Broaching the topic of asexuality

General discussion about relationship issues.
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spin
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Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby spin » Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:25 pm

For people of any nonheteronormative orientation, there's always the question of when and how to come out. Since asexuality is one of the few orientations where "mixed" relationships are common, and simply seeking a relationship with a certain gender doesn't communicate anything about an asexual orientation, I'm particularly interested in when and how asexual people in such mixed relationships come out to partners or prospective partners.

If you're asexual and have had or are in relationships with sexual people, when and how have you brought it up? Do you need to wait and get close before bringing up the subject of sex, or is it important to you that prospective partners know you're asexual long before the subject of sex arises?

If you didn't know about asexuality when the relationship started, who brought it up and how?
If your partner is asexual, how did it come up in your relationship?

I realize these are all subjective and I don't expect (or want) anyone to have one-size-fits-all answers. But I am curious about what's worked, or not worked, for you.

chlirissa
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby chlirissa » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:05 pm

Well,

I've never really had a relationship proper, but I do have a friend who I've only recently realized I have a crush on (though I have for like a year).

At any rate, I found the word asexual in January, over the my college break through youtube videos of TV shows Jay had been on. I, of course, went to AVEN to figure out the details, but since youtube linking is a very common form of communication at my school, I went ahead and sent out the videos to the people who I felt like I wanted them to know (the fact that she was the first one on my mental list didn't clue me in). I figured they'd have something to say or want to ask questions or whatever. Unfortunately, no one (my mother included) ever contacted me back and then I felt all the more awkward about it.

I say my biggest mistake was not being direct.

With coming out I eventually realized that all those torturous conversations where people sit around and point out hotties or ask you who you'd rather f*ck are educational opportunities. They used to make incredibly uncomfortable (I still have a residual anxiety especially around people I don't know well), but now I try to be as open as I can about how I don't actually feel sexual attraction. I think it can be easy to turn off people who are interested in you if you only talk about the negative definition of asexual, so I'd recommend being sure to talk about what you do experience as much as what you don't.

I'd love to hear more people's strategies.

peace,

Chlirissa

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spin
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby spin » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:54 am

I'm glad you learned something from it, Chlirissa. That's what counts.

Okay, my story. It was very important to me to make sure friends and prospective partners knew about my asexuality long before sexual relationships became a question.

For the past several weeks I'd been in the process of coming right out and explaining my asexuality--when relevant, which was fairly often in this sexually-charged group--to the new social circle I'd found myself in. He and I were passing acquaintances at this point, but a close female friend of his joked that he wanted me to do naughty things to him, which left a wide opening for me to explain to both of them that I didn't really do naughty things, or have naughty things done to me, yadda yadda not sexually attracted to anybody. We had the conversation again, a bit more in depth, at a party a while later. We talked about it a bit more the first time had a chance to spend time alone. We're continuing to talk about our respective needs and boundaries a lot, which is what's been making it all work.

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Mysteria
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Mysteria » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:43 pm

chlirissa wrote:With coming out I eventually realized that all those torturous conversations where people sit around and point out hotties or ask you who you'd rather f*ck are educational opportunities.

Yes, exactly. Those are the kinds of conversations which I usually use to come out to people, whether they're potential relationship candidates or not. I like to make it a well-known fact that I'm asexual, so that anyone who's interested in pursuing any sort of relationship with me knows exactly what they're getting into before they're already in the middle of it.

Of course it doesn't always work that way, because a lot of sexuals I've noticed tend to think they know what they're getting into but really they have no clue. It requires a lot of patience on both of our parts, and a degree of openness on theirs. I can try to explain to the best of my abilities, but if for example he thinks I'm in denial about being a lesbian, anything I say is just going to be twisted around in his mind to support his theory. When it's warranted, I will make my best effort to explain the nuances of my asexuality.

This past Saturday, I found myself playing truth (and no dares because with these particular people they tend to get out of hand) with a new group of friends, and that led to me coming out (to the few I had just met) and them asking me personal questions about it whenever it was my turn. It was interesting for all of us, and the setting really helped to give them a better idea of what asexuality is, without them or me feeling awkward about all the questions, because everyone was getting grilled, not just me.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Shockwave » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:30 pm

I'm not currently in any kind of relationship that anyone would consider romantic...but there is someone I'm interested in. When I think about it though, I really believe it would be easier to tell her I'm asexual than to tell her I have CF because I'm not anti-sex in any way and asexuality isn't fatal.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Emmarainbow » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:14 pm

All over the place... last time it was brought up, we were talking about drunken topics of conersation; I say I talk a lot about sexuality (which is true!). Last time I remember obviously 'coming out' was when a friend laughed and said that everyone in the room liked cock... 'Well... I don't'. Obv when people ask me how my lovelife is going or who I fancy. And I go to the gay group on campus and talk about it a lot, and people will ask me if I'm gay or bi, and I explain. Why I don't understand rocky horror. When I moan about my lack-of-relationship problems, and tell Chris not to kiss me when he's drunk. All sorts of places it gets mentioned.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:56 pm

what is the deal with Rocky Horror Picture Show, I mean its good and funny but great and hilarious as eveyone thinks it is.
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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spin
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby spin » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:54 pm

Yeah, there's always the question of when/how to come out in general. I'm specifically curious about the relationship dynamic though, and how people approach it with potential partners. It doesn't have to be someone you are or have been in a relationship with--what about friends or acquaintances you just might be interested in, or who might be interested in you?

Shockwave, do you mean that asexuality comes across as less anti-sex than CF?? Or does that mean that people assume sex is out of the question for someone with CF?

I realize you might have an interesting perspective on the so-called "desexualization" of people with medical conditions, which might be worthy of its own thread.

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Shockwave
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Shockwave » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:44 am

spin wrote:Shockwave, do you mean that asexuality comes across as less anti-sex than CF?? Or does that mean that people assume sex is out of the question for someone with CF?


Well, in my situation being asexual wouldn't really be an issue in a relationship. Sex isn't something I feel I really need in my life but I have no qualms about doing it in the right type of relationship. Having CF, on the other hand, can be a serious deterrent to getting into a relationship in the first place. If you found out someone you were interested in was terminally ill would you have second thoughts? Most people would.

spin wrote:I realize you might have an interesting perspective on the so-called "desexualization" of people with medical conditions, which might be worthy of its own thread.


The first time I saw the word "asexual" used in reference to human sexuality was in a Sociology book. It was talking about how people with disabilities are often viewed as asexual by others. I don't often experience that myself until after they get to know me because my condition isn't obvious.

I actually catch women, and occasionally men, staring at me quite often (the bottom-lip-biting kind of stare). It can be a little unnerving.

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spin
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby spin » Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:35 am

I see. I can understand that it might give people second thoughts, though I don't think it takes relationships out of the question. Someone might decide you're worth their time, and decide to get all they can. Besides, from what I know you take care of yourself and have it pretty well under control, considering. (I do hope you're doing well these days *hug*)

I've seen some people on AVEN grumbling about how movements to de-asexualize those with disabilities leave them in the cold. I think the real trouble is when rights groups, in claiming their sexualities, discount the idea that anyone is not sexual. It's an interesting problem.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Shockwave » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:39 am

I'm realizing more and more these days that it's often a bigger deal in my head than it is in other people's. I'm actually getting to know someone right now who's not even trying to hide her interest. We'll see how that goes.

spin wrote:I've seen some people on AVEN grumbling about how movements to de-asexualize those with disabilities leave them in the cold.


This really bothers me. Very few people with disabilities are actually asexual, and the fact that they are treated as such often leaves them feeling the need for sex even more than those with normal abilities. De-asexualizing them is one of the best things that can be done for them.

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spin
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby spin » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:13 pm

Reallllly?

Oh, absolutely. I do think a couple of the comments were from asexual people with disabilities, though. By and large I'm wholly in favor of sexually empowering people who are externally culturally desexualized, but the issue then--which comes up often in sex-positive discourse in general--is when the language used promotes the idea that everybody is a sexual person.

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Shockwave
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Shockwave » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:26 pm

One of the problems with movements is that they are often founded on knee-jerk reactions to things that are happening in society. Because of that the issues typically get divided into two sides with diametrically opposed views while the best solution for everyone is usually somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, taking a strong stand on an issue is sometimes necessary in order to affect change but then once the movement gains the momentum to create that change it often swings things too far the other way, leaving those in the middle still getting hurt by it.

One of the things I like about this site is the more moderate view being taken here.

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Dargon
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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Dargon » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:29 pm

1) Pardon my ignorance, but what is CF? I am rather certain you are not talking about counter force springs.

Noskcaj.Llahsram wrote:what is the deal with Rocky Horror Picture Show, I mean its good and funny but great and hilarious as eveyone thinks it is.


You have to go to a live performace with people who know the callout lines for Rockey to be worthwhile. Also, I look damned good in a corset.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Shockwave » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:41 pm

Dargon wrote:1) Pardon my ignorance, but what is CF? I am rather certain you are not talking about counter force springs.


Hahaha, no. We're talking about Cystic Fibrosis. My case is relatively mild, in November I will reach the current median life expectancy and my doctor says that as long as I continue to take care of myself as well as I am right now I could live a long time. I had two siblings who died of it as children though.

If you want more detailed info you can go to http://www.cff.org/, they're the best online source.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:52 pm

Dargon wrote:You have to go to a live performace with people who know the callout lines for Rockey to be worthwhile. Also, I look damned good in a corset.

Actually, last year here in Winnipeg the mtc put on Rocky Horror, I went with two friends, who absolutely love it,on the New Years Eve debut. We all wore homemade corsets, fishnet stalkings, wigs, the whole shebang. That all combined with the free champagne made for a wonderful evening.

p.s. sorry 'bout the whole off topic tangent

p.p.s I do not look good in a corsets. :oops:
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: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Emmarainbow » Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:01 am

(sorry to continue the off-topicness!)
Noskcaj.Llahsram wrote:what is the deal with Rocky Horror Picture Show, I mean its good and funny but great and hilarious as eveyone thinks it is.

I know, I spent ages trying to like it as much as my friends, but I really don't. I realised that (well, as I understood it) it was about sexual awakening and expression, which is something I'll never experience in the same way, so I don't connect with it.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby xaida » Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:10 pm

(sorry to get back to topic. I feel I missed the train :shifty: )

I found it extremely comfortable that all my surroundings (family, friends, ex and current relationships, colleagues, neighbors,...) know the thing asexuality and I share ;) I have a pretty impressive decolleté, am flirtatious and enjoy playing with all the signs which are traditionally associated with anything other than asexual. If they wouldnt know, that nothing of it has got to do with any supposed sexual desire, Id be in *big* trouble :P Also it creates a rather original level of humour in our more personal talks with things like my "You sexuals are so weird! But fascinating. But weird." or their "I really feel Im loosing it here. Who is the most asexual person here ready for a to talk?" being heard.
To most of them I didnt have to come out as it was pretty obvious. I mean, having a camera team in front of us suggesting to please go on talking friendly and naturally is not something easily repressed. Or having me blatantly talk about sex from a screen when you sleepingly turn the TV on at 4am in the morning. It *has* happened. ;) But I found this approach about "asexuality is some topic to have as a hobby, burning interest and with a lot of committing activities around" a rather useful and positive one when coming out. Usually on the first couple of dates its revealed what the two of us are into in their sparetime. Since I enjoy giving talks, organising visibility projects, meeting up or reading in the forums thats for the main part a pretty question for me to answer. Also asexuality then is not as much associated with something limiting or dismalling the future opportunities in a relationship between the two of us, but is rather put into the same pot as motorcycling, playing an instrument, participating in political campaigns, go salsa dancing and other hobbies one just has. Proceeding from there, hypothesizing about different ways of relationship styling is much more relaxed.

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Witch of Wapping » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:56 am

I've only told friends (who tend to say "That's interesting" - it hasn't been a big deal) but no longer attempt Relationships, and can't imagine how that would go. I am conscious of the need to tell an ex-partner who is still a friend, and find myself fluffing it so that I get the words right, so that she doesn't feel the four years we spent loving each other are devalued, and that by extension she is devalued. (She is living in a different town and in a good relationship so the damage would be to our friendship.) I know there's no reason for this, I'm just saying - I find myself nervous and keep fluffing it with her.

(Skidding back off the rails to Rocky Horror - it started as a London fringe theatre piece that grew and grew, created by people loosely connected with the Gay Liberation Front - all the playing with gender and sexuality was new and daring then - so although it is about "sexual awakening" I still love it from when I was young, but find it odd that it keeps going.)

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Re: Broaching the topic of asexuality

Postby Vittoria » Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:51 pm

When I first started to try to date (before I discovered I didn't have the patience for it) I waited until I got to know a person before telling them I wsn't interested in sex. I always put it that way because I hadn't yet encountered the term 'asexual'. That never worked out well for me, I suppose because by the time I told the other person they had already built a certain picture of who I was in their mind and they couldn't believe I'd be something so bizarre as asexual.

Then I learned to tell people before we ever went out. That didn't work out well, either, but then it was because they thought I was playing hard-to-get or some such nonsense. They would then proceed to get miffed off upon discovering that I really wasn't interested in sex, as though I hadn't told them right from the beginning... :roll: