Privacy, Sexuality And Shame
However, I just recently came across A Carnival of Aces. I didn't post anything for November because the topic was relationship anarchy, a concept that really doesn't make any sense to me. The December topic is privacy, which I can certainly write about.
Do you think privacy or the right to privacy is more important to you than it would be for another sexuality or for someone who identifies as straight?
I don't think my unusual approach to privacy has much to do with my orientation. It has far more to do with my neurology and my trauma history, and the complex way they interact. With that said, I do think that my approach to privacy as an asexual CSA (child sexual abuse) survivor is different from how I'd react if I was an allosexual abuse survivor. But I'll get into that more in a bit.
I've heard privacy used to refer to three domains that I personally have very different reactions to. Firstly, many people talk about privacy in the context of whether people see you naked - a disabled child I knew who would run out of the change room naked was described as "having no sense of privacy", some people aren't comfortable changing in front of the same sex while others are, and families have different standards for whether family members see each other naked and where in the home you can be naked. Standards around nakedness differ across cultures, too - by our standards, the normal !Kung style of dress would be considered nakedness. (Full disclosure: most of what I know about !Kung people comes from The Gods Must Be Crazy.)
By that meaning of privacy, I'm probably fairly typical. I am OK with being naked with other women in very clearly demarcated settings, such as in changing rooms. I'm also OK with being naked in front of prepubertal boys, or boys or men with significant developmental disabilities who need assistance dressing themselves, in similar circumstances. I'm not OK with being naked in front of men who don't have significant developmental disabilities. (I've only once shared a change room with a trans person, and he wasn't comfortable changing in front of me, so I haven't figured out my own comfort level in that area.) I'm fine with going topless in areas not designated as naked areas when I'm alone, but not when others can see me. I've also done the laundry while naked, usually as a prelude to having a bath, but I'm not comfortable with people seeing me like that.
I've known people who are more comfortable with nakedness than me (such as people who go to nude beaches, or would be willing to) as well as people who are less comfortable (such as my brother, who I've been told hides behind a towel or goes into a bathroom stall instead of changing in front of other men in the change room). About the only situation where nakedness is normally accepted, but I wouldn't accept it, is with a sexual partner - and that's more because I never, ever want to have sex than because of the nakedness itself.
There's also online privacy. Things like whether you use your real name, how comfortable you are with having things about you being tracked electronically, etc. I'm more private in that area than most people I know, mainly because of the influence of my father. Before I turned 18, I was forbidden from revealing my real name or precise location online, and just because I've hit the 'magic number' doesn't mean I've changed how I feel about those rules. In fact, my experiences with flaming and google-stalking have made me even less inclined to reveal my true identity online. I'm also pretty strict about location services and apps accessing data they don't have a clear need to know, because I don't want targeted advertising and I don't want companies learning how to better advertise to me. None of this relates to my asexuality at all. Mostly it's because I have a parent trained in computer security, although fear of both sexual predators and curebie threats also feature as strong incentives not to reveal myself.
But the last kind of privacy is where I really stand out. I am willing to tell complete strangers, without hesitation, the following about me:
- that I'm autistic (or, before my diagnosis, that I suspected I might be autistic)
- that I'm a sexual abuse survivor, and the relationship of my abusers to me
- that I'm asexual
- that I'm a virgin with no plans to ever have sex
- that I'm intellectually gifted
- that I was homeschooled, and precisely why school was terrible for me
- that I'm an atheist
- that I tried to masturbate and it didn't work
- lots of other random details