The Asexual Handbook Pt. 1: An Ace’s Perspective Of A Sex-Positive Society
WARNING: SEXUAL THEMES; MINOR MENTIONS OF SENSITIVE SUBJECT MATTER.
It’s fascinating how often the industrial domain focuses on the concept of “sex sells”. Magazines, billboards, television, and websites alike are littered with ‘busty babes’ and ‘muscular men’ for the sake of catching attention and selling products. It must be effective, right? After all, advertising companies still rely heavily on this idea. I cannot describe the frequency in which I’ve personally seen a set of boobs plastered next to a best-selling product (I often wonder if some consumers think they’re getting a deal on those, too).
However, not many take the time to realize that sometimes, the “sex sells” manipulation doesn’t necessarily work so well, especially for someone not so sexually inclined.
To begin, as the title implies, I am asexual. To those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, this means that I do not feel sexual attraction and find myself repulsed by the thought of having sex. No, not all of us in the asexual community interpret our asexuality to this exact definition, and even though the physical act is something I have no taste for, I still possess the capability of arousal (which doesn’t make me any less asexual, I promise). Sure, there are days where I feel a disconnect with the rest of the planet and question if something is wrong with me, but don’t we all at some point in our lives? (I mean hey, if you don’t, share your secrets! Haha!) However, I’m proud to be ‘ace’ because it is my identity – an identity I am comfortable with and can call my own. I know, I know – labels seem a little overrated, but to some of us, it gives us solace and a sense of belonging in an otherwise unforgiving existence.
To be truthful, even though I prefer not to be part of it, I find it a remarkable thing that some cultures are being more exposed to sex-positivity, including my own. Bodies are bodies for a reason, and sex is a natural part in the cycle of life. Shaming that process is illogical, especially if it’s biologically meant to happen. What is alarming is that the act of sex has been transformed into this all-consuming object of possession – aka, a trophy – and a reason to deny true emotional intimacy. If you, my dear reader, are sex-oriented yourself, feel free to relate to my opinion on this matter! I understand that this is very much a concerning implication for the both of us! Personally, this lifestyle is one I don’t wish to become a part of, let alone adding in all my reasons behind deeming myself as asexual.
Even though I hold both a lack of desire and repulsion towards having intercourse, it still makes an impact on my life, especially through my efforts to form relationships. For one, it’s a difficult process to find a partner who doesn’t require sex or at least connect with someone who is willing to accept my asexual lifestyle. In addition, I’ve been told by family members that I should put myself on the market – that I will never supply my future spouse with a fulfilling relationship if my love for them doesn’t manifest physically (you know…if I don’t have sex; that’s a horrible and hurtful assumption to make about someone, by the way, because there are other approaches to express physical affection). These experiences, while unpleasant, have allowed me to piece together an idea found as a joint agreement in society’s vision of a relationship. Are you ready for it?
There is this supposed requirement that affects all genders: providing physical results. Most people believe this takes the form in supplying physical satisfaction or – gasp – having children. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a parent, but reproduction is often used as an expectation instead of a choice. That is where the problem lies.
As I see it, this philosophy, amplified by the media and advertising businesses, tends to bring pain with its pleasure. For a concept that the majority deems as effective, there are several sex-driven individuals who are also victims of this impression forced into sex-positive culture, leaving them uneducated or miseducated because of its influence. It’s a truly vicious cycle; future generations are coming into a sex-positive, adult world with the words ‘taboo’, ‘celibacy’, or ‘this is an awkward subject to discuss’ stamped onto their mentality from concerned families or abstinence-only instruction. When they decide to fall down that rabbit hole, they typically go in without proper knowledge – no experience on STD/STI prevention, contraceptives, exploring orientation, proper consent, or how to give/receive pleasure (families who give their children appropriate knowledge of these facts deserve a pat on the back). This expands to further harmful behaviors, such as an increase in sexual assault/rape, objectification of people, and skewed ideals for anatomical correctness (I mean, look at the plastic surgery industry and tell me I’m wrong).
I don’t believe I need to expand any further on how there are several flaws to this ideology, which leads to my main argument. As an ace-oriented person looking in as a spectator and not as a participant, I feel that we need more POSITIVE sex-positivity and sex education. We need less altered and unhealthy images of sex and beauty being presented, and more acceptance of one’s self. If you’re a parent or plan to be one, don’t be afraid to tell your children the ins and outs when the time comes; you may not approve of their choices, but you’re ultimately keeping them safe instead of riddling them with ineffective (or worse, 100% effective) fear tactics. Be open-minded to who they are as human beings, and educate yourself on their needs and preferences. Additionally, bonds should not be built on set rules and regulations that are sex-exclusive; emotional intimacy may be just as powerful for some as physical intimacy is for others. Encouraging a balance to flourish can aid in the development of healthy boundaries and mutual understanding of one’s partner or mutual partners.
I hope that taking a sip from my cup of asexuali-tea didn’t leave you too heated, dear reader. I like to keep the water warm for a refreshing experience to be had, and I encourage the read to be taken with an open mind. 😉 Until next time, keep your relationships healthy and happy. Remember to love yourself and all your beautiful colours!