A Life

A weekly podcast about asexuality

A Life #12: Asexuality in Schools

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Schools, especially during the puberty years, might just be the most sexually charged places you don’t have to pay admission to get in. So it’s natural that asexuals usually feel pretty isolated and left out. We discuss the problems asexuals face during these formative years of their lives.

Forum Post of the Week:
Asexuality is disgusting!

Blog quote from:
Edge of Everywhere: The Virgin Issue

Poll:
Asexuality and School

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November 7, 2009 - Posted by | Podcast

7 Comments »

  1. Henrik, I can relate to your dislike of schoolage children…I was asked recently if I would be interested in working with teens, and I realized, “I didn’t like other teenagers when I was one of them!” I was bullied terribly all throughout school and even at a place I used to work. As far as I know, mean kids don’t suddenly become more open-minded and tolerant when they graduate school. They just become mean adults.

    Comment by Ily | November 7, 2009

  2. Hey everyone, I have some thoughts to add related to both topic and tangent. First off, you have my sympathy, Henrik, having also been bullied pretty much from the moment I set foot in any kind of school, I know how frustrating and annoying dealing with fools is and how coming to hate people in general is seen as the best option. Huzzah for misanthropy. Anyway, back to the actual topic for this week. In high school, people do have trouble dealing with anyone who is not like them. This lead to numerous assumptions concerning me, including the default assumption that I was a naive child despite my behavior showing otherwise. One time that sticks out is in my mind is when my class at the time was watching Schindler’s List, and the scene that begins with the female lead flopping back topless caused a number of silly comments, and a direct shot at me for not showing any interest in anyone. “There’s something (Monk) has never seen before.” Which more confused me at the time given I’d had books with classical art from a time when most of them were still content with picture books. Another incident, actually relates to the origins of my name. My lack of interest lead people (who understood nothing of monastic orders beyond the vow of celibacy) to refer to me as a monk in an attempt to insult me. We can also see how that turned out. 🙂

    Comment by The Pixel Monk | November 8, 2009

  3. I have to agree with Ily. I’m still a teenager (sorry to bother you, Henrik!) and to be completely honest, I strongly dislike my youth. Also, most of the other teenagers I interact with on a daily basis are just brainwashed by heteronormative media, hypersexual and generally unaccepting of asexuality (and other non-heterosexual orientations). It looks like the way high school students act still hasn’t improved much over these years…

    What’s funny is that I was somewhat chatting with my friend (who still insists that asexuality is disgusting) while listening to this episode. Best coincidence ever! It made my day.

    Comment by stephanato | November 8, 2009

  4. I must be lucky with my peers, since they never paid attention to my asexuality. I think that the threshold Henrik told about coincided with high school graduation. Before, they probably assumed that I might be too young, and after they probably assumes that I could have a previous sexual historial.

    On a completely difference matter, I strongly prefer blogging to podcasts. I like it mostly for Henrik’s accent and opinions, both strong, clear and on my line. But a big drawback of podcasts is that it’s hard to find the star moments, whilst finding remarkable excerpt in a blog is very easy. I don’t know if your criterion is similar to mine, but an index of each episode would be fine. And a special episode with the greatest moments of the N first episodes.

    Comment by Isaac | November 8, 2009

  5. I totally agree that there should be an aromantic forum on AVEN, but I think you’re selling it the wrong way, Henrik. You place too much emphasis on making sweeping generalizations of romantics, but that’s not necessarily the main purpose of the forum. Sure, people on AVEN make sweeping generalizations of sexuals a lot, but nobody thinks that’s the main function of the AVEN forum (much less advertise it as such). The purpose of the aromantic forum would be to discuss the lives and conflicts of aromantics, or anyone who just doesn’t consider themself romantic. What kind of relationships do we form, if not romantic ones? How do other people react to the idea? How do we define the concept?

    But it doesn’t look like they’re going to create an aromantic forum any time soon, so whatever.

    Comment by Siggy | November 8, 2009

  6. I didn’t come to the realisation that I was asexual until I was 19. But, I was also a victim of bullying. But it was only until the end of Primary school – which is to say the 6th grade. In Australia High school is years 7-12, and I was mainly left alone during that time thanks to finding a group of friends with whom I fit in. However, the damage was already done – like you Henrik I also was told to ignore it, which is SUCH bad advice. I am a doormat now. I am pretty much unable to stand up for myself most of the time.

    However I am pretty sure that all of that has nothing to do with my asexuality and more to do with my all-round weirdness, you know, being just unlike everyone else in many ways, for whatever reason.

    In high school, however, I did come across some bullying for my asexuality… I bullied myself. I tried to force myself into getting a boyfriend. Fortunately my first experience with one scared me off getting another one! I might have done something stupid otherwise. After that I pretty much convinced myself I just wasn’t ready for it yet. Luckily, I ran with a group that were also largely uninterested in sex at the time. One of them is still a virgin and she turns 24 next week. I am pretty sure she’s demisexual.

    But I think my school was unusual. It was a selective school, meaning that there was a higher population of geeks and nerds in comparison to the schools around it. It wasn’t such a big thing to be concentrating on things other than chasing the opposite sex.

    Comment by Parth | November 9, 2009

  7. On the topic of asexuality in schools; I just wish I had known it was an option when I was in high school. I remember getting my first sex ed lesson in Grade 7 of primary school (I was about 12 years old). And from then on we were swamped with it! I had weekly sex ed health classes from years 8 to 10. We covered all the icky stuff, from studying the life cycle of the fetus in the womb, the most successful contraceptives and even one particularly graphic PowerPoint presentation on STIs (yes, complete with pictures). All this did was reinforce my general distaste of the whole subject of sex.

    I should add at this point that I’m now 20 and have been consciously asexual for 6 months. During all those school discussions of sexual health, not once did anyone suggest to me that sex was optional. I had grown up with a lot of subtle innuendos on television and in books that some people didn’t like sex (eg the typical sitcom scenario where the wife replies “I’m too tired honey” when pestered for sex). I just figured it was something that had to be done in life, much like doing the dishes, getting a bank loan or sitting through unpleasant Christmas lunches with relatives you don’t really like. Because everyone around me was becoming interested in sex and romance during high school I covered up my own apathy and distaste for sex in order to fit in, both amongst my friends and inside my own expectation of ‘normal’ sexuality.

    Your social standing as a young adult very much depends on who you are dating, how many ex girlfriends or boyfriends you’ve had, and whether or not you’re a virgin. To be alone is some kind of signal to the rest of the world that you’re a) an unattractive boring loser b) a closet homosexual c) weird/a freak of nature. To date no adult in my real life has ever even suggested that sex is anything other than an absolute necessity. As Henrik so wisely put it, you HAVE to be closet pervert to be ‘normal’.

    Luckily for me I was grossed out enough by my first kiss to scare me away from forcing myself to have sex, which unless I discovered asexuality a few weeks later I would most likely have done in order to be normal. This is absolutely tragic. Imagine a homo or heterosexual forcing themselves to have sex with a man or women whom they had no sexual attraction to. It goes against everything sexual freedom in 2009 is meant to be. I had been brainwashed by the constant reinforcing of sex as some beautiful, magical experience that is as much a part of life as eating or breathing. In fact it is an entirely personal and most importantly optional activity that not everyone has to like. I wish I could go back and explain this to my Year 7 sex ed class. It certainly would have saved me a lot of personal confusion and anguish.

    Since I have come to terms with my asexuality I have become released from my subconscious self molding into the idea of normal femininity. I no longer feel pressure to dress a certain way to attract a mate (who I didn’t want anyway) or engage in sexual activity I have no interest in. It would be great if alongside all the sexual health messages, and the recognition that it is ok to be homosexual (thankfully in Australia we are free from that particular sexual oppression that is still such a problem in parts of the US) cchools taught that asexuality is ok, and does not make you a freak

    Thanks for the podcast guys! I discovered A Life last week and have been going through all the old episodes, hence the late comment. 

    Comment by Sophie | November 23, 2009


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