Friday, May 29, 2009

The Fantasy of Being...

"You all might be happy being asexual, but I hate it! I want to change!"

I've seen this statement countless times on AVEN over the years. And I'm never sure how to respond. Where are people getting these ideas: That we're all happy (despite how we may look in the media, a quick perusal of AVEN's "Musings and Rantings" section will prove that wrong), or that being asexual can be changed? Is it not obvious that asexuality is pretty much impossible to change by force of will? And why does it seem so taboo to tell these people to get over it?

As always, there's the definite possibility that I just take things too literally.

Interestingly, if you look on Wrongplanet, the autism-related forum I mentioned in an earlier post, you'll see the same thing:

"You all might be happy having Asperger's/autism, but I hate it! I want to be cured!"

Some people definitely have the impression that if they were neurotypical (NT, not autistic) all their problems would somehow be solved. Sure, all their autistic problems would be solved, but then they'd have new problems. And at least autistic problems come with benefits, like the focus and creative thinking you might need in order to solve them. These aforementioned asexual people seem to have the same fantasy with a different name-- being sexual would solve your asexual problems, but then you'd have new problems. Some people on Wrong Planet had these things to say to someone who wanted a "cure" for AS, Asperger's Syndrome:

"I think you overestimate the happiness of NTs."

"...They don't recognise that normal behaviour for [someone with] AS is AS behaviour. They consider normal to be NT normal."

"Would it surprise you to know that most NT women your age don't want to be who they are, either? It is true. Young women, in general, lack a positive sense of self.
I might suggest your issue is more the pressures and unrealistic expectations put on young women in this world, than your AS."

"I find the AS bright sides a little forced (and false) too, but it's better to reconcile yourself with yourself than keep waiting for a cure which is never going to come..."

I'm a big fan of cross-pollination (bzzz), and responses to similarly different situations can be used for fresh perspective. I think that being on the autistic spectrum has made it (relatively) easier for me to accept asexuality...I was "abnormal" to begin with, so what was one more thing? I knew the fantasy of being normal was something I had to give up and not regret losing. I think "You overestimate the happiness of NTs" is my favorite response, because as asexuals, we are constantly overestimating the relationship acumen of sexual people. Now, I don't mean this as a jibe at anyone, I only mean: If being more sexual, and that alone, could save your relationship, then why do people at all points on the sexual spectrum have relationship problems? Sexual compatibility doesn't guarantee anything.

This all reminds me of “The Fantasy of Being Thin", a now-classic blog post (as far as blog posts can become classic) by Kate Harding. It’s about how rather than holding out for the day when you will (probably not) become thin, you should accept your body as it is right now. If you did lose weight, Harding says, you wouldn’t be any more adventurous, happier, or sexier than you are now. You’ll still be you. The fantasy of being sexual is really the same as the fantasy of being thin or being neurotypical (Or being popular, rich, powerful, or whatever). I suppose we all have our fantasy of being something else...


Anonymous said...

No hay mal que por bien no vengaSpanish proverb

Ily said...

"There is no bad that doesn't bring good"? Did I get that right?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and that's what may happen with the drawbacks of asexuality, aromanticism, Asperger, and so on.

Lanafactrix said...

I was thinking of the fat parallel near-immediately--have you read my latest lj post?
I think this is related to the issue of perception I discussed. We tend to assume that other people are seeing and criticizing whatever's different about us, whether that be our neuroqueerness (neuroqueeritude? neuroqueerosity?), our asexuality, or our fat. The truth is, what looms large in our own minds often doesn't even register for other people, and even when it does, it's probably not the way we imagine it.

Myself--Who Else? said...

Wow, interesting! The quote that most speaks to me is this one:

"I find the AS bright sides a little forced (and false) too, but it's better to reconcile yourself with yourself than keep waiting for a cure which is never going to come..."