Question of the Week: October 7th, 2014

One of the more common “positive” responses that allosexual people often have to aces is “Wow, you must have so much free time for hobbies because you’re not interested in sex!”

Do you think that you have significantly more time than the allosexual people you know?

Speaking for myself, I don’t think so–for one thing, I spend way too much time writing about asexuality for that to be the case! For another, I think my relationships are roughly as time-consuming as sexual ones would be. I think the time-consuming element of primary relationships comes from the fact that people are people, not from sex itself per se. What do you think?

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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14 Responses to Question of the Week: October 7th, 2014

  1. Isaac says:

    I think you are right. When I had a platonic relationship, it consumed as much time as if it had been sexual. Otherwise, if I devote to reading and writing about asexuality as much time as I want, as I’ve done these days, this steals me time for hobbies and even for productive work.

  2. Weighing in as an allosexual person here (I hope that’s ok – your question is tangential to something I’ve been talking about lately), I think that’s a weird response anyway. It’s like saying that sex is a thing you have to do rather than a thing that you want to spend time on so choose to do so. It’s like being writer and telling someone “wow, you must have so much free time for hobbies because you’re not interested in writing!” It’s not like if you don’t sleep or have sex you’ll have health issues. As opposed to me (someone who got the short end of the genetic stick and needs way more sleep than the average person) saying, “wow, you must have so much free time because you don’t have to sleep as long as I do!” Where, if I don’t get the sleep I need I’ll have actual health problems. In that case, I actually have 2 hours less time every day than other people I know, and if I choose to use those 2 hours to do something other than sleep, it will sooner rather than later be a problem.

    • Carmilla DeWinter says:

      Good simile about the writing. It’s my most important and second most time eating occupation. I would’t know where to find the time for a partner anyway without seriuosly diminishing my non-productive alone-time for reading, sewing and stuff.
      I’m sorry about your sleeping issues, btw. That does sound like it throws a spanner in most works.

  3. notunprepared says:

    I have loads of free time, far more than my sister for instance (who is allosexual, alloromantic and has a boyfriend). But that is mainly because she works and has ten thousand hobbies, whereas I only work part time.

    What being single/aro/ace does for me is gives me more time and social energy* to spend with my friends. If I had a romantic/sexual partner I would be spending a good chunk of that time with them, and not my friends. But that’s hardly sex time. Sex doesn’t take up like, all your time – maybe an hour per day at the most. Partners take up your time because you’re doing stuff with that person – dating things.

    I think it’s a complete myth, if they’re talking about how much time is spent actually having sex. If you add in the time finding sex partners and thinking or being distracted about sex, then yeah sure I guess. But asexuals spend time finding partners (moreso I’d say, simply because our dating pools are so much smaller), and we spend a lot of time thinking about sex because you just can’t get away from it. Sex is everywhere, and you can’t avoid it.

    *I’m introverted and have depression, so I have to like, budget the amount of time I spend with people so I don’t get completely exhausted.

    • I’ve sometimes seen this type of comment come up in terms of having children. In which case, yes, I do have significantly more free time than people with children do. As notunprepared notes here, it seems to have more to do with having a significant relationship or not. There’s an embedded assumption that asexuals are aromantic or at least are not in significant primary relationships. I’m not sure why they assume this has anything to do with sex. (And, of course, some aces have sex.)

  4. L says:

    It’s probably rooted in the assumption that asexuality = celibacy, because having sex, planning sex, and having sex as a “hobby” can indeed be very time consuming. Back when I had a bit more of a libido, sex totally 100% did take up a lot more of my time. Now that I don’t, I can focus on other hobbies.

    But it’s not like I went from not-ace to ace… just libidinous to non-.

    • Brin says:

      But it’s not like I went from not-ace to ace… just libidinous to non-.

      That’s pretty much what I was thinking. As I understand it, “You must have so much more time” is actually about sex drive, as measured through frequency of sexual fantasies, rather than sexual attraction.

      Three weeks in four (I’m one of those people whose sex drive changes with menstrual phase), my frequency is such that if I weren’t fantasising about sex I’d probably just be fantasising about something else, and wouldn’t actually be more productive. Not experiencing ovulatory sex drive spikes would be pretty sweet, but just being asexual isn’t enough to get me that. (Also, there are so many non-sex-related crappy things that menstrual cycles could do to me, but don’t, that I still feel like I’m getting off lightly. That’s maybe a bit tangential, though.)

  5. luvtheheaven says:

    I think it’s true that having a boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other/spouse/queerplatonic partner etc who you spend many hours with per week means you have less free time to do things alone/to hang out with your other friends/etc. If you change this from a reaction to asexuality to instead be a reaction to aromanticsm, then it might make more sense.

    While aromantic people *can* happily involve themselves in romantic relationships, queerplatonic partnerships, etc, *if* the aromantic person is explicitly saying “I’m happy being single/alone”, then yeah, they have more free time.

    I think after break-ups, after getting past the painful ‘grieving the relationship’ period if there is one or perhaps even *during* that period, many people realize that there are some plus sides to being single, and one of the plus sides is a lot more free time. Sometimes these people realize this fact as early as the time when they get into their first romantic relationship, as they realize how much free time they have now lost. People can feel suffocated by the amount of time they spend talking on the phone/Skyping each day with their girlfriend. People can feel torn and forced to choose between hanging out with their boyfriend or with their other friends when they never felt torn before.

    It all depends on the relationship, but I think it is quite common to not allot enough personal time for yourself when you’re in a brand new romantic relationship, especially. Your entire life becomes consumed by the fact that you’re dating someone now. That’s why they react this way to news that it is possible to be uninterested in ever getting into such a relationship. They are envious, on some level, of this fact, possibly because they are putting too much of their own time into their own romantic relationship, and it’s more than they actually want to be spending on their relationship.

  6. I’m pretty sure I seem to have more free time than everyone I know, ace or not. But I don’t think it has to do with asexuality, of course, I think it’s just that I tend to work hard for short periods of time, and then spend a long time doing “cooldown” activities like video games, walks, talking to friends, etc. So it’s possible for me to work as hard as possible, and still spend several hours every day not working- and that makes it seem like I have a lot of free time (even if it’s time where I can only do things that don’t exhaust me at that moment).

    Amusingly, I also seem to have a much bigger social circle than most people I know, probably because I seem to have the time to casually hang out with more people. I’d imagine if I made a priority out of having sex, that social circle would just have more sexual relationships- and I’d be spending just as much time on relationships as I currently do.

  7. queenieofaces says:

    I appear to have less free time than most of the allo people I know because I am a graduate student and a workaholic and an overachiever. :’D (Also, I may not be sexually active, but have you considered how much time you can spend cuddling? I have. It is a lot of time.)

    • Dragon says:

      In Fox’s and my case, I’m pretty sure that having sex would cut an unacceptable amount into our cuddling time. If it didn’t, it would just cut into our sleep time, and I feel like that would get unsustainable fast.

  8. Hollis says:

    I’ve found that I had significantly more “free time” when I was dating my ex. Of course, that’s probably because we did things together that I would normally do alone, and setting a certain amount of time a few set days a week meant that my time was more structured, so I could be more efficient and also better at planning the rest of my life and work out when I could do things with other people.

    Also, I’ve found that my main “free-time limiting factor” is my depression. Because wow, when I’m not depressed, I get so much more accomplished and still wind up with time to spare. When I’m really depressed, I’m horribly inefficient at everything, so spend way more time doing everything, and leave myself almost no time to do fun things (which helps contribute to the depression and it’s just the BEST spiral ever).

  9. Pegasus says:

    I don’t think my asexuality has much to do with the amount of free time I have. Though I don’t spend multiple days a week with a single person like some people in sexual-romantic relationships, nor do I have a massive social life – so I probably spend more time on my own than many allosexual people. Though the same could probably be said comparing myself to asexuals in romantic relationships.

    But regardless, I still spend enough of my free time on hobbies, so there isn’t much time I have that hasn’t already been scheduled for me doing something. To me it seems strange counting time devoted to being with a partner (or having sex) as not free, but time devoted to hobbies as free-time.

  10. Emily says:

    I’ve always though this was a really weird idea in the first place, mostly for the reasons that mybodymystory said in their comment..

    I’m part of an extremely demanding program of study at my university AND I’m a student-athlete, so I do not have very much free time for a social life to begin with. In this sense, being demiromantic and ace actually does seem to be nicely compatible with my lifestyle in the sense that I don’t feel a great loss when I’m not dating someone, and dating or an active love/sex life is really something that I don’t have time for at this particular moment in my life.. but I think that’s really far more specific to my own personality than to aces as a whole.

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