In the debate about whether the term “sexual” is offensive as a term for people who are not asexual, one problem I have heard brought up is the over-sexualization of gay people. I have heard some gay people make the claim that “everyone wants them to be asexual” instead of gay, and that gay people are treated as extremely sexual beings.
I think this is definitely a problem, but I think it’s less from the idea that “everyone wants gay people to be asexual” and instead perhaps stems from the fact that to be gay is to have to talk about experiencing sexual attraction in a way that when being straight one simply does not.
Because heterosexuality is the default, when one heads down that path, there are less questions asked, less assumptions made. Being a heterosexual is what society wants a person to be, for the most part. Thus what need is there to badger a heterosexual, ask intrusive questions, make ridiculous assumptions, and stereotype?
Being heterosexual is the thing to do. It’s encouraged before most people could ever experience sexual attraction. No one needs to talk about sexual attraction in this case. Why bring it up it and what does it even have to do with anything? It doesn’t. You are interested in the opposite sex because everyone is interested in the opposite sex and that is the way it is done. Starting a family is de rigueur for many people because of culture or religion. Maybe you’re pursuing members of the opposite sex out of dreams of a bitchin’ wedding, or all the cute babies you’ll have, or of dreams of pure and blissful romance, or, out of sexual attraction and desire, but no one ever knows unless they ask, do they? And have you ever seen a person being questioned for the motives behind their heterosexual behavior? I haven’t.
So how about those non-heterosexuals? Well, that’s a different story. Because the question changes, but it’s not actually: “What your motives for having asexual or homosexual behavior?” the question is instead “why aren’t you having heterosexual behavior?.
Because a person who is homosexual or asexual could want to have an awesome wedding, cute kids, and pure and blissful romance, that’s true. But why be homosexual? Why be asexual? Why not just be ‘normal’ and heterosexual and get those things?
Because of sexual attraction. A lesbian may say “I want a wedding, awesome kids, and romance, but I want them with a woman, because of sexual attraction. Because I experience sexual attraction to females.”
And an asexual may say “I want to pick out a bridal gown, get Valentine’s Day chocolates, have a child, but I want them with the explicit knowledge that I am an asexual, because of the issue of sexual attraction. Because I don’t experience sexual attraction for anyone, and I don’t want to mislead people into thinking I will experience sexual attraction to them.”
That said, we know that almost everyone does experience sexual attraction. The big difference between heterosexuals and the rest of the bunch, is that heterosexuals don’t have to bring the sexual attraction issue to the table, they don’t have to address it and deal with the issue. A heterosexual does not have to say they experience or don’t experience sexual attraction for anyone with their behavior.
So, heterosexism essentially. And as for the claim that “everyone wants homosexuals to become asexual” I have found very little to support that idea. I have of course, found a lot to support the idea that large portions of society want homosexuals to become heterosexual. From what I’ve read, as far as society is concerned, heterosexuality is the best orientation for one to have. After that, among the religious crowd, celibacy and or chastity is a better option than anything else.
I’m going to clarify just in case there’s new readers: asexuality is NOT celibacy. Asexuality is NOT chastity. Some asexuals may be celibate and/or chaste. Some homosexuals may be celibate and/or chaste. Some heterosexuls, etc. It’s a behavior/state that people of any orientation can be in. Celibacy is refraining from marriage or sex. Asexuals, like people of any orientation*, can get married and/or have sex, and thus not be celibate.
Since some asexuals date members of the same-sex (and even, gosh, have sex with them) I’m somehow doubtful that religious heterosexists truly want a person to just become an asexual, and that would satisfy them. Because being an asexual does not dictate your behavior, and that is what religious heterosexists actually want: to change a person’s behavior, not just their orientation. To them there is only one orientation: normal, and everything else is a disease or a demon or a sin.
(*People of any orientation can be married to the opposite sex; the supposedly ideal state to be in, whether homosexual, bisexual, pan or asexual.)