Originally posted on Tumblr but reposted here for archiving. Please note that my views may have changed since this was first posted.
(When referring to sexuals or allos in this post, I generally mean alloromantic allosexuals, as I unfortunately don’t have the understanding or the space to go into aro/allo responses to asexuality.)
I’ve been watching a lot of videos of old asexuality conferences on YouTube recently (what can I say, it’s my preferred method of procrastination), and I came across this one. It’s pretty long so I’ll give you a quick run-down: sexual folks don’t get us – until suddenly, they do.
I’ve always just brushed it off as ‘well I don’t understand sexual folks either’, but the survey I’ve been doing has made me think that it’s not the same thing. You can’t just say ‘and vice versa’ when talking about understanding sexual attraction versus understanding not feeling sexual attraction, because allosexuals feel the absence of sexual attraction towards their families, towards people of a gender they’re not attracted to – the confusion isn’t about not being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes because (to some extent), allos can.
It seems (from what I gathered from the first half of the responses to the survey) that sexual people really don’t have much to say about what sexual attraction feels like. Most of the time the responses are one word or phrase that, to me at least, seem vague and unwieldy.
For absolutely ages I just couldn’t work out how on earth these people had so much difficulty articulating what should be a simple idea. What could possibly be so difficult about going into a bit of detail about your mental and physiological reactions to seeing a hot person? It’s still a bit confusing to me, but talking to one of my friends today made me think that maybe there’s another answer.
I don’t know much about how asexuality is described to the ‘outside world’ as it were as I’m a bit too deep into the community, and I knew extremely little about asexuality before I found it, but, for my friend, the moment of understanding seemed to come from realising that attraction isn’t the same as libido.
I was really surprised, I have to be honest. As I said, I don’t know a lot about 101 or slightly-more-than-101, but I assumed that the difference between sex drive and sexual attraction was… well, that everyone knew it existed. I thought it was a given, and for those for whom it wasn’t a given, well, surely it’s in the 101 material, right?
I suppose I must have been wrong, and perhaps this is where we’re going wrong in our 101 stuff. In the video, David Jay talks about having to share personal experiences with people for them to understand what on earth is going on. Maybe it’s not personal experiences specifically that we need (I’m currently assuming that these personal experiences at one point involved talk of sex drive and no one wanted to say ‘oh yes that’s what I didn’t get’, although it’s possible that romantic attraction and simple empathy with asexual problems is the issue). Perhaps it’s just a clearer definition of what we’re actually talking about.
Maybe, like in some school exams, you have to assume the examiner doesn’t know what anything means – or, in this case, assume that every word of asexual jargon that comes out of your mouth is absolutely foreign to them.