An Uncharacteristically Concise Post on A/sexual Fluidity.

I’ve been thinking again… always dangerous. Pretzelboy proposed in a comment at Ace of Hearts that the portrayal of asexuality in the media contributes to this notion on the part of (many) sexual people that asexual individuals are static types who have shut off part of their personality and will remain closed to the possibility of sexuality for the rest of their lives. I think I disagree with the notion that the media’s portrayal of asexuality is responsible, simply because… when does the media represent the asexual experience, poorly or otherwise? (Ok, there’s that soap opera in New Zealand. Can we say “exception,” anyone?) It seems possible to me, however, that the social concept (in the media and elsewhere) of sexuality as a given and as a driving force defaults into an understanding (or a misunderstanding) of asexuality as a stagnating identification, one which – rather than opening up an individual to what Ace of Hearts so eloquently terms “the exciting challenge” of “learning to express [one’s] love in alternative ways” – stunts one’s ability to love entirely. However it comes to exist, this perspective of asexuality remains, and as irritating as the negativity is, I think it unintentionally underlines one of the exciting things I’ve discovered in the asexual community: a genuine tendency to embrace sexual (or asexual) orientation as fundamentally fluid. I’m really not attempting to promote the idea of an Asexual until Graduation (AUG) or suggest that because there’s an openness in the community to shifting how one identifies, asexuality is indeed no more than a passing phase. Rather, I’d like to suggest that this openness (where it exists; I’m also not implying it’s universal among aces) validates sexual fluidity as a whole. While highlighting fluidity in asexuality is slippery territory at this point, given the perspective that it’s not a real orientation, I think potentially we can use it to point to the fluidity in sexuality as well, so that – rather than invalidating how one identifies or how one previously identified – fluidity itself is validated. I suspect we could all benefit from that, ace or otherwise.

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4 Responses to “An Uncharacteristically Concise Post on A/sexual Fluidity.”

  1. Ily Says:

    Yay, lotsa posts!
    It seems like a real double-standard…if you come around to the majority view (“oh, I was sexual all along!”) then you’re being open-minded. But if you come around to a minority view (“I know we’ve been married for 50 years, darling, but I’m gay”) you’re having some kind of problem. I’m all for fluidity, and I’m also glad that the asexual community promotes it. Just as long as we knowledge (and we know this, but others may not) that it goes both ways.

  2. Ily Says:

    Wait…those aren’t winks! They’re parenthesis!

  3. theimpossiblek Says:

    Thank you for the complimentary shout out!!
    And yes, about that double-standard- It is confusing. The asexual community does seem open to the “sexuality is fluid” perspective, which is awesome. But doesn’t that also expose ourselves to those naysayers who will retort that “If asexuality is so fluid, why then- it IS a phase! A-ha! You admit it then!”
    Also, couldn’t that “sexuality is fluid” argument be totally used against alternative orientations? I mean, if you can argue that it’s possible to go from asexual to homo- or hetero-sexual, couldn’t you just as well argue that a homosexual could turn hetero? I hope my logic isn’t based on a “slippery slope” here- I’m just trying to explore the possible ramifications here…
    Oh, and the winks were cute, Ily- even if they weren’t intentional! 😉

  4. willendork Says:

    Ily: I get so pissed at websites when they turn correct punctuation into emoticon. That said, your “winks” are kind of amusingly placed. And yes, acknowledging fluidity definitely, definitely needs to go both ways.

    TheImpossibleK: Yes, I think that’s part of the problem. Like the “it’s a choice” argument, though, I think it goes back to the issue of homo-/bi-/a-sexuality being seen as less acceptable and less desirable of a sexuality to have. Because one can just as easily say, “well, a homosexual may ‘turn’ hetero, but a heterosexual may ‘turn’ homo” and if people weren’t inclined to believe that heterosexuality is right and normal, and weren’t inclined to believe that ‘turning’ from heterosexuality to something else would be a negative shift (in a way that ‘turning’ from something else to heterosexuality isn’t considered negative), then I’m not sure it would be a problem. If there weren’t a difference in the value we placed on different sexualities, basically, and if we didn’t expect heterosexuality from everyone (even while we know that’s not the case), I don’t think fluidity would be so problematic. What do you think?

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