Question of the Week: April 22nd, 2014

If you’ve outed yourself as asexual, what’s your favorite reaction that you’ve gotten? If you haven’t outed yourself before, what reactions would you like to get?

In general, I like people to react with interest–after all, I mentioned it for a reason–but be mostly interested in whatever topic I was talking about when I brought it up. It’s sometimes difficult to have conversations about the more complicated ways that being ace affects me when every time I mention it to someone new, I get derailed into 101 conversations about asexuality is and what it’s like to be ace.

Basically, I like people to already know what asexuality is and have talked to enough ace people that the new has worn off, which I realize is not exactly a reasonable expectation! Ha.

How about you?

About Sciatrix

Sciatrix is an American graduate student studying ecology, evolution and behavior. She identifies as asexual and has mostly given up trying to sort out the whole romance thing for now. She has previously blogged about asexuality at Writing From Factor X. In her free time, she trains in canine agility and knits oddly cabled hats.
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13 Responses to Question of the Week: April 22nd, 2014

  1. luvtheheaven says:

    Hmm. The favorite reaction I’ve gotten. That’s a bit of a tough one. When I announced on Facebook that I’d broken up with my boyfriend and that the reason was that I’d figured out that I was asexual and in our case this meant that we were sexually incompatible, I came out to a lot of people at once, kind of. I’m not sure how many people bothered to click “Read more” and even got to the “Coming out as asexual” part of my little paragraph, or how many people who did read it clicked on either of the links I’d provided to really learn more and begin to understand. but at that time, the favorite reaction I got was not the few people who merely “liked” my post, but the one old friend of mine from high school who both “liked” it and left a comment saying: “Hey, I’m proud of you!”. That made me feel really good, even though I wasn’t 100% sure if she understood what asexuality was or any of it, it seemed very positive and like a nice thing to say. I had explained in the Facebook post that I’d been struggling with my sexuality for some time now but had settled on asexuality and I felt like, from that brief response, she probably appreciated what I’d been thinking about and how this was a big deal for me, and all of that.

    In general though, I think both my boyfriend’s reaction and my brother’s reaction might’ve been 2 of my favorites. Both of these boys who are similar in age to me were, from the start, open to learning and listening and never once said anything too judgemental or hurtful to me. They asked a few questions and maybe had a couple of misconceptions like that I should consider seeing a doctor about my hormones, but they did it in a cautious, curious way that I myself would ask too, and I seriously considered going to a doctor, so I can’t blame them for thinking it. They seemed to accept when I explained that a) I should have other noticable “Symptoms” if my hormones were out of whack, and b) people who have no sex drive still experience sexual attraction, etc. They seemed to understand and accept it all. The best part about their reactions was how much they completely believed that this was just who I am, how they wanted to discuss things in depth, how they were open and curious and I pretty much never felt misunderstood.

    My brother eventually asked me (a few hours after we’d watched the documentary (A)sexual on Netflix together and paused it throughout to discuss things) if it’d be okay for him to discuss the fact that I’m asexual with other people or not, and I really really appreciated him asking me that. I thought it was such a thoughtful question and to some degree that is one of my “favorite reactions” I’ve gotten. I ended up telling him that I trusted him to understand asexuality enough now that yeah, sure, he could talk to his girlfriend (who might one day become my sister-in-law!) or his roommates or anyone he wanted about it, that ultimately I really wanted to spread awareness of asexuality, and that it was fine, ideal even! I’d love for him to talk about asexuality with people and bring up “My sister is asexual” in the conversation. BUT if he was gonna be talking to someone that we knew equally well, or that I knew better than him – like maybe an aunt or uncle or cousin or grandmother of ours lol, or if he was around one of my friends for some reason – that I’d prefer to be able to control the conversation, to be able to gauge what they’re thinking and if/how they’re judging me. My brother replied, “Yeah, of course, I understand that”. 😉

    In general, one of my least favorite responses to coming out as asexual is when people ignore it. Don’t say anything. Don’t ask questions even though they’re confused. Pretend it’s not a thing that matters. Silence isn’t as hurtful as some things can be, but it drives me crazy to not be able to know what people are thinking/feeling. To not be able to correct misconceptions. I want to talk about it, otherwise I wouldn’t be bringing it up. So the absolute best experiences I’ve had, personally, are when people are very very willing to chat for hours about the subject, lmao. Or email back and forth with me extensively. When they’re willing to read a blog post or article I send them. Etc. That kind of openness to learning, desire to actually understand me – that’s the best thing possible, for me.

  2. Cleander says:

    I think my favorite reaction is any variation on “OMG me too! *swaps AVEN/tumblr info*”

    • luvtheheaven says:

      Yeah “me too” to some degree is the best reaction I’ve gotten too, but it has only happened with people I’ve never met in real life, it’s happened like twice with vidders I know in the fandom communities I’m being vocal about my asexuality in and it is a really awesome thing to “hear” lol.

    • I’ve had the “me too” reaction twice offline, actually! Once, I mentioned being asexual offhand because it was relevant to a story, and my friend (who I’d known for close to a year!) then started a story that also involved an aside about being asexual. I was so caught off guard.

  3. Mxtrmeike13 says:

    After a while of telling people in the LGBTQ community about my being asexual and getting the obligatory “But, do you still…you know…” (mines masturbatory gesture), I’ve started just not telling people about my asexual orientation. However, lately I’ve found a few good friends, and even a recent hairdresser, who have taken it in stride and kept up the natural flow of the conversation, rather than stopping everything to grill me on personal details of my sex life.

  4. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Hmm. I can’t quite decide. My best friend was the first person outside meetups whom I told about me being asexual. She had a myriad of questions, and the next day, we were discussing some love song and I was able to actually joke about being ace and she understood.
    The second favorite: I was confessing to another friend about being a damn coward, she said “cool”, asked a couple questions and accepted that I could be a fangirl at the same time.
    And three: my dad and his wife. I’d agonized for days until I wrote them a coming out e-mail, and they were, hey, no panic, we already know. They’d figured it out from the flags on my car.

  5. Siggy says:

    Some of my at-the-time favorite responses, I later decided I didn’t like. For instance, when people tell me they already knew or suspected. I used to be happy that people weren’t giving me a hard time. But now it bothers me because I wonder what sort of assumptions and stereotypes people were working on.

    • Sciatrix says:

      This is also the case for me. Once I had a person excitedly exclaim that now they knew “one person from EVERY sexual orientation!” At the time I was charmed, but now I think it’s kind of tokenistic and a little bit creepy.

      I actually don’t think I’ve ever had someone go “yeah, I already knew that.” Mostly I’ve had people go “OH. I knew you were some flavor of not straight, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out WHAT.” I find that considerably less annoying, I think, because it’s less presumptuous?

  6. queenieofaces says:

    Some of the better ones include: “I already knew.” (Although, like Siggy, I then wonder what stereotypes they’re working off of; in the case of a couple of really close friends and my brother, I’m fairly sure they just figured it out by spending time with me, though.) “Oh, I’ve heard of that before!” (In one case, a friend then sent me the article she’d read about it, which turned out to be one I’d never seen before!) “Oh, me too!” and/or “Oh, I have another friend who’s ace!”

  7. I was at dinner with friends, and the topic came around to sex. Most of my friends know I am panromantic, since I’m really open about it, but one girl didn’t know yet. So I mentioned it and she seemed startled. Then, best reaction ever: “wait, I’m confused… Doesn’t that mean you, like, self-reproduce? How exactly does that work?” It was a really adorable response, and I always prefer questions like that to comments on how “asexuality doesn’t exist.” I agree with the post– I’m fine with curioisity. Although I do find it funny when people ask if I masturbate, because that is rarely a question that non-asexuals get asked.

  8. Norah says:

    My partner’s reaction was probably my favourite. Of course, we already knew that I was asexual in the sense of just knowing what I was like in that area and we’d already found a good way for our relationship and sex life to work, but when I found the word and that so many other people were like me, I showed him some internetsites. “Hey look, I’m asexual!” (happy voice).
    So he read some stuff, and said something like “but we already knew most of this about you, didn’t we? Is there new info I’m missing?”
    And I said “nothing new, but now I know I’m not just weird in some other way, there’s a lot of people just like me and there’s a word for us and a black ring thing and everything, isn’t that cool!”
    My enthusiasm came across, so he was happy for me. And that was that.

  9. Mark says:

    Reblogged this on Mark Carrigan and commented:
    The responses to this question are really worth reading.

  10. I once came out to a sex and couple therapist to ask her whether she knew any places where I could meet any other asexual people, but she didn’t know what I was talking about. Though I was expecting this answer, it was still quite disappointing.
    I’d love to get a “Really? You’re ace?! Me too!” one day.

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