asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Ace Awareness: Sex Repulsed to Hyper Sexual

I haven’t had sex in six and a half years. This seems like a long time to most but from my perspective, it is still fairly recent. I can still recall the last time, the uneasy feeling I had through the whole experience, the way my stomach turned and I threw up afterward. The sex was nice, I guess, the person didn’t hurt me and they were really sweet about the entire exchange but just the fact that I did it made me want to cut a deep, deep line into my wrists. That was six years ago though. And in the time between now and then, I’ve learned so many things about the nature of Asexuality and myself. In this article, I’m hoping to give just a little insight into the way I view (and hopefully others do too) sex-repulsed asexuals and hypersexual aces and how they’re different sides of the same coin.

When I first started identifying as Asexual, I was under the impression that I could hide my disdain for sex with this label. I didn’t want to have to take the time to explain myself to people. I wanted to just be left to my own devices, never having sex pressured upon me, leaving the sex discussions to every and anyone else who wanted to have them. I absolutely did not. However, I realized that telling someone you’re asexual opens up a floodgate of questions no matter what. They truly can’t seem to help themselves. Which would be fine if the questions stayed inside decent boundaries. But they rarely do. When I told my mother I was asexual, she instantly replied: “No, you aren’t”. She didn’t even know what the word meant, but she was certain I couldn’t be associated with it.

“You and [redacted] used to have sex all the time, he just hurt you that’s all.”

I’ve heard that line more from people than I’ve heard anything else. I wasn’t even allowed the “you’re just confused” phase, everyone jumped straight to the “you’ve been hurt” phase. Not for my comfort, but for their own. Saying that I’ve been hurt and that’s why I’m asexual now is a lazy way for people to soothe their own discomfort at what I do in my own private bedroom. They don’t really care if I’ve been hurt, they don’t want to hear that I was asexual before I was raped and the experience of being hurt just intensified my feelings. That’s too complicated of a situation. They want to just settle on the assumption that I’m sex-repulsed because of rape. Which isn’t true in the slightest.

I don’t think sex is disgusting. It’s actually pretty okay under the right circumstances and with the right person, I haven’t experienced that yet but I know it’s real. There’s no way everyone is out here just having sex because it’s what society wants. That’s unrealistic. What isn’t though, is the idea that there are asexuals who are repulsed by sex. If people can be repulsed by certain smells, by the texture of certain things, or by the sight of something then it’s not hard at all to get why someone can be repulsed by sex. It’s a certain thing, body fluids are exchanged, smells are mixed together creating new ones and skin presses so close that it can seem stuck. It’s the details of sex that, to me, make people repulsed. And even the repulsion itself has different levels to it.

Not every sex-repulsed Asexual is the same. There are some who are repulsed by sex in its entirety. Then you have Aces who are only repulsed by certain things. I met a girl who loved giving head, to man or woman but never wanted to be touched back. She wouldn’t even let people put their hands on her head while she was in the middle of the sexual act. She loved oral sex but everything else repulsed her. She identified as Asexual. There was another girl that loved being a Dom, she never had sex with any of her Subs but her clientele book was always full. She too identified as Asexual. I haven’t met as many male Asexuals as I have women but there was one I remember who enjoyed everything except penetration sex. He had no problem giving and receiving pleasure as long as it never got to the point of him penetrating someone or them doing it to him. His Asexuality was just as valid as the girl who only wanted to give head and as the many asexuals who want nothing to do with any kind of sex.

On the flip side of this coin, there are Asexuals who are Hyper Sexual. I admittedly don’t know as much about them, because I’ve been actively avoiding all topics of sex, but recently as my views and mental state have shifted I’ve started paying more attention. Sex is often used as a coping mechanism. A lot of people will say it’s an unhealthy one but that’s not always true. It all comes down to the two (or however many) people engaging in the act. If one person is Asexual, is aware that they’re having sex for reasons other than just sexual attraction and are okay with that, then how can their coping mechanism be bad? It’s different for sure, and a challenge to the societal ideas of how we look at sex. But it isn’t unhealthy. People will say that if you aren’t having sex because you enjoy it then you are being raped. And for a while, I agreed because I never wanted sex and was constantly having it. However not everyone has the same perspective, we are not all one monolith. Asexuals who want kids and relationships are not hurting themselves by being okay with having sex with one specific person. Whether the goal is ultimately kids or just because they know sex makes their partner happy and they want them to be happy. That’s their business. It’s strange the way people want to force the idea of how everyone should have/enjoy sex. We tell ourselves not to judge who someone is sleeping with but instead allow ourselves to judge how they go about sleeping with them.

Asexuality is an umbrella term, yet everyone wants to look at it as though it has one single definition that fully describes the inner workings of this sexuality. It doesn’t. Asexuality means a lack of sexual attraction, and that’s it. The degree in which someone lacks that attraction is up to them, their experiences and how their brain wants to handle things. Six years ago I thought I’d never have sex again, in any way, shape, or form. I was ready to be that “true” Asexual (which is also something being pressed upon us but that’s for another article). And I didn’t want to answer any questions about why other Aces could have sex but I seemingly couldn’t. Now though, it’s different. I am different. I’m still Asexual but I do not flinch away at the idea of talking about sex, I don’t pretend I don’t have the answers as to why Asexuals vary, and I’m willing to compromise with sexual situations. I still haven’t had sex in six years, and I don’t really plan to any time soon but now instead of being embarrassed when people immediately say “you haven’t had sex in how long? I could never.” I simply nod and go on about my day. Or explain to them that me not having sex doesn’t mean that I’m against it. I like the idea of sex, it seems glorious but rarely does the idea and the reality reflect each other. For now, I’m content with just learning about the ways I can help bring awareness to Asexuality and all the different kinds of people that fall under its wing.

-Danyi

asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Dear Black Asexual: How You Identify Is Valid

One thing I’ve tried to never doubt was my ability to know myself. Even when I didn’t have the words to describe who I was or what I was going through, I didn’t doubt that I’m always me. No matter what. Sometimes the only thing I have is myself, and I’ll do anything to never lose that.

There’s always been a bit of conflict in my identity. When I was younger I had no Jay’s and no idea what Polo shirts where. Which got me plenty of funny looks from the other kids. I didn’t have them not because my family was too poor to afford them but because my aunts and grandma believed in letting kids be kids. A statement that doesn’t really validate not buying kids brand names but one that seems to keep holding up. Not to mention my mother had me when she was 42 years old, I was much younger than her siblings’ children who, by the time I was born, were already nearing adulthood. My cousins were too old for me to play with, they thought I was annoying. So I spent most of my time with my aunts who were all in their 40’s. Their sense of fashion was not the current style of fashion. I wore homemade dresses until I was in the fourth grade, it got me a fair bit of teasing but it never made me question who I was. Neither did my extra baggy pants in middle school, or my ever-growing need for my hair to never reach my ears. No matter what was happening to me on the outside, on the inside, I always had a firm grip on myself.

Until suddenly I didn’t.

The inter-workings of the community are complicated. Especially the inner knowings of the Black community. We fight each other a lot, over the smallest things. The darkness of complexion, the way some of us speak, the way some present ourselves, our body shapes, and those unspoken rules that all Black people are just supposed to automatically know. The community is tight when we have to be, but it can also unravel with the lightest of yanks. The older generation holds onto toxic views that harmed them but they believe hardened them for the better. I’ve never been more frustrated and angry than trying to discuss “modern views” with my mother. I used to listen to her and my aunts talk down about other women for things that were clearly the fault of men. I had to sit through their defense of scum men because the women just “seemed” like they were lying. I thought I could escape the suffocation of not being heard, listened to and understood by putting myself around people my own age. That didn’t really work either. For every one accepting Black peer I found, there were two more who held onto the beliefs of their parents. My generation tries not to struggle with same-sex relationships but the bigotry shows up in so many of us once you talking about the other letter best G and L in LGBTQIA. It’s frustrating.

I’ve yet to meet another Black Asexual in person. Granted, I’m stuck in Colorado for the time being because of things I cannot control but I’ve met several white asexuals since I started looking and asking around. In turn, I was the first Black Asexual many of them had met. So when the inevitable question of “what other Black asexuals you know” first came up, I found myself embarrassed and unable to provide any response. Because I didn’t know any other than me. I lost that argument of whether or not my sexuality was valid, but that was back when I first came out. And for the first two-ish years I avoided conversations that steered in that direction, I basically avoided all conversations that drifted towards my sexuality. It hurts when something as important as sexuality and how you personally identify with it isn’t believed. Not the surface, cry for a bit and then go on about your life hurt. But a deep pit of the stomach, feel lower than dirt kind of hurt.

It’s apparently very hard for people around my age to grasp the idea of someone not having any kind of sexual attraction. It’s especially hard for them when they see my brown skin and automatically hypersexual me. It’s not uncommon at all for a person to reach out and touch me before even opening their mouths to speak to me. People gain a sense of entitlement when they see Black women as if we instantly belong to them and can be poked and prodded as such. Stereotypes keep us locked in small boxes that we have to almost kill ourselves to get out of. I can’t count on both hands the number of times I’ve been told by another Black person that my Asexuality was “white people shit”. To them, because they don’t understand it and haven’t ever heard of it, I’m acting white. Even though acting white is as much a myth as acting Black is. You cannot act a color, only a stereotype.

The more I was around people who didn’t accept or even acknowledge my sexuality, the more I felt like I was losing myself. I couldn’t actively and truthfully participate in conversations about dating and sex because my opinion was never taken seriously. I can’t have an opinion on sex because I’m asexual, despite the fact I’ve had sex a bunch of times. I couldn’t give dating advice because I’m asexual, even though I’ve been in relationships before. Quickly a stigma was built around me, men would spend days in my inbox trying to convince me that their dicks would cure my Asexuality. Instead of taking my words at face value, many assumed it was a silent challenge. Me saying I wasn’t interested in relationships or sex was actually code for them to try harder, to attempt to hang around longer, to prove that they could break down the walls I’d put up. This started four years ago, and today there’s still one or two who think they’re going to wait my asexuality out. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

It wasn’t until I found other Black Asexuals online did I start to feel somewhat settled. Twitter can be a hell site but it also connects you with people you’d never have the chance to talk to otherwise. It was incredibly calming to put out a tweet about being Black and Asexual and have others like me respond. It’s nice to be able to experience something and have others relate in incredibly specific ways, it’s amazing to have other brown-skinned people tell me that what I saying resonates with them. I don’t feel as lost now as I did five years ago and I really don’t want other young Black Asexuals to feel that way. We aren’t alone, we’re not on white people shit, and there are more of us than we realize.

At the beginning of the summer, I had contemplated not writing as much about being Asexual because I worry that I’ll start to repeat myself. But then I realized that if I’d had someone sharing their experience as Ace, repeated or not, back when I first started identifying it would have been incredibly helpful. So I’m hoping that if my posts do anything, they reach a fellow Black Asexual who needs just a bit of reassurance. We are valid, and there’s nothing wrong with being Black and Asexual.

-Danyi

asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Hyped Too Early

When I was in the 3rd grade, a girl in my class asked me if I knew that the boys talked about me on the playground. I didn’t, because I spent most of my recess jumping rope with my friends. What the boys had to say about me wasn’t important at that time. Until suddenly it was. The girl, I remember her name started with a K, told me that the boys were always talking about how big my butt was. It made her mad because one of the boys she liked was always the leader of the discussion. He liked me, which in turn meant that she had to dislike me and make it known.

I remember that day vividly. I remember the pink shirt K was wearing, I remember the gold hoop earrings she had in and I remember burning my hands with the water in the sink because I was so shocked by the knowledge that my butt was a regular thing to talk about amount my male classmates. I was shocked and embarrassed and spent the rest of the day making up excuses to stay in the bathroom. Every day after that I spent a good portion of the mornings before school trying to make sure all my shirts were long enough to hang down over me.

The same things happened in middle school and only got worse in high school. Everyone always had something to say about my body. Never about me, as a person, always about how big my butt was. There was no “Danyi you’re really good at jumping rope or writing stories” it was “Danyi your ass is fat as hell” and someone always had to try and touch it. In college I tried for a few months to just go with it, dance with whoever wanted to, let whoever grab and squeeze. Everyone around me hyped my ass up, I should too right?

It was my second year of college, the seventh year with my boyfriend and a few months before we were to break up; we had an argument and he told me that the only reason he was with me was that my ass was fat. I’ve told this story before in other articles but it’s important to tell it in this one too. When he said that to me, I remember how I literally froze in place. My mind stopped all thoughts, everything inside of me and outside came to a halt. The humiliation and embarrassment I felt then can still make me squirm today. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. But it happened and it affected me. After that argument, I stopped eating and let myself lose weight. So my butt would get smaller and people would stop paying attention to me. It kinda worked, my ass did get smaller but the attention didn’t stop. Those didn’t know me before say my ass is still nice, those who did say I can easily get it back. No one seems to realize though, the focus is still on my ass and not me.

When it comes to my asexuality I often wonder if these events are a contributing factor to it. I can’t help but entertain the idea that the hypersexualization of my body from such a young age plays a huge part in my being uncomfortable with sexual situations. I was eight years old when my body began being sexualized by others. Wasn’t even a decade old before I was put in the same sentences as the word sexy. Didn’t have the chance to experience my first kiss before someone was telling all the things they wanted to do to me sexually. In a sense, my sexual development was backward. The older I got though, I learned that it’s this way for most women.

I haven’t spoken to one woman yet who doesn’t have some kind of negative sexual story. A young negative sexual story at that. We all have, in some way, been hurt sexually. And it sucks. It’s confusing and it makes for an even harder time when we find ourselves wanting to be sexual in a healthy way. I’m still firmly on the nonsexual Ace side of things but I do imagine a time in my life where that could change. I do imagine a person not pressuring me in any kind of way. I imagine a lot what it would be like to have a connection with someone that doesn’t have to touch sexuality but still can if we like it to. The problem is though that I have to imagine this, it’s not real life for me. It’s not something I can actively say I’ve seen around me. It’s definitely not the way my asexuality is percieved.

In the past few months, I’ve been having a hard time with my asexuality. Which is why I haven’t written nearly as much about it as I did last year. My Aceness is vastly different from others that I’ve come across. I wrote about it, in my Ace Discourse article. I got a lot of backlash for my statement that the Discourse is for white Asexuals. Black and Brown Aces have no place there because what white Aces consider oppression is very rarely a blip on the actual oppression radar. However, my article wasn’t taken seriously by white Aces because acknowledging that you still have privilege when you’re hellbent on being oppressed is not a trick they have learned yet. They probably never will. Anyways, I say all this to point out my confusion with being Ace because I’m not sure if I can place a point of origin to my Asexuality. I don’t know when it started. On a surface level, it seems like one day I was fine with sex and with having it and then one day I wasn’t. Like a switch had been flipped in my brain. Part of me thinks it might have started that day in the bathroom when I was in the third grade. Other parts think it started when sex with my ex went from fun and great to painful and traumatizing. I’ve also spent countless hours debating with myself that I’m not actually asexual and the way I feel isn’t valid.

Even though I’m aware the last part isn’t true, I can trace why I feel that way back to a root. I know where my doubt about being truly asexual comes from. It comes from the Black community around me. It comes from the way Black girls are hyped up and sexualized from a young age until the day we die. It comes from the fact that all Black women are seen as sexual creatures first and human beings second. As much pushback as I get from white Aces, it’s nowhere near what I get from fellow Black people. I understand the initial reaction is to dismiss me, even make fun because they don’t think I’m being serious but it’s something that should be discussed. The way Black people are hesitant to accept any sexuality that isn’t heteronormative. We say we accept gays and lesbians but we really don’t, they still feel the judgment and are still shunned. They still die. So while we struggle as a community to accept even the first two letters in LGBT, it’s not hard to see that accepting things such as Trans, Bisexual, Asexual and all the other terms that fall under the umbrella of the acronym are a long way away.

I don’t exactly blame the Black community. We could do better absolutely, but how are those who need to be more accepting supposed to be when we as a community are barely accepted. Racism runs rampant out in the open again. A Black person can be shot for holding their cell phone, for walking home at night, for literally just existing. I can see why we struggle to give acceptance when we barely get any. It doesn’t excuse inner bigotry, I’ll cuss out a Black person being disrespectful about my sexuality just as well as I will anyone else. I just might take longer to do it or give them more chances to switch up their tune before I do it.

I hate hypersexualization. Completely and totally hate it. There is no way to get my blood boiling faster these days. It’s been a part of my life since elementary school and no matter what I do to myself, no matter how I change or adapt, I cannot escape it. The feeling of being seen sexually follows me like a loyal dog, it’s turning me into a cat person. I want out of it, I want to never be looked at in a sexual way again. Because I don’t really know what it’s like to not be. That part of childhood was skipped when it was my turn and I don’t know if I’ll ever be over it.

At least for now, I’ll just keep writing about it.

-Danyi

 

 

 

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Happy Valentine’s Day Aces

Once upon a time, I was in love with a guy. And in college, I attempted to plan a Valentine Day date for us. We’d been together for years before this but it’s hard to go on a legit date in high school. So I wanted to try and make the first Valentine’s Day of our college experience special. Back then, since I was in love I found myself trying to organize the things that I personally found romantic. To start, I wanted to spend a full 24 hours together, just us and the ever-growing bond between us. I had envisioned us eating breakfast together, taking a walk around City Park, getting lunch and dinner together, ending the night with a bath. In my mind, we’d stop at the bath. But I knew that in his mind the only thing he cared about was the sex at the end of the night. So I grudgingly shuffled that into my plans as well.

The only one of the plans that ended up happening was the sex. And it happened under circumstances I’d rather not give details about.

That was the only time I’ve tried to truly celebrate the holiday. Before it wasn’t a day I took seriously and after, it’s not a day I want to bring myself to revolve around. To watch my plans fall through around me, while my boyfriend made absolutely sure that the plans he wanted to happen went through no matter what; chipped a nice big groove in my shoulder. I haven’t looked at the holiday the same since really.

Now though, I’ve been asked to look at it through a different perspective. As an Asexual, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can be stressful. The more I explore the Ace community online the more I watch my fellow Aces come to dread February 14th. And it’s not always the seemingly simple reason for not experiencing sexual attraction.

We can start there though, in society it seems the goal of Valentine’s Day has shifted from showing love to doing romantic things in the hopes of gaining sex. It doesn’t matter anymore if you spend the day with someone you love, the bigger question asked is if you spent the night having sex. And if you didn’t, it’s either because you’re single and lonely or you’re bitter and that attitude is stopping someone from wanting to be in your bed. There is no in between. At least not according to the internet.

When you’re asexual and don’t have the same feelings about sex as the majority around you, it can often be misconstrued as there being something wrong with you as a person. Which is very rarely the case at all. Even the Aces that fall in the grey area of asexuality and are okay with some sexual acts can still feel the intense pressure of Valentine’s Day. They’ll often encounter those with the mindset that if they’re willing to do some things on other days they should be willing to do all things on this special day. Which is both manipulative and abusive. But seems to be happening more and more.

On a completely different end, the last few Valentine’s Days in the online Ace community have been nothing but a day of trolls trying to bring down Asexuals in any way possible. Normally, I ignore trolls. I have a tough skin, mostly because of the fact that I’m Black and there’s nothing a troll who only cares about my Aceness can say to me that a racist hasn’t already said in a much worse way. However, I have decided to start an Asexual Advice Column and cannot simply ignore trolls anymore. Just because they don’t matter or bother me doesn’t mean that they don’t bother my fellow Aces. And I want to stand strong with Aces in all corners that I can.

The last few years I’ve watched as asexuality is mocked specifically on Valentine’s Day. If Aces are using the day to celebrate Queer Platonic Relationships, then they’re trolled for having a “special” label for their friends. If Aces are celebrating their individual relationships that mean something to them, they’re accused of faking being Asexual. After all, Aces cannot have any connection with another person. Or else we aren’t actually asexual, according to the exclusionists that roam the internet doing all they can to tear Aces down.

All of this is bullshit.

The more I study and observe Ace Discourse and those that participate in it, the more I realize that the social constructs in the world can easily be dismantled. However, the fear of not being different enough is constantly outweighing the cis peoples’ moral compass. That’s the problem with heterosexual and cisgendered people, they’re afraid that soon they’re going not going to be the norm. And to them, that’s devastating. It also means the spotlight will be on someone else. The last thing heterosexuals want is the spotlight on someone else.

Part of me wishes that I could gather my fellow Aces around and drill into their minds that holidays shouldn’t have the kind of power over society that they do. Especially not one that has been turned into a game of who’s sharing body fluids and who isn’t. However, the other part of me realizes that this will always be a fight and a struggle and I’m probably wasting my breath just bringing the subject up. As a society, we’re too deep into some constructs to ever reverse them, and I think the battle of Valentine’s Day is one that won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

Thanks for reading guys, details about my Asexual Advice Column will be coming soon 🙂

-Danyi