Question of the Week: November 8th, 2016.

Were you born ace? Did you become ace over time? Did you suddenly become ace?

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary trans, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing World of Warcraft 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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13 Responses to Question of the Week: November 8th, 2016.

  1. As far as I can tell, I’ve always been asexual. I assume it must be innate in me (i.e., I was “born that way”).

  2. luvtheheaven says:

    I’d say none of the above, but if I had to pick I’d say “born that way”. Like Laura said, “I’ve always been this way” is how I’ve always felt. I just hesitate to use the “born” language because honestly, it feels more like as a child it’s Not Applicable, and i measure whether or not I’ve always been (this same degree of) ace based on how I felt at puberty vs. now. For me the answer seems like yes.

  3. elainexe says:

    Born ace. Though I would still say I think some things concerning sexuality have changed over time…just not whether or not I was ace.

  4. Nowhere Girl says:

    I don’t accept the discourse of being “born this way”. For me it’s a discourse which can easily become anti-gay/anti-ace: “It’s not my FAULT, because I was born this way” – for me it opens up doors to very unpleasant expectations: “…and if a non-heteroseual person COULD change, of course they SHOULD”. For me true acceptance doesn’t work like this: we should respect other people’s identities and harmless behaviors no matter what is their source, no matter whether they were decided before someone’s birth or are just a whim, a fancy.
    Honestly, I don’t think I was “born this way”. Chronic illness has pushed me towards being asexual. I suffer from rather severe allergy, my skin just looks bad and I couldn’t fully accept my body. It’s not about hatred or repulsion, it’s about ANGER. I definitely had some asexual-like sentiments at much earlier age than when people start thinking about sex – at that time (since the age of five) it was rather “I’ll never marry”, “I’ll never have children”, “Oh, so this is how exactly conception works? No problem, I can never have this kind of contact”. But I think my allergy was the decisive factor – it made me sex-averse, it made me suffer when even thinking about myself having sex. And yet I’m grateful for that. Sure, I don’t remember being fully healthy, so living with a non-life-threatening chronic illness is in a way a normal condition for me. But I also – partially through identifying as asexual and embracing my sex aversion as a part of my identity – I don’t feel that my illness had robbed me of something precious, I rather feel it has liberated me from this whole entagled mess of compulsory sexuality, compulsory attractiveness, gender conformism, patriarchal limitation of women’s lives. Being asexual and a non-sex-positive feminist, I don’t perceive sex as liberating, I rather feel than in such a culture NOT having sex is more liberating for a woman.

  5. 8faces says:

    I’m a lifelong ace in the sense that I’ve never had sexual attraction. In fact, the kind of attraction that I *now* call sexual attraction as a result of reading many blogs including this one, is something I had no idea existed until I was in my late 30s.

    But… I went into puberty with most of my kinks at least partly formed, a dislike of below-the-belt body parts, and no concept of sex other than baby-making (and I knew I never ever wanted to be a parent). So it’s possible that in different circumstances I *might* have developed some sexual attraction… but I’ll never know.

  6. TreePeony says:

    I think I was born this way. As far as I can remember I’ve never once seriously considered sex and romance in my future, even as a little kid who liked to dress up as a princess. In fact, all my princess fantasies specifically lacked a prince in his traditional role. I always thought of the ‘prince’ character as my best friend. It didn’t occur to me until I was much older that this isn’t how most little girls think.

    And as for whether we’re born into our sexualities or not… I believe most people are. The difference lies in whether you identify it earlier or later, and whether you require a catalyst/trigger for it or not (though this is possibly excluding extreme situations such as sexual abuse/assault). Either one is fine, obviously, and depends on your specific circumstances. For example, I’m aro, ace, don’t want children, not particularly sociable (and therefore not subject to peer pressure re:sex or love), live in a conservative country where people aren’t required to lose their virginity before 18 or talk about their sex life in public, and – above all – came across the right resources (by accident!) right about the time when I noticed something was different, so it was easy for me to identify and accept myself. It may be the exact opposite for someone else, which is also fine as long as they do eventually find an identity they’re comfortable with.

  7. Hollis says:

    It feels like something I’ve always been and unlike my gender, not a thing I had any sort of say in. Sometimes I do wonder if the two interact–if part of my aversion towards sex is due to bottom dysphoria, and it seems like this could be plausible. But thinking about having the “opposite” type of junk is also very off-putting to me in most situations (though I am perpetually envious of those naturally equipped with junk that lets them stand to pee because it’s so darn convenient and trying to wrangle a pee funnel through layers when I’m outdoors in the winter kind of sucks a lot), so I don’t really know, other than feeling like I’ve got a lot of proof about being nonbinary and ace to the core.

  8. livia says:

    yes, i was born ace. this pretty much defines it http://bit.ly/2fo1h0R
    when i saw this comic i immediatly thought about my pre-teen and teen years.

  9. demiandproud says:

    I’d say that feelings and tendencies were always there, and I found a label that fit them closely, yet having this identity did also shape and crystallize those features, so I’d say, just as an active imagination and learning how to read might create a bookwurm, this identity is part caused by what I was, but also made me more who I am.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Lifelong, yes, more or less. “Born that way,” no, I reject that narrative.

    But what does it matter? It shouldn’t, in my opinion.

    • Nowhere Girl says:

      Elizabeth – precisely what I think: it shouldn’t matter, at least as a political issue.
      It’s acceptable as a scientific issue (and I nevertheless prefer knowledge and philosophy to science), but our rights (right of asexual people to be accepted as a distinctive orientation and present in sex ed curriculum, right of homo-/bisexual people to same-sex marriage…) shouldn’t have anything to do with whether we are “born this way”.

  11. Jess says:

    As far as I can tell I’ve always been this way. Sometimes I think that if my life had gone a lot differently I might feel differently about certain things, but ultimately I don’t think so. And when it comes down to it, it’s just not that important to me, whether it was totally nature or if there was some nurture factoring in there too. Explaining it that way (focusing on the ‘reason’) makes me feel like I need to make excuses for myself. I think asexuality is still so invisible in terms of representation that we’ve gotten used to, essentially, explaining ourselves in ways that sound like excuses. I am what I am; how it happened is irrelevant.

    Or, you know, what everyone else in this thread is saying. 🙂

  12. I’ve always been this way so I kind of assume it’s an innate thing. However, I feel like I couldn’t ever have come to a grey-asexual identity without id’ing as asexual first – when I experienced sexual attraction for the first time I doubt I would have been able to recognize it as such without the framework of asexuality. So I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve always actually been grey-a, or whether id’ing as ace “changed” my sexuality or at least my own perception of my sexuality. Which is on the one hand an interesting question, and on the other hand I agree with what others have said here: I am what I am and it doesn’t really matter why or how.

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