Question of the Week: September 27th, 2016

Do you have or want children? Does this have anything to do with your asexuality? 

I am particularly curious how sex-averse or sex-repulsed aces feel about this question.

I personally hope to never have children of my own, but I don’t think this has anything to do with asexuality for me. I have never been a kid person and I don’t think children fit into my life. Environmental reasons have strengthened my decision to not procreate. I might considering adopting if my partner absolutely had to have children, but they’re really not for me.

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is petuniaparty.tumblr.com
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27 Responses to Question of the Week: September 27th, 2016

  1. andowyn says:

    Yes, I have 3 daughters. It was expected of me to do the wife/mother thing so I did. For 7 years I did my “wife’s duty” & I was miserable! I love my daughters & now my grandchildren. I thought something was wrong with me but now I know better… Just because you are asexual doesn’t mean that you don’t want children… you just don’t want sex…

  2. Hollis says:

    Children are a big HELL NO from me. I’ve never liked them, I don’t enjoy being around them (with some specific exceptions of certain friends’ and relatives’ kids), and by no means do I want to devote nor am I *capable* of devoting 18+ years of my life being on call 24/7 for another person’s well-being (I have vast respect for people who are capable and want to do so though!).

    I am sad that I have no bio siblings and my siblings-of-choice are unlikely to have kids, and the aunt/uncle or mentor relationship to kids is one that I’d be interested in.

    I’m pretty sex-repulsed, but not being interested in kids or liking them is a different beast to being repulsed by sex and completely horrified by the idea of pregnancy. Kids are small, demanding people and I’m just not a fan. And with all my current health problems (yay chronic illnesses!), I couldn’t in good conscience become a parent because I’m simply not capable of being there for another person a lot of the time, or being able to anticipate when I will be able to be there and when I won’t.

  3. queenieofaces says:

    I don’t really want kids. I actually really like kids, so I’m very excited to be an aunt (or godmother or adoptive aunt etc.). But I can’t bear kids (yay, PTSD) and my job would make it really difficult to raise them. But even if I could figure out a way to juggle kids and my career and even if I could adopt or foster, I’m just…not that interested.

  4. Sennkestra says:

    I would definitely like children, although I still don’t know whether I would go for biological children or adopt. If I did have biological children, I’d likely go for artificial insemination of some form, but it though the exact route would depend on legal/financial requirements that I’d have to do a lot more research on.

    For me, the big stumbling block isn’t the issue of sex/conception/adoption – I have enough flexibility in my attitude towards sex and financial resources and legal research-know how that I could find a way to make that work, whichever path i choose. Instead, the main issue for me is finding a reliable co-parent (or two?); while there are a lot of great single parents out there, raising a child by myself is not something I would choose for myself if I have any choice in the matter. But – and this is directly because of being an aro ace who doesn’t date or otherwise pursue traditional romantic/sexual relationships – I don’t know that I’ll ever find myself in a stable enough partnership that I’d be comfortable bringing in a child.

    While I can talk a lot about how my ideal relationship would be some kind of dedicated, committed, lifelong queerplatonic partner with whom I could buy a house or condo and share finances and raise kids and all that, the chances of that actually happening are….very slim. A more practical expectation is having a series of casual medium-term roommates with whom I am friendly but not particularly committed, which is not a situation that’s amenable to children.

    In the mean time, I guess I just have to hope that someone I know well will have kids and let me be the cool auntie.

    • Rachel says:

      You and me both. The topic of children is something that I struggle with. There are a lot of factors that war with each other:

      – I’d like to be a mom, but I’m not sure that I am willing or capable of serving a single parent, in part due to disability.
      – Finding a suitable co-parent would go a long way toward putting me at ease with the above. But as an aro ace who struggles with whether I want a primary relation/whether I could sustain one/whether I could get one even if I wanted to, my ability to find said suitable co-parent would be difficult at best. I’m toying with the idea of sympathetic family members to fill that in, but I can’t much more than speculate right now.
      – Being a single aro ace, my options for biological children are limited to artificial insemination, which comes with a ton of legal fine-print.
      – My family of history is filled with people, who, quite honestly, never should have had children at all, and that has left a strong negative impression on me about having children if one is not ready/capable/willing to parent well or safely.

  5. Quandtuniverse says:

    I really, really want children, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to find people my age, who are also accepting of my demographics, who also want children. Among my peers, people often say, “it’s okay to not want kids”. But nobody says, “it’s okay to be ace, poly, and genderqueer, and still want kids”. As mentioned by someone else above, part of the struggle is finding someone to co-parent.

    • Kasey Weird says:

      I 100% relate to this. I desperately want kids, but am part of a generation that generally doesn’t. Top that off with non-binary ace-spectrum queerness and my options are pretty limited. Maybe I could afford to have kids on my own in a few years, but I don’t think I would have to emotional capacity for it, so :/

  6. Bee says:

    I’m a sex-indifferent asexual with typically female reproductive organs. Never have I ever wanted children in my life. I can’t imagine myself having biological children for several reasons, but I don’t think my asexuality is part of that.
    I don’t particularly like children. They are a financial burden. Society makes me choose between a great career or having children. Raising children is a great responsibility. But one of the biggest reasons is that I’m extremely scared of going through pregnancy and childbirth. – I know too many horror stories and I don’t want my body to go through any of that.
    I’m thinking that if maybe I’ll have a partner who wants to have children we could adopt together or they could get biological children if they wanted. But as it stands today: No children for Bee.

  7. Yoonede says:

    Yes, I do want children. However, I don’t think I would be willing to have sex again to conceive, and I don’t think I’d be financially able to pursue other options of having a child.

    I’m 38 years old, so biological time is something I think about now. It took me 37 years to figure out I was asexual, not suffering from a sexual dysfunction, and there were years and years and years wasted trying to “fix” myself to fit into the normative path. I figured I’d get well and have sex with my husband again and have a baby with him. I was chasing after that impossible dream instead of really trying to listen to my inner guidance about what the best path for me was.

    I’m afraid that I may have woken up too late for it to be realistic for me to be a mother, and I feel really sad about this.

    Like the person said above me, I definitely wouldn’t want to raise a child alone. But I don’t want a romantic relationship. I don’t know how likely I’d be to find what I want: A best friend and loyal, committed lifetime roommate who wants to raise a child with me, share household burdens with me, and share a life together (a life that involves zero sex and zero romance–at least, not between the two of us).

  8. luvtheheaven says:

    I wrote up most of my answer to this one year ago (11 months ago), here: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/being-an-aro-ace-and-desiring-foster-andor-adoptive-parenthood/ 😉

    The fact that it was around puberty, around age 13-ish, the age when people who actually are heterosexual or bisexual in a way that means sex-that-has-the-possibility-of-pregnancy could start to be conceived of as a positive thing in someone’s mind, a fantasy even that you’d end up with someone and together the baby made would be proof hat you two had “made” that kind of “love”… that I started realizing I’d want to adopt, means even if it doesn’t FEEL like it’s related to being a sex-averse asexual person who is somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, and it really doesn’t… maybe the fact that I became determined to pursue non-biological parenthood for my own personal future WAS subconsciously, related to the sexual orientation that I’d only fully figure out a decade later. Then again it really might be coincidence, as I was influenced by this desire in large part by the fiction I was consuming, by my abusive mother and my constant thoughts of how it “could be worse” in order to justify why i wasn’t trying harder to escape, etc.

    But I’ve always wanted to be a parent, I’m pretty sure, ever since I was a very little kid.

    And I think it’s nice and convenient that not wanting to ever have sex in my future (because yes I am sex-averse) doesn’t complicate my goal of adopting kids. Because it could’ve complicated my goal if my goal was biological kids.

    I specifically want to help children who need it. I also personally want to be a parent, and I definitely see avoiding needing to go through pregnancy as a perk to going the non-biological route but if a, for instance, a partner who could themselves get pregnant wanted to somehow have biological children and raise them with me, I’m 90% sure still wouldn’t be interested in going that route. Creating new children to bring into the world is not what I really want. I really want to be a foster parent first, and eventually get to adoption, of children who already are in the world and need parents.

    A friend I made over a year ago turned into a queerplatonic partner earlier this year, and for four months we had a great queerplatonic relationship, and I saw the future of a co-parent to raise kids with in reach. For me, part of the biggest pain of the break-up: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2016/07/23/risk-courage-disappointment-resilience-everything-changing-me-catching-up-part-3-of-3/ was worrying I might never find a new partner with whom to raise children – SPECIFICALLY non-biological children.

    Honestly though, I’m pretty hopeful now, more hopeful than I’ve ever been, that having kids the way I want, with a co-parent (or two!) is actually possible. First of all, falling into that qpp was pretty easy. Secondly, I’m still young enough that there’s time (I’m 26 at the moment). Third, I see more aces than ever – people who might actually want the kind of partnership I’m looking for that doesn’t include traditional romance and includes no sex – expressing desires for kids, including being open to or specifically wanting foster parenthood and/or adoptive parenthood!

    For a while I thought all aces didn’t like kids, didn’t want kids, etc, that’s the impression I was getting, many people explained their journey to aromanticism as including, even before they knew romantic orientations existed, that even from a young age they “never wanted to get married OR HAVE KIDS” and it just… it does sometimes feel like that’s part of the orientation to a lot of folks lol!

    And if you did find an ace around my age who wanted kids, they were thinking purely biological kids on their horizon, which is completely incompatible with my desires.

    But I’ve been immersed in the ace community for 3 years now, the in-person one for over 2, and I know I’m not the only one. I would definitely be willing to do co-parenting with a non-ace if I stumbled across someone with similar enough goals as I have, but at this point knowing there are other aces who want *something compatible with what I want* is what is the biggest thing giving me hope that within the next few years, I might indeed find someone to pursue this goal with. And I’m cautiously optimistic. 😉

  9. Sara K. says:

    On the one hand, I would like to be a mother. I’m not really concerned about the impact it would have on my ‘career’ because I’m not a career-oriented person at all, and I am pretty sure I could work out a way to get pregnant that I would find acceptable. However, I am concerned about the environmental impact of increasing the human population (and I have misgivings about adoption), and, like some of the other people have commented, I would not want to be a single parent, and finding a suitable co-parent as an aromantic asexual is … challenging.

  10. Siggy says:

    I used to have a life vision of having a wife and kids but obviously I dropped that idea, and now I don’t really have an opinion either way.

  11. Elle says:

    I’m a sex repulsed asexual and so any children I have would not be conceived personally/ by natural means. I don’t know if my sexuality has an effect on this but the idea of being pregnant is unsettling and makes me very uncomfortable. And so I know that any children I have will be adopted. And I’m not fussed on weather or not that happens. If my partner wants kids then okay, but if they don’t then that’s okay too, I would very much depend of what they wanted. I can’t say if my sexuality is the cause of my indifferent to having children because 1) I don’t know any different 2) there are non asexual women who are indifferent also. My Opinion/ best guess is; my indifference to having children is just a result of my character and my adverse reaction to the thought of being pregnant is probably a result of my sexuality.

  12. Writer Ace says:

    I don’t want children primarily because I hate children. I remember being 10 or 12 or so and talking to my best friend (who’s adopted) about adopting children because I didn’t like the idea of the sex and pregnancy required to have biological children (a conversation I have looked back on as one of my many early indicators of being ace, along with things like the fact that what I feared the most about getting married when I was little was the wedding night). I also have (oscillatingly) severe depression and anxiety issues, and while I am high functioning, it would not go well with screaming anxiety-inducing children. A lot of those issues also come from my parents and in particular my mother, and I know myself well enough to know that I would probably make some of the same mistakes as her, which is something I would never want to do to a child.

    All in all, I will be happy if I never have children, and one thing that I see as a blessing of being a (generally) sex-repulsed asexual is that I will never (willingly) be in a situation where having children by accident is a possibility.

  13. elizhop1 says:

    I have one child who is now 17. I always wanted children, and thought my lack of desire just meant I was a “good virgin” (although, looking back, there were other early indicators I was ace) until I actually got married. Conception was almost as painful & traumatic as birth. Like some previous commenters, I had people try to “fix” me, until I fully identified as ace. I’m 42 now, and only been out for about 5 years. It was really hard to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be having any more children. (I couldn’t even adopt, because they said I wasn’t “emotionally robust” enough). I’m so glad to finally read about other people like me. I was starting to think there were only aromatics out there.

  14. I have always wanted children, but for a while I thought my asexuality and sex-aversion would complicate this or even make it impossible. Then it turned out I was actually more grey-a/demi and only averse to having sex with people I’m not sexually attracted to, so that makes things a bit easier. Still, if it doesn’t work out with the one person I’m attracted to, I’m afraid I’ll never be sexually attracted to anyone else. In that case, I’m not sure whether I’ll be willing to have sex just to have children. So although for me wanting kids and wanting sex are two entirely different things, they do kind of complicate each other.

  15. TreePeony says:

    I’m sex averse, and I do not want children. I can’t say it’s completely unrelated to my dislike for sex, either. I love kids…as long as they’re someone else’s. I practically brought up my 12-years-younger sister because her birth coincided with a very busy time in my family, so I know I don’t have a commitment issue or capability problem. It’s just that having a husband, being pregnant, giving birth, raising a child, looking out for them even after they get a job/get married and leave home, all sounds like such a boring, useless, annoying, troublesome thing. The world has plenty of children without me having to bring more into the world, the way I see it. I’d never consider adoption, either.

    My mother often warns me that I’ll regret my decision when I’m 70 and have no one to so much as check in on whether I’m dead or alive, and I do realise that isolating myself from the world (I’m aromantic, too, so a partner is unlikely to ever be a possibility, since a QP relationship’s something of a pipe dream) is going to come back and bite me one day when I’m old and grey, but… What’s the point of being unhappy for 45 years so that I can be somewhat comfortable for 10?

    • luvtheheaven says:

      Anyone who decides to become a parent because the kid will be obligated to take care of you when you’re old is setting up a recipe for resentment and problems on both sides of that relationship.

      It’d be nice if the societies we lived in acknowledged the other options elderly people have other than their children helping, and if we made it less of a “problem” for someone to reach a certain level of old-age-fragility/dementia when they don’t have kids because more and more people don’t.

      • Sara K. says:

        Yes, counting on children to take care of you in old age comes with … so many problems. For example, I had a great-aunt who had three children. Did any of them take care of her in her old age? Nope. Two of them died before she did, and the third one cut off all contact with her because they had a really bad personal relationship with each other.

        Some people have suggested that not having children makes it easier to dedicate time to cultivating strong friendships which can support one in old age just as well as children. I do not know what research has to say about the effectiveness of this strategy. I do know that there is research which shows that old people who have regular contact with young children are happier and healthier, but it does not seem to matter whether or not those young children are family relatives or not (and correlation is not causation – it’s possible that it is the elders who are already happier and healthier who have more opportunities to be with young children).

        • Hollis says:

          I don’t know about research, but personal experience–I would be far, far more on board to help care for some of my good friends that are my parents’ age should they need some help in like 10-20 years than I would be to care for my parents.

          But uh, I don’t exactly have a good relationship with my parents, nor do I anticipate that changing. I know I’ll feel some obligation to take care of my parents, both because I’m an only child, and because as a young adult I’ve become dependent on my parents due to some pretty serious health issues, and despite our poor relationship, my mom has really come to bat for me at yelling at medical professionals until they do something instead of trying to tell me I’m fine (when she’s not yelling at me for not being fine).

          But also–my friends and I are, relatively speaking, equals in our relationship. Everybody is an adult, even if sometimes that adult is a bit of a hot mess. My parents and I? Not equals, will never be equals, and they like to remind me of this all the time. It also helps that my friends have other people in their life, should something happen, so the sole burden wouldn’t fall on me. My parents? Yeah, not really. It’s pretty much just me, especially if we discount people who are their age, in which case it is SOLELY me. Based off of my data set of my parents and my 2 friends my parents’ age, not having kids is really the way to go to have strong relationships with people who will help you in old age.

          That said, if you REALLY want to ensure that someone will take care of you in your old age, become a priest. My neighbor was a priest and had probably well over a dozen people helping him out (excluding medical personnel) when he was living at home and dealing with a bunch of health problems that rendered him not capable of doing a heck of a lot. Actually, he almost had too many people helping him out, as he was able to come home far sooner than he should have because nobody picked up on how little he was capable of doing since everybody was only doing 1 or 2 tasks for him and assumed he was doing most of the rest, when in fact he had 3-4 people coming over to do tasks for him every day, and those 3-4 people got asked only once or twice a week for help.

  16. luvtheheaven says:

    I’m glad a couple people who had children prior to realizing they were ace have commented!! This is an important narrative that is actually pretty common and often seems forgotten within the community.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Uh, well, I guess in an alternate universe I could see myself having kids? But like, in this reality… my life would have to DRASTICALLY change in order for that to even be the slightest possibility. I do not have the resources (energy, income, mental well-being) to care for children. So I really don’t think I would make a good parent. I wouldn’t be able to be there for kids in the way that they would need. My own parents set a terrible example, with my father being abusive and my mother being really… just not there for me, particularly on an emotional level. I wouldn’t want to end up parenting like that, and I wouldn’t trust my parents to help out with babysitting either (as my grandparents often did for me while I was little). Not having structural and social support like that pretty much rules children out.

    Nor do I have a partner who would be willing/able to co-parent—C is adamantly opposed, and has left previous partners over it. Even if we both wanted to, we cannot have biological kids and adoption is not an option either, because the level of bureaucratic scrutiny alone is not something I would personally be willing to put up with, since it would exacerbate my anxiety. The chances of us actually being deemed acceptable by such an organization are laughable as well.

    So I guess probably the only situations where I might end up parenting would be 1) if a child I am already related to, or some of my partner’s nieces/nephews, needed a home (I would not be willing to take in all five though); or 2) if I end up dating someone who already has kids one day.

    I’m pretty much destined to stay a weird aunt, I think. Which is fine, I think I’m starting to get the hang of that.

  18. Nowhere Girl says:

    I wouldn’t say I dislike children, I RESPECT them and I’m OK about taking care of a friend’s daughter for two days or so. But I definitely wouldn’t be able to raise them 24/7, never wanted to, and as for the very biological process… Two books for children about “where do babies come from” were some of the first books I read by myself, at the age of 5 (rather written for slightly older children, around 7-8 years or so, but I learned reading at that age and my mom preferred giving me the books than explaining everything herself). So no highly sexual details, no bloody details, but even in this childish version pregnancy and especially chilbirth scared the shit out of me, it was a hugely intense impulsive reaction of “NO WAY THAT’S GONNA HAPPEN TO ME”. At that time I started openly declaring that I won’t have children when I grow up. (I’m quite sure that my family didn’t treat it seriously, but 30 years have passed and I have never changed my mind, I haven’t felt a desire to have children even for a second.) Actually – I can’t really say to what extent it is related to my asexuality. I’m not sure how much did I know about sex at the age of 5 – I don’t have these books anymore, but I don’t think they went into all those details about putting something somewhere, ugh. Especially the longer book, probably written rather for children around the age of 8-10, did include some cross-sections of reproductive organs, but it was still, I think, rather on the level of “When Mom and Dad love each other and want to have a baby…”. I remember that, yet in kindergarten, some other girl told me that “you can have a baby without having a husband” – I kinda understood “having a husband” as a metaphor for this biological process that thought that it means that a woman could have a baby without any contact with a man (it scared me and I could only hope that it would never happen to me) – implicite: I already planned never to marry as well.

  19. Unnamed hermit says:

    In the last year or so, I have started to think that it might be nice to have a child. Just one, because I really don’t think I would have the energy for more. But I doubt I will ever have the income to raise a child on my own. Right now I’m more interested in finding a good roommate/partner (someone who feels like family) that I’m emotionally close to so we can share expenses. It would be great if we could buy a house. I’m hoping my younger sister has kids because I’d like to be an aunt, and I think my parents would get a kick out of a grandkid or two. I don’t think my thoughts and feelings about children stem from my asexuality or aromanticism, because the sexual and/or romantic people I know vary widely in their desire for kids.

  20. As a kid and into my teens the thought of having children terrified me because I had never been around any before my cousins started having them as I am an only child and was the youngest in the neighborhood I grew up in. On top of that I’ve had a chronic pain condition for as far back as I can remember, which makes pregnancy sound unbearable. (Once my cousin told me she could feel her organs moving back into place after giving birth earlier in the week and I nearly threw up on the baby.)

    After I got over my fear of infants and learned how to interact with kids I started to really want some, and still do. My mom comes from a big family so I’m a little obsessed with the idea of having more than just one or three (I like odd numbers). I decided I want to adopt children because that way I could get them without having to be pregnant or passing on any of the many bad genes I carry.

    Really the biggest challenge is being in a place where I could afford more mouths to feed, without having to find someone to co-parent with. I’m on the aro-spectrum and really would prefer to be a single parent with help from friends/relatives, rather than share responsibility with a live in partner.

    The way my asexuality influences this decision is that even if I was healthy enough to be willing to pass on my genetics, I am definitely not willing to have sex as a way to get children, which is something a lot of people outside the ace community don’t really understand. So as it is, “Sorry, I’m sick,” serves as a pretty convenient excuse against biological children.

  21. teenbutch says:

    I would love a child!! But definitely not my own (biologically). Being asexual and non-binary means that, to me, pregnancy just feels like something I wouldn’t want my body to go through. My orientation even makes adoption more difficult- for me and for the child- but I still hope that it will be possible one day.

  22. Max says:

    I don’t know if being ace has any part of it, but I wouldn’t want babies, really young kids. I’ve worked a lot with elementary and middle school students and would definitely consider adoption/fostering or possibly even teaching, but I feel no need to have my own children.

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