May 3, 2021

"Why do people feel the need to label their sexuality with such specificity? As if a 'demi-sexual' is a thing you are and always have been and always will be."

"So short-sighted. Why pressure people into fitting into a sexual 'tribe'? Once we label, we sort ourselves, and then we're in a tribe, and then we reinforce tribal culture within that tribe. So if you join the 'asexual' tribe, then your asexuality will be reinforced and you'll stop going through the normal changes that most of us experience over our lives. Once you classify yourself, you ossify yourself."

Asks PatHMV, emailing me about yesterday's post about "Platonic" — sex-free — marriages

I myself was critical of what I called "picky terms" — like "asexual, aromantic, pansexual, demisexual" — but PatHMV elaborates some of the problem with this pickiness, this specificity. How do you know that's what you are — as a type of entity — as opposed to it's just your effort to express what you feel now? And I really wonder — when we are talking about life partners who don't have any sex at all — is this really who they are or is this a way to arrive at mental peace when you've found yourself in a relationship that has some but not all of what you want? 

In one of the updates at yesterday's post, a reader named Peter spoke of his long marriage that has turned into a sexless marriage in recent years. This is something that happens — a lot, I presume — and I don't think it would be accurate to think that Peter or his wife discovered that he/she is asexual.... or would it?

PatHMV said — pithily — "Once you classify yourself, you ossify yourself." But in cases like Peter's, it seems that both had classified themselves as heterosexual, but at least one of them morphed into asexuality. But — no! — we don't talk about it like that. It's conventional to think that both are heterosexual, but they just got older or more jaded and sex became unimportant. They're still heterosexual. If so, then these picky specifications aren't really sexual orientations.

And yet, if people like thinking of these various concepts as their sexual orientation, well, that's an intellectual orientation. If it makes your circumstances in life more pleasurable or more tolerable or more exciting or more rational to you, then go ahead — What's the harm? To classify is to ossify? But you can reclassify. 

And maybe staying put once you marry is an important commitment to your mate. If you present yourself as heterosexual, your mate is counting on that — counting on your being ossified! If you say, you've come to the realization that your true self is asexual, that's going to be a disappointment. But if you find yourself to have become asexual, must you — should you — continue to play the role of a heterosexual? Put yourself in your spouse's position: If you knew your partner wanted no sex at all, would you want him/her to provide sex for you anyway? If yes, would you prefer that with the truth hidden or revealed?


There is no comments section anymore, but you can email me here. Unless you say otherwise, I will presume you'd enjoy an update to this post with a quote from your email.