“That Escalated Quickly”

I was at a barbecue the other night and the woman who hosted it is married to a man who a big comic books fan. We talked about Man of Steel, our favorite superheroes and if he had comic book recommendations. When everyone was sitting around eating, he asked me if I would like to see his comic book collection. I was so excited about this, but everyone around us started laughing and making jokes of “that escalated quickly”. I want to show you my comic book collection is obviously code for I want to have sex with you.

I felt like I was back in elementary school where I was terrified to have guy friends because the entire playground would bully you mercilessly about you getting married.

Now I’m an adult, surrounded by other adults and its the same mentality: men and women can’t be friends by this logic. There is an unbreachable divide that says men and women can only be in a relationship if it’s a sexual one and any conversation is just hidden sexual tension.

I think this especially applies to how people view me because I am the innocent one. I am the one who never talks about sex, boys, girls or romance and that means that there has to be something about me that is corrupt and that people can pick at. This is wrong on multiple levels. One, sex is not corrupt. Two: there is no reason to ever put anyone on a pedestal; it’s not admiring them, it’s waiting for them to fail so you have a right to rage against them. This instance was both sexist and heteronormative, as everyone assumed I was straight and was interested in him sexually.

The whole situation was so uncomfortable and just a moment ago I felt very at home and at peace with people I felt I could talk to.

No one at the BBQ knows I’m asexual, but it’s so heteronormative to assume that if I’m having a conversation with a man that it means I’m attracted to him. And the worst thing was that he played into their jokes. He never did show me his comics and said something about how maybe we should wait for the second time we meet. We could seriously be friends and he was more comfortable playing along with the jokes and stereotypes at our expense than looking into the friendship we could have.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with my summer room mate about sexuality and how it’s so awkward to bring up your sexuality without the risk of either making yourself or someone else uncomfortable. It’s not a normal topic of conversation. But not talking about being asexual, especially in situations where people assume that I’m straight, leads to me feeling isolated and childish. I’m sure other members of the queer community can relate.

Sexuality is strangely treated as a marker of adulthood. Yet when you first get sexual feelings you’re not an adult but a hormone crazy kid. Sometime in college, or beyond, you somehow transition to adulthood and having sex is a part of that transition.

So where do asexuals fit in? I know I’m still at an age where people can look at the absence of a partner and tell me that I’m making the right decision to focus on my school work instead of dating. But when I leave college? Will I always be less of an adult because I’ve never wanted someone’s penis or vagina?

I don’t swear. I don’t drink. I don’t have tattoos. I don’t smoke. These factors coupled with being asexual mean that I’m the innocent one and therefore the perpetual child. Again there is the element that I need to be corrupted. There is something about this “innocence” which unnerves people. Why else make jokes about things “escalating quickly”?

Asexuality isn’t innocence any more than having a sexuality is maturity. There is no correlation or causation. I’m just as much an adult as most anyone else my age.

It’s time people stopped associated maturity and adulthood with sexual experience. It’s sexist and quite literally incorrect. I’m adult because I take responsibility for myself; what I do or don’t do with my body holds no bearing.

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4 thoughts on ““That Escalated Quickly”

  1. I have always noticed this bigoted and immature behaviour growing up. Notice that they’re never trying to humiliate the man in the situation. Just the woman. Thank you for calling attention to it. You are very brave.

  2. From a young age this has always bothered me. It took me some time to understand what it all meant. When I was around four or so I wanted to be friends with a girl since we where the only two that could read; I simply wanted to read and share books with her. The amount of banter I encountered puzzled me; how come this would only happen if I try to befriend a girl?
    Well soon enough this caused me to not talk to girls and on a larger scale caused me to withdraw from talking to people in general. Explicitly I remember an instance where a girl kept nagging me, for what seemed like months, to say “I love you” to her but I would refuse to do that. Eventually she got angry at my refusal and screamed so loud in my ear that I still have hearing damage.

    This reinforced my idea that it is a good idea to avoid people at least until all this childish stuff is “outgrown”; well silly me for thinking that. Now I am twenty-one and I still cannot befriend a girl without it being a sexual advancement. Being a virgin by choice I get some of the craziest reactions, when people somehow find out, like I’m the insane crazy odd person. So in a way I was put in some penalty box; that is the best way I could explain it. Somehow it becomes people’s mission to rid me of being a virgin. I feel that perhaps it is some remnant of the patriarchal society that believes having sex with a woman somehow defines who you are.

    All of this points to the fact that the western person is hung up on sex. Which comes down to religion, mostly Christianity for example, and its fear of, for some reason of all pleasures, sex. When you break it down, sex along with eating for example is one of the most basic fundamental relationships to the physical universe. Sexuality is something you cannot get rid of, life is sexual. We are all male or female, there are other gradations however they are still forms of maleness and femaleness. Even more so we are all a product of sexual intercourse, of course nowadays there is In vitro fertilisation but that in itself is still sexual. Now if you see this, even in a life where sexuality is in some way put down is still an expression of sexuality. I myself believe sexuality is just one of the many expressions of whatever this is, life, existence, hard to describe if you will.

    Now some religions often try to repress sex and associate it with sin and drive it straight into the ground as if it where dirt. Repressing it causes a sort of excitement, it makes it more interesting than it would be if it where not repressed, as if it where an aphrodisiac. Which explains everything well at least for me. Now I could go on and go deeper and we eventually arrive at some of my realizations but I’ve typed quite a lot. Now in this context I would have to say looking upon their actions with contempt is silly. Being able to see in their point of view and have it not effect you in a negative way adds to the vitality and diversity of life. Rather taking it all and finding a way to be accepting of others is key as you cannot expect anyone to adhere to what you think is correct. In closing I’d like to say that tolerance is key and one must be comfortable with their own sexuality to be comfortable with another’s sexuality.

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