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The Asexual-Sexual Q&A Thread

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agentkgb
I didn't have a natural inclination to do it when I was five, either. :P It's more likely to just be random chance, I suspect.

Maybe that's part of it, but I didn't know what intercourse was until the middle of 8th grade.

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square peg

My mum and her friends didn't know what sex was until they were sixteen, because it wasn't in the media or schools for people until that age. My mum told me when I was seven, and I remember excitedly informing my friends. It was a piece of juicy gossip, about adults, for once. Really think it's down to who raises you, where, when and what resources you've got.

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SnakesAndSnails
Well this is embarrassing but I'm kind of wondering (this question probably could be answered by an asexual too) at what age people usually know what intercourse actually involves.

Hope it's not too late for me to jump in on this thread, but I'm new here. Figured I could give a crack at this one.

Generally, it depends on each person's experience. Education probably plays a large factor into it as, for example, many of my classmates didn't know the mechanics of heterosexual intercourse until about grade 3/4 (kind of hazy and I can't quite remember) when we started "Family Life" in our religion classes, which, here in Calgary, constitutes the Seperate (read Catholic) school board's sex ed program. I knew at a lot younger age, again, through the resault of various mischances and blunders. Wasn't really a big mystery to me, though it was something that I was taught from a very young age to be ashamed of and not to talk about often. Again, each person's experience varries in this.

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OperaGhost
for example, many of my classmates didn't know the mechanics of heterosexual intercourse until about grade 3/4

I didn't even know that unmarried people could have sex until grade 6. I was told when I asked how people have babies that it was caused by a married couple who really wants a baby lying in the same bed naked. I don't think I realized that there was anything other than lying in the same bed going on until maybe 9th grade, although I knew about private parts a long time before then. I didn't make any sort of connection between the body parts they taught us about and that description I had been given.

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agentkgb

for example, many of my classmates didn't know the mechanics of heterosexual intercourse until about grade 3/4

I didn't even know that unmarried people could have sex until grade 6. I was told when I asked how people have babies that it was caused by a married couple who really wants a baby lying in the same bed naked. I don't think I realized that there was anything other than lying in the same bed going on until maybe 9th grade, although I knew about private parts a long time before then. I didn't make any sort of connection between the body parts they taught us about and that description I had been given.

OK now I don't feel so behind about it. Your description, especially the last sentence, sounds a lot like me. I didn't get what the term penetration meant until 8th grade.

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LuvHuggS

Just a heads up warning, you might be considered to be spamming , posting identical msgs in different forum threads, just so you know :) It might be better to add a link pointing to your original post.

~A~

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Amcan

Please note the duplicate post has been removed.

Amcan

admin

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Lucy Locket

I've got a question.

Many of the people on this section of the board who are sexuals with an asexual partner have said they are upset not just because their sexual desires aren't being met but also they miss the "emotional connection" that comes from sex. What is that connection? Why is it important? Is it just because lack of sex is considered a lack of affection?

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Chiaroscuro
I've got a question.

Many of the people on this section of the board who are sexuals with an asexual partner have said they are upset not just because their sexual desires aren't being met but also they miss the "emotional connection" that comes from sex. What is that connection? Why is it important? Is it just because lack of sex is considered a lack of affection?

Sex doesn't exist in isolation. It isn't something that can be plucked out of a relationship cleanly, leaving every other bond of affection and communication untouched. It's that wider damage that sexuals feel the lack of... a whole spectrum of interactions, of which sex is just the most visible part.

-Chiaroscuro

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Lucy Locket
I've got a question.

Many of the people on this section of the board who are sexuals with an asexual partner have said they are upset not just because their sexual desires aren't being met but also they miss the "emotional connection" that comes from sex. What is that connection? Why is it important? Is it just because lack of sex is considered a lack of affection?

Sex doesn't exist in isolation. It isn't something that can be plucked out of a relationship cleanly, leaving every other bond of affection and communication untouched. It's that wider damage that sexuals feel the lack of... a whole spectrum of interactions, of which sex is just the most visible part.

-Chiaroscuro

Yes, but don't the interactions begin to break down because there is no sex? That is the impression I get.

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Chiaroscuro
Yes, but don't the interactions begin to break down because there is no sex? That is the impression I get.

It depends. The "no sex" is usually the result of a growing lack of interaction on every other level. If you stop holding hands, kissing, hugging, showing one another you desire them as a mate, people can kind of ignore that in the short term (though it creates a growing sense of anxiety). Once sex stops, though, it becomes impossible to ignore all the other little lacks. Sex is like the canary in the coal mine. Once that stops, it means the relationship's gone down a bad road, and is about to end.

That's how it usually plays out between sexual partners. Obviously, in a mixed couple, it plays out differently, but the alarm bells that "no sex" sets off in the sexual partner creates the same panic reaction. It feels like the relationship is doomed. That you're about to be dumped by the side of the curb. The asexual partner can argue that that's not how she feels, but deep down the sexual partner can't "believe" it.

-Chiaroscuro

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Lucy Locket
Yes, but don't the interactions begin to break down because there is no sex? That is the impression I get.

It depends. The "no sex" is usually the result of a growing lack of interaction on every other level. If you stop holding hands, kissing, hugging, showing one another you desire them as a mate, people can kind of ignore that in the short term (though it creates a growing sense of anxiety). Once sex stops, though, it becomes impossible to ignore all the other little lacks. Sex is like the canary in the coal mine. Once that stops, it means the relationship's gone down a bad road, and is about to end.

That's how it usually plays out between sexual partners. Obviously, in a mixed couple, it plays out differently, but the alarm bells that "no sex" sets off in the sexual partner creates the same panic reaction. It feels like the relationship is doomed. That you're about to be dumped by the side of the curb. The asexual partner can argue that that's not how she feels, but deep down the sexual partner can't "believe" it.

-Chiaroscuro

That would explain a lot. Does it still feel that way even, like, many years into a marriage where there's never been sex? We seem to have a few threads along those line.

Why do sexuals attach so much importance to sex that they're willing to overlook everything else until it goes away?

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Chiaroscuro
That would explain a lot. Does it still feel that way even' date=' like, many years into a marriage where there's never been sex? We seem to have a few threads along those line.[/quote']

I'm one of those people. I've been married for sixteen years, the last five of them sans sex, and yes, it does feel that way. I "know" she loves me, but I can't "feel" it. I don't know how to express it beyond that. There's something inside me that needs touch in order to feel loved. It's like the experiment with the baby monkeys: They give them surrogate mothers built out of wire mesh. one has a milk-dispenser, the other is covered in soft cloth. The monkey whose mother is covered in cloth (so it can snuggle and feel comforted), is better off than the one who can have all the milk he wants, but no physical comforting.

Why do sexuals attach so much importance to sex that they're willing to overlook everything else until it goes away?

It's not that the everything else is unimportant, as I mentioned earlier, it's that sex is the thing that yells "you're about to be sent packing!". It triggers deep feelings of panic and fear. If my wife doesn't hold my hand, I can get past that. If she doesn't want to kiss, well, she just doesn't like the idea of kissing. If she doesn't want to sleep with me... red alert, she doesn't desire me AT ALL.

Again, most of this occurs at a level deeper than surface thoughts. You can know something and still not feel comforted.

-Chiaroscuro

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Lucy Locket
It's not that the everything else is unimportant, as I mentioned earlier, it's that sex is the thing that yells "you're about to be sent packing!". It triggers deep feelings of panic and fear. If my wife doesn't hold my hand, I can get past that. If she doesn't want to kiss, well, she just doesn't like the idea of kissing. If she doesn't want to sleep with me... red alert, she doesn't desire me AT ALL.

What, all the time? For five years or more?

I'm very comfortable with the way I am, but asexuality causes problems too.

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square peg

Question for sexuals and anyone with insight...

How is the concept of asexuality felt about among Western society's typical sexuals? Would many sexuals, and if so which kinds of people, feel embarrassed or ashamed about a friend or family member's asexual orientation or behaviour? The sexuals here are obviously not hostile to it themselves, but outside the safe confines of the Internet and this site, how comfortable would you be with others knowing that someone associated with you were asexual? Also, the sexuals here have discovered asexuality through people they know well, which, I imagine as with mental illness, would have prevented certain erroneous assumptions about it. However, would the first instinct be that people would find it weird or ridicule you, or would you have little more clue than I have? I've already read about various specific objections, but I want to know how otherwise rational people might feel at a gut level. Would or did you fear it becoming an isolating or labelling factor if anyone found out?

I ask this because people's reactions when I've told them have been confusing and hard to read. One time a few years ago I blurted it out over family dinner in response to questions about my 'love life' (haha) as if it were the most natural thing in the world, because to me, it was. I knew that some people are ashamed of homosexual relatives because they think it's weird or unnatural, but it never crossed my mind that asexuality could be seen the same way. Since then I haven't known the right 'tone' to take when it comes up because I can't predict or imagine how people feel about it so can't adjust my manner accordingly.

Another time I was backed into a corner and felt I had no choice but to tell my whole class (basically, someone asked in front of everyone why I broke up with my boyfriend, who was in the class, and I felt so sorry for him I tried to explain myself to save everyone thinking he just got 'dumped' for the usual reasons. I know - I should have just told the girl to mind her own business, but she took me by surprise and I panicked). What if their first thought was 'haha, he turned a girl off relationships altogether!' He hasn't said anything but I wonder if he might be even more embarrassed about the real reason and if from now on I should keep it secret for the sake of people around me, and if my family would rather not know that I'm still this way. It's hard because I know at least my mum would not want me to be a lesbian, and probably suspects that I am.

All I know is when it comes up people go quiet and stare at me. :? :(

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Chiaroscuro
All I know is when it comes up people go quiet and stare at me.

Hi Squarepeg,

I can't speak for the entire sexual community, of course, but my sense is that asexuality is not on ANYONE'S radar right now. The only time I heard the word asexuality used (prior to Aven), was in biology class, and involved paramecium reproducing by budding.

From wikipedia: Budding is the formation of a new organism by the protrusion of part of another organism. This is very common in plants and fungi, but may be found in animal organisms, such as the hydra, as well. Usually, the protrusion stays attached to the primary organism for a while, before becoming free. The new organism is naturally genetically identical to the primary one (a clone). When yeast buds, one cell becomes two cells. When a sponge buds, a part of the parent sponge falls off and starts to grow into a new sponge. These are examples of asexual reproduction.

So my guess is that people will scratch their heads when hearing someone refer to themselves as asexual: "People don't form new organisms by protruding parts of themselves... what does this girl mean when she says she's asexual?"

Celibate might be a better introduction to someone who's never heard of asexuality. People know what that means (even if it's not exactly what you mean). You can fill them in on the details later on, if it's necessary.

-Chiaroscuro

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square peg

Thanks Chiaroscuro,

Well, I've got that bit right. I've not used the word 'asexual', although I'm fairly sure by now that's what I'm going to stay. I just explain about not feeling that way about anyone. My family didn't say anything, and I think they either thought I was a lesbian, was making excuses or just lacked confidence. If they believed me I don't know what they would have been thinking. The other group gave the expected 'how do you know 'til you've tried it' type of questions before also staring. I like to think it was one of interest and reflection but I didn't study their faces that well and that's probably wishful thinking.

I am actually celibate too for unrelated reasons, and that is probably enough to tell people in some contexts. However sometimes elaboration is necessary. I can hardly tell people my boyfriend and I broke up after our first day together because I'm celibate, or realised just how celibate I really am. :oops:

Really, the main reason I'm thinking about this at all is because I don't want my mum to worry about me and be worrying about me when I'm at university, but I also don't want to tell her something she might feel even worse about. She's a good mother and has lesbian friends but anything 'not normal' does tend to unnerve her, especially involving family members and that impacts us socially.

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Chiaroscuro
She's a good mother and has lesbian friends but anything 'not normal' does tend to unnerve her

As a father, I understand her position. I want my kids to be happy, and anything that seems like it might jeopardize their happiness freaks me out terribly. Probably too much. I know your mom has all of these images of where your life might lead, some toward happiness and fulfillment, others toward drugs, illness and premature death.

You'll have to educate her gently :)

-Chiaroscuro

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Lucy Locket

Here's one for sexuals:

If you have never experienced any form of sex drive, and you have no physical reaction to the object of your affections, but you know and like him/her enough that despite being asexual you MIGHT be willing to go through with sex if ever (s)he were to be in a relationship with you, is that sexual attraction?

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Hallucigenia
Here's one for sexuals:

If you have never experienced any form of sex drive, and you have no physical reaction to the object of your affections, but you know and like him/her enough that despite being asexual you MIGHT be willing to go through with sex if ever (s)he were to be in a relationship with you, is that sexual attraction?

No, that's not sexual attraction. Sexual attraction is when you actually like the idea of having sex with them. (That's an oversimplification - it's possible to like the idea for non-attractional reasons, but you should get the idea.)

I think what you're describing has more to do with comfort and the willingness to take risks and be vulnerable. If you have a high comfort level being physical with someone, you're going to have less of an aversion to sex with them, but "not averse" isn't the same as "attracted".

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Tool1989

I'll answer some. I can help! :)

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Lucy Locket
No, that's not sexual attraction. Sexual attraction is when you actually like the idea of having sex with them. (That's an oversimplification - it's possible to like the idea for non-attractional reasons, but you should get the idea.)

I think what you're describing has more to do with comfort and the willingness to take risks and be vulnerable. If you have a high comfort level being physical with someone, you're going to have less of an aversion to sex with them, but "not averse" isn't the same as "attracted".

OK, that's good ... But does it lead to sexual attraction? Is the whole thing just a nasty little stepping stone on the way to sex drive?

I can't deny I've been quite unpleasant to some people on here, and the whole thing would be a big karmic retribution that I probably deserve. But on the other hand, the idea of sexual attraction does not turn my stomach any the less. It's just I have always said I would consider sex in order to stop a partner going off with someone else, and now there is someone like that in the picture :oops:

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Chiaroscuro
OK, that's good ... But does it lead to sexual attraction? Is the whole thing just a nasty little stepping stone on the way to sex drive?

I love the idea that sexuality is like drug abuse... sexual attraction is just the entry-drug. Once you take it, you're destined to end up a nymphomaniac lying in the gutter, covered in trash.

I can't deny I've been quite unpleasant to some people on here, and the whole thing would be a big karmic retribution that I probably deserve. But on the other hand, the idea of sexual attraction does not turn my stomach any the less. It's just I have always said I would consider sex in order to stop a partner going off with someone else, and now there is someone like that in the picture :oops:

The asexual/sexual divide touches a lot of raw nerves, Lucy. You notice we all keep coming back for more :) I think you're going to have to find this out for yourself. You have an idea that you might be willing to "compromise" to keep a boyfriend interested in being with you. Do you think he's willing to make a similar compromise to be with you? Like a lot of dynamics in relationships, sex can become a power issue, and you don't want to feel like you're making this awful sacrifice for someone who won't appreciate what that means. Resentment can poison the best friendship.

Or maybe you'll become sexually attracted to him after all and throw off that Dalek suit. Anything's possible, I guess.

My only recommendation would be to think ahead of time what line you CAN'T cross. What would feel like you're giving up part of your core identity. Try to keep your eye on that bright line and realize that if you cross it, you'll feel compromised.

-Chiaroscuro

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Lucy Locket
You have an idea that you might be willing to "compromise" to keep a boyfriend interested in being with you. Do you think he's willing to make a similar compromise to be with you? Like a lot of dynamics in relationships, sex can become a power issue, and you don't want to feel like you're making this awful sacrifice for someone who won't appreciate what that means. Resentment can poison the best friendship.

I absolutely think he would. If I thought he'd throw a fit if I didn't have my knickers off on the first date, I wouldn't be interested in him at all. We're not fifteen any more. We are at the early stage where you expect that each has other people still in the picture, but once he ditches them all (he will :twisted:) I can't expect the subject not to come up. I'm pretty sure he would be happy to wait for me but probably wouldn't be happy with someone who refuses to have sex ever ever ever. And I do want him to be happy.

*sigh* Another good reason to be asexual. This whole thing is so complicated, and we haven't even kissed yet ...

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Chiaroscuro

Now now, life is full of complications that give it poignancy. You don't want to pass that up just to avoid complications, do you?

Let us know how it all goes, Lucy. Good luck. I hope you enjoy the kiss.

-Chiaroscuro

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MetalNun
thylacine wrote:

and 2. Why do they all feel compelled to take over my entire life and re-arrange my existence,

Hallucigenia wrote:

'Cause that's what girls do. Messing with someone else's life is more fun and less work than messing with your own.

I just have to comment that the people who are most enthusiastic about wanting to "fix" or control others, are often quite unhappy and/or insecure in their own lives.

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MetalNun
Celibate might be a better introduction to someone who's never heard of asexuality. People know what that means (even if it's not exactly what you mean). You can fill them in on the details later on, if it's necessary.

-Chiaroscuro

In my experience as a sexual, formerly celibate, person, I have found people generally do NOT know what "celibate" means. In fact they often confuse celibate with asexual or antisexual, which it is not. It's late so I will keep this brief for now, but basically, a celibate person channels their sexual energies into other activities and/or expresses them on other planes of existence. When I was celibate I was the object of continual rude comments, similar, I suppose, to those endured by the asexuals here. I have very rarely met anyone who really understood celibacy, other than perhaps some Hindu/yogis and a handful of Episcopalian monastics. Having said that, yes, you could hide behind the label "celibate" to avoid having to explain "asexual," but frankly it won't do you much good because you will be ridiculed either way... I would be happy to explain more later if you want.

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LuckyFox
I have one question. If one of your friends, or even an aquaintance said they were asexual, how would you react? What would you think of them?

I'm trying to decide whether I should be open or not.

I can easily agree with the post above mine. When it comes to someone, friend or family, telling me something that perhaps they themselves aren't comfortable with... It would be my responsibility and obligation to them as a friend to gain an understanding of what they have said, and AT THE VERY LEAST -try- to support them to the best of my ability.

I would ask them what is okay, what is not. Would they like me to treat them differently? Is there something ~I~ can do to help ~them~ in any way, because I love them as a person, and I would certainly love them enough to try to the best of my ability. Again, what it is should be -nearly- completely irrelevant, although there ARE some exceptions to the rule.

On the other hand, if someone told me that they had a preference for doing something, or things against other's will, then I certainly wouldn't be able to support them in their actions. I believe firmly, that all things come from compassion, and submitting your will on other's is no form of compassion.

-Did that make ANY sense? ):

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MetalNun

I realize this might come across as "old fashioned," but frankly, I feel that in the first place, your sexual orientation is nobody's business unless you are involved in a romantic relationship with them. There is a lot of pressure these days to "come out of the closet" whether a person be gay, bi, transgender, asexual, or whatever, but personally I don't think it really needs to be public information what you do, or do not do, or with whom, in your own bedroom. Everybody just does not need to know all your personal information! And you should not feel obligated to tell them. Now, if you are in a romantic relationship the issue is bound to come up and eventually will have to be discussed honestly between you. But as far as friends or relatives or acquaintances, coworkers, etc., why do they need to know?! Having said that - if you really feel that you WANT to "come out" and tell everyone, that's fine, and they certainly should not judge you. Like I said previously, those who are the most interested in judging and/or "fixing" others, often are the most unhappy or insecure in their own lives. I personally have no problem with any of my friends or relatives of various orientations - gay, straight, bi, transgender, asexual - and as a bi, formerly celibate person myself, I can pretty much sympathize with everyone on some level! But I do know that for a lot of people sexuality is a very difficult or even taboo subject that they are not comfortable talking about or dealing with, so if you bring it up and your orientation is not within society's "norm," you can expect to get some grief...

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Placebo

Hey everyone--I have a question for knowledgeable sexuals, asexuals, sexually active or previously sexually active sexuals or asexuals or anyone else that can throw in their $0.02 because I freely admit that I'm a little naive on this topic.

TMI warning below. :redface:

Ok. Birth control.

Ok, I'm posting this here to get info--yes, I understand birth control and condoms and etc. Here's the thing. I'm in a relationship with a sexual right now. We have not had any penetrative intercourse. Mutual masturbation, yes, intercourse, no. I'm comfortable with that. At some time in the future we might, and obviously at that point he'd wear a condom. I'm not concerned about STDs because this is the first sexual relationship for both of us, I'm not planning on doing sexual activities with anyone but this one person, so that's not a concern. I just don't want to get pregnant.

But I'm a little confused because I was reading up about various types of birth control last night and obviously nothing's 100% effective, so I thought, maybe if we were to get to the point of intercourse I should be on maybe a low-dose form of the pill as a backup, just in case--but then in addition to that there are these horror stories about how people aren't having sex but some enterprising sperm goes farther than it should and yadda yadda yadda. So then I started thinking. :blink:

Most birth control--whether the pill or condoms or whatever--is assuming that the be all and end all is the penetration part, right?--that's what everything is targeted towards. Fine. So I was sort of unconsciously figuring that it didn't apply until then. But if we're regularly doing non-penetrative stuff, should I be on the pill or him wearing a condom for that too? I mean, it's probably orders of magnitude less like that anything would happen, but we do this fairly regularly when we're together, just not penetrative sex. So at what point does it become worthwhile to be using some sort of birth control for one or both of us, and any suggestions on what it would be? :unsure: And what are the odds that anything would even happen? I'd guess very very very low, but I'd be curious if any one has some information or suggestions here. Sorry, I probably sound hopelessly naive, particularly for a college graduate, but I can't find much information on non-sex sexual activity and safety in a pregancy-only, no-concerns-about-STDs sort of way.

Thanks and :cake: in advance for any help you can give me!

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