Jump to content
sambo

Documentary: What is it like to be Asexual in 2019?

Recommended Posts

sambo

Hello all!

 

Let me introduce myself first off - I'm a radio producer, who is working for the BBC (based in Berkshire).

 

You may recognize (and hopefully not be getting fed up of me...) if you were at either the Asexuality Conference in Edinburgh, or London Pride last Saturday.

 

I'm currently making a radio documentary, for BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Sounds and hopefully other parts of the BBC about Asexuality, in 2019. The host for this project is Asexuality activist, Yasmin Benoit, and within the program we are trying to explore some of the different things that matter to the ace community, as a way of encouraging engagement, and increasing understanding.

 

There is no way we'll be able to feature all aspects of the community in our one show, but my hope (and that is all it is at the moment) is that by making this program, and increasing my own understanding, that we may be able to explore some of these issues in more specific detail in other programming or a longer series, if and only if, the piece is received well and there is an audience for it. 

 

Some of the things we have already begun to talk about and explore with people are:

 

  • Dealing with Asexuality in world where media/culture focuses on sex/relationships
  • Ace Erasure 
  • Where does Ace fit into the LGBT community?
  • How activism can encourage others to learn more about asexuality, or to come to terms with their own place on the spectrum
  • The links - or not - between Asexuality and Aromanticism

 

Other things I am particularly interested in looking into are: 

 

  • Meeting couples where one person may be asexual/romantic and the other is not 
  • Managing relationships, or friendships, as an asexual person
  • How asexuality - and other parts of the ace community - can be better understood by the wider public
  • Talking to family, friends and loved ones about asexuality 

 

I understand and appreciate, that for many people, the media and journalism can be off putting for a variety of reasons. But this is not a piece where we are trying to catch people out. All I'm really interested in is, people and their stories. For me, the great thing about radio is it can open an audience to new voices, and to hearing the views or journeys of people they may not otherwise have heard. 

 

So, what is it you think that we should be looking to explore, who should we be talking to, or would you yourself be willing to engage in a conversation with us? Tell me what we should be talking about, or looking into - without your help, we may miss something that we need to know. 

 

Nothing will be used without your consent. Please message me if you'd prefer and I can hand over my BBC contact details. 

 

Thanks to everyone that has spoken to me so far, and made me feel welcome as we make this program.

 

Thanks

Sam 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ninouk

Hi Sam,

I think it's wonderful that you're making a documentary about asexuality. One of the largest issues, in my opinion, is the lack of awareness of asexuality, which often means ace people grow up feeling alienated or broken. This documentary could really help spread awareness and understanding, so thank you for doing this!

The topics you've listed are all very relevant; I can't think of anything completely new to add right now, but will let you know if I do think of something. Perhaps what it's like to come out as asexual and how it compares to coming out with other orientations? I'd also be up for a conversation; feel free to message me any time!

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sambo
39 minutes ago, Ninouk said:

Hi Sam,

I think it's wonderful that you're making a documentary about asexuality. One of the largest issues, in my opinion, is the lack of awareness of asexuality, which often means ace people grow up feeling alienated or broken. This documentary could really help spread awareness and understanding, so thank you for doing this!

The topics you've listed are all very relevant; I can't think of anything completely new to add right now, but will let you know if I do think of something. Perhaps what it's like to come out as asexual and how it compares to coming out with other orientations? I'd also be up for a conversation; feel free to message me any time!

Hi! The lack of awareness issue is one that is constantly being raised - I am definitely interested in exploring what it is like to come out as an asexual person. I'll drop you a message so we can discuss it further! Sam 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LucindaC

Most frustrating thing I've come across is Ace Erasure, from health professionals (and everyone else basically!). If I hear the phrase "When you meet the right person" one more time I think I'll scream.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jona Rhys

Hello Sam,

 

Thanks a lot for doing this. I do hope you'll find enough participants, hopefully also some that are a bit older in order to show that asexuality's not just a modern phenomenon. I can't participate myself because I'm neither Iiving in the UK nor do I consider myself fluent enough to speak English on the radio.

I'm looking forward to listening to your documentary though.

J.R.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Iam9man

Agree with all of the above points!

 

One thing I have a personal interest in is the diversity within the ace community, as I feel this is sometimes ignored. Some asexuals feel a lot of attraction as least as strongly as other orientations, just not sexual attraction. These types of asexuals can feel “not asexual enough” if they are for example very sensual, and especially if they can/do enjoy sex despite not feeling sexual attraction.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldgeeza

I'm in my 50's, when I was in my teens, I grew up in South Wales, back then, you were gay or straight, I have to be honest in admitting I'd never heard of the term asexual until I was in my 40's, that's when I first got a computer, I was signed off sick, I was bored and wanted to learn about computers, I'd never used one before, so I bought one, that was my road to self discovery, I just assumed that I was, for want of words, broken, I never realised there were so many others like me, I guess from that side of things, I have to agree with the first few comments about the lack of knowledge of asexuality, I messaged Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 with regards to my being asexual when he was talking about different forms of sexuality, his comment was to say that he'd heard of the term asexuality but never of anyone who has said that they are asexual, even speaking to various different people, many of them, especially British people have never heard of the term asexual, the vast majority have never heard of someone with no interest in sex or sexual attraction, especially not a male, when I say that I've never watched porn, they think I'm an alien.

 

I would be happy to talk to you, my only issue is, my availability, I'm only available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays due to work committments, please feel free to message me if I can be of any assistance

 

@Iam9manI also agree with your point, I'm a cuddle slut, I receive a lot of cuddles at work and from friends, I thoroughly enjoy a good cuddle, I have a very good friend who works in our staff canteen, we always have a cuddle every time we see each other, we're good friends though other work colleagues tend to read something else into it, I guess because she's a very attractive young lady and I'm an older guy, people read different things in different ways, luckily I've never come across a jealous husband or partner

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Posted (edited)

Even though I am fairly new to the community, I agree with what has been said: it's true asexuality is underrepresented. In fact, it took me a long time to hear about it. As a result, some of us think they might be ill. I myself thought I had health issues due to not wanting sex! Needless to say, it was a huge relief when I heard about asexuality.

We also tend to feel rather alienated in this community. As a teenager, I was the only one in my class who didn't understand why sex was such a big deal. I felt very lonely due to that. But things get better: I am at university right now and next September, I will go on a student exchange. Luckily, my host university is more open than my home university: I plan on joining the LGBT community there because asexuals are not accepted in the LGBT community at my home university. As you can see, sometimes asexuals are not integrated in the LBGT community. But I look forward to meeting more people like me!

 

Edit: I forgot to tell that I live in a pretty conservative area. Talking about the LGBT community is already a bit taboo, even though the situation is getting better. So imagine what it's like to talk about asexuality! Most people have never heard of it. That's why I don't want to come out now: people may think I have 'invented' my sexuality.

Edited by Guest
I wanted to add something important

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aris

Locking pending project team input.

 

Aris

Welcome Lounge Moderator

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SkyenAutowegCaptain

@michaeld, and myself both met this gent in London on Saturday

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
michaeld

I've re-opened the thread. Yes, I met with Sam both at Pride London and at the conference in Edinburgh. I am happy to recommend getting involved in this project, if you're comfortable being on radio!

 

michaeld (AVEN PT)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scott1989

HI Sam,

We didn't speak but I was also at the Edinburgh conference too :)

 

I'll break down my answer's to some of your points.

 

Specifically about asexuality and the points you are talking about in your show:

9 hours ago, sambo said:
  • Dealing with Asexuality in world where media/culture focuses on sex/relationships

I think because of my upbringing, including what I was taught at school, the banter that I heard, and even took part of myself in school, I became very sex positive, and even though I don't want to have sex myself, I probably had\have some angle of curiosity about it too, so that sex and relations seem very natural. The only time I'd say it bother me would be eye rolling bad stuff in tv, or movies, that would make anybody roll their eyes (or mock, in the case of "The Room").

Quote
  • Ace Erasure

From a media standpoint, I'm not 100% sure what my thoughts are on this cause it's not something I really think about, but I do obviously love the fact that Todd in Bojack Horseman is doing a great representing of being ace, whilst hate the House MD representation of it in that 1 episode.

 

In real-life and in person, I do have 1 really bad case, which I recently had to re-confront. About 10 years ago, I was in Uni, and I had recently discovered my asexuality and aromanticism just as I started Uni (due to an event I'll explain below in a more suitable answer). I joined a sports team, and during my 2nd year at uni, I was sorta forced to come out to a small group of team mates in a way similar to Steve Carrel character had to admit they were still a virigin in the 40 year old virgin (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eWIHZ6xyes but I froze and decided to come clean instead of trying a ridiculous lie, cause all I could think of was the ridiculous lie from the movie!). I figured these guys were decent enough to accept an asexual not caring about sex and drop it.

 

Turned out they just took the fact I hadn't had sex, so decided to try and set me up. That plan involved a hell of a lot of "help" a.k.a peer pressure. Long story short, I had a ruined night though I didn't cave to what they wanted me to do, and was extremely pissed off that all they took from my coming out as ace was that I am a virgin. That event actually was mostly responsible for me going back into the closet for nearly 9 years (and I'm still not fully out even today but more on that later). The above story spread among the team but everyone just ignored, even when I explained it, that I am ace, and not interested in sex. After a few years, the story eventually died out, and nobody currently in the team knows now (I coach the team now so still have a lot of contact with the team).

 

Then very recently (within the last month) I was at a wedding of an other coach, so naturally myself, and some older and newer team mates\player we coach were in attendance. Late on the night, I was talking to an ex player I coached, and one of my ex team mates, and randomly the ex teammate (who knows the above story) decided to have a random go at me by going "Oh I bet you haven't lost your virginity yet". When I explained I'm asexual (effectively coming out to the other guy at the same time, really really awkwardly) so  I don't care if I had or not, he just swore at me and stormed off, which partly ruined a good night for me. I never like him but it really hurt me that he doesn't acknowledge my asexuality, and just sees me as some loser virgin.

 

To the ex player I coached credit, he hung around with me for a bit and was more curious about what asexuality was and seemed to take it well and respectful, even if he couldn't understand what it's like (though he happily compared it to me not understanding what it's like being sexual like him) and that's fine as long as he's willing to be respectful.

 

Quote
  • Where does Ace fit into the LGBT community?

I think one of the biggest problems (and I expand outside of LGBT community more about this below) is that quiet often we talk about LGBT This, LGBT that or maybe LGBTQ this, LGBTI that. It should be more LGBT+, LGBTQ+, LGBTI+ or even LGBTA+.

 

In person, I've not had much interaction with the LGBT community but it's been mostly nutural or positive e.g. last years Edinburgh Pride march, I got asked what my ace flag meant, and the explanation was accepted. At Glasgow pride march, got asked too, similar, maybe more positive response from it. We went to Glasgows Free pride afterwards and after missing most of the events, some of us aces, went into an empty room with some others and had random conversations from our LGBT+ experiances (that were well received by the room) to random stuff like salt and vinegar vs Salt and Sauce or do pineapple belong on pizza (no they don't 😛)

Quote
  • How activism can encourage others to learn more about asexuality, or to come to terms with their own place on the spectrum

As part of the Secret Triangle (I did the we bit about our meets at the conference) I think the good thing about our meets is that it makes ourselves more comfortable about our aceness. I sometimes feel a bit awkward talking about my aceness with my non ace friends so it's good to have a support network, as well as a friend group, which I can talk more ace without overdoing it like I fear I would outside the group. As I said, I'm still half in the closet just now so this is a group where I can just relax outside without any fear of repercussions. And the weird thing is that being part of the group has helped when I eventually came out to my mother, who admitted that part of the reason she was ok with it was because I had that friend group I gained from the Secret Triangle (the other part was that I was ok with being ace, so she was too). When we done pride marches, or other wee bits of visability with the Triangle, we've managed to grow our community finding other aces who have since joined, and we do get more perspectives on asexuality (e.g. it's not just aro aces, or pan aces, or hetro aces). The conference itself was actually a big help I think in our visability. And I do hope that if some of the newer people join with doubts about their asexuality, that we help them in understanding their place, or be more accepting of their place in the spectrum, even if it means they aren't actually under the ace umbrella (if it helps, it helps)

Quote
  • The links - or not - between Asexuality and Aromanticism

I sorta do link the 2, and despite speaking at the aromantic panel, I don't really think about my aroness much. I think this is because I went nearly 20 years (2/3rds of my life) with just the singular attraction model (e.g. hetrosexual=hetroromantic, homosexual=homoromantic, etc etc) and even now, the split attraction model doesn't fit me, so it's not something I really think about. However I do accept the split attraction model as a) I've seen it with other aces and b) I suspect a friend of mine is hetrosexual and aromantic (due to their views on it all, they just stick to hetro for them)

Quote
  • Meeting couples where one person may be asexual/romantic and the other is not

No comment or real experience to talk about (I think)

Quote
  • Managing relationships, or friendships, as an asexual person

I believe you may have a recording of the Aro Panel at the conference, you would have heard my story on the panel about the accidental relationship I had during end of primary school and early-mid high school, that I got into before I discovered my asexuality (though I think is still relevant for this part). I tried to go for what I knew or had thought of was expected of me, but because I wasn't really committed to it, she was the one driving it, and she did eventually get sick and tired of it. This did however help with school friendships in a weird way, cause everyone assumed I had sex with this girl so never bugged me about it and therefore didn't end up being seen as a "virgin loser" in school, like some others were. I didn't encourage this train of though but didn't know about it until after I left school. And I know now looking back, she dropped some hints (some really obvious now :lol:) that she did want more than the occasional cuddle, that I never picked up on.

 

Friendships on the other hand either know I'm ace, and tend to be ok, or don't know but I think they just assume I just keep relationships private so don't ask (e.g. I never get asked by work friends about any relationships). I think the friends I know longer, it's more difficult to come out to cause it feels like being a fraud to them this whole time, while newer friends, it's more of getting to know me. But cause sex doesn't seem to be much of a topic around me now a days, friendships seem to just go normally for me.

 

Quote
  • How asexuality - and other parts of the ace community - can be better understood by the wider public

Like some of the responses above, I think lack of awareness\viability is probably one of the biggest hurdles for asexuals in general, and for any + identity in lgbt+ (e.g. pansexual, no-binary, gender fluid, agender, etc etc). I've find that even people that accept and respect homosexuals, bisexuals, male to female or female to male trans-gendered people, don't seem respectful of aces, non-binary, gender fluid, etc etc. I think even in this time of emergence of all sorts of movements (vegans, black lives mater, me too, etc etc), and being countered with terms like "social justice warriors" "snowflakes" etc means that someone coming out as a plus identity are just seen as "mentally ill snowflakes" by some "tolerant" people. That's not to say everybody encountering these lesser known identities will be like this, as I think especially younger people are more willing to accept and be fully tolerant of them, and even some older people, are too. I said to the 2 people at the conference who were part of a lgbt+ work network (I'm so sorry if you 2 are here and see this, I forgot their proper affiliate and names) that finding a way to make these identities, ace included, more visible, so that they can be normalised better would be key.

Quote
  • Talking to family, friends and loved ones about asexuality 

I do feel a wee bit awkward talking to friends (that I'm out to) about asexuality because I think there is a level of not caring (even if there is acceptance\respect). Probably the main exception is my best friend, who is actually responsible for accidentally discovering my asexuality. He made up the term and came up with a meaning thinking it sounded like me. I researched it not knowing he made it up, and found out about asexuality and aromanticsm, and later went to him and said he's right. He tried to save me embarrassment with identifying with a fake identity he made up, only to find out that it was real. Since then, he's been fully supportive of it and I've even came out to some of his friends who I got to know, who seem ok with it too :).

 

Most family I'm not out too, but my immediate family I am. My brother when I tried to come out the 1st time (when I first discovered it) made some nasty comments about it which is a minority reason of why I ended up in the closet and for ages I was scared about him mentioning it. I came out to him again years later due to him starting to get a wrong idea of a meet up I was sort of trying to cover up, so came clean and came out. When I mentioned the 1st time I came out and his comments, he apologised saying it must of been a joke that I just took wrong (he is known for "jokes" that don't land well, in fact crash and burns more), and been more accepting of it. I do feel some awkwardness from him about it so I don't really talk about it. The main exception was when Todd fully came out as asexual in Bojack Horseman, my brother wanted to see if asexuals really could be romantic like they were in the show. I did tell him they could, and that IO know romantic asexuals, but also that I'm aro so I wouldn't.

 

I only came out to my mother last year and despite knowing she would accept it, it was still scary coming out (though more cause I was worried she would be angry that I didn't trust her enough to say years ago). I really planned that out, but like all good plans, it was destroyed on first contact, but more of because it was more emotional than I expected, and I felt that as an aromantic, I didn't need to explain romantic aspects, so went with an ignorance is bliss angle of the split attraction model. Her reaction (as I mentioned above) was positive as I was ok being asexual so she couldn't see why she can't be ok with it, and I had a group of asexual friends that I could fall back on with regards to it. I don't talk much about it with her outside of that but she does ask if certain things I said I'm planning or did (normally stuff I may not normally do funnily enough :lol: )is with my asexual friends.

 

This turned out to be much longer than I expected but I hope some of, if not all, of this helps in anyway and feel free to ask either here or by pm if you want more info or anything.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sambo

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments and guidance.

 

All of it is helpful in furthering my own understanding, and providing a background of material.

 

I'll directly message you with any individual and specific questions, to avoid clogging this up!

 

Thanks

Sam 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ItchyFeet
On 7/9/2019 at 7:03 AM, sambo said:

I'm currently making a radio documentary, for BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Sounds and hopefully other parts of the BBC about Asexuality,

👍

I hope the documentary goes well.

 

On 7/9/2019 at 7:03 AM, sambo said:

Tell me what we should be talking about, or looking into

There definitely needs to be more awareness of aromanticism and that romantic and sexual attraction are two different things. Also, that there are many different types of attraction.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheLastOfSheila

I think how the term "asexual" is defined is a significant issue, for me at least.  Some feel that if a person says that she or he is asexual, then that is all the definition that is needed.  Perhaps so, however asexuality is viewed, by some, as an umbrella term covering a wide range of individuals, from "sexual asexuals" at one end, to aromantic, sex averse asexuals at the distal end.  I also think it might be worthwhile to explore the generational differences among asexuals.  For example, as a "Boomer" (awful term), I grew up in a time where one was either heterosexual or homosexual, period.  If a girl or woman did not desire sex, she was called "frigid" or neurotic in some way.  Damaged.  Back in those days, a girl was expected to date boys, eventually getting married and have kids.  I did all of these things because they were expected of me (loved having kids, could have done without the marriage though).  I've been single for a long time now, and had considered looking for companionship, but because I had absolutely no desire for sex, it would have been next to impossible, especially considering my age. 

 

Finally realizing my asexuality, and openly declaring such, gave me such a feeling of freedom that I can barely describe.  When I found out about AVEN, I couldn't wait to join up with all of my asexual sisters and brothers!  After a time though, I sort of felt a feeling of confusion.  For one thing, the generational differences.  Coming out as asexual at age 18 was different from coming out at age 58.  Then, the whole ACE spectrum issue sort of clouded things up for me.  I read posts from ACES who, although they said they did not experience sexual attraction, they did have sexual urges that they sometimes would satisfy by having sex with someone that they had absolutely no feelings for.  Then there are people who would state that they could only have sex with someone that they really cared about.  When I was young, that was pretty much the standard, at least for females; you only had sex with someone when you loved that person.  However, here I learned that standard is called greysexual.  I guess it all sort of took away some of the feeling that I had of 'belonging' when I first arrived at AVEN.

 

So, I guess I said all of that to say that I think it might be worthwhile to examine how the definition of asexual has come to be defined, and how the generational issues affect those definitions, if that makes any sense?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
henshin

Does anyone know if this documentary was made?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OptimisticPessimist

@henshin We know it’s in the process of being made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...