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Luisa

ASEXUAL History?

23 posts in this topic

Hi, everyone!

I have been thinking about asexuality as opposed to people who are active with sex quite a bit lately, and one of my musings has turned into a fairly intriguing question. I wonder if anyone knows anything about this...

It started as a discussion where the other person said that a person's sexuality is a private thing, and that it was not only unnecessary but invasive to, for instance, wear an asexual tshirt. Her exact words were, "It's stirring up controversy for no reason. Just be what you are, and don't throw it in people's faces."

After giving this a thought, I replied, "Yes, but it's a little different than being gay or bisexual. Your comment would be more appropriate there, because society is ~aware~ that there are gay and bisexual people out there, however society remains largely ~unaware~ that asexuality is a 'thing.' Some people don't even believe it when you tell them. I believe that the 'controversial' part will have to happen first, so that people are even aware of asexuality. THEN, after society knows that we exist, we can shut up about it, and not 'push' our beliefs on anyone, if that's how you see the shirts."

Question: Do you agree?

----------------------------------------

This got me to thinking...there are many references throughout history to heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, polygamy, polyamorous love, and the like.

It's not just in recent history, either...there are Biblical mentions of "sodomy," (BTW, does "Gommorah" sound like "Gonorreha" (sp) to anyone but me?)...and, of course, we all kind of know how a lot of people were getting their "kicks" in the height of the Greco-Roman empire.

In the ancient, preserved, Italian city of Pompeii, which I had the great fortune to visit, I saw firsthand, ancient frescoes of orgies.

There have been many "famous" people throughout history who have been gay or bi-, including Leonardo Da Vinci all the way up to Spencer Tracy. (Most people think that Michelangelo was gay, but from what I've read about him, he loved the female form, AND the male form, but only to create art. He fell in "emotional" love when he fell in love.)

More recently, there was a song that was a hit about a decade ago...can't think of the female singer who put it out...called " (When I Think About You) I Touch Myself." It was a breakthrough, because up until that time, there had not been any "big hit singles" about masturbation. But still, this is a sexual reference.

BIG QUESTION: Does anyone know of ANY historical references to asexuality...anywhere? Have people been unaware of us forever?

(The closest thing that I can think of are the women whom people used to call "Spinsters" or "Old Maids" or "Frigid." Perhaps they were asexual, but the names give a negative connotation, like they are mean and pissed off just because they are not sexual. This is the one "reference" that I know.)

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And the internet was a void filled with pornography and parody, that is until the almighty AVENguy emerged from the depths of Ghana and said, " I, the all powerfer, all know, AVENguy shall create a place where decent, non-sexual people can all live in peace and harmony in this sex obbsessed universe." And so He created asexuality.org, a place where asexual people, and their allies could live in peace and harmony with one another and not worry about the sexual protocalls of near by sex galixes.

Okay, thats more the history of AVEN, Hmm..maybe we should all start and AVEN fanfic.

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"a person's sexuality is a private thing"

I don't know how true this is when every newsagent has shelves stacked with magazines filled with articles on how to improve your sex life/have more orgasms/turn your partner on etc. There are similar things on TV and in books. We are surrounded by sex, mostly hetero, but there are increasing programmes/articles about gay and lesbian sex. Sex doesn't seem to be private any more.

I don't understand how it is invading somebody's privacy to wear an asexual T-shirt (unless you're forcing somebody else to wear it against their will!), if other people are interested in it they can ask about it, and if they aren't interested they can just ignore what you're wearing. An asexual T-shirt is pretty inoffensive compared to a lot of other T-shirts you can get.

I agree that we do have to stir up controversy to some extent, in order to make people realise we exist.

As for historical references, there is a book called "The History of Celibacy" by Elizabeth Abbott. It doesn't really deal with asexuality, but is very interesting.

P.S. Orpheus, I love your history of AVEN!

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Hmm, as usual a very interesting discussion...Every life on earth started out of protozoons, those gorgeous single-celled creatures, who multiply by parting themselves. No Sex! (i mean they didn't have Luther Vandross CDs back then, so they have probably not been in a very romantic-sexy kinda mood anyway..). I have to admit, that i haven't heard or known of asexuality until a few weeks ago. It was very interesting to explore that, and it still is. Though i have to find out why i kinda "flirt" with this, cause i do feel strong sexual attraction to both genders. The only thing is that I have those mood swings....u could call it emotional PMS....where i go from 0 to 10! From being absolutely not interested in sex to "mouth watering extacy". I definitly believe that Asexuality exists. And it has nothing to do with being devout or innocent. People might mistake that. But why somebody freaked out because u were wearing an asexual t-shirt is very strange. I can't get my electic-shock-head round it. Could it be that you are a bit of an Activist? In most cases people respond with aggressivness to activists...in any kinda form (gay, black..). Just leave them and yourself be. I can't stand those "Get outta my way, cause i'm gay (or cause i'm a)"-attitudes. That pisses me right off! As for the asexuality in history question: hmm let me see...does Narcissus (the guy who loved his own mirrored self) count to that? I am sure i'll find some examples if i laid back and thought about it for 34 minutes. Listen folks: you are rare and precious jewels, and i can smell a pinch of quirkyness in each of you! Enjoy that! How many people can honestly say they are a? It's magnificent and special! Even if i might not be it myself, the forth sexual option is not found very often! *kissing all you little eclipses on the forehead*

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It's my mom...

It's not that anyone with an ~informed~ opinion thinks that wearing an asexual tshirt is stirring up controversy, or that sex is a "private thing." This opinion came from the mouth of my mother, who is a generation away from the current reality.

I like the Narcissus idea...and I appreciate the knowledge of the book "The History Of Celibacy." I was hoping that there would be ~some~ kind of Asexual Literary History out there.

Orpheus: So, in other words, it's all AVENguy's fault that the internet still isn't a smut-magnet?

Skid: I really like the way you think! You're "quirky," too! :D

Protazoa, to self: "Hey, baby, wanna have a drink? Then later, we could go home to our place and...~divide!~"

(So odd, because "sexual people" regard sex, sometimes, as a way of "joining together and being close." Maybe they are trying to get back to the Protazoa stage, when they were whole into and of themselves...? )

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Not, we've all played are part. But he started it, and for this he diserves a medal.

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[Gives AVENguy a laurel wreath and platinum medallion.]

[Gives Orpheus a golden medallion, for his part.]

[Everyone else gets chocolate...where the calories don't count...and all the gatorade you can drink!]

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Thanks Luisa

I'm really enjoying the chocolate! Not sure about the gatorade though, I've never seen it over here!

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well gee...

**blush**

Just to clear things up, here's some stuff I shouldn't get credit for:

creating the first asexuality website: credit goes, I think, to an article on asexuality called "my life as an amoeba" by someone named zoe. The article had a comments section, so it also gets credit as the first asexual community. This article is what inspired me to make AVEN

first honest-to-goodness asexual community : the Haven for the Human Amoeba on Yahoo groups predates AVEN by about a year.

registering asexuality.org: credit goes to some man who enjoys LARP and lives not far from my campus in connecticut. WHY he registered the domain name I don't know, I bought it off him for $25. For the record this was a while after asexuality.net had been created. Prior to that AVEN was hosted on my school webspace at djay.web.wesleyan.edu (evidence is still there)

making the AVEN forum: the forum came prepackaged with the $2-a-month hosting service I got when I moved AVEN to asexuality.org

On wearing t-shirts: I have to agree with skiddalox. Wearing a shirt like that is an inherintly political statement, so whatever contraversy is getting stirred up is political. Why should have to make statements about LGBTTetc rights without identifying as such?

As for history: The bible makes mention in a few places of sex being a necessary part of marraige (don't remember WHERE, exactly, as I red this in some christian sex pamphlet) in a sort of dubious way, along the lines of:

"It's not enough to have a healthy, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling relationship with one's spouse, god hath mandated that you get your freak on."

While I don't see major world religions drawing this one out against us anytime soon, one wonders what exactly it refers TO. There's all kinds of passages about wives/husbands to who became so engaged with work/prayer/etc that they "forgot" their corporeal spousal obligations.

Also the book on celibacy probably has something too it. Keep in mind that most societies in the world aren't ones where asexuals would have been particularely visible. In many areas/times women were SUPPOSED to simply "bear" the passions of their husbands. Many societies have had some sort of celibate wing for asexuals to hang out in, and marraige has generally been about economics first, producing kids second, and politics third with "sex" and "love" both down there somewhere in the twenties.

On division: some greek philosopher put forth the theory that people were divided in two by the gods to prevent them from becoming too powerful, and that love is people trying to get back together. There's even a bit in the theory that (sorta) explains sexual orientation. I'd post a link but there have been problems recently..

On Orpheus: What's so wrong with parody and porno? Both can be hillarious if done well. And why the "decent" ? Why are we keeping out the indecent asexuals? They sound like they'd be fun...

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Yeah, didn't' God say somewhere along the way, "Be Fruitful And Multiply?"

Maybe the Earth at the time was running ~way~ low on people, and so we had to make sure to fill it up with enough humans...so we didn't go extinct.

Guess what? Our job is accomplished - Earth is full!

----------------------------------

As far as I'm concerned, I'm a fairly "fruitful" artist, who produces new creations on a fairly regular basis.

Guess I ought to do my multiplication tables more, though, since it's seems to be so important.

------------------------------------

I have REALLY enjoyed reading all of the informative/entertaining posts here. I learned A LOT!

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I enjoyed reading this thread.

I guess, re: history, in the same way that homosexuals had to cover up their desires during the eras when it was illegal [and still is, in some regions], and atheists had to keep quiet about their beliefs etc...asexuality was not an accepted way to be, so no historical figures or communities will have openly declared themselves thus.

We have to dig for clues...and we're gonna get it wrong sometimes e.g. although a writer may not mention sexual attraction in their stories, doesn't necessarily mean they were asexual.

Tricky.

Would answer some big questions for a lot of people though, if we discovered a consistent trend throughout the ages.

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I think a persons sexuality being a private affair went out the window with the micro-skirt, damn those swingin' 60's and their sexual revolution *shakes fist*.

I have little more to add other then you've been to Pompii, which makes me a lovely shade of deep green due to my seething envy... :lol:

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Erm, well, i can't remember any names of the top of my head but there's several medieval accounts of young noble women who absolutely refused to lose their virginity even when they were married. i suppose that *could* have been a religious thing but there's this one who managed to evade it for several days whilst locked in a room with her new husband. who then got the marriage annuled and the same with the second husband. Her parents became rather desperate and basicly said that whoever could take her virginity could have her... Medieval doctors had some pretty strange ideas about virginity being bad for a girl's health past a certain age. which really can't have been good for, say, a repulsed asexual girl.

also, isn't at least one of the knights of the round table supposed to be "pure" and "free from the passions of the flesh" etc? That could be asexuality. in theory at least.

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On division: some greek philosopher put forth the theory that people were divided in two by the gods to prevent them from becoming too powerful, and that love is people trying to get back together. There's even a bit in the theory that (sorta) explains sexual orientation.

Yeah. If anyone's interested, this is referring to the Speech of Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium. It's really interesting.

(Or, if you're not a Plato kind of person, you can YouTube "Origin of Love" by Hedwig and the Angry Inch ;) . It's basically the same thing.)

Unfortunately, it doesn't really apply to asexuality. But it covers the standard "gay vs. straight" pretty well.

On topic: I'd have to assume that the only history of asexuality out there would be tied to celibacy. Since there wasn't really a concept for asexiness until fairly recently.

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History about asexuality has just began.

This is only the begining. :rolleyes:

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For a moment there I got all excitied skiddloxx had come back...ah how things change in 6 1/2 years.

See this thread is AVEN history...

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BIG QUESTION: Does anyone know of ANY historical references to asexuality...anywhere? Have people been unaware of us forever?

(The closest thing that I can think of are the women whom people used to call "Spinsters" or "Old Maids" or "Frigid." Perhaps they were asexual, but the names give a negative connotation, like they are mean and pissed off just because they are not sexual. This is the one "reference" that I know.)

Those names were used in the 40s-50s, and they were used as nasty epithets. Any woman who wasn't married by the time she was 30 was an old maid or a spinster, and women who had opinions and stated them were called frigid.

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"It's not enough to have a healthy, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling relationship with one's spouse, god hath mandated that you get your freak on."

-wow, so true, so sad. I still am wary of telling my extended family about my asexuality, I just don't know how they'd take it or how to bring it up. I really do want a t-shirt though, because as others have already stated, I feel that at this point we need to raise awareness. I had no idea people could even be asexual untill I was 20 years old. I had been lonely and confused for a long time by then.

Oh and I also hate the word prude, it seems to indicate that the person being refrenced is stuck up. I'm not stuck up I just don't need all the details thanks very much. ( My mom called me this once. It made me sad.)

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Yeah, didn't' God say somewhere along the way, "Be Fruitful And Multiply?"

Maybe the Earth at the time was running ~way~ low on people, and so we had to make sure to fill it up with enough humans...so we didn't go extinct.

There were exactly 2 people on Earth at that time. Hard to imagine the command being useful if there were any less :D

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also, isn't at least one of the knights of the round table supposed to be "pure" and "free from the passions of the flesh" etc? That could be asexuality. in theory at least.

Galahad I believe. Also one of my favourite scenes from Monty Python's Holy Grail. Perhaps if the movie had been made today, John Cleese's line would have been "Bet you're asexual!"

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And the internet was a void filled with pornography and parody, that is until the almighty AVENguy emerged from the depths of Ghana and said, " I, the all powerfer, all know, AVENguy shall create a place where decent, non-sexual people can all live in peace and harmony in this sex obbsessed universe." And so He created asexuality.org, a place where asexual people, and their allies could live in peace and harmony with one another and not worry about the sexual protocalls of near by sex galixes.

Okay, thats more the history of AVEN, Hmm..maybe we should all start and AVEN fanfic.

Which makes me wonder... in the AVEN garden, does the tree of good and evil with the apples not exist? Or we just say "eh, I like the cake tree better."

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creating the first asexuality website: credit goes, I think, to an article on asexuality called "my life as an amoeba" by someone named zoe. The article had a comments section, so it also gets credit as the first asexual community. This article is what inspired me to make AVEN

I remember that article. I was one of the people who responded to it . . . back in 1999, I believe. The original is no longer available online but a copy of it can be found here.

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The Bible doesn't tell you to have sex with your spouse. It only says married couples shouldn't stop having sex because they've become Christian. Some did that, because they had a weird view on what Christianity is, and many other religions were very negative about sex at that time. So some couples asked Paul if they can still have sex. Paul said yes, and that they shouldn't stop, at least for a long time. This was said to sexual couples who had had sex previously. So in my opinion, a marriage without sex is totally acceptable according to the Bible.

I think the Bible doesn't refer directly to asexuality, but you can find it if you look for it. For example, Jesus mentions people who are born to be unable to marry. (refers to sex in this context) Intersex? Asexual? Maybe...

Martin Luther (not King, the original one) writes about this Bible verse and explains who are supposed to marry and who not. At that time, celibacy was considered holy and marriage was for those who couldn't resist the temptation, and Luther wanted to change that. But he thinks some people are outside the normal way people are made to be. Some of these are those who have a physical or mental unability to have sex. (Or more precisely that some have such a character that they aren't able to marry, I modernised the expression a bit.) Luther doesn't go to any detail about what exactly he means, just that it's common knowledge that such people exist, both men and women. He tells to let them be (I suppose that means not to force them to marry) as God himself has separated them from the "normal" system. Maybe Luther is referring to asexuality here, maybe other sexual minorities as well. I suppose he means anyone who finds heterosexual sex disgusting.

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