I don’t like the food metaphors. Is it okay to say that? I know it seems like almost everyone likes to use hunger, or food, or doughnuts, or something along that line, to explain to non-asexuals what being asexual is like.
But you know, I’m sorry, but no, that doesn’t cut it for me. A non-asexual imagining what it is like to not ever be hungry just does not explain the asexual situation enough for me at all.
For one thing, even if you don’t feel hunger, if you don’t eat, you’ll die. You will probably not die if you are a non-asexual and never have sex. Using a specific food like doughnuts or cake or whatnot is a little better, in that it is not necessary in any way to eat such treats and indeed, some people do not even like or want in the slightest that treat which most of us have to hold ourselves back from overindulging in.
You know what being asexual is like? Never experiencing sexual attraction. I mean, if you, as a hungry, food-eating person, can imagine what it’s like to never feel hungry or need food, then I don’t think I’m giving you too much credit in thinking you’re creative and empathic enough to imagine what it’s like to never feel sexual attraction or want sex.
If a non-asexual can make the imaginative leap to picture what it’s like to not have the urge to eat food, they can imagine what it’s like to not want sex.
I’m not ragging on anyone here, because you know, at first I really liked seeing all the metaphors for asexuality people came up with too. But I have seen the food metaphor used to explain asexuality so many times and it is tiring. And the reason it makes me feel that way?
Because asexuality does not need to be like something, like another experience. It is something, and we can simply say what it is if we want a non-asexual to understand. I kind of feel like using these metaphors is letting non-asexuals off the hook, giving them justification for not understanding asexuality. It’s not that hard to understand. It doesn’t need other experiences to be compared to so that other people can understand. It is not as complicated as some people like to pretend.
And I know that sounds pretty harsh, saying “letting them off the hook for not understanding asexuality” when of course many haven’t heard of asexuality and don’t know anything about it. But that is the thing—once we tell non-asexuals what asexuality is, that should be enough. A non-asexual can use their brain and their creativity and empathy, to imagine what it’s like to be us, and gain some understanding of how we operate. Sitting there and saying over and over that asexuality makes no sense, that it is incomprehensible, while we struggle to come up with more and more metaphors and examples to help the non-asexual understand, seems like nothing but assholery to me.
There will be people out there that simply don’t want to understand asexuality, or accept it. That is not our fault; asexuality is not incomprehensible or especially difficult to grasp. Just because there is debate over terminology does not mean we are too ‘confusing’. There are arguments over what it means to be bisexual and pansexual all the time.
We did not invent the term “sexual attraction”. The fact that people have trouble understanding what that term means is less a testament to asexuality’s supposed inherent incomprehensibility than it is to the extreme ignorance of sexual matters that is prevalent throughout the world. Much IS vague and unknown about sexual attraction, sexual desire, why people will have sexual chemistry with some people but not others, why people have different sexual orientations, etc. You know, there are a lot of gay people that could not explain what it is that makes them gay, but that does not make their orientation any less valid.
I know a lot of non-asexual people are not coming at this from a good place to understand. Many of us, asexual and non-asexual alike, do not have a good knowledge base about sexual matters (yes, even those people who have lots of sex and are sex-positive). We have had a candidate running for the U.S Senate make a public statement that revealed that he did not even understand very well how a woman becomes pregnant. While some of us may not be that bad off, the majority of us have had little formal education about sexuality. And sex is a huge part of human life. Like food, it is in every culture and population across the world, and our species’ survival could not be maintained without it.
Okay, I guess I actually do like the food metaphors. What I don’t like is people who refuse to try and understand asexuality, and instead want us to wear ourselves out in the search for the perfect example, metaphor, or explanation that will make us valid in their eyes. I also don’t like people who keep knowledge of human sexuality and food production out of our education system.
See, that’s what I love about writing these posts. They’re great for helping you to understand what actually has you ticked off. This is of course a really bad way to run a blog, starting off your post criticizing one thing and then supporting it in the end. WELL. I think we know what my thoughts on consistency are…