Asex as safe word

General discussion about relationship issues.
chlirissa
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Asex as safe word

Postby chlirissa » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:33 pm

I've realized that, in the year since I've declared myself asexual, I've progressively allowed myself to be much more open to affection and relationships (of all kinds) than I ever have been. It's not just having a word to call myself (though I reluctantly admit that that helps), but that I feel safer after establishing a hard limit (sex) for the relationship and then operating from the assumption that that is not where the relationship is leading. After I come out to someone, I can more freely express feelings without the automatic assumption that affection and closeness equal sexual availability or attraction.

Has anyone else found that having asexuality to fall back on has made you more likely to have affectionate or even sexual interactions?

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Mysteria
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Mysteria » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:18 pm

Yeah, I have. During the years that I identified as bisexual/pansexual, I dissociated from the idea of ever having sex completely. And I ran away from anyone who I ever perceived as wanting a relationship with me as well, as soon as I got any sort of hint that that was what they were after.

However, since I've started thinking of myself as asexual, I've gradually become more open to the idea. First, I got into a relationship with a fellow asexual, then I started thinking that, should I ever get into a relationship with a sexual person, I would be able to go through with it to please them. Then after that first relationship had been over for quite some time, I met someone and lost my virginity to him outside the context of a committed relationship, and realized I was actually okay with that. Lately I've been thinking that if we tried it again, even though I will never crave it or be into it in the same way that he is, I might actually be able to enjoy it.

The boy says it's a shame that I'm not sexual, but what he doesn't realize is that, ironically, my asexuality is the only thing that allowed me to sleep with him in the first place!

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spin
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby spin » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:34 pm

Absolutely! Discovering asexuality, finding asexual people to identify with and puzzle things out with, helped me figure out who I was. I got comfortable with not being sexual, and by thinking about relationships through an asexual framework I worked out what other things attract me to people, and what some of my personal and interpersonal needs and desires are. And of course it means I have a way to talk about the way I feel, so I don't just have to hold it in and feel broken.

I would never have ended up in the relationship I'm in, or probably any good relationship, if I didn't have asexuality to identify with.

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Noskcaj.Llahsram
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:49 pm

I have to admit that since officially identifying as asexual I have felt "free-er" to pursue relationships, I dunno if this was the cause or if it simply coincided with me beginning to trust humans again (I was mercilessly teased and ostresized as a child and youth). :thumb:
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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Dargon
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Dargon » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:33 pm

While I do not believe coming out as asexual is solely responsible, I have found myself over the past couple of years more willing to be social and even playfully flirtatious with people. Mind you in the past five years I've gone from being almost a complete shut in to being rather social, but perhaps coming out has made it a little easier.

As for intimacy, both physical and emotional, it was another very recent revelation that has made me more comfortable with being involved in either. Mind you, neither has happened yet, but I am far more open to it that I used to be.

chlirissa
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby chlirissa » Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:58 am

wow,

It's cool to hear that from you guys. I guess I was thinking about starting a conversation with a certain crush :oops: and it occurred to me that this phenomena makes sense to me because I've experienced it but on its face it seems rather paradoxical. :?:

Dargon, I'm not going to push you to talk about your revelation if you're not comfy :shifty: , but I'd like to hear more if you want to share. :halo:

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Mr. Paradox
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Mr. Paradox » Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:17 pm

I know where you're coming from. I ruled out the possibility of ever having any sort of "partner," and most certainly of marriage, very early on because I couldn't disentangle any of that from the sexual elements I was avoiding. Now that I have... I'm married. It's very unlikely that I would ever have allowed myself to get close to anyone in such a way-- least of all a girl-- if I hadn't found out about the asexual community. Having said that, it's not a direct causation. I fell in love with the person I did because she amazes me and we're so good for each other. Asexual awareness just allowed it to happen.

On the other hand, settling into asexuality never made me decide to flirt with people or go looking for a girlfriend. I genuinely didn't have an interest in these things, and still don't. The identity actually helped me decide all the more firmly that I didn't need to do these things, which was good in my case. Self-awareness and the courage to follow it are what really matter.
"He cannot, however, long remain asexual when he sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat, abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths."
--Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex

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Dargon
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Re: Asex as safe word

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

chlirissa wrote:Dargon, I'm not going to push you to talk about your revelation if you're not comfy :shifty: , but I'd like to hear more if you want to share. :halo:


Ok, I shall explain, at risk of dragging this off topic and possibly getting a bit controvercial.

This is a two part revelation:

Part one:

So, as people may already know, a lot happened in the past year. I realised that I was deist, I failed out of college with 93 credit hours and about $20k (US) debit. (and I will refrain from my rant on higher education), I moved 200 miles away from my friends (who are closer than family to me). I left AVEN after being an active member for three years (yes, that was a big decision, but one I do not regret). Most of all, I entered the part of adulthood commonly refered to as "the real world."

Needless to say, times have been a bait stressful. So on night I was sitting there thinking about life, the universe, and everything, when I realised something. I should preface this by saying I believe gender identity to be a social construct. One only "feels" a certain gender because society says that is how that gender feels. This does tie in a little, I promise. Anyhow, I was thinking about politics and religion, when my train of thought lead me to realise most of what is considered "moral" by society is based on religion, particularly the dominant religion in the area. I think it is rather safe to say that most religious moral standards are pretty much "don't harm others" plus some other rules. Myself, I adhere to the first part of that, but I don't see any point in the extra rules that really don't hurt anybody (ie being gay). Anyhow, this realization that morality is often based on religion lead me to the realization that, to a certain extent, morality is a social construct.

That's where things start getting controvercial. TO explain further, things in the "not harming others" category are easy to classify as being "right" or "wrong." Why is stealing wrong; it harms others. killing? Harms others. On the other hand, other things considered immoral can really only be justified by religious or societal standards. The only answeres I have ever recieved for "why is being gay wrong" were either "because [insert deity here] says so" or "because it is unnatural." Same for other things commonly accepted as "immoral."

So, by "harm no one" standards, things like polyamory, premarital sex. no-strings-attached sex (ie the fuckbuddy or the one-night-stand) really aren't "wrong" (so long as all parties involved are ok with it).

This revelation pretty much chain reactioned into another. That other things society places value upon are only valued because society says they are. The first thing I realised this about was virginity. Hell, in some societies, it was an insult for someone to be married off and not be experienced.

So the big point in that revelation is that most of the signifigance of sex, wether it be what is good, bad, valuable, or worthless, is constructed by society.


Part 2:

I am an asexual porn consumer. Bizarre thing is, I have enjoyed porn across the whole spectrum (I do have my lines I don't cross, but they are pretty far out there), yet within every "type" of porn, there have been pieces that do things for me, and pieces that do nothing for me. It was only recently that I figured out what it was that "does it for me." It's females being "turned on" and enjoying the act (whatever particular act that may be).



So with the two of these, I can pretty much say that if a "romance" were to come along, should the other person be ok with the fact that I may or may not love other people as well, then I see no reason why it shouldn't happen. Same goes for the physical aspect. Or the crossing of the two.

And damn I wrote a lot of text, and really didn't do justice to my thoughts either. Oh well.

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Placebo
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Placebo » Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:16 pm

I think that finding out about asexuality has definitely helped. And most of that is due to the interactions and multiple viewpoints offered both here and AVEN that allowed me to explore the range of human sexuality and figure out where I fit into it before I dove in myself. Once I understood about what sexuality was and wasn't, I became much more comfortable--not with myself, I am and always have been comfortable with myself--but rather with myself as it relates to other people. And allowing myself to think through what I'm OK with, what I'm not OK with, and most importantly, WHY and how that might change over time has allowed me to have enough trust to start a relationship when it came along knocking and to communicate with said relationship-ee when we have differences of understanding.

Previously when I had male friends who "liked" me, all that I understood in a blurry kind of way was that they liked me in a way that I didn't like them. And thus, we were incompatible, end of story--there was no room for me to say, "let's just be friends" because you have to admit that that line comes out a lot differently depending if it's translated through asexual versus sexual eyes. And since I didn't understand that, and they didn't understand that, we had no grounds on which to compromise. Now I can say, "I don't sexually desire you, but I physically desire you," or "I don't feel sexual attraction, but I find you aesthetically/physically/emotionally interesting," and that gives us room to come to an understanding. I hope. Plus it makes me feel like I am OK to be this way--although I joke with my partner that I'm broken--I understand the existence of the various types of attraction and the triple headed beast of sexual attraction-desire-arousal are not intrinsically linked and it's OK for me to feel some and not others, and it's OK for us to explore how we can make each other happy.
"Now it's right for me to be me."

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

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Mr. Paradox
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Mr. Paradox » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:47 pm

Placebo wrote:Previously when I had male friends who "liked" me, all that I understood in a blurry kind of way was that they liked me in a way that I didn't like them.

Well said. I think this gets to the heart of quite a lot. So many of us assume that this imbalance is insurmountable, including me. Even if I had had an interest in relationships in the past, had developed feelings for someone sexual, and had come to terms with the discomfort of the situation, I still can't imagine that I would have accepted a Relationship because I would have known it was impossible and doomed to fall apart in the end. The differences in appetite could be worked out and boundaries could be set, but the relationship would still be unbalanced and asymmetrical. There would be too much difference. This is why I now think it's so important to bring the focus to the things we have in common with others than to solely dwell on what we don't.
"He cannot, however, long remain asexual when he sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat, abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths."
--Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex

Witch of Wapping
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby Witch of Wapping » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:34 am

Well, no, it isn't or wasn't like that for me, though I can see how it could have been. The difference is that I really have come to asexuality later in life than that, and long after seeing myself as comfortably "older", with my couple-type relationships behind me. It was lesbianism and feminism that gave the younger me a community where we were working out who to be, seemingly outside our parents' world-view, and that was fun and exciting. (I still feel more shared history with friends from that background, much as I love you all as well.)

As to attraction, on some level I just lived with the blurriness (Placebo's word) and hoped it would make more sense one day - secretly thinking, hey, we're reinventing the world anyway, I just haven't quite got the hang of this.

cyan
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Re: Asex as safe word

Postby cyan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:14 pm

No and yes, in that chronological order.

When I first discovered AVEN, I was searching for a reason why I wasn't attracted to the boy I was in a long distance not-a-relationship with. (Long story short: he was in love with me, I wasn't in love with him, I had no clue in the world what love was, and I was constantly made to feel wrong and broken (not just by him, but also by myself) for not having the words to express what I felt). Thus, initially, asexuality provided me with a comfortable box to hide in.

An attempt to come out to him crashed and burned, he was one of my only friends and I was lonely and socially awkward and desperate to hold on to what pieces of our friendship hadn't drowned in the mutual angst, so instead of pushing the issue I gritted my teeth and waited for him to come to his senses, holding my brand new box to myself and reminding myself, every now and then, that now I had a reason not to be attracted to him ... after all, I wasn't attracted to anyone, right?

I also ended up leaving AVEN for a long time -- I don't really remember why. I only just started visiting again around a year ago; coincidentally (or not?) around the time that I began developing feelings for a friend of mine, and going through all the emotional and hormonal craziness of my first encounter with real romantic feelings (and real rejection, and real unrequited feelings ... I have a bit more understanding for my other friend now, I must admit) ... yet I still wasn't interested in sex. I found that AVEN had blossomed in my absence, and there was a greatly expanded vocabulary available to express the things I had always thought and felt and never quite known how to express.

Being asexual doesn't mean that I'm necessarily aromantic (I'm not), and my renewed there's a lot I have in common with the rest of humanity ... a lot more than I thought. Now that I'm no longer hiding in my box, I would definitely agree that knowing and being secure in my identity have done wonders for my ability to interact with other people. I'm not afraid of them anymore -- I know I can survive awkward situations, and I now have the vocabulary to express myself and express, as Mr. Paradox said, the things I have in common with the sexual-normative world, instead of being stuck on my differences.