This is my post for Carnival of Aces – The topic is Asexual Education.
Sex ed in school was weird for me. I grew up in a pretty conservative place, where teachers and parents didn’t really want to even talk about sex, like they’d rather prefer it didn’t even exist. I was fine with that, I didn’t really want to know. What I (vaguely) remember from sex ed classes is that they were basically just biology lessons, with a bit of STD warnings, and some stuff about wearing a condom, although I think they added that rather begrudgingly, because they’d prefer kids to not even go there. I remember thinking what a pointless class this is, why would they even say any of that? Clearly nobody here could possibly be interested in having sex with each other anyway… thinking back now, it’s likely that some of them actually were… lol. Ignorance is bliss I guess.
I basically just assumed I was straight for most of my life, because I had already ruled out being gay. I didn’t know there were other options (besides being bi, but I already figured out I wasn’t attracted to females, so that was ruled out as well). I already knew I was very different from other people, so I didn’t really bother to figure out all the ways in which I was different… so I didn’t really notice if people my age were actually already interested in sex. I suppose a lot of them probably were.
On the one hand, I’d have liked to have found out that asexuality is actually a thing a lot sooner than I did (literally last year, in 2016, when I was 33). On the other hand, I’m firmly opposed to forcing kids to “learn” about things they are not interested in. So, long story short, all sex ed (and school in general) should be totally optional, but the information should be readily available for anyone who wants it, like in some kind of basic guide that doesn’t go into too much detail, but mentions necessary terms so people can look up more on the internet if they want to. It should definitely include basic explanations of the differences between the types of attraction and what they even mean, because a lot of that still confuses the hell out of me, especially anything to do with romance.
In an ideal world, schools would be completely optional, and parents would be good role models who are willing to help kids learn about what they need or are interested in. I don’t have any practical suggestions for how to get information about asexuality out there in front of people more readily without them searching for it themselves. T-shirts? Memes? Popular Reddit posts? General advertising maybe? Pretty much anything but relying on schools. Schools and teachers very rarely are able to actually do things in the best interests of the kids, even if they want to.
If you’re interested, here’s some info about how education and learning would work when it’s self-directed. This is also a really good read. Also, if you’re in school and you hate it, click here.
I personally found out about asexuality from some people on my forums. Someone had mentioned it a few times, and someone else sent me a link to AVEN for personal reasons. After reading about it for a few weeks, only then did I figure out that I am in fact actually asexual. I dug around and read a LOT of stuff before coming to that conclusion though, for quite some time I didn’t think it could even apply to me.
Here are some of the snippets I found that helped me figure it out:
Arousal is not sexual attraction. Please, understand this. If your body responds to something or someone with genital arousal but you don’t want to have sex, what you’re experiencing is not sexual attraction to a person or even sexual desire but a purely physical response to something that you can’t control, anymore than you can control when you sweat or shiver or when your pulse speeds up in fear or excitement.
Sexual attraction is having the impulse to have sex with a specific person. You say that you don’t desire sex with anyone. That’s asexuality. It’s as simple as that – all sexual orientations can, and should, be defined in terms of who you desire to have sex with, a.k.a. your sex partner preference. If your preference is not to have partnered sex at all => asexual. Textbook case, in fact.
Asexual people have no desire to involve other people in their private biological activities.
I had to dig around quite a bit to find those though. That kind of information should be easier to find. Hey, I think I just made it easier to find? Awesome!
Figuring out romantic attraction confuses me even more though. I still haven’t found an explanation for what romantic attraction really even is that actually makes sense to me. I guess that qualifies me as Quoiromantic.
Well, I hope my incoherent ramblings in no particular order were helpful or at least entertaining to someone out there in the world. 😛
Thank you so much for writing this post. 😉 I relate to a lot of how you experience asexuality as a quoiromantic-ish ace myself who assumed I was straight after ruling out attraction to other women, even if in other ways I’m different.
Oh and… um… While I certainly agree most aces do need faster and easier access to the truth that arousal is actually common to experience among asexual people… because of my personal circumstances, on and off for years now I’ve been wishing there was an easier way to find any aces discussing not getting aroused at all, people’s experiences with low-arousability or no-arousability, and how that does or doesn’t tie into certain ace experiences… because even if the arousal stuff doesn’t come up easily or often enough for so many folks like you who needed it, every single time arousal comes up being inundated with “it’s normal and just biological and doesn’t mean you’re not ace” tends to just remind me how “broken” I seem to be and makes me feel alone in this experience of asexuality. https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/non-libidoism-asexuality-aka-i-have-never-had-a-sex-drive-so-does-that-explain-why-im-asexual-2/
Thanks for your comment 🙂 I posted a reply as a comment on your post. I had no idea growing up what a ‘normal’ level of libido even was, and I’m still not really sure. Judging by the media and other people’s reactions to it, I guess it’s safe to say mine is very, very low.
Actually the entire concept of ‘normal’ is stupid and annoying. Just because something is relatively common, doesn’t mean you’re somehow broken for not having it, or having less of it than other people have. Although I actually do get a kick out of comparing myself to other people just to see how different I am, because I like being different. 🙂