All search terms appear exactly as they were typed into Google/Formspring, so I take no credit for any spelling or grammar errors.
Standard Definitional Disclaimer: Asexuality refers here to a sexual orientation among humans. It does not have anything to do with biology, whether that means the biology of non-human asexually reproducing species, or humans with non-standard anatomy (if you’re looking for that, google intersex conditions instead). Asexuality means not experiencing sexual attraction; it does not mean or imply that we are “not sexual” in any way at all. The term is analogous to homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, etc. For a more detailed explanation on this, please check my FAQ page. Asexuals are a widely varied group that may have little else in common with one another aside from not experiencing sexual attraction to others as a general rule. I can only answer for myself. My answers may include sarcasm.
On to the questions!
Q: I’m asexual, and one thing that always seems to come up when people find out is the whole “well, no one will ever want you if you’re not going to put out” situation. sometimes I find myself thinking the same thing. how did/do you respond to that? (from Formspring)
A: Hm… well, for me personally, in my current situation, it’s fairly easy to respond to. The assumption that just because I’m asexual I won’t “put out” is bad in the first place, and depending on the situation I may or may not correct it. Usually if I do correct it, I will say something like, “You shouldn’t assume that all asexuals don’t want to have sex, some of them are sexually active, for whatever reason.” That way they’re free to make whatever assumption they want about my own sex life without directly asking me. Then I will point out that they’re just flat-out wrong. Being engaged myself and having had my partner plainly state that while she would like to have sex with me, she would still want to be in a romantic relationship with me even if we never had sex (and indeed, we’ve gone long stretches of time without), it’s fairly easy for me to counter these arguments with personal experience. But for someone without that kind of personal experience, I understand it can be much harder! I’ve had those worries that nobody would ever want to date me because I’m asexual myself. I used to try to keep in mind examples of successful asexual couples that I knew of from browsing AVEN, but there’s also other hard evidence that you can find to contradict this idea. For example, the very existence of Celibate Passions, an online dating site specifically geared towards people who want celibate romance and friendships, disproves the notion that nobody would want to date a person who doesn’t want to have sex. You can link to it as proof, and if people continue to insist that nobody is interested against hard evidence contradicting them, then they are being unreasonable and it’s totally fair to point that out. If the conversation continues to devolve—and I know that some people would even go so far as to predict eventual relationship failures, which they see as somehow inevitable—I’d just advise you to calmly tell them they have no basis to be making such claims and that they should drop it. If they won’t, feel free to take whatever steps you need to in order to get them to leave you alone.
Q: It burns when I pee, why? (from Formspring)
A: …Yes, dear. That is indeed a burning question. And one which I am not qualified to answer. I’m glad I know it’s not someone actually looking for one!
Q: asexuals and kitties why do they match (from Google)
A: Because they are both awesome. :3
Q: Can someone become asexual or is it a condition you are born with and may be never realized you had it until you read an article on the website BBC website? (from Formspring)
A: I have heard some people report “becoming asexual” before, however I’m unclear on what exactly they mean by that. I do think that sexuality in general has at least some degree of fluidity, but it’s not the type of thing you can consciously influence. You can’t “become asexual” by sheer force of will, and people who report having done so likely do not mean asexual in the same way that we mean it. I think those people are talking about being celibate, and not realizing that there’s a difference between celibacy and asexuality (covered elsewhere on this blog ad nauseum, so I won’t go over it again). There are, however, a few people within the asexual community who used to identify as sexual and have said that they did feel sexual attraction prior to a certain point in their lives, at which point they say they became asexual. I’m recalling some very old forum posts on sites I’ve long since stopped visiting, so I can’t give any specific examples (and for privacy reasons it probably wouldn’t be best to do so anyway), but as far as I can recall, most of them felt that they were on the low end of the scale of sexual attraction or somewhere in the gray area between asexual and sexual. We tend to tread cautiously in cases where a person says that they’ve had a sudden, drastic drop in their level of interest in sex, as that can be a symptom of a number of different health conditions. If that sounds like you, then it’s a good thing to get checked out.
Q: a newbie to understanding this orientation……are there any stats on gender, as related to this? More prevalence in one or another? Also, is this ever known from an early age, as has been suggested in other sexual orientations? Do romantic asexuals feel (from Formspring)
A: I guess that last question got cut off, feel free to resubmit it for the next round! Anyway, there are some stats on gender suggesting that asexuality is vastly more prevalent in women than in men, but due to the way that these stats are collected, they’re not very reliable. Most surveys are collected from samples gathered over the internet, which leads to sampling bias, especially in cases where the links get passed around on sites like Livejournal which are largely made up of women in the first place. It is also more likely that due to cultural pressures to be sexual, asexual men are less likely to find out about asexuality and begin (publicly) identifying as asexual, even if they actually fit the definition. If not for those factors, would there still be a big gender difference? Who knows.
As for the second question, because asexuality is a lack of something rather than the presence of something, and particularly because all children are assumed to be asexual before puberty (even though that isn’t actually true), it’s very difficult for young asexuals to come to the understanding that there is a difference between them and their peers. It’s not readily apparent that there is anything different until you’ve gotten past the point at which the excuse that “you’re just a late bloomer” starts to become questionable to you, and this point varies a lot depending on the individual. Indeed, many of us are so well-trained that asexuality doesn’t exist that doubts about whether or not we’re just “late bloomers” plague us well into our twenties. There is no universally agreed-upon acceptable age at which you can determine that you are asexual for sure even within the asexual community itself, so many of the younger asexuals will be told that while it’s cool to hang out with us, they should still keep their minds open to other possibilities. We are often accused of “closing ourselves off” to possibilities by identifying as asexual by people who are not familiar with the community, but actually we may tend to be a little too cautious to leave ourselves open to those possibilities, in some cases. There are quite a few 13-14 year olds that I’ve seen already identifying as asexual, though typically people begin identifying as asexual later than that. The youngest I’ve personally heard of someone identifying as asexual is twelve.
Q: Could you add ‘sentually attracted’ as a term? I ask this as I want to flert and turn on a partner, but when the pants come down I become disinterested. As you may know it takes about 6 sec of physical contact for most guys to start pulling it out. (from Formspring)
A: Actually, I already use that term! The way I define it, sensual attraction is about wanting that skin-to-skin feeling, wanting to indulge in something that engages the senses without necessarily being sexual with one another. It’s not so much just wanting to cuddle, but more about wanting to be close in a sufficiently epicurean way. Like lying close while feeding each other grapes, for example.