Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Am Not Your Asexuality 101 Professor


Nadya Suleman, best known for having octuplets via in vitro fertilization, has recently made waves for appearing semi-nude in Closer magazine.  During an interview on the talk show Anderson after the magazine hit the stands, Suleman informed host Anderson Cooper that she is not interested in a serious relationship and that she doesn't "even touch [her] own darn self unless [she's] washing with soap!"

Given the controversy Suleman caused by deliberately having more children than she could afford, one might think any news that she's more focused on her family than garnering attention - Suleman states the magazine shoot was strictly for the money it would provide - would be well-received.  Instead, society is focusing on the really important issue here: the lack of sex and masturbation, much as they did with Tim Gunn's statement that he hasn't had sex in 29 years or Lady Gaga's decision to be temporarily celibate to focus on her career.

As a poster on one of my regular forums so sensitively put it:

"She's struck me all along as being asexual and incapable of adult intimacy. I think that's much of the draw of children for her."

Yes, it's the lack of masturbation that marks Suleman as an asexual, because all sexual people just can't get enough of the old five knuckle shuffle.  It's not, say, the interview Suleman gave stating that she's "not wired that way" [for sex].  It's because she's incapable of "adult intimacy" - which is apparently only fucking - and her desire for numerous children, which no sexual person ever has wanted, and which all asexuals are after, because they can only identify with prepubescent children.

I don't know if Suleman is asexual, celibate, or simply exhausted from caring for fourteen children.  I don't care, and I don't see why her personal decisions should be a big deal to anyone else as long as her children are provided for and no laws are being broken.  What I do care about are insinuations that asexuals are somehow broken or immature, or that masturbation - or for that matter, sex - is incompatible with asexuality.

But I didn't point any of this out.  Instead I played the part of the good little asexual advocate and pointed out that, actually, asexuals can masturbate!  And some of them don't even like children!

And then I was immediately reminded why trying to teach others the basics of asexuality is completely useless, because people continue to make clueless statements regardless.  As another poster so helpfully demonstrated (bolding mine):

"Ok, going to show my utter ignorance on the topic but isn't the idea of asexual having no interest or desire for sex at all. Masturbation surely indicates a sexual desire, or desire to have a sexual experience, albeit not with another person.

I don't know what you would call a person who enjoys sexual experiences but only alone but asexual doesn't seem the right term.

Ed to add: some quick reading seems to indicate the term 'autoerotic' is used."

Click this.

Nine seconds.  That is the amount of time it would haven taken to do some simple Googling and to avoid making a stupid statement.  Protip: If you know that you are about to "show your utter ignorance," don't do it.  I note that you managed some "quick reading" to dismiss the idea of asexuals having any sexual expression, but couldn't be bothered to type "do asexuals masturbate" into a search engine.

Hey parents!  Remember when your kids were toddlers?  Remember when they discovered they had genitals and wouldn't keep their hands out of their Pull-Ups?  Why do you think they did that, because they were hot and bothered over the child who shared the blocks with them at preschool?  Or is it possible that masturbation feels fantastic regardless of whether or not it's accompanied by sexual thoughts and desires?

That's without going into the difference between sexual attraction and sexual desire, and how it is possible to be aroused by or even fantasize about a person without wanting to have sex with that person.  I could go on, but I shouldn't have to.  I should not have to deal with sexual people sex-splaining my sexuality to me.

Did the poster know I was asexual?  Probably not.  Does it matter?  Absolutely not.  I should not have to write posts about why it's wrong to make sweeping generalizations about an entire sexual orientation without bothering to check Google.  I should not have to explain what asexuality is, and why it's valid, time and time again.  Just like bisexuals or lesbians or gays or trans people or biracials or the disabled or any other minority should not have to educate the ignorant masses.  This should be common sense.

I've stated in a previous post that I'm done trying to justify my identification as queer.  Well, I'm done explaining asexuality to the willfully ignorant.  Not going to listen to me the first time around?  Then do your own research.  I'm not your asexuality 101 professor, and I shouldn't have to be.

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