Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Because It Was There

I'd like to coin the term "mountainsexual". This one's for people who may or may not actually be asexual, but they have an interest that is so all-consuming that sex becomes irrelevant. Sure, it's a funny word, but I want to explore the idea behind it.

An AVEN member got me thinking about Chris McCandless, the real-life subject of the book (by Jon Krakauer) and movie Into the Wild. Chris literally gave up everything to realize his dream of living alone in the Alaska wilderness. Some parts of the story definitely imply that Chris was disinterested in sex. But we'll never know why, as his drive to go to Alaska obviously eclipsed all else.

Mountainsexuals also appeared in another Krakauer book, Into Thin Air. Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but people's quotes about mountain climbing sound like accounts of sexual desire cranked to 11, or romantic love in its most passionate throwes. Krakauer says that "attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically illogical act-- a triumph of desire over sensibility." (Introduction). Check out some other quotes he uses in the book:

The more improbable the situation and the greater the demands made on [the climber], the more sweetly the blood flows later in release from all that tension. --A. Alvarez (95)

But I couldn't say no. For in my heart, I needed to go, and the pull of Everest was stronger for me than any force on earth. --Tenzing Norgay (115)

How much of the appeal of mountaineering lies in its simpllification of interpersonal relationships, its reduction of friendship to smooth interaction (like war), its substitution of an Other (the mountain, the challenge), for the relationship itself? --David Roberts (188)

When I read Roberts' quote and its paralleling of mountaineering to war, I couldn't help but think of that old article in The Sexually Opressed. In the article on asexual women, there was one footnote on asexual men, in which combat, and Vietnam in particular, was called "an escape hatch" for men who "wanted nothing to do with any kind of sex". I found that pretty dern interesting.

Comparing mountaineering to sexuality might seem like a stretch. But if one asexual goal is to broaden the idea of what excites us most, I think the experiences of people like mountainsexuals could be cool to explore. They are also my response to the "You're missing out!" people. Some folks, when confronted with an asexual, suddenly get defensive and make sex out to be the most important thing in the world. But if Mount Everest is what turns your gears beyond all else, who's really going to argue with that? Nikola Tesla, rumored to be ace by some, was probably a mountainsexual too, but with electrical currents instead of peaks.

"All told" (as Krakauer loves to say), I might still be sick, as my brain feels like a Swiss cheese. It might be up to you to decide how much sense this all makes...

12 comments:

pretzelboy said...

Coming out as asexual is awkward enough since most people don't know what it means. Just imagine trying to come out as mountainsexual. I mean, you think we get asked weird questions...

Superquail said...

Dude, I think you really hit on something when you said that telling people about asexuality suddenly makes them all defensive about sex. I am not asexual, but there are definitely days when I think about how much more I could get done if I was. There are some real advantages to being able to focus on other things and not get distracted by sex.

Mountainsexuals definitely seem real to me. Aerobasexuals also seem likely. There are some people who just seem to get so much out of their aerobics exercises that they just can't stop! ;)

Ily said...

Sadly enough, saying something funny-sounding is always easier for me than saying something serious ;-)

Superquail said...

I agree with ily on the funny is easier to say than the serious.

Ily said...

Hee hee...I think I might have to write a post about this time management issue, SQ, because I've really heard it mentioned so many times...even though I'm ace, I'm awesome at getting absolutely NOTHING done. I think the adage that "busy people get more done" is true, whether they're sexual or not. Sure, I'm not distracted by sex, but I'm distracted by ridiculous things like Failblog or reruns of Family Guy. Aiiee! Actually, I'm pretty sure I have written a post about this, but I can't remember.

Mary said...

Your friendly Latin scholar chiming in to say that I think it would be "monsexual"--elegant, no?

Ily said...

Always good to have a Latin scholar in the house! Elegant, indeed.

Gemma said...

Hi Ily,
I've been reading your blog for a couple of days nows and I'm really enjoying it :)

I totally agree with you that asexuals can still be unproductive. As shown by the fact that I am reading your blog at work. And now I have Failblog to read as well. I'd never heard of it before today :D (now I have a replacement for the work-blocked Icanhascheezburger)

Though I have to tell you that things are not looking good for our favourite Kiwi tv asexual. His mother has suggested he has Asperger syndrome because of his aversion to sex and his domestic nature. Luckily it is obvious that Gerald and Morgan think she is talking nonsense.

Heidi said...

Heh, as a birder/bird watcher/bird person, I always got those snorts of "so, you like, do birds?" to which I could honestly answer "pff, no, but I don't do mammals, either." Threw 'em off a bit, I suppose. We could just be nonphilic? But love isn't the same as sex, so nevermind. Birdsexual is just all wrong though...

Ily said...

Thanks, Gemma! You know, I wouldn't mind if Gerald was made an Aspie from the beginning, but he doesn't have ANY Aspie traits whatsoever. Hopefully that's just his mom's ignorance and not that of the writers. I started watching some of the more recent clips, and Gerald begins to take things too seriously! That's not good! (But I guess it's par for the soap opera course.)

And Heidi, yeah, I didn't think so far as non-human but still animate interests...

joanna leigh said...

I think you're definitely onto something here, first of all with the observation that passion can be pointed at all sorts of things other than sex, but also that nature is quite often one of those other things. The Krakauer examples are great, but the first time I ever really started to think about that idea of passion=sexuality was with Timothy Treadwell, (aka Grizzly Man.) If you've ever seen the documentary, you'll know that he identified as straight and had a girlfriend, but his sexual identity was clearly shaky (he went on long rambles about not being gay) but mostly, just the way he acted with those dang bears... you knew he had found his life's love.

Superquail said...

Yeah, but did you see what those grizzlies did to him at the end? Maybe there was some bad touch.