Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
How Could an Asexual find Another's Life Odd?
It was in the wee morning hours that I found myself talking on the phone with a friend and looking up random miscellany on Wikipedia for fun (yes, us with nothing better to do find encyclopedias to be a source of endless hours of amusement.) I'm not really sure how but we somehow ended up wafting onto a Wikipedia entry about an author who was quoted in the entry giving an exceptionally ambiguous answer to an interveiwer pertaining to his sexuality. Said author died at 75 years of age (according to Wikipedia) while never giving even his closest friends the tiniest clue about what his sexuality might have been. It went on to say since he was never married nor had any children that some had theorized him too be asexual. This theory seems to me a good one... I can't think of any other reason a man in this day and age would live to 75 years while claiming he hadn't the foggiest idea what the fuss was all about... gay, straight? Who gives a damn? Everyone apparently.
That brings us back to the conversation. I said I wondered if he'd ever been with anyone in any degree, and that it was weird if he'd never so much been on at least one date in his life. Knowing I myself was asexual and completely inexperienced when it came to romantic relations my friend said, "That's weird hearing you say that." At the time I was drunk on lack of sleep and unable to make a coherent reply to that - hence the reason I'm writing this article.
So why would another romanceless asexual think it'd be odd never to go on one date in their life? The answer is simple. I'm 22, cloistered, and asexual. I've never been on a date, have always despised children, and I spend much of my time observing the world with calculating and cynical eyes. Despite all these things I also know how the world works in a way I know most other people would never understand. It all comes down to supply and demand. We, as a species, want whatever we can't get. This starts when we're toddlers and we claim everyone grows out of it but the truth is none of us ever do.
Why is that straight women form insane crushes on gay and married men? Simple. They can't have them. The same goes for straight men and married or lesbian chicks. As for my own experiences... I spent nineteen years of my life trying to portray myself as the perfect Victorian girl. This was me playing possum, trying to convince the world I was "normal." Victorian women after all were the one culture I knew of that I could point to and say, "They thought asexuality was a good thing - even if the majority of them were completely making it up." I didn't cut my hair, I dressed in form fitting clothing, and refrained from wearing make-up, claiming moral superiority as my reasoning (when in reality I just didn't get why you'd want to lather sludge all over your face on a daily basis.) During this entire time the straight women and girls who I found myself around often despised me or were mistakenly jealous of me and every straight boy in existence tried through great lengths to impress me, even complete strangers! Because I was still pretending to be normal I'd just smile politely and make some excuse, going so far as wearing an engagement ring to school and making up a boyfriend named Bob. Bob never existed outside my head yet he was the most amusing boyfriend I could have possibly had.
Finally one bleak February I had had enough and lopped off most of my hair. In the months and years afterwards I lopped off even more hair and changed my wardrobe to reflect my apathy rather then this lie I was trying to convince everyone of. I took on an androgynous appearance hoping it'd curb the amount of attention I always seemed to receive and also to let the world know I just didn't care anymore. Since then things have gotten infinitely stranger. I've been hit on, stared at, or admired from every race, age, gender, and orientation I have come across in this time. This fascinated me but not in any erotic way, rather I found myself a prop in my own psychological experiments.
However, back to the dating thing. I have come to believe the more you ignore people and the more you let them know there's not a snowball's chance in Hell they'll ever get to be with you in any romantic way, the more they'll follow you trying desperately to impress you. I was watching some sitcom one day (don't remember what it was) and one of the characters said, "If I can't sweep you off your feet I'll just wear you down!" Sweet sentiment... and the reason why I think most asexuals have probably been on at least one date, despite their better judgement.
According to current studies it's possible that as many as one in a hundred individuals could be asexual. Yet everyone thinks we don't exist at all to the extent that when people do find out about our complete lack of interest they all huddle amongst themselves during lunch hour going, "I bet you such n' such is really gay and doesn't want to admit it." This is the kind of comment that's likely to drive me homicidal someday...
I think part of this problem is asexuals are quite often fantastic liars or have a grasp of their native language that allows them to warp it easily. When a peer asks an asexual if they think someone is handsome or pretty they can very honestly say "yes." However yes isn't what it seems. They're likely thinking said person is handsome or pretty in the same way an oriental rug or Faberge egg is handsome or pretty. For the sake of normalcy and for the sake of persecution most of us learn very early these little semantic tricks.
Still, even with semantic tricks, not all of us say boo to love. In fact there are a great many asexuals who do carry on relationships because it's the companionship they crave, not the sex. These are testy waters I must say because so many times I've found relationships to be negative influences as far as bending yourself in ways you shouldn't. I've seen so many people who have made it clear they don't want kids being talked into having kids. One woman who I had never thought would have children fell victim to this and had a son. Now she's divorced and with a son that makes her so anxious on a minute to minute basis that she tells people like me, "If you don't want kids, don't have them!" This isn't to say she doesn't love the boy - only that it wasn't her calling in life to be a mother and she may have been better off listening to that little voice in her head.
So now you can see why I might have made the comment about being odd never to have dated at least once. As for myself I doubt I'll ever go on a date. I'll probably continue on confusing people I meet with my stubborn insistence on being happily "abnormal."
More from this Author:
Catching Marbles - A New England based travel blog
Tales from the Birdello - For all homesteading and farming matters
Deranged Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind - For funny personal anecdotes
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 16, 2012:
i ? Anderson: That's an easy question to answer. Can you think of something in your life that you think you just wouldn't enjoy doing? Perhaps jumping out of a plane or delivering a speech to a crowd of several hundred? How do you know you wouldn't like it if you haven't tried? Besides asexuality is not about disliking sex as much as it is about not having a drive for sex, much like you very likely don't have a drive to go lop yourself out of a plane today. It's really no different.
Anthony I. : You are still very young and have a long time to figure this one out. If you find someone out there you are attracted to great, if not that's cool too. Either way you're more likely to feel attraction towards someone you're close to. If a friendship buds into something else don't be surprised. Asexuality is the default for all of us before we hit puberty because there's no need to be sexual as children. That being said not everyone matures at the same rate, not even boys like yourself. Just relax, take everything as it comes around, and believe in yourself and your gut feelings.
Acey on July 21, 2011:
Another ace! Yeah, I did the whole wiki thing and saw we were identified "X" cause the guy who was making the table didn't know where to put us... :D
Kitana on June 12, 2011:
Okay, I know Alister probably means well, but I find the comment so insulting that I cannot keep silent.
In response, I would like to pose a scenario to him and/or anyone else out there who has ever criticized someone who is asexual for being "closed minded" because we haven't "tried sex": say you're at a lake in winter. It is cold and the very edge of the shore is rimmed with frost. You don't have to jump in to know that you're not going to like it.
It's the same with sex, only it's not so simple as a frigid dunking. I think I can safely assume that for a lot of people, sexual intimacy is a very personal thing. It's not something you can force yourself to try, despite a distaste for it, an expect to turn out well. You come away feeling dirty. Used. Like a rape victim but with no one to blame because you did it to your own stupid self.
If it was a friend that agreed to help in this little experiment, then you have the added bonus of possibly destroy a friendship because of resulting awkwardness afterward.
Or am I supposed to go out and bang a stranger?
Yeah, that sounds appealing.
Also, I would like to point out that 22 years (26 for me) is an awful long time to deny yourself something you're "secretly" wanting.
In fact, in today's highly sexualized society it takes real apathy to NOT date because there is pressure from every angle.
Pressure from your parents, who just want to see you happy and the general consensus is that you must have some sort of significant other to be happy. Pressure from your peers who may be interested and can't understand why the answer is no. Pressure from strangers, who feel they have the right to speculate because if you haven't dated you MUST be a closeted homosexual. Pressure from the media that even uses sex appeal to sell hamburgers, for crying out loud.
Trust me. We've had brushes with it. We didn't like it. End of story.
Feel free to ask questions if you like (heck, even I don't know why I'm like this, I'm curious too, maybe something you ask will help me figure myself out) but bigoted statements like that only make you look like the closed-minded jerk.
Alister on April 02, 2011:
One can feel bored enough to try masturbating and not like sex. I'm not suggesting anything about myself in that point, but I can see where actual intercourse can be the only thing unattractive. That makes one asexual. Quit keeping your mind closed. Quit keeping your spirit closed. You'll get no where denying everything you've never experienced to know about. Of course, there's a 99% chance I'm wasting my breath here because you aren't going to listen to me.
Anthony I. on January 15, 2011:
As a 14 yr. old entering high school, I'm not sure what to classify myself as. I know I'm not gay, but I've never found heterosexuality to be so fruitful either. Since eighth grade, I've considered asexuality to be a good explanation of what I am but found it contradicting seeing as how I can be sexually attracted to girls. I've also considered that maybe I'm just a masochist which would explain my lengths of going for an explanation like this, or maybe I'm just a misanthrope. Also, my explanation has been misinterpreted as reproducing by budding. Have you ever encountered these problems? Please respond, I'm very... confused.
OceanBurst on January 01, 2011:
I have never done anything to attract anybody sexually (as I am also asexual), and not one person has ever really hit on me. There was one guy in high school who kind of liked me, but when I told him I wasn't interested in romance, he respectably backed off. I'm kind of surprised, actually, considering that my breasts are very large and men have some weird attachment to those painful things. Everyone also tells me how pretty my long hair is, and with those two things, I expected to have at least a couple of guys approach me. Not yet. But, them staying away is fine with me!
When I think of a person as beautiful, I always think it because the exterior reminds me of the personality inside that I like about the person. I can't look at a person for the first time and think, "S/He's handsome/pretty."
Kiki on November 14, 2010:
You're kind of amazing. You don't know how often I've been met with scepticism when I've stated I'm asexual. I've never hidden it and I've never been anything else. I'm lucky because, unlike others, I've never had to have a long hard think about what my feelings are. I've never felt anything which means there was only one thing I could be. I'm not ashamed of it, but I know if I tell my parents (Who think I'm gay seeing as I'm 18 and never once chased after a boy yet hang around with girls constantly (What a surprise seeing as I attend an all girls school five days of the week)) they won't understand at all. I've had friends who insisted that, because I have no sexual feelings I must have been sexually abused. It's nice to know someone has the right idea about asexuality and can write it down for others to learn from. So thank you, you’re a hero.
Tori on October 17, 2010:
I personally found this article quite interesting, and helpful. I have been recently realizing that I might be asexual myself. Although I do still want to have a family some day, I have never been sexually attracted to anyone. Until recently I thought it might just be that whole "waiting for the right person" thing, but I'm not beginning to think otherwise. It is good to know I'm not alone :)
dolo on May 08, 2010:
Wow, I love it when other people assert that they know more about your own sexuality than you do, and that you should meet their qualifications in order to justifiably identify yourself as who you are.
"have you abstained from all sexual activity ALL your life so far...ie sex and masturbation? If so then how can you truly know you're asexual?"
Hey, ever tried being asexual?How do you know you're not? How do you know you're gay if you haven't tried being straight? Or vice versa.
It's none of your damn business what we have tried. We have the right to say who we are for ourselves, just as you do.
Nice post, Theophanes. I've noticed that the asexual movement has really picked up weight in the past few years thanks to the internet and I'm so happy to have someone out there describing the things I went through when I was growing up.Around the age of 21/22 I started opening up to people's suggestions that I try dating and sexuality. I haven't regretted it but I also haven't found much happiness within it. More than anything I wish the people who made those suggestions would have accepted me and loved me just as I was, which was asexual.
i ♥ Anderson on January 03, 2010:
The thing is Theophanes.have you abstained from all sexual activity ALL your life so far...ie sex and masturbation? If so then how can you truly know you're asexual?
bill yon from sourcewall on December 21, 2009:
I hope this doesn't spread if it does the population might die off!have sex!!!be fruitful and multiply!!!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on October 25, 2009:
Hey Shiryo, so happy my article could provide support for you and others. I've heard all those lines before myself and hey... some asexuals do have realtionships, with other asexuals or sexual persons, really depends. The world is always full of variety. Hope you find what you are looking for!
Shiryo on October 25, 2009:
Wow, I came across this pretty late, but I know how you feel (what you said was basically me all through high school; people would not leave me alone). But even until recently I thought I was just a weird gay person because all my friends kept saying that I "just have to wait for the right person to come along" or that "I'll like sex once I have it." I'm not sure if I'll end up dating or not (I mean it would be nice because I really like the idea from a romantic standpoint), I don't know if it would be stable or not. Anyways, it's nice to know there's others out there. :D
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on August 23, 2009:
Thank you Flux! I am happy that my articles have comforted (and educated) quite a varied audience. Makes it worth writing them. :)
Yes Spin, you're the first to have figured that out! I love Edward Gorey too... And "The Curious Sofa" - his "pornographic work" which has nothing pornographic in it except cryptic undecipherable innuendo. Always cracks me up! Thanks for commenting!
Spin on August 22, 2009:
Hey! The author you mention is Edward Gorey. Fantastic artist. :)
Flux on May 27, 2009:
Oh my god i relate to this in every way. Ive read a couple other things you have written, and it has "me" written all over it. I've invented people, and lied and told things that weren't true to fit in to my over sexed friends. I really am normal too! I dont sit in corners and out myself. This definatley brightened my day because I've been thinking about how asexuality is frustrating at times. You have a great writing style as well!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on March 09, 2009:
Could be MindFeild! It's kind of a funny thing because even asexuals sometimes have no idea what they are, though knowledge seems to be coming via the internet these days... And yes, the cat is Howl, he's the best kitty you could ask for. :)
MindField from Portland, Oregon on March 08, 2009:
I found this riveting reading, T. I had a friend with whom I could easily have fallen in love because he was good-looking and, even more important, clever and funny. We could talk for hours and hours. We never talked about sex but he did say once that I was the only woman who had ever used his bathroom (and that was only once). Interesting, I thought. Anyway, without feeling any need to pry or *have* to know, I'd guess he was asexual. BTW, I love your cat!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on February 19, 2009:
Hello Henry, no I am not still 22. I am 23 now and as the days go by I keep getting older! It's the damndest thing! I am glad this series of articles is striking such a nerve with so many people.
And yes, that is Howl my Bengal boy. I run a small cattery, though ironically enough I don't breed Bengals. Howl just kind of ended up in my home, and bonded immediately to me (and no one else.) I couldn't give him to anyone else after that! If you wander around you'll probably come by some of my cat and rat articles (as I started with rats yeeears ago!) I'm currently babysitting a pit bull I adore but normally I'm not a big fan of dogs (though I do have a weakness for "bull and terrier" breeds as well as mollasser breeds. I'm sick of yappy little lap dogs I guess.) Anyway, I'll stop babbling now. Thanks for dropping by!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on February 09, 2009:
I've been in a few situations that could have turned into relationships but I didn't let them. I'm mildly curious what I'm missing out on but... eh. It's not enough to make me try anything. Good to see there are others out there!
JAMAL on February 09, 2009:
I have actually had relationships.
Well it would be more correct to say tried.
But the point is sexual and codependent behavior is not for me.
Asexual is a revolution.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on June 29, 2008:
Ah, it's good to see these articles are proving a comfort to some. I was hoping they would. There's a lot more asexuals out there then you would have ever imagined. Only recently I have found entire internet communities and forums devoted to this peculiar characteristic. In fact that's what spurned me to write these.
I can see the importance of having a relationship as life does get lonely at times, particularly the older you get, however I'll probably live out the remainder of my days without grasping what the big deal about sex is. My advice? just sit back and find the humor in it all!
Viskqous on June 29, 2008:
*nods head in approval*
Finally, another person like myself. I get highly irritated when I am mistaken for being a something I am not.
What is it with people and they're their importance on sex and relationships anyway?
It makes me homicidal too when other peeps just can't accept that I'm not interested in such things.