Asexuals Who Aren't Asexual
But apparently most people who call themselves asexual are not like that:
- They might masturbate and enjoy it, but not want another person involved in it.
- They might feel sexual attraction towards someone, but not enough to bother acting on it.
- They might try to act on sexual attraction only to find it unexpectedly disappear.
- They might feel sexual attraction that is satisfied by physical activities that can also be non-sexual, such as hugging or kissing.
This may sound harsh, but here's my reason:
When I try to tell people I have no sexual feelings, I often get met with frank disbelief. Sometimes I get accused of repressing it. Sometimes I get told there must be something physically wrong with me and I need to see a doctor. Sometimes people just don't seem to get that I can actually be happy without any sexual feelings. Sometimes people insist I just haven't met the right person - which is possible, but if I never do meet that person, I don't really mind that.
When I was younger, I didn't realize it was possible not to feel sexual feelings. And since I'd never felt any, and hadn't heard frank descriptions from others about what they felt like (my school sex ed lessons talked more about physiology than feelings), I assumed I was sexual. I mistook nonsexual liking for crushes and tried to express them in the way I thought crushes should be expressed. I almost got raped once as a result of this behavior. (Though the real fault lies with the guy who tried to rape me, I wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place if I'd known I was asexual.)
If I hadn't been so socially unskilled about acting out attraction, I might have actually ended up in a romantic relationship. Which would have been upsetting for both of us, me because I doubt I'd be willing to put up with enough sex to satisfy my partner, and my partner because he or she would have found out that I'd been unintentionally deceiving him or her, and have invested emotional energy in something that never could have worked out.
I think there should be a word for people with greatly reduced and/or non-social sexual desire. People like that need to know it's OK to be who they are, just as much as people like me. But stop taking the only word I've found to describe my own sexuality, and using it for something as foreign to me as any sexuality is. I really don't think I have any more in common with 'sexual asexuals' than I do with gay people - we share the experience of having an atypical and devalued experience of sexuality, but both groups feel feelings I can't even imagine feeling.
Asexuality is not being disgusted by sex (it's possible to not care either way, or conversely to want sex and be disgusted by it). Nor is it not having sex, because behavior is not the same as feelings. But it is also not reduced sexuality, or situation-specific sexuality, or non-social sexuality. It is no sexuality.