Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Asexual Closet

I had a really cool conversation last night. I was walking back from my project meeting, the one I ran off to at the end of my first post, and I got talking with a couple of my classmates about the LGBTA etc. (let's call it 'alphabet soup') movement and, me being me, we ended up talking about asexuality.
First off, I think it's worth mentioning that I don't bring up my asexuality all the time, but at the same time if it's actually relevant to the conversation I'm not shy about mentioning it. Also, I was wearing my 'Flaming A' t-shirt and kept catching my friend staring at it. :)

We got onto the topic of asexuality because I began a statement with the qualifier, "And me, being asexual-" and someone finally stopped me to ask what that was. I gave the usual explanation and of course they asked the usual questions.

What I found myself doing was trying to articulate something I had never before articulated to anybody; what it's like to be in the asexual closet, why an asexual closet exists and what difference being in or out of it makes. I feel this, but I've never found myself explaining it to anyone and I think it would be really beneficial to be able to do that.

First thing is, why should I feel like there's a closet to be in at all? This was a point my friend made and it's a good one. I'm attracted to guys in a very abstract way (ie, I think they're cute sometimes but I always feel pretty weird dating one) so there's a chance that I could get married or be in a relationship and even if I don't, what does it matter why?

I think that technically it doesn't matter. So long as I'm happy, I don't see my parents as being the kind of people to push their little girl into getting married. And if I do get married, I'm pretty certain they're not going to concern themselves with what goes on in my bedroom. But on the other hand, I think part of it is that I'm just not comfortable with keeping things from my parents. We have a really close relationship and I don't entirely like that there's this huge part of my life that my parents don't know about. I feel like I'm lying when I leave them with this assumption that I'm straight. It makes them happier, but it makes me feel dishonest.

Aside from my parents, I dislike the idea that people are making assumptions about my sexuality and assigning me all the cultural baggage that comes with being a straight woman. I don't like that everyone is assuming that I'm going to be into boys and think like a sexual person. I don't like the assumption that having your "significant other" (a term I hate) be the most important person in your life is okay with me and that I'll understand and not feel left out. I don't like when people assume I'm just a prude or naive or innocent. I'm not any of those things. I think and act the way I do in large part because I'm asexual.

What it feels like to be in the closet marked "asexual": Weird. Sometimes it's crappy. Sometimes it's even fun. At family gatherings, at big family dinners, I'm often amused to look around and think, "...and they don't even know...". But I always feel as though I'm not giving the people around me the true story. This isn't a problem if we don't talk about relationships. Like my friend said last night, my sexuality just wasn't something she ever thought about. If I'd never come out to her it would have made no difference for either of us. She's right, but only because of the context in which we know each other. Because we worked on a project togther, and didn't end up talking about relationships (except for a crazy few minutes one late night in the library when we talked as a group about innuendo in Quizno's adds) it didn't matter what I thought about relationships. For people with whom I talk about that kind of thing, though, I don't think they can understand me or what I think without knowing the background- that I'm asexual. That lets them put my thoughts and feelings into the correct perspective.

Another example (maybe two) of times when being out would have made a difference in how someone viewed a situation:
My senior year of High School, I wanted to go to homecoming with my best female friend and I was going to wear a suit. My mom got really upset at this- she said, "You want to go with a girl and you want to be the man?" No, that wasn't it at all- I wanted to go with my best friend, platonically, and I wanted to wear a suit because I thought it would look cool. Knowing I was asexual would have helped her understand my motives.
Not to rag on my Mom, but the next story is a bit about her too. I love the movie Master and Commander and at one point she commented "Yeah, a movie with all those men..." and again, that wasn't it. I think the Age of Sail is cool, end of story. Being asexual, I saw it as just a great movie with a lot of guys in it.
That's why I prefer to be out.

4 comments:

  1. Not to rag on my Mom, but the next story is a bit about her too. I love the movie Master and Commander and at one point she commented "Yeah, a movie with all those men..." and again, that wasn't it. I think the Age of Sail is cool, end of story. Being asexual, I saw it as just a great movie with a lot of guys in it.



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  2. you can wear Fashion Suits and eat dinner with your family.

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  3. Sexuality is expressed on a continum, not aa discrete pole; very few persons are in truth exclusively hetero- or homo- sexual (indeed, most are some shade of bisexual on the Kinsey or panromantic in KSOG scale); likewise the degrees of sex-drive is not as completely black-and-white; very few individuals are hyper-sexual (for one gender if not both), though notable exceptions exist such as the hedonistic Charlie Sheen--and even fewer are completely a-sexual on the hyposexuality end of the spectrum. Someone may be hyposexual but so-so romantic toward members of one sex\gender, and virtually a-sexual toward the other (point being, somedegree of sexual attraction and moreover preference still exists). To people, individual persons.

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