So Long, Compulsory Sex! See Ya, Viagra! Asexuality is Here
Yes, thank you. Not everyone is having sex or even wants to. (Then there are celibate heteros who want to have sex, have sex drives, but are choosing to abstain).
(Link): So Long, Compulsory Sex! See Ya, Viagra! Asexuality is Here
Guest blogger Kristina Gupta on the power of asexuality
Published on August 9, 2014 by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. in Living Single
[Bella’s intro: We think society is oh-so-open-minded when it comes to sex. Sexual messages are everywhere. There are endless tips for how to get more sex and enjoy it more. But the incessant sex talk and the unchallenged message that everyone does and should experience sexual attraction is a kind of pressure that makes us, as a society, far less enlightened and open-minded than we should be.
The first post I ever wrote on Asexuality, back in 2009, got more page views than anything else I’ve ever written in more than 6 years here at Psych Today. There was almost no scholarly research at the time. Now we have scholars who have done important work on the topic. There are even a few anthologies on asexuality.
I am so delighted that the co-editor of one of them, Kristina Gupta, has written this guest post for us. She can say something that perhaps no one else can: She wrote her dissertation on asexuality and compulsory sexuality, and has continued to develop her expertise on the matter ever since. Thanks, Kristina!]
Relax, It’s Ok Not to Have Sex Once In Awhile: Lessons Everyone Can Learn from the Asexuality Movement
By Kristina Gupta
In 2009, Dr. DePaulo wrote an excellent post about asexuality, which provides a nice introduction to the contemporary asexual movement.
Just to recap briefly, in the past fifteen years, people in online communities have begun to define asexuality as a sexual identity or orientation.
The largest online community, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), defines an asexual person as someone who does not experience sexual attraction.
Asexual identity is defined primarily by how a person feels, not how a person acts – many people who identify as asexual describe themselves as not feeling internally motivated to engage in sexual activity with other people, but may do so for a variety of reasons.
… In regards to the first question, a number of scholars and activists argue that the asexuality movement encourages us to recognize the ways in which sexuality may be compulsory in contemporary society. In other words, our society assumes that (almost) everyone is, at their core, “sexual” and there exists a great deal of social pressure to experience sexual desire, engage in sexual activities, and adopt a sexual identity.
At the same time, various types of “non-sexuality” (such as a lack of sexual desire or activity) are stigmatized – for example, in one study, researchers found that heterosexual-identified people expressed more bias toward asexual people than toward heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual people.
This is not to deny, of course, the fact that our society also continues to stigmatize people – especially women – who are perceived as engaging in “too much” sexual activity.
…This answer to the first question leads into the answer to the second question: what can “sexual” people learn from the asexuality movement?
Many people, even those who consider themselves to be highly sexual, will probably experience changes in their level of interest in sex and/or in their patterns of sexual activity. Sexual desire and activity may change (increase or decrease) as one ages, if one’s relationship status changes, or if other factors that affect sexuality (such as employment status or health status) change.
Yet, as part of compulsory sexuality, our society sends the message than almost any decrease in sexual desire or activity is a major problem that must be addressed immediately.
For example, advertisements for Viagra tell men that they must maintain sexual virility throughout their lives, even if they must take medication to do so (Marshall 2002). Currently, pharmaceutical companies are working to develop drugs for “female sexual dysfunction,” and some feminist activists worry that the ads for these drugs will send the message that women must also maintain high levels of interest in sex, whatever the cost (Tiefer 2006).
…Many mainstream women’s magazines and sexual and relationship self-help books send the message that if a couple begins to have sex less frequently, the relationship is doomed to failure. Some of these books go so far as to encourage readers to have sex even if they don’t want to, in order to prevent a partner from leaving (Gupta and Cacchioni 2013).
All of these messages can create intense anxiety for individuals and couples who experience changes in sexual desire or activity. So what “sexual” people can learn from the asexuality movement is that these messages reflect certain assumptions about sexuality that are not necessarily true all of the time or for all people.
…People who identify as asexual are actively challenging compulsory sexuality and are demonstrating that it is possible to build intimate relationships that are not based on sexual attraction or sexual activity and that it is possible to lead a fulfilling life even if, or perhaps even because, one does not experience sexual attraction. This alternative message can give “sexual” people the space to take a deep breath and ask themselves the question – why am I so worried about this decrease in sexual desire or activity?
((Click here to read the rest))
(Link): Asexuality and Asexuals
(Link): Virgins and Celibates are Sexual – Not Asexual and Androgynous – You don’t have to have sex to possess sexuality
(Link): Sex is Always the Solution – supposedly, according to Christian writers and preachers. (Also: Christian married men feel entitled to sex, contra 1 Corinthians 7:5.)
(Link): The Many Reasons That People Are Having Less Sex (2017 article via BBC News)
(Link): Jason the Christian’s Sexless Marriage – Christians promise hot regular steamy married sex but it isn’t true
(Link): Celibate Shaming from an Anti- Slut Shaming Secular Feminist Site (Hypocrisy) Feminists Do Not Support All Choices
(Link): Weak Argument Against Celibacy / Virginity / Sexual Purity by the Anti Sexual Purity Gestapo – Sexual Compatibility or Incompatibility – (ie, Taking Human Beings For Test Spins – Humans As Sexual Commodities) (Part 2)
(Link): TV Already Has Enough Token Homosexuals – Daryl Dixon Should Remain a Celibate Hetero Single – and Not All Older Single Men Are Homosexual
(Link): I Shouldn’t Need An Excuse To Be A Virgin – (Secular Editorial Defends Virginity – More Rare Than a Unicorn Sighting)
(Link): The Christian and Non Christian Phenomenon of Virgin Shaming and Celibate Shaming