A Life

A weekly podcast about asexuality

A Life #3: Legitimacy of Asexuality

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Starting regular production, we tackle one of the biggest questions the community has to constantly face. Are we legitimate as a sexual orientation or should we even think about it in those terms? We are also joined by our first guest host, Alexa.

Blog of the week:
Asexual Explorations Blog

Legitimacy of Asexuality


September 1, 2009 - Posted by | Podcast


  1. LOVE the podcast guys, can I be a guest sometime?

    And I love the way that you approach the discussion of asexuality as an orientation- very respectful of people’s right to define themselves on their own terms, which is key!

    And about the shirt- I own it becuase it’s fun, I wear it for media shots as a deliberate framing strategy. NO ONE takes that statement literally. People associate sex with things that are youthful and energetic, like parties. There’s an unstated assumption that NO asexuals party, becuase partying is a sexy (and therefore sexual) activity. Saying “asexuals party hardest” is a fun way to challenge that notion. The message isn’t that all asexuals love to party, it’s that the asexual community behaves in interesting and unexpected ways and so it’s best not to make assumptions about us.

    Comment by AVENguy | September 3, 2009

  2. I’m in the process of listening right now– I can’t do anything else while I listen to podcasts and still focus on them– so over an hour is long to me! 🙂

    Funny how all your comments so far pick up on the partying…I like that shirt because while I don’t get much chance to party these days, I love a good party, alcoholic or not. In college, I partied pretty hard at times. I’d have partied harder, but when it comes to drinking, I HATE throwing up. The people that party harder than me puke their guts out and then go back to the party. Not sexy. 😛

    Asperger’s isn’t like a car crash (yes, driving might be harder for aspies, but still)…And I remember reading that comment on AVEN and it was just so odd: JUST FACE IT YOU ALL HAVE ASPERGERS!! Uh…cause that makes sense. A lot of us do seem extremely introverted, but that has little to do with AS. There’s been a lot of news about autism and Asperger’s lately, so I think people will, unfortunately, throw the word around without really knowing what it means.

    Also, I would accept that asexuals have no orientation just as atheists have no religion. But since I’m so big into community, I think that it’s advantageous to identify as an orientation. It seems easier to organize over an orientation than a lack of one.

    Comment by Ily | September 4, 2009

  3. Regarding my comment that you read, after making it, I realized the wording might not be the best. A careful redaction critic will observe that that part was edited when copied onto the poll thread on AVEN…

    My own approach to the question of “Is asexuality legitimate?” is that it’s kind of pointless to argue. I don’t think that it’s arguments that are going to convince people of anything. It’ll be through understanding the experiences of asexuals. Also, I feel like attempts to argue against negative responses to asexuality or to complain about reinforcing negative stereotypes, etc. has the real danger of sounding defensive. I don’t think this podcast did that, but it is something I’ve seen other places in the asexual community (and have, admittedly, done before.) When people do this, is doesn’t really persuade the unpersuaded, and it can grate on those who agree with you. I feel that the best approach is simply to assume that asexuality is legitimate and move from there.

    Comment by pretzelboy | September 4, 2009

  4. 1. I think in the course of education and visibility initiatives we have compromised the essentially vague nature of asexuality and misidentified the central argument of asexuality. This resulted in terrible decisions such as printing those shirts. (The passion against those shirt may be a sign that David Jay’s times are up…sort of like the champions of the Civil rights movements of the 60s need to let the movement be infused with modern thinking. We appreciate our founders and the hard work they have done but…)

    2. Asexuality is not legit because it does not need to prove itself. Really, sexuality in general does not need to be proven. (Image of homosexual frat boy forced to perform intercourse with a female prostitute)

    3. For some reason I do not think it is necessary to “come out”. If one does need to come out, it ought to clear up confusion between themselves and romantic interests, so as not to send “mixed” signals. The game will be played for itself and without a real, imagined, or perceived “endgame” distorting authenticity joy in any given relationship.

    4. Someone mentioned in the podcast that in comparison to the other minorities, asexuals have only recently realized themselves. All I have to say about that is: for some of us, identifying as asexual is an intellectual exercise.

    5. Looking back over my adolescence I believe I was an inverse asexual, or practiced unbridled biromanticism, which means I was attracted to everybody. EVERYBODY. (With a heterosexual/female leaning because of fear of homophobic-violence and -hostility in the society.) I eventually practiced heterosexuality, and every minute of it felt like that, practice. Moreover, as I grew older the route of romantic expression that prevailed was heterosexuality. This is what I practiced until I found asexuality. But before that, I dabbled with queer/Buddhist identities which still “allowed” sexuality to interfere relationships.

    I have claimed asexuality though I am not 100% asexual. (I thought about my “orientation” today and I came up with something like “Biromatic asexual with heterosexual yet pomosexual tendencies” yeah, something like that) I hope you, the Chairs of asexuality, will accept my apology. sori.

    Habit and habitual patterns of thought are pretty strong to change despite enlightenment; sexual conditioning in an asexual person, I feel personally/first-hand, is an artificial mental disorder that turns into one’s conscious reality, an acceptable insanity and has to be undone with much therapy and attention. Because in my sublime states I feel most asexual ❤

    I enjoyed host number three she made GREAT points.

    And hooray, I found a meetup! I going to my first next week. I'm anxious and beginning to feel increasingly pomosexual.

    Anyway, Good stuff A-Team! I really enjoyed host3's views.

    – raymo
    asexy buddhist

    Comment by raymoej | September 4, 2009

  5. On experts: Not all the sex therapists are on the side of moron. I was contacted directly by a sex therapist about a year ago who was trying to learn more about asexuality as he recognized some of his patients having signs of that rather than the more commonly assumed “trauma”-based lack of sexuality and wanted to improve his diagnostic abilities and accuracy. In fact, it’s pretty much the standard scientific response to respond in earnest interest to something new and revolutionary rather than to try and destroy it.

    From what I can tell from those sex therapists who have gone on the offensive in the talk show circuit, the sex therapists who respond the most negatively to asexuals are the ones who are making a mint off producing books with very simplistic advice along the lines of “sex, you should be having more”. They naturally respond poorly to a group opting out pemanently and revealing that individualistic advice on sex and sexuality or feminist consent-imperative sexuality advice are usually the best.

    Hell, even Dan Savage, noted asshole, has made comments on his advice podcasts allowing for the possibility of asexuality on occasion.

    On gay posing as asexual: Wow, I had assumed that was always just scare-tactic bullshit and hadn’t realized there were actual celebrities and people who tried the asexual dodge as a literal closet technique. I would have assumed it would be an unsuccessful dodge both because it is usually assumed to be a lie by mainstream people and because it requires more othering of oneself. To me it’s like the other scare tactic that trans heterosexuals transition because they want to avoid being gay. Considering that society thinks trans people are super-gay, what would have been the point of that?

    But I have heard it a lot as a distraction, as a way of delegitimizing asexuality, ignoring of course that there are asexuals who live fully homoromantic lives who society interacts with in the same way as any other homosexual (I am included among them).

    The asperger’s slight is the usual story with any minority sexuality and is usually one of the first efforts of active resistance to the nascent other. Actually almost every minority group has had the pathology step. Not only homosexuality, bisexuality, and still today transsexuality, but women (in sexuality and also the madness of wanting equal rights or to be treated like more than a possession (one could be thrown in an institution for going against one’s male betters)) and minority races (angry was often seen as rabid a condition to be put to death or treated before it was merely used as part of the prosecuting case in most travesties of justice). Pathologizing the state of being what one is allows the one to privilege the dominant group and thus raise themselves as not only normal but specially normal and thus naturally more worthy than those who are “broken”.

    It’s also as you pointed out ignorantly wrong about asexuality.

    As to whether an absence can be what it is an absence of, you make some interesting points, but of course, the world we interact with does need a box to describe it under. I think with the atheist thing, it’s true that it isn’t a religion per se, but it is still solely described in the world of religion and in that context and thus fills the box of religion. I think with atheism slowly growing ground it may change the shape of the box itself, but that the box still describes something even the absence of something if that makes sense.

    But love the show and would love to be a part of it.

    Comment by cerberustheasexual | September 6, 2009

  6. Oh, on AVEN, I’ve noticed that I’ve drifted from participating a lot and a lot of it isn’t just the repetitive questions you raise, but that a lot of people are at a life-stage of self-discovery which is awesome and important, but therefore, relatively few are versed in much of the history or experiences of other repressed groups and thus there’s a lot of crap like men accusing feminists of hating all women and people completely clueless about the variety of the general queer community.

    It can also get frustrating anytime one is stuck in a loop of always doing X 101, especially when there’s a lot of 101s. It makes it necessary to take breaks and circle back.

    Comment by cerberustheasexual | September 6, 2009

  7. Nice music you have at the beginning of the show! Where did you get it?

    Comment by worn-out sandal | September 7, 2009

  8. worn-out sandal: I wrote the intro music. I’ll take the comment as a compliment, so thank you.


    Comment by alifepodcast | September 12, 2009

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