"Oh goddammit, this is why we can't have anything nice.
— an asexual who refuses to be associated with this doucheshittery"
While many asexuals are perfectly nice and reasonable people, there is a breed, the Internet Asexual, whose specialness is rivaled only by that of RM. This breed is perhaps best illustrated by this Feministe post, which introduces us to terms like "queerplatonic," "zucchini," "squash," and "courgetting." (Gentlefailer discussion, end of February 2012.) They are also known for complaining about sexual people who do not want to date them, because apparently "sexuals" should be okay with partners who aren't into them but are willing to "put out" for them.
There is also the question of whether IAs are co-opting GLBT oppression. This is the opinion of one nonny in the above-linked FFA thread, who wrote out a long comment for the Feministe thread before realizing that comments had been closed. The comment began: "I am not an ally to the asexual community, and I will tell you why: The asexual community emphatically do not act like allies towards me."
A few weeks later, meme experienced a double round of asexual wank. The first began when a nonny linked approvingly tothis post, which explains that some asexuals do actually have sex. The first reply expressed confusion, claiming that this rendered the term "asexual" meaningless. When others pointed out that people can have sex without being sexual, that nonny objected: "But if a straight person has sex with someone of the same sex and enjoys it... why do they still consider themselves straight? Aren't you at least a little bit bisexual at that point?"
Having the distinction between physical and romantic attraction drawn for them did not dissuade them from this opinion. They received snarky replies such as, "Wow, I'm glad you're really good at putting people in boxes regardless of what they think!" and "I really enjoy having sex with my vibrator. It doesn't mean I'm attracted to robots."
The same nonny continued to be confused because some asexuals masturbate; explaining that this has nothing to do with a lack of attraction to people led to a discussion of whether asexuals find masturbation pleasurable or simply a relief akin to scratching an itch. And then came this:
"It makes no sense and it really needs some further distinctions because 95% of the 'asexuals' I meet, are just socially awkward introverts who are too terrified of the social aspects of sex and love to actually enjoy it or even get to that point. Otherwise, they're fapping and drooling over fanfic and such, obviously with a sexual desire, only it's a one sided interaction taking away all risk and keeps them in their comfort zone they're either unwilling or unable to get out of.
But none of them will admit this and are adamant they're ASEXUAL. Whatever labels float your boat I guess. I just think it's a shame there's so many people who just say, 'well, I'm asexual, forever alone for me!' when they could probably work on getting over their fears and issues if they did some self-work."
An IA replied, "Yep. And I hear lesbians can become straight if they just get a great fuck from a guy. They say that's true of 95% of them." When berated for making light of the concept of "corrective rape," the IA harrumphed, "I have no idea where this rape thing came from and if there is such a thing as corrective rape of lesbians I had no fucking idea it existed."
An asexual who wants an intimate relationship stated that they were willing to have sex with a potential partner: "Compromise is a part of relationships. I will still be asexual. I don't understand why that is so hard to grasp." Another anon's opinion that they would find this confusing prompted several cries of "OMG WHY DO THE OPPRESSIVE SEXUALS HAVE TO ALWAYS TELL US WHAT THEY PREFER?!" and a poor analogy about straight people declaring they'd never have sex with a gay person. There was additional wank about low sex drive and whether it constitutes a sexual identity in and of itself.
In the same post, a nonny started a new thread titled, "Why do people like to read [fanfiction] about asexuals having sex?" An early response: "Because it's the in-thing and all edgy and people want to defend the notion that you can be both asexual and into sex because they want to cling on to their special label even when it's essentially meaningless." When told "Fuck you," the same nonny said, "Go ahead, but don't turn around and tell me you're asexual afterwards."
A different nonny wrote that while a person's sexual behavior is their own business, "sexual identities don't exist in a vacuum... if I was a lesbian, I might feel it was appropriative or contradictory or impinging on my identity if other people were claiming to be lesbians while happily carrying on relationships with men."
Downthread, someone asked the initial commenter, "[D]o you also feel the need to tell off self-id'ing lesbians who have sex with men, often even marrying them?" A different anon replied, "I wouldn't 'tell them off' but I would wonder why they're identifying as lesbian when what you've just described is 'bisexual'." Others replied similarly, and one nonny mused about the limitations of the SJ concept that self-identity must always be respected.
An asexual demanded to know why "defining asexuality as 'lack of that tingly feeling towards another human being' [is] such a controversial and incomprehensible thing," causing a person who lacked such a feeling to "lose all rights to have sex or if they ever have sex, lose the right to ever say that 'hey I don't actually feel that tingly feeling 'everyone' feels'?"
One of the previous nonnies said, "Jesus Christ, I'm not trying to make anyone 'lose their rights' here. ...You can't honestly tell me the statement 'I really like it when I'm having sex with other people, but I'm asexual' isn't at least somewhat confusing."Asexual!Nonny clarified "rights" to mean "the right to talk about how [one's] sexuality manifests," added, "You seriously can't be telling me that you can't physically enjoy sex with someone you're not sexually attracted to? An orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm," and demanded, "And why the fuck does it matter to you, seriously?""
They were told, "Words mean things. People saying contradictory shit deserve to be called out because WORDS MEAN THINGS. "I have sex and like it, but I'm asexual." NO YOU AREN'T." Asexual!Nonny insisted that the word element -sexual refers to only attraction, not libido. The rebuttal: "A gay man who has voluntary, uncoerced, uncompensated, unconditional (i.e. not for sperm donation) with a woman is NOT HOMOSEXUAL. WORDS MEAN THINGS."
Asexual!Nonny asserted that few sexual relationships "PERIOD" are "voluntary, uncoerced, uncompensated, and unconditional." The sexual nonny in the argument disagreed strongly. As it turned out, Asexual!Nonny identifies sexual pleasure as a form of "compensation," versus motivation.
The sexual nonny in this argument, for their part, got pretty wanky too:
- "The 'romantic' suffix is fucking stupid and doesn't mean anything."
- "Sorry that words mean things and I don't appreciate little ~heteroromantic~ kids on Tumblr redefining words just because they want to feel special."
- "This ...was invented by people with low sex drives who want to pretend they're asexual so they can have another kewlies label to stick on themselves. Before the internet started getting overrun by HETEROROMANTIC BIAESTHETIC HOMOPLATONIC DEMISEXUALS, the word did indeed mean 'sexual and/or romantic attraction'."
Another sexual nonny, replying to Asexual!Nonny:
"It fucking matters to me when all I hear from friends and family is how I'm not normal, how there must be something medically wrong with me, and when I can't have a proper relationship because no, I don't physically enjoy sex with people I'm not attracted to, and no, I don't like orgasms. And then someone comes along who is regularly having sex, has a sex drive, and has stable, long-term relationships and says 'Hey, I'm asexual and life is so tough for me.'"
Various other sexual anons expressed revulsion at the idea of having sex with someone to whom they weren't attracted. This elicited a complaint from an asexual: "Why do we end up with paragraphs of this bullshit from sexual people who just have to make us all understand at great length how weird and gross it would be to have sex with an asexual person. Okay, we get it." The sexual anon at the latter link above replied, "Why? Gee, I dunno, maybe because ~some~ (not all, thankfully) of the asexual people here seem to think that so long as the sexual partner is getting both orgasms and non-sexual affection out of the deal, that surely must be all they need to be content with the relationship?" The straight:queer::sexual:asexual analogy was dragged out again, and another asexual opined, "Someone needs to shut these whiny sexual people up."
Finally, the sexual anon said,
"Paragraphs of explaining why something doesn't work for me, without ever using the words 'normal' or 'abnormal', to clarify why some sexual people might not find orgasms-without-sexual-attraction all that enjoyable when all is said and done. But keep right on projecting, nonny! I'm sure I'll magically turn into your favorite sort of judgemental sexuals-are-normal-and-asexuals-are-disgusting-weirdos strawman if you just keep yelling loud enough.
March 26, 2013: Another involved asexual discussion, based on this post in the Asexual Fandom community on Dreamwidth, criticizing how asexual characters have been handled in recent fanfic.
So. Asexuals having sex/sexual relationships in fic. This in itself, I don’t mind. What does annoy me, however, is thatmost of the asexual fic I’ve come across involves people navigating around sex and how to have an asexual/sexual relationship that involves sex. Surely, there should be more ace fic out there that actually has people not having sex?
One nonny wrote, "After all the preaching I've had to wade through about how many asexuals have sex all the time and like it and how dare you question their identity this is hilarious to me."
This thread was mostly civil. Nonnies discussed how the dynamic referred to in the A_F post might be rooted in a desire to make one's OTP special (akin to WNGWJLEO); striking a balance between honoring friendship and not devaluing homoerotic love; the asexual spectrum; how much sexual people need or don't need to have sex regularly; and the difference between gen and non-sexytiemz ships.
There was also this comment:
I was in the Sherlock fandom when a lot of those type fics went down, and it's part of the reason I had to stop reading Ace fics at all. It just made me so angry seeing the sexual partner always being painted as being this disgusting molester, oblivious to the mental harm he causes, forcing his partner to swallow his physical pain and visceral disgust in order in order to maintain a romantic relationship.
It was always, always, always from the point of view of the asexual partner, and seemed to stem from the philosophy that if you just sacrifice enough then your partner has to stay with you and give you the romantic relationship you want. Which is the ultimate "nice guy" bullshit.
Argh. Yeah. So, now I'll only read acefic if both parties are depicted as being ace, which I haven't actually found.
More confrontationally, there was this longish comment, which in summary suggested that the asexual community needs to police its boundaries more strictly.
Asexual wank was eventually banned on FFA, but it still manages to raise its head now and again. One example was this thread whose OP complained about a Tumblr post explaining sexual orientations as “doors” because it supposedly took away the agency of anyone who wasn’t asexual. (The OP was mocked for oversensitivity.) A far more heated example was a 277-comment wank that sprung up when Ur-Sunny explained why she’d frozen a fairly mild 17-comment one about “queerplatonic” people.