Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Asexuality and the Fluidity of Sex

I haven’t been completely fair to the asexual community.  Like a lot of people who first discover this particular orientation, my mind was blown.  How can there be people who don’t have sex?  We have an evolutionary predisposition to fuck.  It’s healthy and, when done right, fun!  Even a good hand romp with ourselves can make the world seem a better place. 

Asexuals were faking and I knew it!

So I set off on a mission to research everything I could about asexuality.  If I can defend pegging to a heterosexual male who is completely squicked out by everything anal, I can defend the asexual’s plight not to have sex.

What I found led me to something a bit more profound, I think, about the fluidity of sex and the fallacy of labels.  And it took the asexual community to get me there.

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN, defines asexuality as a person who does not experience sexual attraction.  I would describe asexuality as one of those umbrella terms used for a spectrum of similarities.  Because let’s face it, sexuality is a broad spectrum our human minds are still trying to reason out.

Alfred Kinsey saw that.  He saw young people fucking in all shapes and forms and created a scale to represent the spectrum of human sexuality.  The Kinsey Scale couldn’t possibly contain the full spectrum of human sexuality, but it was a start.  And asexuality made the cut!  Asexuals were represented by an X, though some argue asexuals found their way into the bisexual column by accident.

Today, roughly 1% of the population identify as asexual—not much different than Kinsey’s day.  Though I would argue that 1% of them are the true asexuals and that everyone else is…well, just not horny at the moment.

Don’t misunderstand me.  Asexuality is real, and there are real reasons that might sap a person’s sex drive.  Sexual trauma for instance, or biological influences like heart disease and mental illness can lead to a decreased sexual drive.  So it may be damaging—if not completely rude—to come at an asexual-identifying person like they’re faking. 

According to AVEN, however, asexuals may experience differing levels of sexual attraction.  They can and do have sex.  But according to many asexuals, it is more out of a sense of stress-relief, or to sate a sexually active partner.  Never because they are having a sexual response, or because their libido has finally clicked in. 

This is where the labels get all muddled.

When we let labels define us, they tend to box us in—to close us off from other parts of our personalities.  They tend to make us a little less objective, as well.  I knew a man once active in the gay scene and, after he met his wife, was completely cut off from the gays he’d once considered friends.  Why?  Because he no longer identified as gay.

Sexuality is fluid.  I feel no singular identity sums up the whole of the person it’s identifying.  While I might identify as a cock-sucker, my sexuality extends much further than sucking said cock.  And there are many factors that decide those times I do, least of all is the person the cock is attached to.

Of course, I am being too general. 

Many people don’t feel their sexuality truly awaken until they are older.  Age is very much a factor in human sexuality.  Disability—namely spinal cord injuries—play a role in a person’s sexuality.  We tend to mark people with disability as asexuals in their own way when, for many people living with disability, sexuality is still very much a part of who they are.  The transgender community is another example of how sexuality shifts.  Caitlyn Jenner has come out as “asexual, for now,” while some trans people who go through HRT experience a marked shift in sexual orientation. 

See how labels might be invasive?

It’s normal.  The human mind is designed to compartmentalize, to find patterns and link like-with-like and so forth.  Labels come from our trying to make sense of the world around us.  Nothing is more human than sex, and when we see people having it—or not having it—the way we do, our brains automatically file the thought under the “different” category.  And in our culture we have a tendency to mistakenly consider anything different as inherently wrong, or bad, or weird, especially when it comes to sex. 

There is also this persistent fallacy in our culture that not wanting to have sex is weird and strange.  After all, sex isn’t the taboo it once was.  It’s as if our culture has finally given the green light to go fuck ourselves silly. So why isn’t everyone doing just that? We place such an emphasis on sex that people feel compelled to have it before they’re ready to.  Virginity is viewed as something of an anomaly.  Even monogamy is catching shit for being too vanilla. 

With all this emphasis on sex, I think people forget that it’s okay NOT to have it.  One of the disadvantages described by asexual individuals is a problem establishing non-sexual dyadic relationships.  Perhaps they feel pressured to have sex, if only to keep their partners from straying. 

Doesn’t sound like the healthiest option, especially if there is any coercion going on.

As with all relationships, though, communication is key.  A non-sexual person cannot expect a sexually active partner to remain celibate or, at least, trim back their sexual desires and fantasies.  No more than the sexual partner should expect or pressure sex from their asexual partner.  It is like entering a relationship with a person who enjoys fapping it to porn then demanding they stop because you’re uncomfortable with it.  In my mind it seems counterintuitive.  But then again, who among us get to choose who we love and want to be with?

Sex columnist Dan Savage tells the story about a man whose wife’s libido dropped unexpectedly.  After not having sex for so long, the man reached out to an individual and they developed a sexual relationship under the pretense that sex is all the relationship could ever be.  The man was in love with his wife and didn’t want to leave her.  But he needed to fuck.  Eventually, the wife’s libido came back stronger than ever.  The husband called the relationship off with the other woman, and never looked back.  He also never told his wife about the encounters.  And they lived happily ever after…

Okay, I’m not sure about the last part.  But case and point, the wife’s sexuality shifted.  She went from being a sexual person to non-sexual, and back again.  The husband never labeled her as frigid, or any of the other derogatory words we use to express female sexuality.  And eventually, the sex worked itself out. 


Because sexuality is fluid.  

Once we realize this, perhaps we can move past some of the labels we use to define ourselves and, maybe more importantly, other people.  Maybe then bisexuals won’t be viewed as confused or selfish individuals.  That asexuals won’t be seen as broken.  Or monogamy as the blight of the sex positive community. 

Because in the end—bisexuals aren’t confused; asexuals sometimes fuck for the fun of it; and monogamous couples sometimes open up the relationship. 

Nothing is stationary. 

Why would sex be any different?

Until next time, my lovelies, celebrate YOU—no matter what end of the sexual spectrum you fall on.