over and over, where we'd have sex and he'd tell me I'm not asexual. But maybe I'd be defying expectations about what asexuality is by having sex and enjoying the experience, and maybe this defiance would actually be helpful. Like I could say, "Yep. Still asexual!" :lol:

Thanks for reading.

I'm guessing that it is not common for asexuals to want to have sex (hell I almost never want to), even though I keep reading that theoretically we can enjoy sex. I do feel a bit out of place (here, and everywhere) with this situation.
"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
—Audre Lorde

My blog: http://acefeminisms.blogspot.com

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debiguity
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby debiguity » Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:06 pm

I think it goes back to the fact that behavior doesn't define orientation.

But it's also true that behavior defines us *to others* more than our own labels. Imagine a hypersexual who never has sex. Would you think of that person in relation to their self-described label, or their behavior? It's the same with anyone, really, and any aspect of themselves.

Sometimes I wonder how much asexuality would matter to a sexual partner IF the asexual person in question was someone who could enjoy sex. Sure, there are differences in how the pleasure and the sex is perceived by each, but isn't that always true? We experience everything through our own lens.

Not saying that we should go around pretending or lying, and not saying we shouldn't talk about it and (especially) be upfront with potential partners, but...if you are open to a sexual relationship and feel you could enjoy sex with a sexual partner, why not go for it? If he doesn't believe, in the end, that you are asexual because you can and do enjoy sex, does it matter? How much does it matter? (If it is of high importance, he's not likely someone you would be happy in a relationship with.) Even if he does believe, and accepts, you're still only going to get that true bone-deep understanding of lack-of-sexual-attraction among other asexuals...

I guess all I'm trying to say is that life matters more than labels. If labels are getting in the way of your life, they've lost their purpose.

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Siggy
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby Siggy » Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:49 pm

I recently had a talk with my boyfriend about what my asexuality entails. I think up to now he's been a bit confused because I clearly feel strongly about the subject (to the point of being an activist), but we are sexually active. But even if he was confused, he has never been anything but accepting and supportive. I think being gay really helps. Straight people just don't understand, and think it's all black and white. Educated queers know enough to know how much they don't know about queerness.

Here's roughly what I said: The more common sexual orientations (straight, bi, and gay), are well-known to exist on a spectrum, so why not asexuality too? In my particular position on this spectrum, I can enjoy sex, but I probably experience it differently than you do. I feel like for me, it's more driven by libido than attraction. I might like different parts. I might have less of an emotional reaction, since it is not that strongly linked with romantic attraction. In a possible future, I might even get tired of it. I can't be too sure about it, so it's something we have to be aware of.

But your situation is different from mine. In particular, he doesn't sound very accepting. I mean, it sounds like what he really needs is Asexuality 102, and he's still stuck on 101. I think the first thing you need to do is get to a place where you don't feel any pressure to "prove" yourself. If you don't behave according to his image of asexuality, that's not evidence against asexuality, that's just evidence that his image is too simplistic. Having to defend yourself is a major turn-off, when just a little turn-off would do.

But I have to wonder if it's a turn off that I'm not a...a launcher. What do you think?

In a perfect world, asking for explicit consent is the sexy thing to do.

Mage
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby Mage » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:59 pm

Debiguity, I think you're right about sexual behavior /= attraction. The problem is convincing other people that this is true, but I'm working on it. Hopefully directing people to my blog (including him) will help with this because I talk about that issue. It definitely applies to people of other orientations as well!


Siggy, as for the queer acceptance thing: he's a transman and is a queer activist. I've elected to only become romantically involved with other queers for a variety of reasons, and I agree with you that in the long run this will make life a lot simpler. I have found that he's open to talking about asexuality, and that all of my queer friends have expressed a ton of curiosity and excitement that they can learn new things about sexuality from my (and our internet community's) perspective. I haven't approached it from the spectrum agrument, I think that would really help.

Also, are you suggesting that 102 might be the part where I just say and do the things I want to do? Cause I think I'm down for that. :)

side note:
This reminds me that I feel like I need to have a discussion about queer theory and asexuality, if it hasn't already been hashed out on the board. I know there's a thread on AVEN about whether or not asexuals are queer, but it doesn't really touch on queer theory...at all. Any particular threads where this gets discussed? I think I tried to bring it up once but failed spectacularly.
"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
—Audre Lorde

My blog: http://acefeminisms.blogspot.com

The Gray Lady
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby The Gray Lady » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:10 pm

Mage, this situation sounds A LOT like the one I was in three years ago. So much so that I want to send you an essay I wrote for my creative non-fiction class last year about what happened, which I wrote with the goal of sketching a clear definition of asexuality without didactically stating one, mainly by showing how people have responded to it and why they were wrong. It seemed to be fairly successful judging from my classmates' reactions, though I'm unhappy with it now (for reasons I don't want to discuss publicly). It will need a little editing and contextualizing because there are certain glaring omissions which perhaps cannot be properly addressed in such a short work, but perhaps if you show it to him, it might help him understand. I'll work on editing it some and then send it to you via email.

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Siggy
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby Siggy » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:22 pm

Asexuality 101 is just about what asexuality is, and an overview of common misconceptions. Asexuality 102 includes such topics as asexual diversity, binary breaking, and intersectionality. At least, that's the picture I have in mind. :)

Maybe I'm stereotyping or overgeneralizing, but I feel like if he's queer, any ignorance is temporary. Queers are generally ignorant about asexuality, but they have the tools to understand it if it's explained to them. Tell him that his lukewarm acceptance is causing you to feel like you have to conform to a certain image... the same way that gays can feel like they have to exaggerate their kinsey score, or trans people can feel like they have to exaggerate their gender expressions. Tell him that these variations on asexuality are well-known in the community, but you just don't hear about them on the outside because the stupidity and ignorance we deal with just doesn't allow for it.

Oh, and I'm in favor of showing people that you have a blog. There's nothing like a collection of long essays to show that you've thought about the subject more than they'd ever care to read about. ]}:)

Asexuality and queerness gets discussed an awful lot, though I don't know if there's much about queer theory specifically. I'm not too familiar with queer theory, actually. You could start a thread here.

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ghosts
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby ghosts » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:11 am

Personally, I think it's easier to describe your own sexuality w/o labels, rather than explaining the concept of asexuality first & then all its variations. Because everybody's different when it comes to sexuality - even if you're "sexual." I also think that when you describe how you feel rather than a concept/label/identity, that's easier to understand & harder to deny (& you can always say later something like, "Yeah, this is why I identify with asexuality, even though I seem to differ on some points.").

As for whether not initiating is a turn-off - maybe for some? It might just be discouraging rather than a turn-off, but I don't know. Maybe it's something you could try in the future if you want to (there are other ways to do this besides "launching"!)?

Mage
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby Mage » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:36 pm

Siggy, your point about feeling like I have to conform to a certain image is perfect and that's definitely something I'm going to bring up. The point you made also brought to mind Ily's recent blog entry about coming out, and whether we should tack on something like what the appropriate response is when we do it. I'm thinking there's a way to state something about stereotypes and assumptions, but I'm blanking on what the wording for that could be. Maybe something along the lines of, "I'm asexual, and by the way, any assumptions you might have about my attitudes and behaviors should be left at the door." But that might be a bit pushy.

ghosts, I think you're right too about describing how I feel about my sexuality first and then bringing up that I'm asexual, if I do. Unfortunately with this person I was asked directly if I was asexual and, never having come out before or been asked before, I was flustered and immediately admitted to it. In the future I'll give it a shot though. I come out a lot so I'll have ample opportunities to experiment with methods. :lol:

I've also recently decided that I'm probably not experiencing sexual attraction in this situation at all, and I don't think that I ever really have, though I am experiencing some kind of sexual desire that is compelling. Just don't know what to call it. It's like, a combination of rational reasons to want to explore alongside this body high I get from touching him. Maybe it doesn't matter what it's called. I think I'm just making a huge effort to understand myself at this point in time because it's so rare that I feel anything of this nature at all.
"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
—Audre Lorde

My blog: http://acefeminisms.blogspot.com

fridayoak
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Re: In-love with a self-described hypersexual.

Postby fridayoak » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:21 am

Personally (and I've been in relationships with "hypersexuals") I wouldn't bother with blogs and labels, you don't even need to mention the word "asexual". Just use clear language and tell your partner what you like, what you don't like (or might like/not like), what you're comfortbale/unfortable with, and that this may or may not change in the future, stuff like that cos for me I've noticed that asexuals seem to think that the language we use is known by the other 99% of the population and quite frankly it isn't. Just talk normally, no need to complicate it too much, talk in practical terms and how it will/might affect the relationship, to start with at least and then if they do happen to show an interest in the more political/visibilty/community side of asexuality then great, that's an added bonus. That's just my 2 cents anyway.