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lastditchattempt

"Prescribing" Asexuality

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lastditchattempt

I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post it in, but since I am a "sexual partner/ally," I figured maybe it would be ok to post it here.

I'm a little concerned with the amount of posts where people describe a scenario or a line of thinking, and then ask people to prescribe them as asexual or not. I know that in some GLBTQA communities I am in, people come in and ask the same type of thing "Am I gay? Am I a lesbian?" etc, etc. They also do it in the ADD or mental illness forums, eating disorder forums, etc. I understand that some people may want INSIGHT, but it seems a little intense to me when I see people posting things like "you definitely sound asexual," etc.

I guess why it concerns me here, is because I know there are definitely some illnesses or situations that could lower someone's sex drive or level of sexual attraction, and I would hate to think that someone is out there running around with some illness that is being left untreated because people on a web group, though they mean well, have suggested that they are asexual. Or if someone has had some traumatizing life experience that has put them off sex or made them feel insecure with their body, that they are not going to get the help they need because they feel it is all just some new sexuality they learned about online.

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asexual1976
I guess why it concerns me here, is because I know there are definitely some illnesses or situations that could lower someone's sex drive or level of sexual attraction, and I would hate to think that someone is out there running around with some illness that is being left untreated because people on a web group, though they mean well, have suggested that they are asexual. Or if someone has had some traumatizing life experience that has put them off sex or made them feel insecure with their body, that they are not going to get the help they need because they feel it is all just some new sexuality they learned about online.

I agree that there are bound to be many people on this and other forums that have medical issues.

That said - no-one is capable of telling a poster for certain whether he or she is asexual (and most posts I read don't do so either).

The key to this is being honest to yourself. And only you can know for sure. No-one else can.

Now - if a person comes to this forum as says they doesn't feel sexual attraction to anyone, that they are now 25 and asks whether they could be asexual, then I would reply "yes, you could".

If a person says "I'm terribly afraid of having sex, I have these weird desires but I don't like them. Am I asexual ?". I would asnwer : probably not".

But again. In both cases I can't tell for sure. Only the poster knows that deep down.

As for these obscure illnesses. I'd say that if you don't notice anything wrong with you other than your lack of sexual desire, if you've gone through childhood and adolesence without ever being diagnosed with a pertinant illness, if you have no history of sexual or physical abuse and you've never had sexual feelings in the past, then the chances of there being something medically wrong with you are pretty slim.

But consider this : Even if you had a 1 in a million freak condition that inhibited your sex drive without you noticing any smyptoms and even if there was a 1 in 10 million chance that it actually could be fixed :

Why should there be a problem if you're perfectly happy with the way you are ?

Generally speaking : If you feel unhappy with your asexuality and you suspect anything medically wrong with you : by all means to go see a doctor to make sure. Just don't live an unhappy life because you constantly feel something must be wrong with you.

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Sarafin

I think for a lot of asexuals, it's hard to like sex when you can't even romanticize the act. For me the sex drive is there, but the act itself is not erotic to me in the least. I don't eroticize human bodies, so why would I want to be intimate with one?

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lastditchattempt

There are so many things that shouldn't be ignored. Here are a few on this site:

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/low_libido.htm

I'd hate to have someone ignore something serious.

I get that people often like being asexual. When I had an eating disorder for 12 years, there were times when I didn't want to get help either... I know, asexuality can't kill you or harm you in the ways that an eating disorder can, but there are illnesses that can kill you. And they could be the cause of a low libido.

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merkat82

I just don't get why you are bothered by others 'prescribing' asexuality (which yes, I agree with you that others shouldn't be telling others what they are or not) but you seem very insistent on labeling others as having illnesses? I mean, are you certain they have an illness? I guess my thing is, if they aren't obviously harming themselves or others then it's not really your business. Worrying that others are sick is control on your part and your idea that something must be wrong with them. But telling someone that they SOUND asexual isn't telling them that they ARE. It gives the person the chance to think about it, read up more on it, etc.

And I personally don't have a problem with people who have had a traumatizing life experience avoiding sex. If they really don't want to have sex and they're cool with that, then why SHOULD they go get treatment? It'd be different if they were saying they don't want to have sex but felt really terrible not having it and were conflicted, but I know there's those out there who had bad experience --> don't want sex --> satisfied with this. It's not totally your place to decide if they need help or not unless someone is seriously getting hurt.

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asexual1976
I get that people often like being asexual. When I had an eating disorder for 12 years, there were times when I didn't want to get help either... I know, asexuality can't kill you or harm you in the ways that an eating disorder can, but there are illnesses that can kill you. And they could be the cause of a low libido.

But when you had an eating disorder you knew that right ? You may have not wanted help, but you did notice. The key is being honest with yourself. And if you are you, will know if your depressed, suffering from trauma or abuse.

But as the other poster said : if you have no additional symptoms, are absolutely fine with your asexuality : who cares if its caused by whatnot ?

I think you may actually want asexuality to be an illness so you can cure it in your partner. But unfortunately that's not going to happen. If she's suffering from depression, anxiety or a rare hormonal condition there could be a way, but if she shows no symptoms at all that's very unlikely. You'll have to learn to accept her sexual orientation otherwise you're going to ruin your chances of a sucessful relationship, because you may actually be causing her distress and driving her into depression by telling her that she's somehow sick.[/i]

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lastditchattempt
But when you had an eating disorder you knew that right ? You may have not wanted help, but you did notice. The key is being honest with yourself. And if you are you, will know if your depressed, suffering from trauma or abuse

I didn't know there was any problem when I had an eating disorder. I thought it was normal and that people were picking on me. Also, my partner is depressed and has suffered abuse, and doesn't want to "deal" with it. And the low sex drive DID come after the incident.

I just don't get why you are bothered by others 'prescribing' asexuality (which yes, I agree with you that others shouldn't be telling others what they are or not) but you seem very insistent on labeling others as having illnesses? I mean, are you certain they have an illness? I guess my thing is, if they aren't obviously harming themselves or others then it's not really your business. Worrying that others are sick is control on your part and your idea that something must be wrong with them. But telling someone that they SOUND asexual isn't telling them that they ARE. It gives the person the chance to think about it, read up more on it, etc.

1. Because there is so little research on this, and with a few exceptions, I doubt any of you are doctors or have extensive knowledge of serious quantitative and/or qualitative data on the subject. I don't buy people's armchair psychology sessions. Personal experience is not free from bias, and is useful, but is not data.

2. I don't know these people. How could I, or anyone else know if they have an illness? That is what trained professionals are for.

3. I am not worried if anyone here is sick. If they are, it is their issue. I am just saying that no one here is authorized to tell them they aren't.

I believe in asexuality, and I also believe there are cases where it is just covering up a greater problem. I don't think anyone here should be prescribing people as asexual just so they can up the numbers and prove asexuality exists.

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lastditchattempt
I think you may actually want asexuality to be an illness so you can cure it in your partner. But unfortunately that's not going to happen. If she's suffering from depression, anxiety or a rare hormonal condition there could be a way, but if she shows no symptoms at all that's very unlikely. You'll have to learn to accept her sexual orientation otherwise you're going to ruin your chances of a sucessful relationship, because you may actually be causing her distress and driving her into depression by telling her that she's somehow sick.

By the way, I have never told anyone that they are sick. Definitely not my partner. Although, she does have depression, anxiety, and was sexually assaulted. All of that was present long before I even knew her, so don't try to suggest that I am causing anyone distress or driving anyone to depression.

I just deleted something I wrote because it was just me getting angry and being a bitch .

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Dame du Lac

I don't read many of the "am I asexual" threads that come up these days (mainly due to time), but when I did the general response seems to have been yes, maybe but only you can decide and sometimes, it doesn't really sound like it but only you can decide.

On the whole, people here accept that the numbers of asexuals in the population are very low. The only "official" numerical data is 1%, based on Anthony Boegart's study. And asexuality is used here as an orientation and as such is based on lack of sexual attraction not low libido or inability. I know there are some very vocal anti-sexual members who are very encouraging when it comes to not having sex for whatever reason, but I like to think they are the minority! There are many more who just aren't interested themselves and many who are here exploring their feelings about sexual attraction and sexual behaviour. A number of people who fully identify as asexual have sex and identify as such for various reasons. Hopefully when someone comes to the site they will take the time to look around and if they post something to the effect of "my sex drive has recently died/ I want to have sex but can't/ I've been attacked and can no longer face having sex etc." then someone will pick up on it and gently suggest that they seek appropriate advice from a professional.

Of course, one of the ways to ensure that people who show signs of illness in their posts are advised appropriately is for concerned people (such as yourself :) ) to keep an eye on those threads and gently suggest they explore other possibilities.

I will have a look at the site you linked to; (I don't think my low libido is a sign of illness, and it doesn't result from trauma, and indeed is rather convenient given that its so rare I experience sexual attraction that my sex drive is rather redundant anyway) it looks interesting and if its any good I'll save it in case I spot a poster for whom it may be useful.

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asexual1976
All of that was present long before I even knew her, so don't try to suggest that I am causing anyone distress or driving anyone to depression.

I wasn't suggesting that you are. I was mearly saying that there is the possiblity you could if you insist that she has a medical issue if in reality she doesn't.

By the way, I have never told anyone that they are sick. Definitely not my partner. Although, she does have depression, anxiety, and was sexually assaulted.

Now that's a different ball game altogether. If she is depressed, she should seek professional help regardless of whether she's asexual or whether that is in anyway related to her asexuality. If you care about your girlfriend (and you obviously do) and have reasonable cause to believe that she is depressed then you should talk to her about your suspicions if you haven't done so already.

Also, my partner is depressed and has suffered abuse, and doesn't want to "deal" with it. And the low sex drive DID come after the incident

If your partner doesn't want to deal with her emotions then there is no ideal way to solve this. You obviously can't drag her to the psychologist against her will (that wouldn't work anyway) so I guess you'll just have to be very patient and understanding. Which is easier said than done, I know.

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M51

The key to that website is that it is talking about decreased, lowered, or otherwise changed libido. If the libido was never there, that website simply does not apply.

I understand you say your girlfriend's libido problems came after sexual abuse/assault. So maybe for her she does need some help to deal with things. But that does not mean there is a significant number of asexuals here who also are ill or traumatized.

Every welcome post I have ever seen that mentions past trauma is answered by people saying, "you may be asexual but you should also definitely seek help for the trauma".

I have never seen anyone ignore the possibility of mental illness or trauma, if either seemed possible. Of course, I imagine a lot of people do not include that information in their welcome post. Not much we can do about that.

It is also possible that your girlfriend was simply a very indifferent asexual prior to the trauma. Oftentimes indifferent asexuals are indistinguishable from sexuals, and sometimes they themselves do not even realize that they lack the actual urge to have sex, or the actual sexual attraction. I was sort of like that. I really didn't get that other people actually felt driven to do it, and might feel a deep loss in their lives if they did not do it. I just thought it was an activity that most people enjoyed, and I didn't mind, so I went with it. It was not until my ex-husband started demanding sex that I realized something was different about me. And for a long time after my ex-husband, I was repulsed by sex. I can only imagine how long I would have remained adamantly repulsed if he had been more than manipulative, aggressive, and demanding...if he had actually ever attempted to take it by force...(shudder)...

So perhaps your girlfriend never had a libido, but had no reason to think much of it until the trauma. Now, not only does she have no urge to engage, but the trauma makes it hard for her to simply go along with it.

Or, maybe she is not actually asexual and just needs help. I dunno. Maybe you should ask her if she noticed a drop in her actual libido after the incident, or simply a drop in the willingness to go along with someone else's libido?

Maybe you could ask...back when she used to get "horny", what exactly did that mean? Did she want to kiss and cuddle and then oh yeah I guess sex? Or did that mean that she felt that burning or tingling, overwhelming physical urge to actually engage in sex?

Back when I didn't know I was asexual, I thought "horny" meant the feeling when I really wanted to hug and cuddle and feel close to someone. But I never fantasized about sex when I was "horny", lol. I fantasized about romance and affection. Sex was just something the guys liked to include in the romance and affection.

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Chiaroscuro

I think Lastditch makes a good (if non-PC) point, and her analogy to an eating disorder isn't off-base. My daughter may or may not have an eating disorder. She's seeing a therapist, going to a nutritionist, etc... and thinks my wife and I are being giant pains-in-the-neck about the whole thing. It's in the nature of eating disorders that people will die thinking nothing's wrong with them. I think it's distinctly possible that people, learning of asexuality for the first time, will self-diagnose themselves incorrectly.

My wife, who is an abuse survivor NOT an asexual, discovered Aven and introduced me to the community. It became clear to me very quickly (and to her a little more slowly), that she was not a "true" asexual, but had psychological issues that gave her an aversion to sex. She's no longer participating on Aven, mostly because she doesn't feel it really applies to her. So there's one anecdotal story in which a non-asexual asexual figured out pretty quickly that she wasn't one.

Personally, I'm not too worried about people "prescribing" asexuality. It's the internet. Folks are coming here to explore, and they're going to hear all sorts of stuff, some of it well reasoned, some of it unthinking, some of it downright kooky. If someone reads one comment and draws a conclusion from it, they're not using the community correctly. The internets don't work that way :wink:

-Chiaroscuro

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EGAD!
I guess why it concerns me here, is because I know there are definitely some illnesses or situations that could lower someone's sex drive or level of sexual attraction, and I would hate to think that someone is out there running around with some illness that is being left untreated because people on a web group, though they mean well, have suggested that they are asexual. Or if someone has had some traumatizing life experience that has put them off sex or made them feel insecure with their body, that they are not going to get the help they need because they feel it is all just some new sexuality they learned about online.

1) AVEN is not a place to get diagnosed as having or not having a disorder or this or that orientation. People come here seeking support and a chance to communicate with other people with similar experience to better figure things out for themselves (or ideally this is how it should be).

2) By no means am I an expert in any professional sense, but I have yet to see anything linking asexuality with any sort of psychological, physiological, social dysfunction. Sexual orientation is extreamly complex encompassing behavior, thought patterns and feelings and involving biological and social processes. It is possible certain particular things either biological or social could predispose someone to be asexual, but no one can really say for sure when attempting to make generalizations about an entire population of people.

Given the diversity within the human population I do not think it is too absurd to think there may be some people who do not experience any sexual attraction at all if there also exist people on the extreme opposite end.

3) I can only speak from my own experience (and I would hope and expect others would do the same), what other people have stated as being their experience and what I have read about the social construction of sexuality over time and relevant scientific research/ethnographic research on sexuality in other cultures.

4) Unless being asexual causes significant distress to the person in question and or someone they are in a relationship with I do not in my opinion consider it a problem. I have no interest in dating or having sex and I am fine with it. Given how 99% of the population appears to experience some amount of sexual attraction I cannot possibly deny that sex can be an enjoyable experience and that it is something very important to many people--for me its just not my thing.

If there was a sudden change in someone's sex drive and or preferences that in my book would elicit concern but if the feeling of not being interested in sex, not feeling attracted to people has always been there I don't see much reason for concern. And as well intentioned as your post is about being concerned about people wrongly diagnosing themselves and not seeking help. I would also be concerned about how people percieve themselves if in fact they suspect they are asexual given the emphasis people place on having sexual relationships as to whether or not they feel ashamed, guilty, depressed or even suicidal because of not conforming to what society tells us we should be. People get socially ostracized and abandoned--even murdered because of being transsexual or homosexual.

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