Some time last year, the term “sex-favorable” came into use for asexuals who might be willing to have sex in at least some situations. There were also several people who said the term had a few problems, and advocated against it.
The main concerns were as follows:
- It confuses the indifferent/repulsed distinction. The difference between indifferent and repulsed is a matter of comfort, either with sex itself or with thinking about sex. The difference between favorable and not favorable is a matter of willingness to have sex.
- “Sex-favorable” people aren’t willing to have sex all the time. The existence of the term appears to make people forget that.
I think these are valid points, but for me they haven’t stuck. The reason is that critics of “sex-favorable” did not propose any alternative terms. They didn’t think any alternative would work.
I remember what it was like to have no terms. What I remember is lots of in depth discussion of sex-repulsed and sex-indifferent aces. And even though everyone obviously thought about the issue a lot, and even though there’s an extremely obvious extension from negative to neutral to positive, nobody would even mention the possibility of aces who like sex. At best they merely tolerated sex. It was all rather invalidating.
I mostly agree with what Talia wrote on the subject. Although “sex-favorable” elides many details, having a term is preferable to not having a term.
Furthermore, I believe “sex-favorable” didn’t create problems, it merely revealed pre-existing ones. The fact that no alternative words would suffice is a major sign that it has nothing to do with the words.
For example, you are probably already familiar with the tendency of asexual people to turn allosexual experiences into a platonic ideal. Allosexual people are described as incapable of living without sex; sexual attraction is described as seeing someone and thinking “I’d like to have sex with that person.”
Part of me wants to use a sex-favorable identity as leverage against the idealization of allosexuals. After all, you’re not just caricaturing people outside the community, but people inside the ace community too.