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Karanna

Past Generations what did they think was wrong with them?

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Karanna

I am working on my family tree, and came across people that never married. I looked at one family and saw that out of say 12 siblings one never got married. While some went as far as having three husbands or wives. Was that person Asexual? Surely he or she could find someone if they siblings could?

Now also I wonder if this oritation can be passed on from one generation to the next. Maybe skipping a generation or two before reappearing in some poor soul.

One thing we will never know how they were treated, were they shunned.

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Tarfeather

Sexual freedom wasn't really a thing back then. It didn't matter who you were attracted to or wanted to have (or not have) sex with. So basically it sucked for everyone, sexuals and asexuals alike. These days, everyone has the choice who to have (or not have) sex with, unless they give in to peer pressure. You don't really need a word for it to understand that you don't want to have sex.

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scarletlatitude

It may also be that the person who was not married just did not like the idea of marriage. Might have been one of those people who don't want to be monogamous. Or maybe there was a health or social factor going on that we know nothing about. Or maybe that person was celibate for religious reasons. It's hard to tell really. We wouldn't know unless we could ask the person.

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knout

I do think the emergence of asexuality is, as opposed to other LGBT orientations, something that stem from the so called sexual revolution in the 70's.

Before that, people were mostly convinced that having sex with one and only one person was the "right" thing to do, that it was not to be discussed and that you were stuck with that partner. So if things weren't going right, it probably never got out of the household anyway.

It is only after a sexual revolution where people realized you shouldn't hide your feelings and allow yourself to actually explore your orientation that the idea started making sense... And in the midst of that, because people got so curious about the "need" to have a sexual orientation, you have asexuality.

Where other orientations had to hide or conform throughout history, asexuals had to put up with it, probably as a secret. But considering the fact that people then didn't really put the emphasis on enjoying sex so much, it was something for reproduction - note that the use of contraceptives also emphasis the idea that sex can be for fun - I don't think people thought there was too much wrong with them. They might feel it was a boring activity, that they were making a compromise by doing it... But I don't think they would have felt as much as having something wrong with them as someone who feels the same in today's world.

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Sally

I could be considered an "older" generation and I just thought something was wrong with me, but thought I could get over it with experience. Ha.

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fuzzipueo

I am working on my family tree, and came across people that never married. I looked at one family and saw that out of say 12 siblings one never got married. While some went as far as having three husbands or wives. Was that person Asexual? Surely he or she could find someone if they siblings could?

Now also I wonder if this oritation can be passed on from one generation to the next. Maybe skipping a generation or two before reappearing in some poor soul.

One thing we will never know how they were treated, were they shunned.

My mom told me of a number of aunts in her family who showed no interest one way or another in having a relationship and did not marry.

Now I can not say for sure that these ladies were asexual, or for that matter, whether they might have actually been Lesbians (because one just did on speak of such things at the time), it has led me to wonder the same thing about genetics and predispositions. For at least one of my great-aunts, it was all a matter her not wanting to give up control of her own life to a husband, and there may have been some of that going on too with the others. At this point, unless there are diaries or some other type of recorded documentation, there is no evidence to back up the idea. >shrug<

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Amy76

I have often wondered about this. Back years ago many people were married in their late teens or early 20s and it was mostly to someone from the same village as them. I always thought it to be odd that everyone managed to find someone at such a young age and who happened to live in the same town. I asked an elderly aunt about this and she looked at me like I was mad - she didn't understand what I meant.

I guess I was viewing it from my asexual stance. If I had lived back then, what on earth would I have done? Would I have just had to get married like everyone else and had children? Would that have been my life? In those days women did not get paid as much as men and would not have been able to support themselves so would be stuck living with their parents. I bet a lot of people just grabbed someone that seemed ok so they could move out of their parents house - I don't believe that they all met the love of their lives by age 20 that they met at the local dance hall. This would be like in the 1930s/40s I am talking about (in the UK).

It must have been a terrible burden for anyone not traditionally heterosexual. People like me, who really didn't want to have sex, or anyone who was gay, and what would a transgender person have done? They would have been totally trapped and may not even have realised what was going on with them. Thank goodness times have changed and you can be what you want.

My parents got married in 1966 and at that time a single woman could not apply for a council house, she had to be married. But my mum and dad got a flat and in the block they lived in there was a guy that worked as a female impersonator, and he was gay and his partner was his cousin and they lived together. So obviously an unmarried man could get a council house, but not an unmarried woman. I thought that guy was very brave to live that life in those days - female impersonator, gay, and being with his cousin. No-one would bother these days but back then things were different. At least he recognised his sexuality and didn't end up trapped in a marriage.

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fogsedge

At least in Western culture, I'd guess things have gotten much more difficult for asexuals as society has become much more highly sexualized. I would bet my maiden aunts were pretty much asexual, and not much bothered by it. I suspect moderns sexualize the past, so many of the 'love' scenes in historical literature and film, are products of modern imagination.

Remember that in the 1920s Marie Stopes (author of Married Love) was considered indecent for writing that women had a right to enjoy sex, and for advocating birth control. I think a lot of women considered sex a burden that had to be borne, and there was a lot less foreplay than there is today.

In traditional peasant cultures that practice primogeniture (first son inherits everything) there were lots of people who didn't and couldn't marry. Some went into religious orders, where 'saving yourself for God' was considered a virtue. Others went into service in a household. Of course there was prostitution and there was a lot of sex outside of wedlock, but the unmarried who abstained were regarded as normal and proper.

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chair jockey

Sexual freedom wasn't really a thing back then. It didn't matter who you were attracted to or wanted to have (or not have) sex with. So basically it sucked for everyone, sexuals and asexuals alike. These days, everyone has the choice who to have (or not have) sex with, unless they give in to peer pressure. You don't really need a word for it to understand that you don't want to have sex.

Elitist nonsense. I recommend researching some history for a true picture of what we know of the past.

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fogsedge

Sexual freedom wasn't really a thing back then. It didn't matter who you were attracted to or wanted to have (or not have) sex with. So basically it sucked for everyone, sexuals and asexuals alike. These days, everyone has the choice who to have (or not have) sex with, unless they give in to peer pressure. You don't really need a word for it to understand that you don't want to have sex.

Elitist nonsense. I recommend researching some history for a true picture of what we know of the past.

Don't be so quick to judge. "Researching history" is a big demand. What social situation would a Thai male (or female) asexual have felt like in 1547? or 1045? Or a north African asexual at the time of Mohammad? I haven't a clue . . . and it would take a lot of drudging through literature (which might be fun, but I don't have the linguistic skills or the data resources). My best guess is that Tarfeather is on que. Sexual freedom is a modern construct. It has appeared at some times and places in the past. But it isn't all that common.

I'm less sure about the 'sucked for everyone' interpretation. I would guess that arranged marriage, with sex valued for procreation more than recreation, and generally kept private, wasn't the worst of all worlds for asexuals.

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the bumbling rotifer
While it's ok to disagree with other members' views, please remember to do so in a respectful manner :)

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Karanna

All very interesting comments. Farther in investigation also revealed that transport was a huge factor in finding a mate. Here in South Africa people living on farms then and now found it hard to meet new people. It must of been very hard for the young people, sometimes they would be sent to the cities. But most of the time they stayed and worked the farms.

I also see that those that did marry ended up marring cousins or the boy next door, that is farm. So those that did not marry probably just did not find anyone that they were comparable with.

But if the person was sexual, that must have been very hard for that person to stay single!

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andreas1033

I am sure like you guys asexuality has always existed.

There are afew things they would of called you. Highly probably retarded was one. If you had no sex drive, your very docile, and passive. Past generations would of called you retarded.

Thats teh way it is.

Of course society today, mainly since the net people can understand people exist with out a sex drive, but only since 2000 or so the net has really been here.

Before 2000, society viewed sexuality as if your not straight you were gay. If you had no sex drive, your retarded.

I became an adult in 1990's, and being asexual, i had to work out for myself, like those before me. I just knew around 13 i would have no sex drive, and i was right. I think it brings with it, lots of side effects, especially as a male. So it did create alot of problems for me, and i can see why past asexuals, just went away and lived in monasteries, to get away from the sex obsessed adult lifes of everyone.

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Karanna

I suppose we should be thankful that we are finally excepted to a degree, these days. Also that we now have the knowledge to understand what is wrong with us.

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Ace-Alex

I remember over 20 years ago after my nans brother died people asking if he was gay. There were several siblings he was the only one that never married. Also they had found an old photograph of him with his motorbike and there was another man in the photo that no one knew.

The conclusion seems to be that if you were not married or with someone of the opposite sex it was assumed you were gay.

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Qutenkringley

I am sure like you guys asexuality has always existed. There are afew things they would of called you. Highly probably retarded was one. If you had no sex drive, your very docile, and passive. Past generations would of called you retarded. Thats teh way it is. Of course society today, mainly since the net people can understand people exist with out a sex drive, but only since 2000 or so the net has really been here. Before 2000, society viewed sexuality as if your not straight you were gay. If you had no sex drive, your retarded. I became an adult in 1990's, and being asexual, i had to work out for myself, like those before me. I just knew around 13 i would have no sex drive, and i was right. I think it brings with it, lots of side effects, especially as a male. So it did create alot of problems for me, and i can see why past asexuals, just went away and lived in monasteries, to get away from the sex obsessed adult lifes of everyone.

Not having a sex drive does not equate to being docile and, no, past generations would not have deemed those who had no interest in sex as having any form of cognitive disability.

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andreas1033

 

Not having a sex drive does not equate to being docile and, no, past generations would not have deemed those who had no interest in sex as having any form of cognitive disability.

We have to agree to disagree. We were not there, while each of us think we were right.

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Qutenkringley

 

Not having a sex drive does not equate to being docile and, no, past generations would not have deemed those who had no interest in sex as having any form of cognitive disability.

We have to agree to disagree. We were not there, while each of us think we were right.

We may not have been there, but scholars have, in many instances, provided detailed accounts of what life was like throughout many periods of history. Based on my studies of history from a variety of time periods, I see no reason to believe that those without a sex drive would have been deemed as having a cognitive disability.

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Blitzentan

How far back do you want to go? The Romans had a pretty wild time of things at least the upper classes did :D

My mother used to say that things were very lax during WW II - no-one knew if they were going to be alive for much longer so why hold back :) . They used to say about US Servicemen that they were 'Overpaid, oversexed and over here' - poor old British guys just couldn't compete with all the goodies the American troops had to offer and they didn't come free ;)

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UncommonNonsense

I suppose we should be thankful that we are finally excepted to a degree, these days. Also that we now have the knowledge to understand what is wrong with us.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with us. We're not defective simply because we're not the same as the majority.

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asinglecookie

I used to wonder if it could have a generational element too... ...just because of my nan.

My nan lived through WW2, and was part of that 'stiff upper lip' generation which never showed emotion, which may explain why she was the way she was- or it might be something deeper, like asexuality. Although I think a lot of people of that time didn't show much emotion, I still do think my nan was unusual

My nan had boyfriends, but was never 'romantic' about them- she seemed to see them more as friends and just say they were nice people. She married my grandad because it was the 'done thing', but soon discovered she had no interest in anything physical (not just sexual- I don't ever remember seeing my grandparents cuddle/kiss/hold hands).

She once infamously said (about sexual stuff) 'I never went much on THAT side of things.'

She had one child (my Dad) early on in marriage, and then seemed to think she had 'done her duty'. They pretty much lived separate lives after that. There was nothing physical between them for years and she liked it that way, and they moved into separate rooms as soon as my Dad left home in his twenties. I know it wasn't just that she didn't like my grandad, because she never had an affair or anything in all those years- it's like all the relationship stuff just wasn't part of her life- she preferred knitting/gardening/reading.

They stayed married for over 60 years because they still had the mindset that divorce wasn't 'the done thing', but neither was happy.

She outlived my Grandad and died a few years ago (they were both in their eighties). Like I said, I did wonder if she was ace, but I guess I'll never know now.

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colorsinlight

someone who didn't marry may have been asexual, or gay, or otherwise really different from the people around them and couldn't find a suitable partner, etc. nowadays there is the internet and all kinds of ways to meet people. but a long time ago, people were usually restricted to whoever lived in their town and was of the same social class. so stuff was way more limited.

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chrysanth

Past generations would of called you retarded.

No, I expect I would have been called a spinster or maiden aunt, for example.

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Just like Jughead

I remember over 20 years ago after my nans brother died people asking if he was gay. There were several siblings he was the only one that never married. Also they had found an old photograph of him with his motorbike and there was another man in the photo that no one knew.

The conclusion seems to be that if you were not married or with someone of the opposite sex it was assumed you were gay.

Yeah, I think people used the terms confirmed bachelor and spinster as a way sometimes to imply someone was gay without coming out and saying it because it wasn't talked about back then. Things have changed but not completely. I've still heard people ask is someone was gay based solely on the fact they haven't ever married.

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Busrider

Excuse me, why should an (unlabeled) asexual of the past consider something about them "wrong"?

Indoctrination wasn't overly sex positive for quite a while.

Divorces weren't really an option and I suppose surviving mixed marriages felt very similar to what we can read in the for sexual partners forum. I assume romantic asexuals ended in marriages and were coped with, while aromantic ones most likely avoided them, if they had a choice or married to become or get housekeepers?

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m4rble

I remember in middle school thinking that I would want to be a nun if I lived in the middle ages.

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Tarfeather

Excuse me, why should an (unlabeled) asexual of the past consider something about them "wrong"?

Christian ideals about marriage, which happened to be unfair toward both sexuals and asexuals (and only fair to demisexuals).

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