The Sexual Assumption In Action

The sexual assumption is the usually unexamined presupposition that sexual attraction is both universal (everyone ‘has it’) and uniform (it’s fundamentally the same thing in all instances) such that its absence must be explicable in terms of a distinguishable pathology.

All from this Guardian article about asexuality earlier in the week:

  • What, not even a bit of mild masturbation?
  • The only person I have seen in real life who was asexual was affected pretty severely with his autism so I don’t know if someone who has never felt attracted to another person is suffering from some kind of disorder.
  • Nature invented sex for reproduction. Being asexual is like being born without an arm. It’s not normal, but no one should get all excited about it.
  • So you can literally lie there and flick the bean without thinking about anything? I don’t believe you. Call me cynical, but I’m not even sure there is such a thing as asexuality. If you have a sex drive, even if it isn’t “directed at anyone or anything”, surely that makes you a sexual being of some sort?
  • In some ways, it’d be great to be asexual. There are so many other things to do, books to read (or write), mountains to climb, symphonies to compose, TV show box sets to watch, countries to travel to, languages to learn, video games to master, diseases to discover cures for, internet forums to engage in endless hair-splitting debates on, &c. Think of how much one would get done if one didn’t have to share one’s nervous system with the ancient machinery one’s genes built for passing themselves on.
  • I find it hard to believe that the hormone levels of asexual people who do not have anysexual desire would have hormone levels comparable to sexual people.
  • Maybe it’s just people who can’t find the opposite sex they think they deserve.
  • As you may I’m really struggling with this asexual stuff, I fail to see how “romantic attraction” can not involve some sort of physical trait in the person you’re attracted, even if it’s just “pleasing to the eye”.
  • Can I ask if this is post menopause? It’s one of those well known but hush hush “facts” in my extended family that the women (from my mothers side at least) lost pretty much all desire for sex once menopause is done. And most of their close female friends feel the same way. It’s just that talking about it openly is not done.
  • Because without sex, we don’t exist. We’re genetically predisposed to have a pronounced relationship with it.

And then I got bored. There were a lot of comments. But it’s helped developed my idea about something to add into my postdoc plan: the comments and responses to asexual articles online constitute a great resource and, rather than abstract theoretical speculation, I want to collate and systematically analyse responses to asexuality by non-asexuals. More specifically I want to analyse attempts to explain away asexuality: what do they have in common on a conceptual level? I’m offering the sexual assumption as an empirical hypothesis based on (a) what I found in my research about experiences of sexual responses to asexuality (b) my own experience in the last few years of doing media work, talking to lots of people about my research and generally seeing a lot of different people react to asexuality.

4 thoughts on “The Sexual Assumption In Action

  1. I know Swank Ivy has a “gold mine” (if you can call these responses “gold”) of responses on her videos – not just the ones she has done on her own, like her Letters to an Asexual series but also the videos she has been invited to do for others, like her recent guest video for the Sexual Futurist. Those should be easy to find, I know sometimes I get filtered as spam if I include links, but let me know if you need any.

  2. Thanks! I need to finish off my PhD before I start seriously thinking about the practicalities of this but I’ve added Swank Ivy to my list. It hadn’t occurred to me to look at video comments but then again they’re probably going to be even more depressing than some of the newspaper article comments are…

  3. I also found the comments Laci Green’s Asexuality video to be a little surprising, generally I’d expect her regular viewers to have thought more about sexuality but the comments were still pretty much the same. Best of luck, I don’t think I could study comments on asexuality-related media without taking up drinking.

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