Do you believe asexuals are truly oppressed for being asexual?

Q: Do you believe asexuals are truly oppressed for being asexual (like other members of the lgbt+ are?). I mean, no one has been killed or kicked out of their home for being asexual. The orientation may get mocked, but that’s not true oppression.

I’ve written about this subject here.

On the one hand, I don’t really understand the obsession with oppression as being the only way membership in the LGBT+ community is legitimate.  Certainly, oppression is terrible. However, oppressive systems are being actively dismantled on an almost daily basis (Congrats, Ireland, BTW!), and there are many places where gays or lesbians, etc., would not face oppression in their daily lives.  Are you trying to say that when oppression is gone, the LGBT+ community disappears?

(And keep in mind, context is important.  Certainly, while there are victories in places like Ireland, there are setbacks in places like Russia.  But you can’t really claim that someone living in an open and free place is oppressed, simply because someplace else in the world, they’d be oppressed.  If you try and go down that route, then a White Christian American who lives in Indiana would be considered oppressed because white people are getting attacked in Zimbabwe, Christians are getting killed in Syria and Iraq, and Americans would be thrown in jail in North Korea.  I do not believe that a White Christian American who lives in Indiana should be considered oppressed on those grounds, because that would be a patently absurd statement to make.)

Beyond that, I take considerable exception to the claim that no asexuals have ever been killed for being asexual.  I believe that some asexuals are the victims of sexual violence, including murders, because of their asexuality.  There are certainly cases where people have been beaten, raped, or murdered for saying no to sex.  In many of these cases, the victim is asexual and they’re saying no to sex because they’re asexual.  Now, I also believe that this aspect is largely invisible, because in many cases, the victims don’t even know that they’re asexual.  As far as I know, no studies have ever been done in this area, and I feel this is something that desperately needs to be looked into.  This is a silent tragedy that increased awareness of asexuality and resources for asexual people could help to address.

Also, although it’s not directly related to the original topic, with where I turned the conversation, I feel that I would be remiss without mentioning the site Resources For Ace Survivors, which is a resource for ace spectrum survivors of sexual violence, in case that’s something someone reading this needs.

How does one really know if they’re ace?

Q: I think I might be some variant of ace but I’m not really sure and I guess my ask is how does one really know if they’re ace and is asexuality something that can come later in life? I’m not sure if I just didn’t let myself see it as an option before or if I’m just different now. it’s weird and fuzzy and vague. the only thing I know for sure is that I’m really happy that I don’t have to have sex

Since it’s a feeling, you sort of know the same way you know you like mint chocolate chip ice cream or don’t like whatever’s on Channel 7 on Wednesdays.  It’s just kind of how it is.

More seriously, though, there really isn’t a way to know for sure 100%.  You can have a pretty good idea, but you’ll never be able to say with 100% certainty that you’re absolutely definitely asexual and there’s no chance of anything else.  99%, sure, but there simply isn’t any way to know that the right person isn’t hiding behind the next tree.  However, having said that, a straight guy can never be 100% certain that the right man isn’t hiding behind the next tree, either.  Most people just accept this uncertainty and go with what feels right at the moment.

By saying that you’re asexual, you’re not locking yourself into a 10 year commitment you can’t get out of.  If you discover that you weren’t actually asexual after all, there’s no early termination fees.

Regardless of whether or not you’re asexual, you don’t have to have sex if you don’t want to.  Some people aren’t fans of sex, and that opinion isn’t limited to just aces.

As far as coming to it later in life, I discovered asexuality at 31.  (Although that may or may not constitute “later in life” to you…)  Before that time, I thought I was just not very good at being straight.  There were some women who set off my “She Looks Nice” detector, but there was never a sexual component.  When I did have sex, it was because the opportunity had presented itself, and was driven more by curiosity than by any kind of urges or innate desires.  But that was enough for me to think I was straight, because I wasn’t aware of any other classifications that would fit me.  When I discovered asexuality, I didn’t change, but my understanding of who I was did.

I was wondering how you felt about relationships?

Q: This is probably a deeper question than what would usually be asked. I was wondering how you felt about relationships? Not the usual kind of ‘are you okay with dating’ type of thing, but the prospect that it may never happen? I am asexual aromantic, so that leaves little room for anyone to have a serious, romantic relationship with me, although I have tried.

I’m fine with the thought that it will never happen.  I think it would be extremely awkward for me.  Like I just wouldn’t belong there.

I had a romantic relationship years ago, and it just didn’t fit right.  Last summer, the prospect of a romantic relationship came up again (with another asexual, no less!) and I just couldn’t see how it could work for me.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with this person, no reason to say no, I just couldn’t bring myself to say yes, because I knew that I didn’t belong there.

Then again, I’ve always been an introvert, a loner.  I’m fine taking 5000 mile road trips with only a map and a camera.  (And a ton of camping equipment and clothes and snacks and guidebooks, etc.  But you get the idea.)  I don’t know that I’d know how to share a life with someone.

Although you are ace, do you still masturbate?

Q: Although you are ace, do you still masturbate? because I thought asexual meant little to no sexual attraction to anyone. but i dunno

Yes, I do.

As you say, asexuality is about attraction, it’s not about action.  Absolutely nothing about masturbating conflicts with asexuality in any way.  You don’t have to feel attraction in order to do it.  And it’s not like there’s a straight way to masturbate and a gay way to masturbate and there’s no ace way to masturbate.  Pretty much everyone who does it, does the same thing, regardless of orientation.

Some people think that there’s a list of approved reasons that an ace can masturbate, and if an asexual dare touch themselves for any other reason, they’re automatically thrown out of the orientation.  That’s ridiculous.  An asexual can masturbate because they want to “clean the pipes” or an asexual can masturbate for stress relief or an asexual can masturbate because they really really like orgasms, and they’re still asexual.  (Personally, I do it because I really really like orgasms…)

People who try to claim that someone who masturbates can’t be asexual never seem to have a good answer for what it makes a person instead.  If I’m not ace because I masturbate, what am I?  I’m still not a member of the female or male sexual fan clubs after I’ve done it, so how could I possibly be anything other than asexual?

I’ve written more on the subject here and here and here.

Have you ever had a romantic, or sexual relationship?

Q:  Have you ever had a romantic, or sexual relationship? If yes, did you feel like you enjoyed it, or had to fake it (was it traumatic?). If no, do you think this has affected your orientation in any way? Would you ever have a sexual relationship?

I have had a romantic and sexual relationship.

Once.  Thirteen years ago.

I guess I enjoyed it, but there were parts where I felt like I was acting.  I never really felt like I was faking it, though.  It was fairly apparent that I wasn’t all that sex-inclined.  It was a frequent topic of conversation.  She even asked me if I was asexual once, but I brushed it off because I didn’t know what the word meant at the time.

I wouldn’t say any part of it was traumatic.  Nothing was outside of my willingness or comfort levels.  Even the sexual stuff was something I wanted to do.  (Although some of it was boring…)

Would I ever have another one?  Maybe.  I used to say that I’d do it again in the right situation, but last year, the potentially right situation sort of presented itself and I steered clear of it, because even the beginning simply didn’t feel like somewhere I belonged.

I could jump in and bug you about boners but I feel like I’d be invading or otherwise asking a stupid question?

Q:  Tbh it’s hard to think of male specific questions about asexuality? I mean I could jump in and ask you about the sexual expectations attached to masculinity or bug you about boners but I feel like I’d be invading or otherwise asking a stupid question?

In some of the other questions, I addressed a few things about the sexual expectations attached to masculinity, so I might as well talk about boners and my relationship with them.  So if you don’t want to read about that, skip the rest of this post.

First of all, they’re kinda weird.  If you touch some body part the right way, it inflates.  Sometimes it randomly inflates on its own.  That’s strange.

They are often inconvenient.  They’ll make clothes suddenly uncomfortable.  They’ll make it difficult to go to the bathroom.  And sometimes they’re hard to get rid of, because they make it become more sensitive, so any touch will keep it going, and at the same time, they’ve made it bigger, so it’s more likely to brush against things.

But enough about technical things for now…  This is supposed to be about asexuality in some way.

I’ve never cared about my size.  I’ve never felt like I needed it to be bigger, and I’ve never worried about how I stack up against others.  I don’t know if that’s because I’m asexual or not, but that probably has something to do with it.  It’s big enough for what I do with it, and I don’t have to care about whether my partner prefers or expects a different size.  (Although, I will admit to getting out a ruler out of statistical curiosity…)

I don’t tend to get them randomly, at least not anymore.  (The hormone soup of the early teens, however, that’s a different story…)  I’ll sometimes have one when I wake up, but other than that, I generally don’t get one unless I want one.  This is at least partially due to asexuality, because I’m not randomly turned on by people when I’m out and about.

They’ve never made a decision for me.  The entire concept of “letting my pants do the thinking” is weird to me.  Even if I get one unexpectedly, I never feel like I have to do anything with it or I’ll explode.  I honestly don’t know how much of this is asexuality having an effect and how much of it is other people exaggerating their experiences.

Their presence and utility was probably the single biggest factor that prevented me from realizing I was asexual for years.  I was told that erections were a signal of attraction.  I was told that masturbation required lustful thoughts.  Even though I didn’t feel any attraction and didn’t typically have any lustful thoughts (And, for the most part, had to force myself to have them when I did have them…), I figured it all had to be there somewhere.  I wish I had known that asexuality existed and that it’s possible to get erections and even masturbate and still be asexual.

The ace community is full of people who mostly afab. I think I’m asking what are your views/concepts/ideas etc on the topic.

Q: I think its obvious that the queer community, and I think specifically the ace community is full of people who mostly afab (regardless of later cis or trans identities). I don’t want to ask the question how do we fix this, because the answer is consistently education, as it should be. I think I’m asking what are your views/concepts/ideas etc on the topic.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that the wider queer community is mostly AFAB people.  Some corners are, but others are heavily AMAB.  But, I’m not an expert on demographics, and that’s outside of my area, so I’ll leave it there.

Now, about the ace community, that’s absolutely true.  The periodic censuses that are done show it, and even just an informal glance at the people involved shows that.  According to the latest census, less than 10% of the ace community are cis-males.  And I don’t think that breakdown reflects reality.

I’ve got some anecdotal hypotheses about why that is (none of which have been proven or even really explored):

    • Women are “supposed” to be asexual, while men are “supposed” to be hypersexual.
    • Women are “allowed” to talk about their feelings, while men are expected to keep it bottled up.  This also means that women are probably more likely to hear about asexuality from other women, while men are more likely to hear about asexuality from absolutely no one.
    • Online message boards and forums on these sorts of topics tend to skew towards a female audience, which introduces sampling bias.  (Also likely why many of the same surveys show a predominance of or introverts.)
    • The belief that erection == attraction.
    • Fear of ridicule for being anything other than a practicing heterosexual.

General awareness of asexuality would help, but beyond that, I think there are issues that specifically need to be addressed regarding asexual men.

First, the idea that a functioning penis has any bearing on sexual orientation needs to be thrown out.  I might very well have discovered that I was asexual years earlier, if I hadn’t been so caught up on that.  You can be asexual and get erections.  You can be asexual and masturbate.  You can be asexual and have orgasms.  And you can be asexual and enjoy all of the above.

Second, the people who mock asexuality as the emasculated beta-male byproduct of feminism need to be destroyed.  (They need to be destroyed in general, but also specifically because of this.)  I am not asexual because women are allowed to vote or work or wear pants or generally be treated like human beings.  I am not asexual because I’m afraid that I’ll be sued for harassment if I even look in the direction of a woman. I am asexual because I’m not sexually attracted to anyone.

I was wondering if you ever sort of came out to your parents and what their response was if so.

Q: Hey, I was wondering if you ever sort of came out to your parents and what their response was if so. I understand you are probably older that me and no longer live near your parents but my mom found a text I sent a friend when I was younger about my asexuality and now brings it up occasionally to tell me how “disturbing” it is, just want some advice

I did come out to my parents.  I did it with an impersonal post on Facebook that they didn’t even notice at first…  They accepted it, but it’s not like I was telling something they hadn’t already figured out.  I never had a girlfriend in high school or college.  After college, there was a short lived, long-distance relationship, then no one.  I never talked about girls (or guys, for that matter).  Over the years, they just stopped asking when I was going to get a girlfriend, and basically just accepted that it wouldn’t happen.  So, when I came out, I was just putting a word on what they already knew.

For your particular situation, I don’t know if I would be the best to give advice.  These pages might help you:



Are you only going to date asexuals or are you open to dating other sexual people?

Q: I’m an acefluid female interested in males. I’ve been worried that I won’t be able to find a guy (when I start dating) who will respect that I’m acefluid. I would preferably only date an asexual guy, but only time will tell. If I can find a sexual guy who respects that I don’t wanna have sex, then I’d date him. I guess my question is this: are you only going to date asexuals or are you open to dating other sexual people?

Personally, I’m not really interested in dating anybody.  It’s just not my thing.  I had an opportunity to try to start something with an asexual person last year and none of it felt right.  The one girlfriend that I had years ago was definitely not asexual.

What have you had to deal with being an asexual male?

Q: What have you had to deal with being an asexual male? Like, me being an asexual female, I know it’s difficult dealing with a sex-obsessed culture. What about you? How do you deal with living such a sex-obsessed culture? Do you have any tips for how I can get along easier?

I think what was the hardest for me was not knowing that asexuality was even a thing.  I was told by society that I was supposed to be obsessed with sex, that I was supposed to want as much as I could get and get it as often as I could.  I was told that my penis was supposed to control me.  I was told that only an inability to get an erection would stop me from being driven by sex (and that there was a pill for that, if that happened…).  I was told that I was supposed to desire hot celebrities, that short skirts, blonde hair, and big breasts were supposed to drive me wild.

But there was none of that.

I spent years wondering what was wrong with me.  Why didn’t I want it?  Why didn’t I need it?  Why didn’t it drive me?  It was supposed to.  It would make sense if I were gay, but I wasn’t.  It would make sense if I couldn’t get it up, but I could.  So what was wrong with me?

When I discovered asexuality, I realized that those things didn’t apply to me and didn’t have to apply to me.  I think in some ways, I simply stay out of the more sex-obsessed parts of culture.  I don’t belong there, and it’s fine that I don’t.