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Nick_Levinson

For Men Only: Asexuality

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Nick_Levinson

We men have too much power against womyn. Sex is a reinforcer of that imbalance. If womyn are going to get as much power as men have, or gain more, they'll have to take it away from men and not wait for men to fork it over, since the amount we men dribble down isn't enough. But until womyn are strong enough to wrest it out of our iron grapplers we call hands, we men can try releasing power, and one way is to refrain from sexual relationships (including one-night stands etc.) so that we don't send the message that females are our servants.

For Men Only: Asexuality is my essay, published in So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art. It's in the Summer/Fall 2005 issue:

Managing Editor

So to Speak

George Mason University

4400 University Drive, MSN 2D6

Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444

http://www.gmu.edu/org/sts/

$7/issue, $12/year, $22/2 years, bi-annual (not a penny of which accrues to me, so this is a no-profit announcement)

Thank you.

-- Nick

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Nick_Levinson

Here's the complete official description of World Watch: "Post any interesting places you see asexuality popping up in the media and on the web." My post was about what I wrote about in my essay that popped up in the media. Since the media citation was about half the lines in the post, it wasn't merely incidental to the post, and I thought someone would object if I put a media blurb into, say, Musings. But I'm glad you appreciated the post. Thank you.

-- Nick

*EDIT TO PREVENT CONFUSION* There were a couple posts before this that I had to delete; hence the confusion...

--Admin Shivers

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Kelly
For Men Only: Asexuality is my essay, published in So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art. It's in the Summer/Fall 2005 issue:

http://www.gmu.edu/org/sts/

Totally, cool, Nick. A feminist journal. :) Thanks. I intend to read the article.

It might seem odd that in a forum named "For Men Only," all respondents so far have been female. :wink:

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bard of aven

We're pretty fluid around here, to. I'm a guy, and I posted in the vagina monologues threads.

boa

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McBuh

You can give up all power, not just sexual power.

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Doom_Maggot

Um, hate to burst your bubble, but wouldn't refraining from sex altogether still keep the sexual power in the hands of the men? I mean, except in extreme cases (ie. rape) both parties consent to what they want... While I won't claim to know the politics of sex, the people involved in it probably both know what they are getting in to, and probably only have sex because they find the opposite person attractive or get something else out of it.

My point is, if men are refusing sex with women, men are still in control. Wouldn't it be better to promote sex as a something to be traded among those who are willing to pay the price instead of something to be purchased, which gives one person the chance to recall the product?

Oops, suggested sex as a commodity, I can feel the enfilade blasting my way...

I know different people see things different ways, I guess this is one of those times. I see sex as something two people would want to do, for whatever reason. I get the impression you see sex as a soldier fighting for male dominance. I can't say either of us is right, but it's something to think about. I haven't read your article, but I still may try to find it somewhere. I'm probably too tired to be replying to this post anyway, so I'll finish up.

I agree men have an unfair advantage in society against women, but I don't think sex is the best way to approach the issue. Like McBuh said, there is more than just sexual power.

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Loki84

Not read it, since I must admit that feminist dialogue isn't something I'm too greatly interested in.

I must admit that I consider myself to be a feminist. Not in the "Andrea Dworkin" sense of the word, but more in that I believe in equal rights for men and women. I'm not one to vouch for the "womyn" spelling either. For me, that's somewhat too radical. I can see why, but lexical objections are going somewhat too far for me.

Anyhow, sex has often been used against the woman. It has always been that the woman tempted the man, rather than the man being a bastard with too much testosterone.

What is needed in terms of sexual relationships is that neither men nor women engage in one night stands (It takes two to tango.) and that if you are sexual, then sex is part of a relationship, which both people enjoy.

I don't think that men do need to say no to sex. I just believe that more men need to have more respect for women. And more women need to have more respect for men.

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Nick_Levinson

For McBuh, Doom_Maggot, & bard of aven (and thank you Loki84, I'll reply soon):

-----

bard of aven, I felt more comfortable offering it to a feminist journal that also published men's works, so I wouldn't be competing so much against females, who have so few outlets of their own, unlike what we men have.

-----

Doom_Maggot, burst away.

Sexual relationships are a little of what you describe, and more complicated. The common case of a female and a male is colored by the two people having different motivations, different feelings, and different experiences of it.

Yes, refraining does keep power in the hands of the one refraining, but that's an inevitable consequence of having the power. Consider any subject of power and not just sex. Say it's something people shouldn't do. We have two choices: prevent the person from doing bad or get them to refrain on their own. The latter is easier on society. For instance: Did you murder anyone today? You did have the means to, so I guess you refrained on your own. That means someone is alive because of your exercise of power in the form of your self-restraint, and perhaps that person should be eternally grateful to you. (Request a gold plaque from every person you did not murder and you can have a gold-covered wall in every room of your home.) But that does not reduce the value of your practicing self-restraint. Society runs better because, instead of requiring a staff of people to restrain us like patients, that same staff, because we restrain ourselves, can go do productive things.

And, unless you customarily do murder people and do it rather publicly, you probably haven't been overwhelmed by expressions of gratitude from all those you didn't murder. They take your not trying to murder them perfectly in stride, because they expect to be not murdered. They take it as normal.

Sex is different from murder because sex is normal when murder is not. But I question the intensity with which sex is normal: to the extent that saying "no" is considered so exceptional as to be wrong. We're normally supposed to say "no" only when we're sick with sexually transmitted diseases, for example. Ihat means we're not supposed to choose sex, but only to have it chosen for us. Refusal then becomes a violation, but that only means the right of refusal has to be reclaimed by us who can.

-----

McBuh, yes. Be my guest and do so. I do economic ascetism as well as asexuality, among other things, and I'm not perfect, so you're welcome to outperform me. Don't have performance anxiety about it. Let us know how it comes out in your experience.

-- Nick

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Hallucigenia
We're normally supposed to say "no" only when we're sick with sexually transmitted diseases, for example.

o_O Really? I must be in a very different culture from yours right now because I seem to recall it being considered normal for people to say "no" to sex because they don't feel emotionally ready for it with that particular partner, because they're having problems in that relationship, because they don't want to take advantage of the other person, because they're busy or tired, because they're menstruating and don't like the mess, because they have a headache, or for any number of other reasons.

I'm glad I live in my culture and not yours. I'd be protesting against sex too if I thought that was the case.

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Nick_Levinson

Loki84 (and thank you Hallucigenia and merkat82, I'll reply soon):

Loki84, do what you feel comfortable doing. Feminism tries to make larger spaces comfortable, with exactly the equality you describe being its goal.

The womon tempts a man often because that's where power is and that what he has much more of than she has, and she needs power as much as he does. He's more willing to share some of his power in exchange for what he wants from her and from others when he has his trophy, and so she learns to do some tempting.

I don't think levels of testosterone are to blame. Decisions are. Not everyone with muscular arms has to break into homes to steal televisions. Doing so is a decision. Sex is decided, at least by one. Even when two decide so, if one has much less power than the other, the decision by the second is not based on equality, and thus is partly coerced. Relationships based on inequality may be long relationships but they're still unequal, leaving the womon with a lifelong shortage of power with which to negotiate life, not only sex. Respect with equality is far better and more useful than respect without. That's why equality is needed.

-- Nick

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Nick_Levinson

merkat82 and Hallucigenia, you're both in here.

-----

Hallucigenia, all those are good reasons and perhaps the more mature men accept reasons you list, or, for that matter, because you don't feel like it or for no reason at all. But the expectation that if you look nice and can have sex then you will is widespread enough to have become a norm. All you have to do is look nice; that you can have sex is assumed from your being female and looking nice. The assumption is sexist but no rarer because of its sexism. Looking nice is also not a tough standard if you're female and approximately a young adult.

An experiment: go through crowds, such as at school or work, without smiling once all day. See if you get comments about it.

If you're already in a relationship that can be presumed sexual, your "no" to another suitor is more acceptable than if you're not in a relationship. Society says you're supposed to be sexual with someone, not with no one, unless you're a child or an older adult. It's taken as a requirement. And because you're female and someone else is male, the power over decision is in his hands much more than in yours. You can resist, but that's the point: it requires resistance to say "no".

-----

merkat82, several definitions of _normal_ prevail. I relied on 'common and considered good for survival and success by the larger population'. You're right that among people who view murder as normal (the Mafia, for example) then an individual being willing to murder is normal. But I was looking at society at large as the group deciding what's normal. I, like perhaps most individuals, don't approve of all of what society considers normal but that doesn't change what norms encompass.

-- Nick

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Rabger
I just believe that more men need to have more respect for women. And more women need to have more respect for men.

I think the opposite is true in a lot of cases. Women need to have more respect for themselves. In many cases women flaunt their sexuality because its the only way they feel they can get power and attention from men. I've also heard that some women have one-night stands in order to treat men like men treat women, which in turn sort of back fires. People say the sexual revolution gave women power. And maybe it did for some of them, but women throwing themselves out as sexual objects just makes them sexual objects.

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Doom_Maggot
Sex is different from murder because sex is normal when murder is not. But I question the intensity with which sex is normal: to the extent that saying "no" is considered so exceptional as to be wrong. We're normally supposed to say "no" only when we're sick with sexually transmitted diseases, for example. Ihat means we're not supposed to choose sex, but only to have it chosen for us. Refusal then becomes a violation, but that only means the right of refusal has to be reclaimed by us who can.

First off, I agree with Hallucigenia. You may want to re-examine when it is okay to say "no" to sex. I am wondering if your thoughts regarding that might be a large source of the conflict here?

I don't know what you think of sex, but I honestly don't see it to be as much of a power stuggle as you seem to. I don't know which point of view society at large agrees with, but I would suggest you take a look at what people examine as an act of love and what is a grasp for power. Maybe you should not focus your energy so much on individuals, but perhaps on the media and the act of selling sex? As cliche as it sounds, they're selling sex and we're (well, not as many of the asexuals, I'd imagine) buying.

Also, sorry for the late response, I haven't been on this forum in the last few weeks.

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