Last week, I had a conversation on AVEN that I found extremely amusing. Unfortunately, it was one I had to walk away from it because it was going nowhere and Gin was becoming increasingly upset with the implications that were coming from the other user, mainly that I am prostituting myself by choosing to have sex with my partner when it’s not something that I desire and he, in the process of doing normal “relationship” things like supporting me while I go to college, is little more than a sugar daddy. So, yes, ladies, gentlemen, and all in between, there you have it: compromise now makes you a prostitute.
Unfortunately, this theme has cropped up a few other times lately. There’s this idea among certain groups that an asexual who has sex is betraying, hurting, or, yes, prostituting themselves. Don’t get me started on the “you’re not really asexual if you have sex” comments, because this post will very quickly be reduced to an angry rant. These comments bother me for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason is the undercurrent of antisexuality that comes with these statements. If I were telling most of these people about going to see a movie I don’t particularly want to see because my partner does, they’d applaud me for being a patient spouse or at the very least give me the sympathetic “Yeah, boyfriends are annoying like that.” But if I’m having sex? Suddenly I’m prostituting myself, hurting myself, betraying my asexuality. How do you betray an aspect of yourself, anyway?
Yes, if you’re repulsed, I can understand the idea of hurting yourself. Forcing yourself to repeatedly do something repulsive and emotionally traumatizing is hardly healthy. Ditto for experiencing pain during sex. I’d think that one is obvious, but if it’s not, something for all members of ANY kind of relationship: If you or your partner is in pain during intercourse and they’re not enjoying it, that’s a cue to stop and find an alternative or just flat out stop. Please. It breaks my heart every time I hear about a woman who is repeatedly forcing herself to have sex despite the pain it causes her. Having been there, no one should have to endure that. This isn’t what this post is about, though, so let’s get back on topic.
Let’s look at the idea of hurting/betraying yourself for a moment, as it applies to non-repulsed asexuals who are capable of and willing to have sex with their partner. I think this is a very personal, decide-for-yourself matter. Only you know if you are mentally or emotionally hurting yourself by doing something that you do no want to do. There are so many factors that come into play, (trust in your partner, physical experience and sensation, state of mind, and your own personal feelings about sex, to name a few)that only the person having sex can decide if they are truly hurting themselves. An outsider has no way of knowing or accessing this information and, more often than not, is running on their own personal feelings about the situation. And what about betraying your sexuality? Honestly, I just want to slap the person who says this. A sexuality isn’t an ideal, a directive, even personal feelings. It’s what you are, a component of yourself that can be no more betrayed than the color of your hair or the kind of food you prefer. If you’re antisexual, dislike sex on a personal level, or have some kind of moral issue with the situation, then, yes, you can be considered to be betraying yourself, but that, in and of itself, is also something personal that an outsider has no business judging.
Now, for the fun part. Let’s look at this prostitution idea, just for the hell of it. The dictionary.com definition of a prostitute is
1. a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money; whore; harlot.
2. a man who engages in sexual acts for money.
3. a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way, usually for money.
So, let’s paraphrase and say that a prostitute gets paid to have sex OR a prostitute sells themselves or their abilities in some demeaning way. I don’t recall Gin ever handing me money after we have sex. (Okay, so there was that one time, but that was because we need to put gas in the car.) So, let’s broaden that definition a bit. Let’s say he’s “paying” me by doing the normal things a boyfriend does (or at least should do), cuddling, supporting me, helping around the house, accomodating some of my stranger quirks, but then again I do things like that for him, too. Why is only the sex in our relationship being singled out, then? Because it’s something I don’t want to do? I don’t want to help him with his calculus homework because I hate math, but I do it because he wants to get a good grade in his class. Using the same “broad” definition of payment, my helping with his homework could be seen as the second paraphrased definition of prostitution, but no one call that prostitution. They call it being a good friend. So, here I am, wondering why what would normally considered a healthy cohabitation relationship with mutual give and take, compromise, and affection is suddenly being reduced to prostitution because I’m having sex.
This is where that thread of antisexuality comes in. A person who dislikes a certain thing, thinks it is evil, immoral, dangerous, is going to put it on that annoying really big deal pedestal. They tend to single it out and, when they see it in action, will tend to find a way to make the person involved in that thing either a good or bad person, depending on what they want and do with said thing. Those people who think there’s something inherently wrong with me choosing to have sex for my partner’s sake tend to have put sex on that really big deal pedestal. So, no matter how I or my partner feel about sex, to them me having sex without naturally wanting sex makes our relationship a bad thing.
To those like me who have experienced this sort of thing, I apologize. It’s obnoxious and juvenile. People should be able to have and enjoy their own choices, sexual or otherwise, without having to endure their relationships and partners being demonized. I wish I had some legitimate advice for how to handle these situations, but I have yet to see one of these people who can be convinced that what they see is evil is, in fact, not. I can say, though, that they are wrong. However they may feel, it does not matter. Who you are, what you feel about yourself, your relationship, and what happens in it are all that matters. If you’re alright having sex, for any reason, that should be all that matters.
Random afterthoughts: For those who do not know, part of the reason for my long absence has been because I was recently made a moderator on AVEN. Another reason has been that I lost my apatment (landlord went bankrupt), moved, and am trying to move again because my apartment is far too crowded. I’ll do my best to return to regular posting. Also, college.