ACT Aces: Asexual Experiences Survey
«“Much Worse Stories”
It is significant in itself that so many respondents chose not to tick clearly relevant boxes because they did not think their experience was “serious enough”.
Many write-in responses began with phrases such as: “So I don’t know if this counts, but…” or “I know other people have had worse stuff…”
I have been catcalled, have had my ass grabbed, and had unsolicited nude photos sent to my phone, i luckily have been only minorly harassed but it still is valid and traumatic and I feel so much empathy for those who have that sexual abuse trauma.
-Taylor (Location Not Given)
Taylor describes having their “ass grabbed” and being sent nude photos without consent, actions which amount to criminal assaults in many jurisdictions. They describe this as being “only minorly harassed” and express compassion for the suffering of others, in part by subordinating their own trauma.
This attitude is representative of many respondents, each claiming others have been through more trauma than themselves, while they seem to want to justify talking at all about their own feelings, even as they diminished them by comparing their trauma to the that of the unnamed and unspecified“others”.»
«81.7% of all respondents reported experiencing at least one form of discrimination, oppression or violence. As the write-in answers led to new forms of abuse being added to each of the three original categories, the final results were consolidated into four new groups.
13.3% of respondents experienced some form of Institutional Discrimination. This primarily covers medical and workplace incidents, but also occasionally schools or religious institutions.
49.9% of respondents either told stories about, or ticked the boxes “Social exclusion” or “Exclusion from LGBTQIA+ spaces”. This also includes a small number of write-in stories that weren’t about specific acts of deliberate exclusion but about feeling excluded by the world in general.
Verbal/Emotional Abuse received the highest number of responses, at 75.4%. This category covers insults, acephobic rhetoric, shaming, and many instances of relationship abuse.
The Physical/Sexual Violence category contains a small number of cases of physical violence, and a larger number of experiences of sexual violence, from unwanted touching to rape. 13.0% of respondents experienced some form of violence.»
«4.1.1. Medical Discrimination (12.2%)
The majority of these stories were about doctors refusing to believe patients about their own sexual history or engaging in unethical, unprofessional or discriminatory behaviour.
There are some stories of doctors refusing to prescribe medication, provide emergency care or discuss issues unrelated to sex as a result of medical professionals fixating on “the libido problem”.
Both medical doctors and mental health professionals such as counsellors and therapists appeared in these stories.
I suffer from major depression, complex ptsd and various other diagnoses, when my doctor asked me about my sex life I briefly said that it wasn’t relevant because of my asexuality. The doctor then wanted to take me off of my meds that I needed, because he felt that my low libido was worse than me having suicidal thoughts. He kept saying it was my meds that caused it; despite me knowing and telling him that I’ve been identifying as asexual since I was 15 which was before I’d gotten on those medications.
He wouldn’t listen. I ended up in the e.r later because I got so depressed and was close to taking my own life. I had to switch doctors and I haven’t told my current one about my asexulity because I’m scared that they’ll take me off my meds again. –Lore (Sweden)
I went to urgent care for the third time after I couldn’t get a UTI to heal with the antibiotics they gave me and the female doctor flat out was like, “This is an STD and I won’t give you anymore meds unless you ADMIT you’re sexually active because you’re 26 and 26 year olds have sex. You are not a virgin and you are hurting yourself with your lies.” It was really scarring. –Isabella (USA)
4.1.2. Workplace Discrimination (1.9%)
This was less common than medical abuse, but there were more “Yes” responses than the survey authors expected. Some of the workplace discrimination involved being harassed at work, including sexually harassed. There was one story about being asked deeply personal questions by a boss during a one on one management conversation, and another about being left harassing pamphlets by coworkers.
I had a shift lead who continuously made sexual jokes and asked sexual questions about my life. After telling him im ace, he’s consistuantly made fun of me and encouraged others to make the same jokes and ask me the same questions. He’s also let me go from work early several times because “i cant pull the ‘sell them with sex’ approach with people” (its a pizza shop why the fuck do we have to use sex to sell it???) –Emma (USA)
4.1.3. Religious Exclusion (0.4%)
Write-in answers identified six cases of religious exclusion. These stories primarily related to disapproval of the person’s romantic orientation and insistence on the importance of marriage. These incidents are discussed in more detail in Section 1.6. Religion (pg.18).
My parents are strictly against anything to do with the LBGT+ community. They do not know of my orientation and may never know, but they talk about the community like a plague. And though I still find myself (romantically) attracted to the opposite gender, if they where to find out they would contact the church and be in despair for days. And though I’m unsure if I where to be kicked out, I know I would be shunned. -Sophie (USA)»
«4.3. Verbal/Emotional Abuse
Initially, seven forms of verbal or emotional abuse were included as checkboxes in this section of the survey. Five additional categories were added based on write-in responses (in yellow). These categories are recommended for any future survey.
The largest category, more than three quarters of respondents overall reported experiencing some
form of verbal or emotional abuse. Quantitative data about relationship abuse was not collected, but there was an opportunity to tell a story on that theme: 77 respondents did so. (Several also told stories under sexual violence that also fit this category).
The most frequent offender in the area of relationship abuse was “Asexuality blamed by partner for relationship problems”. 11.79% of respondents checked this box.»
«13% of respondents reported at least 1 incident of physical or sexual violence.
The nature of the stories provided by respondents are in many cases potentially distressing. Included below are some representative examples, and readers are advised to read with caution and be mindful of self -care.
My best friend assualted me when I said i did not want to join her and her boyfriend for a threesome. She threw me on the ground and beat me up, grabbed my hair and held my head back while her boyfriend poured rum down my throat -Linda (USA)
In fear of either being raped, physically or mentally abused by someone, I chose to have sex even though I didnt want to. -Quinn (Location Not Given)
My now ex-husband required that I provide him with at least two intimate sexual acts each week. Ten years ago he told me that the reason he had an affair and
contemplated ending our marriage was because I was not providing sufficient intimate sexual acts. That threat was held over my head for ten years. Under that duress, I have engaged in sexual acts that I did not want to be a part of at least twice a week for ten years. And it still wasn’t enough – throughout that 10 year period he had multiple affairs and has left me for his most recent sexual partner. -Ruby (Australia)
My ex forced himself on me because of my lack of interest in sex and sexual activity. And made me feel extreme guilt because he said I didn’t love him because I wasn’t interested in having sex with him -Lore (Sweden)
The first friend I ever told about my asexuality told me I was “too cute to be asexual”. He later took me out for drinks on my birthday, drugged me, and raped me in my own home. He tried to justify it later by saying that I didn’t know my own secret wants.
He raped me many times to try and convince me that I wasn’t asexual, and once time while trying to force my mouth open for oral sex he pulled the bottom bracket off of my braces. If I spoke about being uncomfortable with sex, he would suggest the idea of me drinking to get through it. –Aadya (India)»
«While it is difficult to compare the results of the full cohort (1595 respondents) with that of males only (91 respondents), this one statistic was sufficiently dramatic to warrant discussion.
The percentage of total respondents reporting rape and sexual assault is 4% and 9% respectively. For male-identifying respondents, the figures are much higher: 12% reported rape and 21% reported sexual assault (including the “Sexual Assault by Definition” category).»
«Male respondents who ticked the boxes for sexual assault and rape were less likely to share their story than female and non-binary respondents. Conversely, men who described sexual assaults in their stories were less likely to have checked the corresponding boxes. In many instances they
seemed unaware that what they have described is sexual assault or rape. This raises questions about what men know about consent and their rights to bodily autonomy – whether they are asexual or not.
A reminder must also be added here that the survey authors were unable to identify, except where that information was given, whether a respondent is transgender.»
See the whole survey here.
Ein Ass im Bett
Translation: An ace in bed
The following comments were made on an article about asexuality.
You can read the whole article here.
Points of view
Dear Alex, what you’re describing here, labeled as a type of sexual orientation (In your case the non-existence of one, respectively) is nothing more than an inherent low sex drive. I’m making that diagnosis without being a medical doctor or a psychologist, but from my own experience.
As a man, I’m familiar with phases of completely overheated horniness, where every street is overflowing with the hottest and most desirable women, and other times of total disinterest where you ask yourself how a man could ever find attractive about these short-legged, fat-assed creatures.
Good luck for your life! Maybe you’re interested and talented in spirituality and then asexuality is almost a blessing…
Asexuality from the perspective of a sexual partner
I see it similarly. Being in a relationship without sex is hard for the sexual part. It doesn’t matter whether asexuality, depression or medication have caused the other one’s loss of libido. You’re regularly (as a woman at least every 4 weeks) confronted with the task to deal with your lust on your own because the object of desire isn’t interested in it. You quickly feel left alone with the problem. Compliments, kind words or maybe snuggling in front of the TV simply aren’t the same. Even if it’s meant well, being in bed with a listless partner who shows no initiative, is not fun either.
So if there can never be any sexual contact due to asexuality for example, an important part of the relationship is disturbed and strained. To compensate, it would have to be a nearly perfect match in all other areas. In general, I find it difficult to imagine a purely asexual relationship. What distinguishes that from a close, trusting friendship that goes through all ups and downs? That you don’t ask for exclusivity in others? I know friends who live together and even help each other with financial problems. I, personally can even feel secure with a good friend who will help me when things are crappy. The mentioned butterflies in the stomach, to me, are just a sign of being infatuated and not of love.
the perfect relationship
Fortunately, today there are tree partnerships for vegetarians
and not just gray ones, but also in voluptuous green shades
add a little oxytocine and every fir branch provides unforgettable, transcending excesses for each icicle.
Sex doesn’t equal sex
What a cute and funny article! I wholeheartedly wish you that you’ll find all the romance that you want. However, I do have one piece of advice (you can’t know this): For sexual people, it’s actually also “making love” (connection, hormones, perspiring closeness etc.) and when you’re in love, but can’t physically indulge yourself in this intense way, something’s simply missing. Therefore, having sex with people whom you don’t love, wouldn’t be a substitute. But thank God, there is the internet for dating. I wish you good luck!
A little too much fuss
I assume that there are many asexuals.
You can imagine that with some adipose couples, the physical deficiencies make the exchange of bodily fluids unlikely. There, the romantic candlelight dinner ought to be a higher priority than the attempt at a mutual workout.
One thing that the article doesn’t seem to state is to what extent does physicality matter at all and what does he hope to gain from such a relationship.
Not the first time
It isn’t the first time that I’ve read such an article online about this topic. I’m interested in this topic, though I’m not afflicted by it myself. One thing I always find remarkable, and that’s that in all these articles, the afflicted never write whether they’ve had a complete checkup? I mean, hormonal etc. and all the way up to their psyche? I always get the feeling that at some point in life, they’ve resigned to this and that’s just how it is. Under normal, natural conditions, the phenomenon asexuality wouldn’t spread, as, strictly speaking, reproduction shouldn’t be happening, that would pass on these genes. It would just occasionally appear as a genetic defect. How much influence our hormones have, regarding our behavior, cannot be emphasized enough. If certain hormones are missing or the opposite, it can lead to extreme conditions like for example the complete loss of smell or other things. My thesis is that a majority of asexual people aren’t merely asexual but that actually a different physical cause is deluding them to believe in this condition, as this condition isn’t of biological value in regard to the conservation of species.
Those who want to live without sex, have never had good sex.
That’s a pity, but at some point, it can’t be changed or only with difficulty. In the end, this applies: Live and let live. If asexuality happens willingly, society has to tolerate it. On the other hand, asexuals should also tolerate the sexual nuances of other people. THAT’s how simple life can be.
Whether asexuality is genetically predetermined,…
…or acquired through fate or nurture, that’s the question.
In the past, people tried to rid young people of their sexuality (e.g. masturbation) via conveyed feelings of guilt. Today this happens in a similar way, but with people who aren’t interested in sexuality much, whom differ from the “norm” and could be “healed”.
The past’s compulsory uptightness has simply been replaced by today’s compulsory uptightness. Both have compulsion, societal pressure in common that can lead to mental impotence or frigidity.
That is the sad result of the “sexual revolution so that today some “sexual deviants” feel compelled to explain themselves.
I don’t know if it will reassure the article’s author, but he isn’t anything special with his problems, because people whom are interested in sex and sexually active can struggle to find the right partner, too. Because an open and and more or less taboo-free person won’t become comfortable with an uptight person. The problem is how to find out as soon as possible with a potential partner. Because quite often, things aren’t as they look at first glance.
It still should be clarified whether asexuality may really be disguised uptightness, impotence or frigidity. And thus, the inability to signal the (potential) partner their true desires.
I feel bad for you!
I don’t mean this ironically. I honestly pity you, like I pity a deaf person whom will never experience the beauty of Calla’s voice or the melancholy of a Nocturne by Chopin, or a blind person whom can never watch a ballet or a sunset. The only consolation for you and other asexuals is that you don’t know what you’re missing.
If you call an orgasm meager and its foreplay boring, it could have been with the wrong partner, which you probably rule out on principle. It would be interesting to learn whether this sexual disorder affects more men or women?
An orgasm and the mutual game of giving and enjoyment to the orgasm, is one of the most beautiful and intensive things that you can experience in a human relationship. It’s like a pas de deux at dancing that improves the more intensive and the more intimate both dancers can give themselves to each other and become one in the dance. It depends on the partner’s skill to emotionally and physically empathize with the other person. That requires trust.
Maybe you lack this skill of physical interpersonal communication? What a pity for you!
[Comment by the editor about the use of autism as a metaphor and speculations on people’s thoughts and feelings, which they have removed both.]
This is #68 of a series in which I read correspondence between me and people who have questions, comments, or–more often–misconceptions about asexuality. In this video, I read some comments on a mainstream media article where the fellow argues that nobody should hate or harass asexuals; we should all just feel sorry for them, and by no means should we treat them like this is a normal enough way to be. The difference must be acknowledged or someone might get the idea that it’s okay to live like that or something! Sheesh! 😀
This is #39 of a series in which I read correspondence between me and people who have questions, comments, or–more often–misconceptions about asexuality.
Here I share someone’s opinion on sex in relationships: namely, that they have a right to expect sex 2 to 3 times a week unless otherwise agreed. If asexual people want to negotiate otherwise, they say, that is fine, but if they do not explicitly tell their partner(s) how little sex they will be getting, this is a violation on par with not paying your bill at a restaurant or refusing to use the toilet in your shared home. Nice!
Asexuality and Rape
«That problem is how asexuals are exceptionally prone to the outskirts of the rape culture when they interact with and date sexuals. This is especially true of romantic asexuals.
Now what I mean by this is not that they are especially prone to forcible rape and the types of rape we most focus on when discussing rape, though these occur far too often and can affect asexuals just as much as sexuals.
What I mean are coercive rapes. Those where one’s autonomy and free choice is put to intense pressure and manipulation in order to force a technical consent, which is nowhere near the gold standard of mutual enthusiastic consent or informed consent. This can occur in many forms:
– Using alcohol to try and remove ability to withdraw consent
– Stating that whether one’s partner loves you or not is wholly dependent on whether or not they put out.
– Wearing down resistances to no so they accept to shut you up.
– Lying about the effects of sex without desire in order to manipulate a partner into giving sex.
– And using cultural memes towards how sex is owed to your partner to exact sex from an unresponsive and not-enjoying-it partner.
As well as many others.»
«And asexuals may just be another victim of this idea that “yes should be a default” in a committed relationship, but they are one especially prone to it. Not only are they ones for whom the default is usually no, but they are usually ignorant about the “accepted rules” most sexuals use to navigate the rape culture.»
Read the whole article here.
This is #15 of a series in which I read correspondence between me and people who have questions, comments, or–more often–misconceptions about asexuality.
This one covers a question we sometimes get from a vocal minority in the queer community claiming asexual people absolutely do not have problems worth discussing because the very worst thing we ever experience is “hurt feelings” over people not acknowledging our orientation.
Here are the citations and links for everything mentioned in the video.
Siggy’s Breakdown of asexual queerness (orientation and gender identity):
My appearance at Creating Change (where I was invited to discuss asexuality at an LGBT conference):
My interview in the Gay Voices section of the Huffington Post:
The numbered list backups:
1. JOB AND HOUSING DENIAL:
* The study documenting asexual discrimination: “Intergroup Bias toward ‘Group X’: Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals”
* An anecdotal account of possibly being fired for asexuality:
* A follow-up to this story by the same person:
2. ADOPTION DENIAL:
* Discussed in Olivier Cormier-Otaño’s lecture, wherein he mentioned asexual couples getting denied adoption because “If you’re asexual, you’re not fit to be married.”
3. CONSUMMATION LAWS:
* These may change, but as of the creation of this video, the states requiring consummation for a marriage to be legal are here:
* For laws regarding consummation as it refers to a couple that includes one immigrant, please see this document:
4. ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW:
* In New York, SONDA, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, mentions asexuality as one of the sexual orientations that cannot be discriminated against legally.
* In Vermont, asexuality is included in a “protected category” list under “sexual orientation”:
* The proposed legislation in Texas that names asexuality as a protected class is reported on in a news article here:
* The law paper by Elizabeth Emens, accepted by Standford Law Review, which thoroughly examines how asexual people live in a prejudicial environment and how that works out legally, is entitled “Compulsory Sexuality.”
5. “CORRECTIVE” RAPE:
* Huffington Post discussed “corrective” rape and how it’s hurting the asexual community here:
Here is a Tumblr thread where another user and I discuss rape threats:
* You can see some of the rape threats I have received here:
* And you can read about my experience with a man forcing himself on me after I told him I wasn’t interested here:
6. POOR REPRESENTATION IN MEDIA:
* Godiva’s is a Canadian show that is canceled. It featured an asexual heteroromantic man, Martin. He was “fixed” with testosterone supplements.
* Huge is an American show that is canceled. It had an asexual aromantic woman, Poppy, in a minor role. She mentioned her asexuality once during a discussion with a fellow camp counselor and it was never mentioned again.
* Shortland Street is a New Zealand show that is still going on as of this writing. It featured an asexual biromantic man, Gerald. His asexuality is examined deeply throughout the series.
The bad House episode is called “Better Half”:
7. MISDIAGNOSIS WITH A MENTAL DISORDER:
* DSM definition of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder:
8. DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE:
* The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
* Materials created by AAW for the Trevor Project’s volunteers:
13 Stories of Asexual and Aromantic Oppression
«Some things happened in the asexual and aromantic community this week and for the most part they were positive. I won’t go into detail now because this post is not about that. One thing that did happen was aces and aros getting some attention on the blogging platform tumblr. And not all of it good attention.
What I found particularly disturbing was repeated assertions that asexual and aromantic people do not experience oppression. This is so incorrect.
First of all, let me be clear what I mean when I say oppression. The word doesn’t necessarily mean being locked up or killed. It doesn’t have to mean systematic and deliberate acts by a Government. Oppression, in the context of social justice, means behaviours and words that marginalise and cause harm to a minority. It doesn’t have to be overt and it doesn’t have to be deliberate. All that’s required is that the victims are marginalised and that the behaviour is harmful: physically harmful, emotionally harmful, it doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter whether a person who is not part of the marginalised group in question thinks the act should be considered oppressive. It is up to the people experiencing the harm to say whether they feel oppressed.»
Read the whole article here.
“And Now I’m Just Different, but There’s Nothing Actually Wrong With Me”: Asexual Marginalization and Resistance
«In response to a direct question about whether they had ever felt stigmatized or marginalized as a result of their asexual identity, more than one half of the interviewees answered “yes,” more than one quarter answered “maybe” or “in some ways yes, in some ways no,” and around 20% answered “no.” In addition, all the interviewees described at least one negative experience attributable to compulsory sexuality. Here I offer a typology of these negative impacts of compulsory sexuality: pathologization, isolation, unwanted sex and relationship conflict, and the denial of epistemic authority. It is important to emphasize that what follows should not be taken as direct evidence of marginalization, stigma, or discrimination but as the interviewees’ interpretations of and narratives about particular life experiences.»
«In response to a question about their relationship history, almost two thirds of interviewees reported that social norms about sexuality and relationality and the invisibility of asexuality had negatively affected their interpersonal relationships. Ten interviewees (all female) described engaging in consensual but unwanted sex as a result of social pressure and pressure from a partner.6 Explaining why she had engaged in what she considered consensual but unwanted sex, Marcie, 19, said, “there’s not a lot of visibility for asexuality so when you’re young and you don’t really know that that’s a genuine orientation that you can embrace…you have all of society telling you, ‘You should want to be doing these things….’ So, it tended to get a little sexual but I was always trying to avoid that.” Christine, 21, described the following experience:
The guy I lost my virginity to, I had been in a relationship with him for about a year and I guess I just felt like, well, you know, I need to do this…And everybody was like, ‘Oh, you were raped and that’s awful.’ And like yeah, I guess. I should have said no. I could have said no, but I didn’t. I thought that this is what everybody did in their free time, and so I was trying to be like everybody else.
It is important to note that, according to a substantial body of research, a significant percentage of both women and men report engaging in consensual but unwanted sex for some of the same reasons as those given by the interviewees in this study (e.g., Gavey, 2005; Impett & Peplau, 2002; Muehlenhard & Cook, 1988).7 Thus it is possible that the system of compulsory sexuality negatively affects asexually identified and non–asexually identified people in some of the same ways.»
Read the whole article here.