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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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766 Responses

  1. Nahida
    Nahida August 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    “I don’t like giving oral sex, and that is a boundary for me and I won’t do it”? Yes.

    Okay. You’re also not getting it.

  2. metricjulie
    metricjulie August 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    Worth it for the last paragraph alone.

    Also, THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS UP. Pardon the all caps but JEEZ I have been single since April and I have NEVER had this much trouble being treated fairly and equally in bed.

    I don’t want to have to resort to waiting for him to go down before I do, but… yknow.

  3. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Haha…The trifecta! A post about DingTMFA, blow jobs (and female desire), and male entitlement. I think I’ll pop some corn in advance.

    Also, yes, I completely agree.

  4. Rare vos
    Rare vos August 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm |

    Also, has there ever been a straight man in the history of straight men who refused to give oral sex but was also anywhere approaching decent in the sack? (Definitive, 100% correct answer: NO).

    WORD.

    If a dude doesn’t go down – and I don’t care why he doesn’t – but expects YOU to go down, he’s a lost cause.

    If he doesn’t and doesn’t want you to – that could be worked around, I guess, if she doesn’t mind not getting any.

    For me the quoted statement has been 100% true. The only guys who wouldn’t go down, were terrible lays overall.

  5. Heather
    Heather August 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm |

    Kristen J.:
    Haha…The trifecta!A post about DingTMFA, blow jobs (and female desire), and male entitlement.I think I’ll pop some corn in advance.

    Also, yes, I completely agree.

    This is 100% true: I just went to the popcorn store and am stuffing my self with fake-cheese coated deliciousness as I type.

  6. Rare vos
    Rare vos August 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

    P.S. I got a good 10 mins of giggles out of the picture on this post. Well. Done.

  7. Dan
    Dan August 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    Why on earth would anyone not want to go down on ladies?

  8. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    There is only one caveat I would add to this. As long as it’s safe. The original article refers to an open non-monagamous relationship. Both partners should be hesitant about unprotected oral sex in a situation like that.

  9. Rare vos
    Rare vos August 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    What is this —> DingTMFA

  10. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan August 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

    DingTMFA = Dump(ing) The MotherFucking Asshole

    …with the “ing” for grammatical correctness, I presume. :D

  11. Havlová
    Havlová August 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    A looong time ago I developed a boundary that anyone who finds my body gross doesn’t need to touch it, ever.

  12. Andie
    Andie August 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    I always thought DTMFA was ‘Dump Their MotherFucking Ass’

    But I guess this one works just as well.

    To the topic at hand.. I can even deal with the ‘ew it’s icky’ argument as long as the double-standard doesn’t come into play. Although it’s something I’m willing to do for another’s pleasure, oral is not my favorite thing in the world (my neck DOES get sore) so I can dig if a guy isn’t into going down on me for whatever reasons. as long as he doesn’t get butthurt when I’m not into giving oral either.

    There’s a difference between saying ‘I find oral sex distasteful’ and ‘I find vaginas distasteful’.

  13. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    Nahida:
    “I don’t like giving oral sex, and that is a boundary for me and I won’t do it”? Yes.

    Okay. You’re also not getting it.

    This. A lifetime of giving without receiving is not for me.

  14. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar August 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    DTMFA is originally a Dan Savage-ism, meaning Dump The Mother Fucker Already, referring to letters (usually from women in relationships with men) who lay out long stories of terrible relationships and who have already taken way more crap than they should have.

  15. Noelle
    Noelle August 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    important omission: If someone doesn’t like the taste of your body fluids, there’s a solution! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_dam It’s good safer-sex practice anyway.

    I feel like someone with a (I hate to say good reason) more thoughtful understanding of their own desires/limits, someone in a healthier relationship with you will care more about working around those limits to make sure both partners are satisfied in a way that works for both of them.

    A Captain Awkward column recently covered a manipulative friendship and in the comment thread this came up:

    One of the serious issues that come up in dealing with a person like [column’s subject] is when she starts to use the language of social justice and disability rights to assert things like “don’t refer to your religion in my presence”

    In a similar way, “its just my preference” seems to be a mask for some people to protect behaviors/ideas that are based in poisonous anti-woman body-hating culture, and (for that reason) that mask tends to work for them. Would you let “its just my opinion” fly, when your partner is saying racist or sexist things? When it’s a person you care about, you can’t just blacklist them immediately, but their preferences (at least talking about and examining them) aren’t sacrosanct.

  16. matlun
    matlun August 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm |

    I would not specifically say that this should be a dealbreaker, but if not oral, then they need to figure out a way to make sure both parties get satisfaction. As the original article phrased it: It is not a one way street.

    Andie: There’s a difference between saying ‘I find oral sex distasteful’ and ‘I find vaginas distasteful’.

    Hmm. In some cases there can be issues due to embarrassing smell and taste. So I guess this depends on your definition of “distasteful”.
    (Not really applicable to the OP, since in that case it sounded like a general principle rather than specific circumstance)

  17. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    You know what I call people who don’t go down on me but with whom I enjoy spending time? “Friend.”

  18. Azalea
    Azalea August 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    Yeah, bad taste = no oral. Bad smell = no sex of any kind until hygiene issue is fully resolved.

    Aspargus laced semen is worse than swallowing your own vomit. Hubby ate it once I told him if he EVER wanted to receive oral sex again he’d ditch that it friggin invades the penal pores. I can’t say how food affects the taste of women but I have heard that eating a lot of sugary foods gives you a more sugary taste (fruits, candies etc). I’m going to take a stab here and say dental dam is to cunnilingus what condom is to fellatio.

    Not liking my taste and scent is a dealbreaker, because absolutely enjoying *giving* oral sex is a requirement. Sexual compatibility ought to be a dealbreaker within itself.

  19. atheistchick
    atheistchick August 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

    I definitely used to have a boyfriend who wouldn’t go down, but he expected me to. We broke up. Definitely a dealbreaker for me.

  20. Rare vos
    Rare vos August 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

    In a similar way, “its just my preference” seems to be a mask for some people to protect behaviors/ideas that are based in poisonous anti-woman body-hating culture, and (for that reason) that mask tends to work for them. Would you let “its just my opinion” fly, when your partner is saying racist or sexist things? When it’s a person you care about, you can’t just blacklist them immediately, but their preferences (at least talking about and examining them) aren’t sacrosanct.

    On the flip side of that – if we’re talking about sexual or romantic partners – why should she have to put in so much effort with him to get off? If you’re with someone who says no to it, and/or strings you along with empty promises of “someday, maybe”, etc., why bother continuing to try?

    If that’s a dealbreaker for you, move along. It’s not our job to change them. And you can’t. Even if it’s someone you care about.

  21. Katniss
    Katniss August 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    I think what people miss about the whole GGG vs. boundaries debate is that while your partner is allowed to have their preferences and boundaries, you are allowed to have your needs, which means that if there is absolutely no middle ground between your partner’s boundaries and your needs, you absolutely have the right to find another partner.

    TMI, but I really enjoy both giving and receiving oral sex. I also want a life-long partner. So if oral sex was outside of my partner’s boundaries, then that probably isn’t the partner for them. That doesn’t make either of us the bad guy, it just means we aren’t compatible. Sounds cold, but then again I also tend to discuss these kind of dealbreaker things early on in relationships.

  22. Gabrielle
    Gabrielle August 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    Oral sex is definitely a dealbreaker for me. The guy that refused to go down on me? Dumped him last year.

  23. raya
    raya August 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    My boyfriend (who is 20 years old and fairly sexually inexperienced) wouldn’t go down on me for a very long time when we started dating. It took him months to actually tell me that he was just too afraid to mess it up, didn’t really know how to do it, and feared to disappoint me since I had plenty of (pretty awesome) oral sex with women before we started dating. While that may sound really silly to many people, I could kind of relate to what he said and was glad his reason wasn’t just vagina = gross.
    I guess that’s why I can’t quite relate to post like these. While of course it sucks that many men think it’s emasculating to go down on a woman, I feel like I just had too many sexual encounters with people whose reasons to not do certain things in bed are different than that – due to age or shyness, amongst other things. And as a young woman who suffers from slight sexual anxiety due to sexual abuse trauma, advice columns etc. that suggest to just dump someone who won’t do certain things with you in bed really freak me out and make me feel pressured.

  24. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    I find it one of the most erotic acts ever, and much enjoy hearing and viewing my partner enjoying herself. Most women I have been with enjoy it, a small minority don’t like it, and an equally small minority like it, but prefer intercourse more. As for me, I really do like performing cunnilingus, and have always been disappointed when I’ve been told not to do it.

    That being said, I have only been with one woman who tasted “bad” and that was a one-night-stand. Even then, I didn’t want to be rude and made sure to finish up first. I don’t understand why men shy away from the practice, unless they are repulsed by something brand new and unfamiliar.

  25. Olivia
    Olivia August 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm |

    Ugh, this feels so problematic. I have anxiety issues regarding sex, a history of sexual abuse, and issues with my bisexuality in a hetero relationship. I have not yet been able to give my long-time boyfriend head. He’s done it to me dozens and dozens and dozens of times and it’s fantastic. I’ve never asked for it because I know I can’t reciprocate. I’ve tried and I get too nervous or too drunk and it just hasn’t worked out. And when my friends hear that I haven’t reciprocated, some are shocked or feel like it’s silly but MOST give me the benefit of the doubt–like it’s some feminist stance I’ve taken or something. Or they assume I have a good reason.

    But look, this guy didn’t ask to get head from her, that’s an assumption. She never once says that he asked for it in that article. She willingly gave him oral sex because she wanted to–and that’s her prerogative. And no one here is giving him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s not vaginaphobia. Since he clearly also fingered her. But I guess I’m thinking this discussion, on this particular entry on feministe is not just about this one couple: it’s about the way we see oral sex in general. This is not an issue that I feel can be simplified down to that fact that he may be sexist or misogynistic or hates vaginas. If he’s not comfortable with the act, that’s not something we should be judging.

    Maybe these are just my own personal anxieties that I’m bringing into the discussion, but I don’t think it’s fair to treat his potential anxieties or discomforts as something that he should be dumped over.

    I completely agree with raya above: much like her boyfriend, my own concerns about performance and ability to please get in my way. It’s nerve-wracking to engage in any of these activities for the first time! The idea that he should “grow up and get over it” or something is super problematic, and as a fellow young woman who also suffers from sexual anxiety due to sexual abuse trauma, any blog or article that encourages dumping partners unwilling to do certain things in bed is one that perpetuates pressure and promotes unhealthy sexual relationships.

  26. Ros
    Ros August 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    Kinda disagreeing, here… My boyfriend WILL go down on me, but I know it’s not his favorite thing to do. That said, I’ve got… other kinks, shall we say… that get me off more, and THOSE are indulged plenty, so I’m pretty happy with the situation.

    That said, straight-up refusal to go down at all would be a MAJOR issue because “eww, ick, girl-parts up close” kinda doesn’t convince me to fuck you, y’know…

  27. m
    m August 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    It’s pretty much the only way I get to come, so if a guy doesn’t do it I feel we’re just totally incompatible in bed.

    That’s also why I feel that a guy going down on me and me going down on a guy aren’t really compatible – if I don’t do it *every* time we have sex, he still gets to come every time, because intercourse is still the primary way to come for him, but if he doesn’t go down on me, I most likely won’t come.

    This might also be why having sex always feels a bit unfair. Guys get to come every time.

  28. Nahida
    Nahida August 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    You know, all this time I was under the impression that we all taste the same.

  29. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    Way back when my ethics weren’t quite up to my current standards, there was more than one time when I was having sex with a man with a girlfriend, who refused to give me oral sex because it was just a step too far in cheating, while receiving oral sex or having PIV sex was apparently on the near side of that ethical boundary. How convenient.

    There are women who don’t enjoy receiving oral. They should partner with the men (or women? do such women exist?) who don’t like giving it. Just like in any other instance of serious incompatibility.

  30. Kara
    Kara August 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm |

    I am having some issues with the article and some of the comments that I am having difficulty pinpointing right now (I must muse on them and come back later)… but I can’t help thinking that the fact that the acts in question (cunnilingus/fellatio) are considered so mainstream is perhaps clouding the issue.

    If instead of someone not wanting to perform cunnilingus, it was someone who was unwilling to engage in (or receive) anal, or BDSM, or golden showers, or something that is considered a little more “extreme” would we be having this same conversation?

  31. Rare vos
    Rare vos August 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    I guess that’s why I can’t quite relate to post like these. While of course it sucks that many men think it’s emasculating to go down on a woman, I feel like I just had too many sexual encounters with people whose reasons to not do certain things in bed are different than that – due to age or shyness, amongst other things.

    The difference is – is the person who is too shy, inexperienced, etc. willing to learn? Are they willing to try something else? If so, then that’s not the guy we’re talking about here.

    If not, are they amenable to not getting oral? If so, then, if she can live without it too, this is not what we’re talking about.

    If they’re not, then there’s absolutely no reason to continue trying to change them, or convince them or whatever. That veers to close, imo, to coercion. “I’m too shy” can easily be just a cover a la what Noelle was saying.

  32. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen August 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    Hate to be a broken record after 27 comments, but if a partner doesn’t want to give, s/he shouldn’t receive — it’s not rocket science. And that applies to everything in the Solar System, not just relationships. Most of us learned this in kindergarten, right?

  33. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    Kara, I’m not willing to engage in some things, because they are physically painful. There’s a world of difference between not doing something because it hurts (or you find it degrading) and refusing to do something that you expect your partner to do to you.

    So–if a guy really can’t take the idea of going down on me, fine. Just don’t expect me to reciprocate–that’s unfair. I’d start feeling resentful as all hell.

  34. Mal
    Mal August 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

    And the ruling on genders reversed situation is what exactly? Like exactly the same, but genders reversed. Because I’ve been feeling bad about that breakup since college, and it would be great if it retroactively wasn’t a fucked up thing to do.

  35. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Kara:
    I am having some issues with the article and some of the comments that I am having difficulty pinpointing right now (I must muse on them and come back later)… but I can’t help thinking that the fact that the acts in question (cunnilingus/fellatio) are considered so mainstream is perhaps clouding the issue.

    If instead of someone not wanting to perform cunnilingus, it was someone who was unwilling to engage in (or receive) anal, or BDSM, or golden showers, or something that is considered a little more “extreme” would we be having this same conversation?

    Yup, if you get off being hit on the head with a big foam finger and that is a bridge too far for your partner (who prefers motorboat noises) DTMFA.

  36. ArielNYC
    ArielNYC August 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

    As a male, let me just say I’ve heard from from guys saying how much they LOVE LOVE LOVE giving oral. Even hetero porn has plenty of male on female oral. So the idea that cunnilingus has some emasculation stigma about it is highly suspect IMHO.

    That aside, I’ve been quite intrigued by how enthusiastic consent is reconciled with GGG, especially in long-term relationships/marriage when one partner’s sexual drive has changed. If enthusiasm is destiny, then it seems like DTMF would be the only viable option.

  37. WestEndGirl
    WestEndGirl August 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    I can actually report in on one bloke that refused to go down and was utterly outstanding in bed. I mean, guaranteed, multiple squirting orgasms type of outstanding.
    He was the only guy I didn’t have a problem with not giving head. :-)

    To echo many others no give / no get – neck/spinal problems notwithstanding.*

    *I currently have a severely herniated spinal disc which affects my right arm and hand. Poor current bloke is sadly denied in so so many departments, but cunningly enough I’d built up my brownie points so I’m clear for a few months :-)

  38. Kara
    Kara August 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    Okay, if you are not compatible sexually for whatever reason, and trying to work through things isn’t happening, then yeah, I can get behind DTMFA.

    But the tit for tat, you won’t do X so I won’t do Y pettiness and the “he needs to man up and go down” subtext that I am getting is… honestly kinda distasteful to me.

    That isn’t how a mutually respectful and loving relationship should be…..

  39. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    Nope, BDSM, anal etc are not really all that different.

    Say you’re into BDSM. Your partner is not. What do you do? (Actually, I’m in that exact situation right now, though many would not be comfortable with our solution). You evaluate how important your sexual preferences are to you. You evaluate how important not doing it is to your partner. You consider how otherwise compatible you too are, how committed, and how flexible. Then, with discussion and compassion and respect, you have a conversation. Possibly one that takes many months. The possible solutions:

    1. Break up. It’s too important to you not to live with, and too much to ask for your partner to change his (or her, but I’ll use the masculine pronoun from now on as it reflects my situation) preferences.

    2. You live without BDSM. Your partner is just that important to you, and his need to not do it is stronger than your need to have that in your sex life.

    3. Your partner starts the process of learning and maybe learning to enjoy BDSM. You reciprocate by trying whatever gets him off. You’ve decided the relationship is important, and your need for BDSM is stronger than his reluctance.

    4. You have an open relationship or engage in polyamory, and each seek to find some of your sexual needs outside of this particular relationship.

    My husband and I have, after again lots of honesty, conversation, experimentation, and negotiation, chosen a combination of 3 and 4. Our implementation of 4 has changed over the years to better meet his needs (mine have been happily met from the start).

    The reason cunnilingus is more common in this discussion is that more people enjoy it than enjoy BDSM. But the same rules apply: not everyone’s cup of tea, so weigh it against your values, your partner’s values, and the other aspects of the relationship.

    In the case in the article, it just sounds dysfunctional. He was stringing her along by making promises he seems to have never intended to keep. She was putting so much pressure on him he couldn’t ever feel he was voluntarily experimenting. Ending the relationship was the only way out of the morass they created.

  40. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    But the tit for tat, you won’t do X so I won’t do Y pettiness and the “he needs to man up and go down” subtext that I am getting is… honestly kinda distasteful to me.

    That isn’t how a mutually respectful and loving relationship should be….

    OFFS. So, what’s the alternative? Is “mutually respectful and loving relationship” code for “be silent and put up with it or you’re a horrible woman”?

    You’re actually saying that she should still go down on him, and not expect equal treatment?

  41. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

    And what’s with all the discussion of neck/spinal problems? Try a different position, people! I promise you, you can give head from all sorts of fun angles. Lie in the bed with her on your face. Sit on the floor with her on a bed in front of you. Buy special furniture if it’s really that difficult, but I am sure people with all sorts of disabilities have found ways to have wonderful oral sex.

  42. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    I really don’t get why sex is so important that it can break a relationship.

    I thought people form relationships over other qualities of their partner before getting to sex?

    As an asexual I’d do what makes my partner happy if someone wanted me enough to want to me to have sex with them, though I’d prefer to be left alone; however, I just find people breaking up over something like sex really weird and maybe a bit sad. I’m anorgasmic and I’d be hurt if someone broke up with me because I wasn’t enthusiastic about sex, but it seems to be normalized that if your partner doesn’t put out, they should be thrown out.

    Does every sexual act entitled to sex or is it mainly heterosexuals?

  43. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    Yeah, I don’t know that we can always say that the equivalent of oral sex for one partner is oral sex for the other. People have different histories, preferences, sensitivities, erogenous zones. Fellatio and cunnilingus are distinct and quite different physical acts! But if a person expects you to stretch your horizons a bit to please them, they should stretch their horizons to please you. And taking pleasure without making a serious effort to help the other achieve it is just not cool.

  44. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    I really don’t get why sex is so important that it can break a relationship.

    I thought people form relationships over other qualities of their partner before getting to sex?

    Many people do. Many don’t. I certainly never had. I had sex with my current husband before I even knew his age.

    I respect your right to not consider sex important. But might I suggest that you and I would maybe be incompatible as romantic partners?

    I know someone who wouldn’t marry a man who couldn’t sing. Others won’t get involved with people who don’t do enough beauty work, or don’t enjoy hiking, or cooking, or travelling. Everyone has dealbreakers, and I think sexual dealbreakers are just as legitimate as any other.

  45. raya
    raya August 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    Kara:
    Okay, if you are not compatible sexually for whatever reason, and trying to work through things isn’t happening, then yeah, I can get behind DTMFA.

    But the tit for tat, you won’t do X so I won’t do Y pettiness and the “he needs to man up and go down” subtext that I am getting is… honestly kinda distasteful to me.

    That isn’t how a mutually respectful and loving relationship should be…..

    I fully agree.

    I guess as long as you’re a feminist, fairly sexually experienced person with no huge sexual anxieties, a good body image, and no severe problems communicating with your partner(s), this ‘tit for tat’-stuff does apply to you.
    But it doesn’t (or shouldn’t, IMHO) appeal to people who are just afraid of disappointing their partner(s) by doing something ‘wrong’, or to people who e.g. won’t let someone go down on them or do other things to them because they feel insecure due to poor body image, to people who suffer from sexual anxiety and fear of talking about their boundaries and sexual problems for whatever reason etc.

  46. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    R.T. – i’m exactly the opposite. highly sexual, highly orgasmic. its something I need in my relationships. For me, its a strong way to connect to a partner (assuming we’re not talking casual sex, which I do thoroughly enjoy when not in a relationship). If someone is unwilling, unable or uninterested in sex, they are not the person for me. If someone is unwilling, unable or uninterested in sex, why should I forego what I need to accommodate them?

    Since when do feminists tell women that not getting what you need from a relationship is a reason to *stay*?

    Incompatibility is incompatibility – why try to force it?

    No one is saying immediately dump someone for not doing what you want. We are saying that, if you’re with someone incompatible and there’s nothing you can do about it – why stay?

  47. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    I really don’t get why sex is so important that it can break a relationship.

    For people who aren’t asexual, we tend to view relationships that lack orgasms as friendships. Maybe cuddle-buddies at most. I have dumped a number of men who couldn’t make me come even though they were great in every other way. I’m not sure why this would be surprising to anyone.

    But the tit for tat, you won’t do X so I won’t do Y pettiness and the “he needs to man up and go down” subtext that I am getting is… honestly kinda distasteful to me.

    That isn’t how a mutually respectful and loving relationship should be…..

    What makes you think these relationships are respectful and loving to begin with? If you end up being petty with your partner and keeping track of orgasms, you’re simply not in a good relationship. If you’re not in a good relationship, then it makes perfect sense to start counting orgasms and playing tit for tat. I don’t see a problem with that.

  48. kiturak
    kiturak August 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    Noelle:
    important omission: If someone doesn’t like the taste of your body fluids, there’s a solution! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_dam It’s good safer-sex practice anyway.

    I feel like someone with a (I hate to say good reason) more thoughtful understanding of their own desires/limits, someone in a healthier relationship with you will care more about working around those limits to make sure both partners are satisfied in a way that works for both of them.

    That seems like the point to me. Together with “Even his fingering was clumsy at best”, that’s just someone who’s fundamentally uninterested in giving pleasure. DTMFA.

  49. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    If instead of someone not wanting to perform cunnilingus, it was someone who was unwilling to engage in (or receive) anal, or BDSM, or golden showers, or something that is considered a little more “extreme” would we be having this same conversation?

    Yes. You aren’t entitled to a relationship with the person of your choosing. I cannot believe how many times I’ve had to say this in the comments of this blog. If you’re with someone who requires golden showers to get off and you can’t provide that, go your separate ways. Guilt-tripping them into staying with you is wrong and abusive.

  50. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

    You aren’t entitled to a relationship with the person of your choosing.

    Guilt-tripping them into staying with you is wrong and abusive.

    A billion times yes! thank you.

    i totally just had a click! moment.

    i couldn’t figure out why this subtextual slut-shaming was feeling very triggery, but there it is. Being guilt tripped into performing bjs while he refused to go downtown, being guilt tripped for having a higher sex drive than him, and being guilt tripped into staying with him because he was so “lost without” me – that was my rapist.

    I eventually did leave and I sure as shit don’t feel bad about it.

  51. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm |

    Especially regarding women’s sexual needs, this can get fucked up. Women are often made to feel dirty and wrong for having sexual needs, or more commonly, made to feel unattractive. Four out of five women who get with “won’t go down” guy are going to blame themselves, as we’re socialized to do. In fact, this woman did just that—waxed, scrubbed, treated her body like it’s disgusting because he saw it that way. Fuck that. DTMFA, and find someone who finds sex as fun as you do.

  52. Amarantha
    Amarantha August 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm |

    So did anyone notice all the ridiculous/misogynistic euphemisms for vagina in the comments on Good? Salmon run? Sashimi? Ugh.

  53. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |

    ArielNYC: As a male, let me just say I’ve heard from from guys saying how much they LOVE LOVE LOVE giving oral. Even hetero porn has plenty of male on female oral. So the idea that cunnilingus has some emasculation stigma about it is highly suspect IMHO.

    Dude, it was a whole subplot with Uncle Junior on The Sopranos.

    My MO is to have my fun first, so I’m good and lubed up. Which also serves as a rather nice filter, since anyone who won’t go down on me doesn’t get much further. I look at it as making sure I get pleasure too, and I don’t have orgasms from intercourse. And because of that, I look at cunnilingus as the equivalent not of blowjobs but of intercourse, as something that’s a pretty reliable way of getting off. Moreover, giving blow jobs is not my personal favorite thing in the world, ever since that guy who grabbed my hair and moved my head around and made me feel al panicky as if I were going to choke. But if that’s a dealbreaker for a guy, so be it.

    I also do understand that some people have issues that are unrelated to misogyny, but as Jill said in the OP, those issues should be subject to interrogation to be sure they’re not related to some kind of loathing of the female body. Maybe you’re a supertaster, and maybe I eat way too much asparagus. Or maybe you’re like the guy I dated when I was in school, who wouldn’t go down on me because he’d been told by some other woman that he was bad at it. And no matter how much I said BUT I WILL TEACH YOU, he could not get over his anxiety. Which is a shame, because he really did have a tiny penis. And his unwillingness to let me teach him (along with my unwillingness to do the required hand-holding to get him over his issues) spelled the end of that relationship.

  54. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    Dr. Confused:
    Yeah, I don’t know that we can always say that the equivalent of oral sex for one partner is oral sex for the other.People have different histories, preferences, sensitivities, erogenous zones.Fellatio and cunnilingus are distinct and quite different physical acts!But if a person expects you to stretch your horizons a bit to please them, they should stretch their horizons to please you.And taking pleasure without making a serious effort to help the other achieve it is just not cool.

    Agreed. It’s a little bit unfair for someone who is turned on by giving blow jobs to demand reciprocity from someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy giving oral.

    It’s a little bit like if a couple were both fans of Mad Men, and one of them wanted to watch The Tonight Show, but the other objected, and the first one said, “But I watch Mad Men with you all the time!”

    Couples should find sex acts both partners enjoy and not just things people are willing to do for reciprocity’s sake.

  55. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    R.T.: I really don’t get why sex is so important that it can break a relationship…

    As an asexual

    You just answered your own question. You’re asexual, therefore sex isn’t important to you, therefore you don’t really have a dog in this hunt.

    Really no need to be all scoldy with people for whom it is important. They simply value different things than you do.

  56. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm |

    Couples should find sex acts both partners enjoy and not just things people are willing to do for reciprocity’s sake.

    And when one just straight up refuses ?

  57. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm |

    It’s a little bit unfair for someone who is turned on by giving blow jobs to demand reciprocity from someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy giving oral.

    No it isn’t. Hell, last summer I kicked someone out of my bed who tried to use this very line against me.

  58. Diana
    Diana August 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    Mal:
    And the ruling on genders reversed situation is what exactly? Like exactly the same, but genders reversed. Because I’ve been feeling bad about that breakup since college, and it would be great if it retroactively wasn’t a fucked up thing to do.

    Genders reversed, it’s still a compatibility issue – both partners have the right to have needs, and it is an unfortunate reality that there are plenty of ways to have a dealbreaker where no one is at ‘fault’ due to needs and capabilities/willingness not overlapping. If your needs weren’t being met in the relationship, leaving was ultimately the right thing to do.

  59. XtinaS
    XtinaS August 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    “And when one just straight up refuses ?”

    Then one breaks up with them, I would imagine.

  60. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm |

    Rare Vos: And when one just straight up refuses ?

    If your partner refuses to perform an act you enjoy, they should suggest something you’d both enjoy, and if there is no such thing, you two should find other people to fuck.

  61. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm |

    I’m a little confused by the comments that are verging into “but what if this situation was completely different?” territory, and then attempting to apply the same logic to this situation. This is a situation where the man seems completely uninterested in getting the woman off. That’s a problem. If he then still expects her to get him off, that’s another, related problem. Together we have a clear case of DTMFA.

    Amanda hit the nail on the head – no one is entitled to receive specific sexual acts from a person who’re not interested in participating in them. Trying to bully people into sexual acts they don’t like is unethical and abusive.

    But that’s not what the situation outlined above seems to be about at all. And the derail about how relationships shouldn’t be tit for tat is just silly. In a good loving relationship, things would never reach that point, because if say a dude really hated giving head for some reason he’d communicate with his partner about it, and try to find an alternative that worked for her. If one partner is just going “nope, not doing it, and OK I guess I’ll grudgingly do this other thing that might get you off, but I’ll do it in a half-assed way that isn’t focused on giving you pleasure at all”, then that’s not an example of a good and loving man whose meanie girlfriend is being tit for tat with him, it’s an example of a man who is selfish in bed. So DTMFA.

  62. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm |

    The guy’s not an asshole for not getting her off despite the fact that she gets him off. He’s an asshole for not getting her off.

  63. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse August 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm |

    R.T., women are pretty consistently perceived/portrayed as forming relationships for reasons other than sex and not having sexual desires. Women who are open about their sexual needs are either erased or slut-shamed. We’re quite familiar with that good old passive-aggressive “shouldn’t you base relationships on other things?” line, thanks very much. As an asexual, sex is not important to you and I’m sure everyone her respects that. Respect that for others, sexual compatibility and pleasure will, and should be, just as important as intellectual or emotional compatibility.

    Amanda, every time this topic comes up you make the sane statement (you’re not entitled to a relationship with the person of your choosing) and every time it’s treated by at least one poster like some kind of extreme radical fringe belief! It’s sort of mind-boggling that this is a radical idea in a feminist space!

    Like, no, you aren’t entitled to another person’s body just because you want them. And you aren’t entitled to your partner being GG&G if you aren’t being that yourself. And if no one wants you or if people dump you because you aren’t sexually on the same wavelength, then that’s your problem, it doesn’t make them cruel or wrong (unless they are abusive in the process). Other people don’t owe you sex or relationships. Why is that so hard to accept? If this dude doesn’t go down and it’s her favorite way to get off, she’s entitled to DTMFA.

  64. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm |

    Fuck you Zuzu.

    I might be interested in forming a relationship even if that goes against my first instincts. I even said I’d be willing to even enter a unequal relationship.

    However chatter on the net is one has to give up one’s body to have a relationship, ’cause it’s all about what the sexuals want. Even the lauded Savage demands this, and says orientation needs to be immediately disclosed when dating.

    It’s back to people wanting rights to others bodies only couched in terms that make it sound like an equal relationship.

  65. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm |

    If your partner refuses to perform an act you enjoy, they should suggest something you’d both enjoy, and if there is no such thing, you two should find other people to fuck.

    If i’m willing to live without the act I enjoy and supplant it with the alternate suggestion, then yes. If I’m not – and, in this particular case I’m def not – then, finding someone else is the only answer.

    I fail to see what’s wrong with that.

    As zuzu said – I’m more than willing to teach. if he’s still unwilling to learn, move along, nothing else to see here.

  66. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    However chatter on the net is one has to give up one’s body to have a relationship, ’cause it’s all about what the sexuals want. Even the lauded Savage demands this, and says orientation needs to be immediately disclosed when dating.

    It’s back to people wanting rights to others bodies only couched in terms that make it sound like an equal relationship.

    this makes absolutely no fucking sense. There’s nothing wrong with not being interested in sex. You don’t *have* to give up your body to be in a relationship. The only person one has a right to sex with is oneself.

    yet, if you fail to disclose the fact that you’re not interested, you have no right to *expect* someone else to accommodate that.

    What would be the fucking point of deliberately setting a relationship up to fail?

  67. Athenia
    Athenia August 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    Once I realized that if my partner doesn’t want to give me oral, I was completely let off the hook on giving oral, I didn’t feel upset anymore.

    I think part of the problem is that from high school we are taught that a girl giving a guy a bj is a *basic* requirement for being in a heterosexual relationship. For a guy to go down? Much more vague. Rarely talked about that one.

  68. jamayla
    jamayla August 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm |

    Sex isn’t that important to me anymore, but I enjoy it on occasion; and when it happens, it really does need to be mutual, or it won’t work. Penetration is very difficult & painful for me unless there’s some ‘warm-up’ first; and if my partner is unwilling to do that, it makes me care much less about their sexual happiness.

    The only exceptions I make here are for people who’ve had abusive/coercive experiences. Being put off because of a merely BAD experience doesn’t give someone a free pass, though. (i.e. there’s a difference between not wanting to go down because it reminds you of a coercive experience you had, and not wanting to go down because it reminds you of that one time you hooked up with a lady whose vulva smelled like Velveeta.)

    However chatter on the net is one has to give up one’s body to have a relationship, ’cause it’s all about what the sexuals want.

    Uh, what? Who here suggested that you’re somehow obligated to ‘give up your body’ to have a relationship? I don’t think anyone’s made such a comment.

    also, lol @ “the sexuals”, as though people who don’t ID as ‘asexual’ are some kind of singly-acting monolith with the same preferences & opinions.

  69. Jaclyn
    Jaclyn August 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    ArielNYC: That aside, I’ve been quite intrigued by how enthusiastic consent is reconciled with GGG, especially in long-term relationships/marriage when one partner’s sexual drive has changed. If enthusiasm is destiny, then it seems like DTMF would be the only viable option.

    Just popping in to say that I’ve always seen enthusiastic consent as completely compatible with GGG. If one is enthusiastically giving and enthusiastically game to try new things that may please one’s partner, one need not be personally enthusiastic about every physical moment of every sex act. Just enthusiastically *consenting* to that sex act. If your enthusiasm is for pleasing your partner, not the physical act itself, that’s still enthusiasm.

    And if your partner isn’t enthusiastic about finding ways to please you? DTMFA.

  70. Sam
    Sam August 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm |

    Funny thing… I had chat with two female friends about this subject and *THEIR* opinion was that a guy giving oral sex is something far more intimate than a woman giving oral sex. These women did not understand how cunnilingus could be enjoyable for the man, even though they did like giving blow jobs themselves. Whenever I mention that I actually *like* cunnilingus it’s usually women who are confused about such a statement.

  71. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm |

    But the tit for tat, you won’t do X so I won’t do Y pettiness and the “he needs to man up and go down” subtext that I am getting is… honestly kinda distasteful to me.

    That isn’t how a mutually respectful and loving relationship should be…..

    Indeed. A mutually respectful and loving relationship is one where the woman gives blow jobs to please her man and cheerfully accepts the fact that the man won’t reciprocate, even if she might really like him to and has said so.

    Call me a selfish bitch, but I’ve been with men who expect blow jobs but refused to reciprocate. I think it’s entitled and selfish and ended up very frustrated. And yes, unwilling to go down since apparently, I wasn’t worthy of the same effort. That’s what’s distateful.

    If you’re not willing to go down, don’t expect or ask for the same. That’s all I’m saying. I resent the fuck out of the shaming from people when women have the goddamn gall to say what we want.

    Fuck that shaming noise. A lot of us have been guilted and berated out of saying what we want and standing up for our needs and desires. Fuck your shaming bullshit.

  72. annajcook
    annajcook August 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm |

    What jumps out at me most about the original story is that this guy wasn’t expressing distaste over how his current partner tastes … he was expressing distaste over how a PREVIOUS partner tasted, and thus ruling out oral sex as a result. While obviously everyone is free to decide when they’re game to try something again (if ever), it’s sad that he assumed every woman tastes the same, and even that taste is consistent each time! I mean, for my partner and I it totally depends on what we’ve been eating, the point we’re at in our cycles, the weather, the soaps we’re using, etc. I pretty much always love how my partner tastes, but it’s rarely exactly the same.

  73. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    @Jill,

    M. is *insisting* that I comment about the fact that the cat looks like one of the scary vampires from the Whedonverse.

  74. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil August 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    However chatter on the net is one has to give up one’s body to have a relationship, ’cause it’s all about what the sexuals want. Even the lauded Savage demands this, and says orientation needs to be immediately disclosed when dating.

    What? If you’re not interested in sex, don’t get into/stay in a relationship with someone who is. Being incompatible with someone because you don’t share sexual interests doesn’t make either of you a bad person (or someone who should have to give in)–it just means that you’re not compatible.

    I don’t see where anyone said anything to the contrary.

  75. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm |

    it’s sad that he assumed

    I have a hard time believing this was his actual reason. From how she describes him, he was just a selfish, incompetent, shitty lay. All he had to do is make up a stupid excuse for being a selfish, incompetent shitty lay and he could rely on the privilege/power imbalance to do the rest for him.

  76. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm |

    LOL at “the sexuals”. And yes, if you are asexual that is something you should disclose early in the dating process, just like I should dislose the fact that I’m bisexual and the fact that I like BSDM. If you want to find a compatible partner, you need to make it clear what your needs and expectations are. If one of your needs is “no sex, please”, then you need to tell people that – how are they supposed to know if you don’t tell them? And if someone wants sex and you don’t, you’re not compatible. Neither party should be expected to compromise to that extent, because if they do either neither party will be happy, or one party will compromise far, far too much and they’ll be miserable while the other party is kind of OK. Neither pattern is going to lead to a happy, harmonious relationship.

    Seriously, folks – there’s a certain level to which people should be willing to compromise, but if you’re just flat out not compatible, oh well, such is life, you need to move on and find someone else. No reason you can’t become really close friends, if you’re compatible in every other way except sexually.

  77. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm |

    However chatter on the net is one has to give up one’s body to have a relationship, ’cause it’s all about what the sexuals want.
    .
    Jesus H. CHRIST. Yes, I should simply quash my sex drive because being a mere woman, I am obligated to repress all desires lest I make my partner uncomfortable.

    No one is obligated to have a relationship with you and endure no sex if they are sexual people. You are, likewise, not obligated to be in a relationship with someone who is sexual and who’d like to have a lot of sex.

  78. Sara
    Sara August 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    I don’t know why it’s OK to assume that nobody ever had a good non-physical reason for not wanting to give oral.

    If a man in a hetero relationship won’t perform cunnilingus, and his partner doesn’t want to give blowjobs, and he demands them anyway, then that’s fucked up. However, we don’t need the first clause of that sentence at all. If a woman doesn’t want to give blowjobs, her male partners shouldn’t demand them.

    If a couple is sexually incompatible, though, then that is surely an OK reason to break up, even there’s no misogyny involved. I once went on a couple of dates with a guy who said he couldn’t handle any kind of oral at all (giving or receiving) because of some particular issues he had with mouths (he wasn’t big on kissing, either). It ended relatively quickly, but I think in the long run the lack of blowjobs would have actually been a deal breaker for me. I just really like giving them.

  79. Sara
    Sara August 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm |

    The end of the first sentence of my third paragraph should obviously read, “even *IF* there’s no misogyny involved.”

  80. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm |

    Again–if a guy won’t go down on me, fine, but he shouldn’t expect me to go down on him. I like going down but it also does a number on me physically. If a guy isn’t willing to please me that way, he shouldn’t expect me to please him that way.

    Even though I like giving, after a time, I would also like to recieve. Perhaps that makes me a selfish bitch. I don’t care. I spent far too long bending over backwards to please people who simply didn’t give a shit, and I’m done.

  81. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm |

    CassandraSays: And if someone wants sex and you don’t, you’re not compatible. Neither party should be expected to compromise to that extent, because if they do either neither party will be happy, or one party will compromise far, far too much and they’ll be miserable while the other party is kind of OK.

    Of course people with difference sex drives (including no sex drive) can have perfectly wonderful relationships. As long as the compromise works for both people, it doesn’t matter. If the compromise doesn’t work for either or both then DTMFA.

  82. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    @ Kristin J – Sure, it can work if people are willing to compromise and both parties are OK with that. I get the feeling that isn’t what the person above is suggesting, though, judging by the general tone of his/her comments and the fact that he/she seems to find the idea of being expected to communicate one’s sexual preferences to potential partners offensive.

  83. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm |

    CassandraSays: @ Kristin J – Sure, it can work if people are willing to compromise and both parties are OK with that. I get the feeling that isn’t what the person above is suggesting, though, judging by the general tone of his/her comments and the fact that he/she seems to find the idea of being expected to communicate one’s sexual preferences to potential partners offensive.

    Agreed :) Just wanted to clarify. I know there are a lot of asexual commentors around. And this thread is entertaining enough! Want some popcorn?

  84. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm |

    With anything sexual on which you have a strong opinion — oral sex, period sex, sex period, bukkake, whatever — there are basically four options if you’re going to be in a relationship:
    1. Someone with a complementary strong opinon
    2. Someone with no strong opinion, or who is willing to go against their strong opinion
    3. Someone who inspires you to go against your strong opinion
    4. An open relationship.

    The same applies to dancing or horror movies, really, though I suspect 2 and 3 are easier to find than with sex. But whatever it is, if 2 and 3 prove unworkable, that leaves 4 — which isn’t for everyone — or 1.

    In my relationships it’s been much more of an issue with dancing than sex.

    (I should point out that I wrote the foregoing before I read Dr. Confused’s comment at 39. Months before, really, in broad outline, inspired in part by the likes of R.T.; I adapted it a bit here. I think she covered some ground I didn’t and vice-versa.)

    In any case, I think dumping is a better remedy than refusing to “reciprocate.” I’m not sure how well cunnilingus maps to fellatio or vice versa, so I don’t see why heterosexual couples would have tit for tat quid pro quo about oral sex. What would you say about someone who likes giving but not receiving (even if they’re not as effusive about it as some commentors here)?

    (I should point out that I wrote the foregoing before I read Dr. Confused’s comment at 43.)

    Dan:
    Why on earth would anyone not want to go down on ladies?

    Not into ladies? I realize it was a rhetorical question to get a cookie.

    Olivia: Ugh, this feels so problematic. I have anxiety issues regarding sex, a history of sexual abuse, and issues with my bisexuality in a hetero relationship. I have not yet been able to give my long-time boyfriend head. He’s done it to me dozens and dozens and dozens of times and it’s fantastic. I’ve never asked for it because I know I can’t reciprocate. I’ve tried and I get too nervous or too drunk and it just hasn’t worked out.

    This has come up on Feministe before, fairly recently. No one’s ordering him to dump you, if he either doesn’t have a problem with the situation or is willing to accept it as part of being with you.

    Rare Vos: You’re actually saying that she should still go down on him, and not expect equal treatment?

    If she doesn’t like it she shouldn’t do it whether he does or not. If she does like it, to the extent that she would be depriving herself by not going down on him (that’s not just an adolescent fantasy, right?) it seems a little odd for her to so deprive herself under those circumstances. If he, by not doing it, is making her unwilling to do it, she shouldn’t.

  85. Matt
    Matt August 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    R.T.:
    Fuck you Zuzu.

    I might be interested in forming a relationship even if that goes against my first instincts. I even said I’d be willing to even enter a unequal relationship.

    However chatter on the net is one has to give up one’s body to have a relationship, ’cause it’s all about what the sexuals want. Even the lauded Savage demands this, and says orientation needs to be immediately disclosed when dating.

    It’s back to people wanting rights to others bodies only couched in terms that make it sound like an equal relationship.

    Much like all people who aren’t messed up in the head, Savage, and most of the commentators here, advise breaking up if you aren’t sexually compatible.
    I’ll break it down for you:
    No one deserves or has a right to anything from someone else.
    You do have a right to only be in relationships with people who make you happy and leave those that don’t.
    Everyone else has this same right.
    If you are in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, you have the right to end it.
    You may or may not want to try to work it out with your partner. You are not required to do so.
    You should explain clearly why you are breaking up with them: sex issues, you hate their family and they want to be with someone who likes their family, they like the Cubs, etc.
    You don’t have to, but you risk being a jerk if you don’t.
    So you see, the position of Savage and others is that its all about what you want. There is no bias against asexuals, shit eaters, people who like oral, vanillas, or other sexual identities. Every person has the same right. The right to control their own decisions with regards to relationships but, not their partners’ or potential partners’.

  86. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    R.T.: Fuck you Zuzu.

    And here I thought you were asexual.

    As has been pointed out, yes, we’re all quite familiar with the slut-shaming line you took with the “we should be above all that.”

    You don’t value sex. Other people do. Deal.

  87. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm |

    Here’s another question for you, R.T.: why don’t asexuals have a dating service of their own so you don’t have to deal with “the sexuals” at all?

  88. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    Yeah lulz the “sexuals” cause what could one call a non-asexual? A double negative just like that?

    Why the pressure that certain sexual minorities out themselves immediately? Why not instead everyone out themselves since one can’t tell another’s orientation just by their presence?

    Also, outing comes with considerable personal risk. I get gaybashed by ignoramuses and doubly bashed for being “different” Where’s the protection if one’s date turns out to be a bigot or gossiper that outs you to the world?

    And dammit, I’ve said now three times I’d do the sex thing if that’s what would make my partner happy. Does anyone read what I say or do they make up shit and attribute that to me? Oh but I guess I still don’t understand what compromise is eh everyone?

    To add more: I’ve read Savage, I’m not getting it’s about you vibe from him. I get it’s about the other. You need therapy, for them. You need to compromise, for them. You need to just suck it up, for them, you freak.

  89. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm |

    R.T., that’s exactly what I’m suggesting – everyone should out themselves to potential sexual partners because doing so is more likely to lead to a happy relationship with a compatible person. How do you think not doing so it going to yield that result? The truth will out eventually, why not just be honest from the beginning and elimate people for whom it’s going to mean that there is no match?

    No one here is saying that you should have sex if you don’t want to, and I’m not at all sure where you’re getting the idea that they are. That’s the whole point – if you don’t want sex, say so, and you’re more likely to find a partner who doesn’t want sex either, and you’ll both be happier as a result.

  90. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm |

    By “elimate” I of course meant “eliminate”. Apparently today is not a good typing day for me.

  91. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm |

    R.T., guilt-tripping someone into a relationship that is making them sad by shaming them for wanting sex is *abusive*. That a person wants sex out of a sexual relationship isn’t unreasonable. I’m a music-loving person. I couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who hated music, either. That’s my fucking right.

  92. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm |

    Jesus H. Christ, RT. Be honest about who you are. It’s not fair to either you or a potential partner if you aren’t.

    I mean, look, I’m glad you’re oh-so-above sex, but some of us aren’t, and enjoy it and need it for a sustaining relationship. And we don’t exactly relish the thought of being with someone who has to shut their eyes, grit their teeth, and think of England to do it.

    To everyone else: You know, I don’t get why it’s selfish to want reciprocity. If somone enjoys giving and doesn’t care about recieving,then great! Good for them. I’m not that type. So either you get used to not getting from me, or we part ways. I usually go for option B, but the vibe I’m getting from some people on this thread is that I’m icky and selfish and petty for wanting my needs met when a partner expects me to meet his (in a very specific way).

    I don’t like double standards.

  93. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm |

    Zuzu

    You’re a product of prudery if you think “we should be above all that” is what I said when I had an earnest question about why sex is such a big deal it will break a relationship.

  94. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    Hate to be a broken record after 27 comments, but if a partner doesn’t want to give, s/he shouldn’t receive — it’s not rocket science. And that applies to everything in the Solar System, not just relationships. Most of us learned this in kindergarten, right?

    Look, this argument is deeply annoying. I don’t give people head because I want it in return, I give people head because I enjoy giving people head. Not all of the pleasure I get out of sex, not even the physical pleasure, is located in my junk. The reciprocal pleasure I get out of going down on someone comes *from going down on them*.

    It’s just irritating and strange when people treat giving head like it’s something people would only do in order to get head. So some kind of head-based strike may work for you, but it 1. totes doesn’t work for everyone and 2. is really genny-centric.

  95. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    R.T.: Also, outing comes with considerable personal risk. I get gaybashed by ignoramuses and doubly bashed for being “different” Where’s the protection if one’s date turns out to be a bigot or gossiper that outs you to the world?

    So your strategy is to deceive them about your intentions?

  96. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm |

    Amanda, Shelzebub

    Why are turning my orientation into a holier than thou thing? Do you think you’re being shamed every time you meet someone with a much lower sex drive than you?

    I don’t care about what you do to be happy.

  97. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm |

    Why the pressure that certain sexual minorities out themselves immediately?

    No one is singling out asexuals. If a lesbian hits on me, I make it clear that I’m straight so that she doesn’t waste her time. In other words, I out myself. I don’t pretend I’m game because I otherwise like her and I want her friendship, and figure tricking her with the promise of sex will ensnare her. That’s cruel. It’s also probably not going to work, because she’ll understandably hate me when she finds out and won’t want to be my friend.

    To take it out of the realm of sex, I would also argue that a man who wants to be with me and therefore pretends to enjoy stuff that I like—say eating out or going to shows—only to immediately renege as soon as he gets a commitment is being an asshole.

  98. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    R.T.: You’re a product of prudery if you think “we should be above all that” is what I said when I had an earnest question about why sex is such a big deal it will break a relationship.

    HAHAHAHAHA.

    Oh, you’re precious.

    You slut-shame, you try to deceive your dates about your intentions, AND you pull wild flailing justifications for the above out of your ass.

  99. Jacobtk
    Jacobtk August 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    While you’re obligated not to pressure him, I think you are entitled to be like, “Well, we appear to be done here.” And I think you’re entitled to tell him that his vagina-phobia is why.That sounds remarkably like pressuring him to give you oral sex by challenging his masculinity because you feel entitled to get what you want. I cannot imagine that if the roles were reversed you would support that.I am one of the “misogynists” who does not give women oral sex because he finds it gross. I do not suffer from a neck injury, and I am afraid have no good reason for disliking the act, although I do have a reason: aunt forced me to perform that act on her from the time I was a toddler until I hit puberty.  Again, I know that is not a good reason, but my point is I do not see why I need a reason, let alone a “good” reason. It is my tongue, my mouth and my face. I get to choose what I do with them. The notion that is born out of “misogyny” is insane. It is like saying that women who do not give oral sex hate men. That is ridiculous. No one — including feminists, like my aunt — is entitled to use my body for their pleasure.But what I find most disconcerting is the notion that respecting my boundaries is somehow disrespectful to women. Granted, I understand how feminists reach that conclusion thanks to my aunt, but it is quite odd. I cannot imagine you would agree with a man who said he felt disrespected because a woman would not give him oral sex. If a person thinks respecting someone’s boundaries is a dealbreaker, that person is not worth being with.

  100. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm |

    You did in fact make your orientation a holier-than-thou thing, RT. You made it clear that you believe that breaking up over sexual incompatibility was shallow, and your reasoning is that you clearly feel entitled to start dating someone without informing them that you don’t intend to enjoy sex with them.

  101. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    Also, we can all put two and two together from your statements, which is a general attitude that it’s okay to date someone, maybe even have sex with them to get them more invested, and after there’s a commitment, to withdraw physically, and when they get angry and hurt, accuse them of being shallow for treating sex like such a big deal.

    Again, let’s set aside the sexuality and sexual orientation. If you did this with their favorite hobby, you’d be a megawatt asshole.

  102. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm |

    Oh Zuzu, I’m not dating, am currently single, and no I would not deceive possible dates, and I’d try to chose them as carefully as possible.

    Anyway why are you such an asshole? Do we have a net history because I’m not recalling your name?

  103. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

    I had chat with two female friends about this subject and *THEIR* opinion was that a guy giving oral sex is something far more intimate than a woman giving oral sex.

    I actually think the same thing. It’s nerve-wracking allowing someone to have their mouth all over the part of your body that is constantly under attack for smelling gross or tasting disgusting or looking weird. I need to work really hard at silencing that inner voice who’s judging me for letting him do something that so many people say is gross. Which is probably the main reason I take such a firm stance on not letting men near me who express distaste at the idea. It’s awful having someone vocalize something that you actually feel, even if you know it’s incorrect.

  104. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    R.T.:
    Amanda, Shelzebub

    Why are turning my orientation into a holier than thou thing? Do you think you’re being shamed every time you meet someone with a much lower sex drive than you?

    I don’t give a toss about your orientation, and I don’t feel “shamed” by meeting someone with a lower sex drive. I *do* give a toss about the undertone of slut-shaming in your comments, because women have had to deal with that slut-shaming shit for thousands of years.

    As I said, you may find it bewildering that “the sexuals” value sex so much that they’d break up with someone who was sexually incompatible, but your solution appears to be to try to deceive your dates by not disclosing that you’re asexual.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be happy with someone who was unenthusiastic or dutiful about sex because I liked it. But I’d always suspect that they weren’t enjoying it, that it was just another “to-do” to be accomplished. That I was imposing on them. That they didn’t find me attractive and was just going along to shut me up.

    And that’s where you’re pissing people off here: you’re just fine with asking someone to put up with an unenthusiastic partner because you can’t be bothered to ask for what you really want. When you do that, you waste your partner’s time and lead them on.

    Do yourself a favor and start that asexual dating service. Find someone who wants to have the kind of relationship you want. And stop lying to your dates about your intentions.

  105. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    Matt: Much like all people who aren’t messed up in the head, Savage, and most of the commentators here, advise breaking up if you aren’t sexually compatible.

    So you see, the position of Savage and others is that its all about what you want. There is no bias against asexuals, shit eaters, people who like oral, vanillas, or other sexual identities. Every person has the same right. The right to control their own decisions with regards to relationships but, not their partners’ or potential partners’.

    “People who aren’t messed up in the head”? That’s ableist. Also, Dan Savage is well-known for being anti-ace, sizeist, ageist, misogynist, and basically every other negative -ist that you can think of.

    zuzu: And here I thought you were asexual.

    There are aces who have and/or enjoy sex. Expressing an interest in sex (which I realize is patently not what R.T. meant) /= not being ace.

    zuzu:
    Here’s another question for you, R.T.: why don’t asexuals have a dating service of their own so you don’t have to deal with “the sexuals” at all?

    I’m not R.T., but I know there are dating sites for aces. The thing is? Aces are about 1% of the population, and, given that most people aren’t familiar with the concept, many or even most of us aren’t out. So, if you live in a large metropolitan area with a strong ace community, maybe there’s one ace vaguely in your age range who’s compatible with your romantic preferences or lack thereof, and that’s not taking into account whether you two will actually like each other. So, unless you’re incredibly lucky, dating sexual people (if you’re into dating) is pretty much the only alternative to a long-distance romantic relationship or a lack of a romantic relationship.

    Everyone is fully entitled to boundaries, and sex acts should be consented to enthusiastically, not agreed to grudgingly.
    There’s a gradient between these two things, especially if some particular act is new to one partner– I think it’s unreasonable to expect someone to be, by default, totally into something they’ve never done before that they’re trying for their partner’s sake. But the required level of enthusiasm for a particular act is (presumably) just one more thing people have to negotiate or evaluate compatibility about.

  106. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm |

    Jacobtk: I am afraid have no good reason for disliking the act, although I do have a reason: aunt forced me to perform that act on her from the time I was a toddler until I hit puberty.

    Why would you think that wasn’t a good reason?

  107. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    To everyone else: You know, I don’t get why it’s selfish to want reciprocity.If somone enjoys giving and doesn’t care about recieving,then great! Good for them.I’m not that type.So either you get used to not getting from me, or we part ways.I usually go for option B, but the vibe I’m getting from some people on this thread is that I’m icky and selfish and petty for wanting my needs met when a partner expects me to meet his (in a very specific way).

    I don’t like double standards.

    My objection to the idea of reciprocity is the notion that one can “earn” oral, that if one goes down on someone, they owe it to you to go down on you. If a woman doesn’t like giving blow jobs, she shouldn’t feel like she has to give them just because her partner has gone down on her, nor in order to get her partner to go down on her. And so on for all possible combinations of men and women.

    I’m for a single standard: no one should ever feel obliged to do anything they don’t like to do. You have every right to oral sex, but only with people who do it out of desire and not duty.

  108. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm |

    R.T.: Anyway why are you such an asshole? Do we have a net history because I’m not recalling your name?

    Oh, you’re new here.

  109. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm |

    Sorry, last sentence should imply “just one more thing people have to negotiate compatibility or evaluate compatibility about.” What I mean, and what I should have just said, is that it’s just one more thing to be compatible about, besides willingness to perform the act itself.

  110. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    Then I’ll correct you Amanda.

    I don’t think it’s shallow, I don’t get it.

    I don’t feel entitled to dating people without disclosure, but I fear backlash and haven’t dated and might not because I get treated like shit already.

    Also, we can all put two and two together from your statements, which is a general attitude that it’s okay to date someone, maybe even have sex with them to get them more invested, and after there’s a commitment, to withdraw physically, and when they get angry and hurt, accuse them of being shallow for treating sex like such a big deal.

    This is fiction and I agree with you that it’s a terrible thing to do.

  111. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm |

    zuzu

    no I’ve been here about 5-6 years.

  112. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:01 pm |

    Why are turning my orientation into a holier than thou thing? Do you think you’re being shamed every time you meet someone with a much lower sex drive than you?

    No, I think someone’s making an attempt at shaming when they act like sex is this trivial little thing that reasonable people should be able to overlook, that it’s something you’re willing to make a grand sacrifice to do (but it’s a horrible imposition–yet suggestions that you then be upfront about who you are so you can meet someone more compatible with you is apparently horrible as well). Because you engaged in shaming about how terrible it would be if someone left a relationship that was unsatisfying to them. Sure, you’d be willing to grit your teeth and do it, but your later posts about how it’s horribly unfair that you should have to give up your body for a relationship (huh?) coupled with your defensiveness about being honest about who you are to find someone more compatible comes off as really entitled and shaming.

    Why is it that the fact that we’re sexual and upfront about it oppressive to you? No one is forcing you into a relationship with any of us. I have been with someone who was not upfront with me about who he was and I’ll tell you–it was fucking demoralizing.

    Women have been shamed–and much, much worse–for centuries for being sexual. I’m fucking sick of it.

    And you know, Li, I’ve been in relationships where I was doing the giving, where the guy expected it, but he wouldn’t give in return. I guess I was a big old annoying and selfish bitch for feeling used and belittled and devalued.

  113. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm |

    RT, you clearly don’t understand because you don’t have a sex drive.

    I don’t want someone to lay there while I use them to masturbate with. I want to grab them when they come home from work, shove them against the wall, rip their pants off and blow them, be chased into our room, fuck them to the point they can’t remember their name, etc. I want to receive sexy emails during the day detailing what they love about my body, how much they enjoy making me come, etc.

    You can tell when someone’s not into sex. There have been countless times when I’ll put forth an honest effort to want to sex but then he’ll stop and say “you’re too tired, aren’t you?” Or I’ll do the same for him. You can tell when someone just doesn’t want you. (For instance, when they refuse to go down on you.)

  114. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm |

    zuzu: Why would you think that wasn’t a good reason?

    I believe he meant good as opposed to evil.

  115. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    Aydan: So, unless you’re incredibly lucky, dating sexual people (if you’re into dating) is pretty much the only alternative to a long-distance romantic relationship or a lack of a romantic relationship.

    Again, though: knowing that you have a very large chance of dating sexual people, it’s kind of incumbent on you to make a disclosure to anyone you’re considering having a romantic relationship with.

  116. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

    I’m for a single standard: no one should ever feel obliged to do anything they don’t like to do. You have every right to oral sex, but only with people who do it out of desire and not duty.

    Sure. But why is it that saying that a lack of reciprocity is a dealbreaker makes us selfish? That’s the vibe I’m getting here. For me personally, someone who finds my ladyparts gross is going to be a mood killer. And frankly, having been in that sort of “woman gives dude receives” relationship, I’m done with that. It was exhausting. It did a number on me.

    Not to mention the fact that in the larger culture, oral sex is quite often seen as someone going down on the guy, and women who say what they want are shamed–either we’re dirty sluts or we’re just selfish awful bitches. You’d think our parts simply didn’t exist, at best.

  117. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

    Thing is, Aydan, that being a member of a small group where other members are hard to find doesn’t entitle you to mislead potential partners. Sex is sufficiently important to most people that if there may be compatibility issues there, they’re going to want to know upfront. Like I said above – the fact that I like BSDM will put off some potential partners, as will the fact that I’m bisexual. Doesn’t mean that I’m not ethically obligated to tell them at an early stage in the dating process.

  118. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    RT, since you said that people who need sex for a functioning relationship strike you as shallow, I recommend taking it back, apologizing profusely, and thinking long and hard about why it’s so easy for you to impose your desires (or lack thereof) on other people, instead of actually respecting them. Everyone here has gone out of their way to respect your lack of desire. They’ve offered solid recommendations to be honest and date people who share your views. Why is it so hard to do the same ?

  119. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    R.T.:
    zuzu

    no I’ve been here about 5-6 years.

    Wow, I must not have been that memorable a blogger, then.

    Fat Steve: I believe he meant good as opposed to evil.

    Well, possibly. But it’s certainly a *valid* reason, and not “I think women’s bodies are icky/it’s emasculating/etc.”

    And probably the kind of thing he might want to discuss with a partner he trusts.

  120. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm |

    I’m still confused what y’all are doing dating people to begin with. Sounds to me like you’re confusing “life partner” with “Boston marriage.”

  121. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm |

    Also, hiding behind “I just don’t get it” won’t work. Try empathy. Imagine something that matters a lot to *you*, and then take that and put it on sex for a sexual person. That’s how empathy works! That’s why I’ve been helpfully offering examples of non-sexual dealbreakers that work exactly the same. A couch potato really will struggle with a party animal, for instance, and either the party animal’s desires to get out are respected by the couch potato and the couch potato lets the party animal spend a lot of time away from home, or they should break up. Empathy: one step at a time.

  122. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

    Also Greg, what I take issue with is the expectation of a partner that he get blowjobs but that he shouldn’t have to go down on his partner. Expecting her to do this when he’s not willing to is selfish and entitled.

  123. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein August 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

    GGG and enthusiastic consent go hand in hand. GGG stands for “good, giving, and game”–qualities that jointly and separately point to enthusiastic consent.

    You can enthusiastically consent to all kinds of activities that wouldn’t be your first choice. It’s called being a good sport. Let’s say you’re not the most avid dancer. Dancing isn’t mental or physical torture for you. It’s just not your favorite activity. If your partner loves to dance, you’ll dance with them and not be a whiny wet blanket about it. If you’re GGG you’ll get out there and shake your booty like you mean it. You’ll consent enthusiastically to dancing because you really want to do this thing for your partner, even if you’re not totally psyched about the activity for its own sake.

  124. Katniss
    Katniss August 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

    There are aces who have and/or enjoy sex. Expressing an interest in sex (which I realize is patently not what R.T. meant) /= not being ace.

    I’m genuinely not sure I understand then. I thought asexuality meant a lack of interested in sex, not “liking sex sometimes” or expressing an interest in sex, which sounds to me more like a low sex drive and not asexuality.

  125. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm |

    So, unless you’re incredibly lucky, dating sexual people (if you’re into dating) is pretty much the only alternative to a long-distance romantic relationship or a lack of a romantic relationship.

    Let’s repeat this: You are not entitled to a relationship with the person of your choosing.

    This is what Nice Guys® think, by the way—they want X girl really bad, and so she should just date them and who cares what makes her happy? They’re entitled!

    You’re just not entitled. Sorry if you’ve got something about you that makes you mostly undesirable. That doesn’t actually change the rules. You simply can’t demand that someone else give up their chance at happiness to indulge you because you’ve got more of an uphill battle in finding a relationship.

  126. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    R.T.: ZuzuYou’re a product of prudery if you think “we should be above all that” is what I said when I had an earnest question about why sex is such a big deal it will break a relationship.

    Things I have broken up with people over:

    1) Sex – too much and too little
    2) Purchasing a motorcycle
    3) Shaving his head
    4) Intentionally burping in front of my mother
    5) Messiness – too much and too little
    6) Watching Jaws way too often
    7) Not telling me he had a kid
    8) Wearing a cologne I didn’t like
    9) Being a Cowboys fan
    10) Not tipping well (numerous, numerous occassions)

    All of which I consider perfectly valid reasons for telling an otherwise nice dude, no thanks.

  127. Katniss
    Katniss August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    Heh, Amanda I was just about to post wondering how many times you’d have to repeat the truth that no one is entitled to a relationship before it sunk in. You beat me to it though. Damn my slow typing on an iPad.

  128. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    I don’t give a toss about your orientation, and I don’t feel “shamed” by meeting someone with a lower sex drive. I *do* give a toss about the undertone of slut-shaming in your comments, because women have had to deal with that slut-shaming shit for thousands of years.

    This is an example of that bullshit where someone is different from another, they feel attacked. I’m not slut shaming you. I don’t care who or how many you sleep with. Okay? Are we better now?

    As I said, you may find it bewildering that “the sexuals” value sex so much that they’d break up with someone who was sexually incompatible, but your solution appears to be to try to deceive your dates by not disclosing that you’re asexual.

    Not dating, haven’t dated, fear repercussions, will be careful.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be happy with someone who was unenthusiastic or dutiful about sex because I liked it. But I’d always suspect that they weren’t enjoying it, that it was just another “to-do” to be accomplished. That I was imposing on them. That they didn’t find me attractive and was just going along to shut me up.

    And is it still bad if I were doing it to make my partner happy; that I will try hard to please them because they posses qualities in a partner that I desire and I could deal with and put effort into giving them the sex they want?

    That doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me, that seems like doing what it takes to maintain a relationship with a person one really values.

    And that’s where you’re pissing people off here: you’re just fine with asking someone to put up with an unenthusiastic partner because you can’t be bothered to ask for what you really want. When you do that, you waste your partner’s time and lead them on.

    There are qualities in a person I want that don’t involve sex, qualities I can separate in my mind. If I meet a person who has those qualities and doesn’t want sex, great. If I meet someone who has those qualities and they want sex, great. I can learn to do what it takes to please a person.

    Do yourself a favor and start that asexual dating service. Find someone who wants to have the kind of relationship you want. And stop lying to your dates about your intentions.

    Yeah, just stick to your own you freak. Nice. By the way can you stop holding me responsible for things I haven’t done, like lying to dates? Thanks.

  129. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm |

    Sheelzebub:

    And you know, Li, I’ve been in relationships where I was doing the giving, where the guy expected it, but he wouldn’t give in return. I guess I was a big old annoying and selfish bitch for feeling used and belittled and devalued.

    Yes. This is exactly what I said. That you were selfish and a bitch. Not that saying withdrawal of particular sexual act is a solution to someone not being interested in a particular sexual act is annoying and fucked up, but that you personally were a terrible, terrible person for feeling shit about an uneven sexual dynamic.

    I mean, to be clear, the argument I was responding to in my comment suggests that in those relationships you were in you should have refused to give head unless he went down on you, instead of, I don’t know, my advice, which would be 1. talk about how the sexual dynamic was making you feel shit, which is a totally valid thing to feel, and then 2. get out of that sexual dynamic altogether if 1. didn’t work.

  130. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm |

    Katniss: I’m genuinely not sure I understand then. I thought asexuality meant a lack of interested in sex, not “liking sex sometimes” or expressing an interest in sex, which sounds to me more like a low sex drive and not asexuality.

    From what I understand (mostly from the kind, patient asexual commentors here) some asexual people enjoy sex but do not *desire* sex (as in wouldn’t initiate themselves), some are indifferent to sex (as in its okay, but nothing to write home about), some don’t particularly like sex, and some find it awful/painful. I’m sure there’s more in that spectrum that I’m overlooking, but that’s the general idea.

  131. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 10:26 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Sure.But why is it that saying that a lack of reciprocity is a dealbreaker makes us selfish?That’s the vibe I’m getting here.

    I think if you’re not getting what you want, you should break the deal. I didn’t mean to imply that was selfish. What you shouldn’t do is treat your partners like they owe you anything.

    Think of it like this: suppose you like making cupcakes and surprising your partner at work with them. That’s a nice thing to do, and I’m sure they’d appreciate it. But you shouldn’t do that with the hope or the expectation that they would do the same to you. The fact that you’ve shown up with cupcakes at their job doesn’t mean that they owe you cupcakes, or that you have any right to resent them for not bringing you cupcakes.

    However, if they’re not interesting in making similarly thoughtful gestures of affection to you, and you need affection to feel satisfied, you should break up with them rather than pressuring them to bring you cupcakes. That would call into question the sincerity of the cupcakes you brought, making it seem like what they thought was a gift was actually the first part of a transaction. And any similar token–be it cupcakes, flowers, or what have you–would carry the taint that it was not a genuine gesture of affection, but just payback for the cupcakes.

  132. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

    Well, Li, that is how you and others here have come off.

    I mean, to be clear, the argument I was responding to in my comment suggests that in those relationships you were in you should have refused to give head unless he went down on you, instead of, I don’t know, my advice, which would be 1. talk about how the sexual dynamic was making you feel shit, which is a totally valid thing to feel, and then 2. get out of that sexual dynamic altogether if 1. didn’t work.

    yeah. Did that. Was shamed. Being a score-keeper, etc. Sort of like the shit I’m reading here. Left his sorry selfish ass. But thanks for playing.

  133. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

    R.T.: This is an example of that bullshit where someone is different from another, they feel attacked. I’m not slut shaming you. I don’t care who or how many you sleep with. Okay? Are we better now?

    No, because you still think that this is somehow about me, not about the way you’re saying that sex is just not a big deal and sexual incompatibility is a shallow reason for breaking up with someone because we should all be above that.

    R.T.: And is it still bad if I were doing it to make my partner happy; that I will try hard to please them because they posses qualities in a partner that I desire and I could deal with and put effort into giving them the sex they want?

    That doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me, that seems like doing what it takes to maintain a relationship with a person one really values.

    It’s not a good thing if one of the qualities your partner desires and values is an enthusiastic sexual partner, or to feel wanted. Not to have someone doing it just to keep them in the relationship.

    R.T.: There are qualities in a person I want that don’t involve sex, qualities I can separate in my mind. If I meet a person who has those qualities and doesn’t want sex, great. If I meet someone who has those qualities and they want sex, great. I can learn to do what it takes to please a person.

    You have a very mechanical view of things. Trust me, your partner will figure that out pretty quickly.

  134. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm |

    And is it still bad if I were doing it to make my partner happy; that I will try hard to please them because they posses qualities in a partner that I desire and I could deal with and put effort into giving them the sex they want?

    That doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me, that seems like doing what it takes to maintain a relationship with a person one really values.

    Yes, it is still “bad.” You can’t fake good sex. All you can do is engage in dutiful, routine, monotonous sex without adding anything of your own to it. Which is essentially allowing another person to masturbate with your body and not sex. But you’re still a dick for dating someone who doesn’t share your orientation.

  135. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Everyone:

    I apologize for shaming. I was ignorant and didn’t realize that having a distorted perception-point because of my sexuality was offensive to you because of your sexuality. I regret offending and insulting you and not regret because of backlash or dog-piles, but because I don’t want to offend or be insulting. I don’t want to be that person and I can and will try to be better than that. I’m sorry for hurting you.

  136. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    @ Rodeo (and Katniss): Asexuality is not the lack of a sex drive. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to other people. Sex drive is (basically) wanting orgasms. Being asexual is not feeling the need to involve other people in them (though some asexual people do enjoy sex with other people. There’s just no craving for it.) Think of it like food: even if you never got hungry, you could still enjoy the taste of food, the smell, the presentation, the social value of eating with other people… you just wouldn’t crave it.

    @ Rodeo: “I’m still confused what y’all are doing dating people to begin with. Sounds to me like you’re confusing “life partner” with “Boston marriage.””

    … seriously? You can have an enjoyable long-term relationship with someone– and even good sex!– without being sexually attracted to them. You can be romantically attracted to, and deeply in romantic love with, someone without being sexually attracted to them. Also, Boston marriage is one form of life partnership. It’s just one that tends not to involve sex or (traditional) romance.

    @ Amanda Marcotte: I don’t think asexuals get a free pass about making other people miserable in relationships, or are entitled to date the person of their choosing. (I also don’t think asexual-sexual partnerships are necessarily doomed to misery, which I don’t think is what you are implying, but just to be clear.) I was responding to zuzu’s query along the lines of why would an asexual date a sexual in the first place.

    @ CassandraSays: I’m not invested in R.T.’s argument about not disclosing asexuality to a partner at some point. I was responding to Zuzu’s question about why an asexual would date a sexual at all.

  137. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Amanda Marcotte: You’re just not entitled. Sorry if you’ve got something about you that makes you mostly undesirable. That doesn’t actually change the rules. You simply can’t demand that someone else give up their chance at happiness to indulge you because you’ve got more of an uphill battle in finding a relationship.

    Ok, saying this as a sexual person: asexual people are not undesirable. Having a relationship with an asexual person is not me ruining me my chance at happiness. Asexual people are not giant voids of sadness waiting to entrap happy fun sexual people into lives of blackness and soul-crushedness. Like, people who asexual people can date? Not just asexual people but also sexual people who are not giant douchebags about their being ace. And the fact that sexual people date ace people and ace people date sexual people quite a fucking lot? That suggests that asexual people romantically engaging with sexual people are not acting out of entitlement but a knowledge that it might actually work out. Which it might. As long as the sexual person involved is not you.

  138. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm |

    Greg, what I am saying is that women are often expected to do the giving and yet it’s considered weird if we want to recieve. We’re already shamed as freaks and worse for being sexual, and being upfront about what we want gets us a lot of shit anyway.

    I’m not saying that someone has to go down–or do anything else–if they don’t want to. I’m saying that expecting your partner to do it when you think it’s disgusting to reciprocate is fucked up.

    So using a non-sexual example–if you refuse to clean ever, and you expect your partner to do all of the cleaning, it’s selfish. Even if your partner enjoys cleaning and organizing, after a while, they’re going to get resentful.

  139. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm |

    @ Rodeo: But you’re still a dick for dating someone who doesn’t share your orientation.

    Please stop trying to police people’s (romantic/sexual) relationships. Is sexual incompatibility a valid reason to end a (romantic/sexual) relationship? Yes. Is anyone besides the people involved in the relationship entitled to determine that it’s not working for them? Nope!

  140. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    Li: Like, people who asexual people can date? Not just asexual people but also sexual people who are not giant douchebags about their being ace.

    So the only reason a sexual person might not want to date an asexual person is because the sexual person is a giant douchebag.

    Woo. Laying the shaming on a little thick there, aren’t you?

  141. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Also Greg, what I take issue with is the expectation of a partner that he get blowjobs but that he shouldn’t have to go down on his partner.Expecting her to do this when he’s not willing to is selfish and entitled.

    I agree and I don’t. I don’t think anyone has a right to expect blowjobs, whether they go down on their partner or not.

  142. Erik
    Erik August 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    I dunno, you start keeping score like that; eventually all your relationships just become accounting books. With-holding love, affection, warmth from a partner, even a boyfriend because of his refusal to have sex, oral or otherwise, sounds pretty coercive and manipulative to me.

    The message I took away from this is the ol’ “men should always be ready to have sex / please a women on the drop of a hat.” I thought Feministe was past this sort of thing.

  143. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm |

    “The message I took away from this is the ol’ “men should always be ready to have sex / please a women on the drop of a hat.” I thought Feministe was past this sort of thing.”

    Lack of reading comprehension is a tragic thing, but reading comprehension is also a skill that can be learned. Perhaps there are classes you could take that would help?

  144. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm |

    I agree and I don’t. I don’t think anyone has a right to expect blowjobs, whether they go down on their partner or not.

    No, no one has the right to any sex act. But it’s extra shitty and entitled to expect or ask oral sex of your partner AND act like going down on them is either disgusting or a non-starter.

  145. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    Jill: I agree. From my experience with the ace community, I think it’s far more frequent for incompatibility to result because one partner is ace without knowing it than because a partner is knowingly keeping quiet about their sexual orientation, but I agree that people can only figure out what works for them as a couple if they know what each person wants and doesn’t want. But that’s not what Rodeo was expressing.

  146. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    Erik:
    I dunno, you start keeping score like that; eventually all your relationships just become accounting books. With-holding love, affection, warmth from a partner, even a boyfriend because of his refusal to have sex, oral or otherwise, sounds pretty coercive and manipulative to me.

    The message I took away from this is the ol’ “men should always be ready to have sex / please a women on the drop of a hat.” I thought Feministe was past this sort of thing.

    You’re not entitled to the partner you want.

    If you not going down is going to be a dealbreaker for your partner, then your partner can break up with you.

    Withdrawing warmth while staying in the relationship is not the same thing: that’s just manipulative.

    And fuck you on your assessment of what Feministe is about when you so clearly are projecting rather than actually reading what’s been written.

  147. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Well, Li, that is how you and others here have come off.

    You misread me. Like, here is what I was trying to say: Advice that tells someone that they should respond to someone not wanting to go down on them by refusing to go down on that partner is a shit piece of advice, precisely because a whole bunch of us enjoy going down on people and shouldn’t be expected to engage in some kind of sexual transactionality in order to address an issue within our sex lives. Like, I do not think if you are making this advice to another person you are being selfish, I think you are *failing to consider the possibility that your advice is going to be completely shit for that person*. The operational part of my complaint here being *if you offer this as advice/a solution*. Since your experience is exactly that; your experience, I have no interest whatsoever in applying my above complaint to it, and in fact, were I to do so, it would be totally douchebaggy on my part. I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer in my initial comment or if I strayed off my intended point.

  148. Greg
    Greg August 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    Sheelzebub: I’m not saying that someone has to go down–or do anything else–if they don’t want to. I’m saying that expecting your partner to do it when you think it’s disgusting to reciprocate is fucked up.

    It seems like we’re always replying to each other at the same time.

    I think that a guy who expects blowjobs is being an asshole regardless of what he thinks about going down himself. But expecting blowjobs and also refusing to go down himself is extra-assholy.

  149. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    R.T.: I don’t think it’s shallow, I don’t get it.

    And yet you said it was shallow: “I thought people form relationships over other qualities of their partner …” In context, I can see no other way to interpret that than “other things are deservedly important, sex is not.”

    Also, I’m puzzled how you don’t recall seeing Amanda’s name when I recall you commenting on her blog.

    Now then, I do thing mixed-sex-drive relationships are possible, what’s needed is for neither partner to think, or especially to say, “my sex drive is normal and yours is not.” It’s when one or both partners are having that thought that a problem arises. You, R.T., give a very strong impression that in a relationship with a sexual, you’d be thinking that from the first.

  150. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    I dunno, you start keeping score like that; eventually all your relationships just become accounting books. With-holding love, affection, warmth from a partner, even a boyfriend because of his refusal to have sex, oral or otherwise, sounds pretty coercive and manipulative to me.

    OH FFS. YES, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I’M SAYING. Of course. Saying, “Hey, it’s shitty and selfish and entitled to expect blowjobs but then act like going down on your girlfriend is the grossest thing ever” is the exact same thing as score-keeping.

    I guess “sex” and “mutual affection” means the woman does the giving.

  151. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm |

    Jill, you literally responded how I was about to.

    I had a lesbian friend who told me she had too much of a crush on me to just be friends. I’ve sex with women before and while it’s not something that I want, it’s something I can perform. I considered very strongly trying to make a relationship work with her, just to try it out. Had I actually done that instead of respecting her boundaries, I hope to god everyone here has a moral code that would put me firmly in the “selfish dick” category.

    I’m not sure why asexuals think they’re excluded from the basic requirement to be honest (to the extent they are capable–sexual things are a process, after all) to themselves and potential partners about their orientation.

  152. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm |

    BTW, is there some new meaning of “Boston marriage” I’m missing? I always thought it was essentially a lesbian relationship under cover of old maids sharing housing.

  153. Cheshire
    Cheshire August 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm |

    I want to share my experience of really bad sex, just for all the liberal dudes congratulating themselves on this post.

    I hate receiving oral, hate it, it’s a really strong boundary for me, this is mixed up with my gender dysphoria and a bunch of other stuff, do here is a conversation I have had way way way to often.

    Partner: but women like oral, I know because am totally a profeminist.

    You clearly havent had it done right, once you try my oral you will stop worring your silly little head about the gut curning wrongness of your body

    But I am not comfortable having the sex you want to have unless we have what have been told is good profeminist sex.

    Most female bodied people like oral sex, and if you are dating one that does please please do go down on them, just don’t tell the ones who dont we are wrong, look it can even be a dealbreaker just for the love or eris don’t make it a dealbreaker because you respect women

    /end rant

  154. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse August 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm |

    No, Aydan, dating sexual people should not be considered as a viable alternative. Look, it’s unfair, and abusive, to expect someone to give up their sexual desires. It’s unfair, and abusive, to lie to someone about your orientation to get their companionship. And it’s unfair, and abusive, for a sexual person to expect an asexual person to “be willing to do the sex thing” as (I think) R.T. put it.

    I had an ex who whined and pressured me into sex. I would never, ever, in a million years be willing or able to accept sex as a concession from someone who wasn’t enthusiastic about it but was doing it in exchange for companionship. It is my hope that all decent people would feel the same. So no, dating a person who is into sex and either misleading them or making them feel awful by offering sex as a trade-off, isn’t a good option for anyone.

    Sheelzebub, I hear you, fwiw. Oral is the only way I can get off. It’s not even that I don’t go down unless he goes down. I don’t fuck unless he goes down, period. I’d never pressure anyone into it, but I have never, and would never, fuck anyone who found it gross. I’ve always been upfront about it and if that wasn’t his deal then cool, we could do the friend thing. Luckily, I’ve never had a partner who wasn’t into it. If expecting my partner to be into getting me off makes me an oppressive meanie, I’m perfectly cool with that.

  155. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm |

    zuzu: So the only reason a sexual person might not want to date an asexual person is because the sexual person is a giant douchebag.

    Woo. Laying the shaming on a little thick there, aren’t you?

    Whoops. I hit more broadly than I intended. I was trying to imply that Amanda was being really douchebaggy about asexuality, which, you know, given she referred to them as “mostly undesirable”, I’m willing to argue that she was. Fuck up on my phrasing, sorry.

  156. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

    Zuzu, everything I know about Boston marriages I learned from Ms. Magazine: http://www.msmagazine.com/june01/marriage.html

  157. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    Anonymouse: No, Aydan, dating sexual people should not be considered as a viable alternative. Look, it’s unfair, and abusive, to expect someone to give up their sexual desires.

    Good thing it’s totally possible for ace people to date sexual people without expecting them to give up their sexual desires then.

  158. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    @ Zuzu– I had always heard of a Boston marriage as *generally* being a platonic relationship between two women who are close friends and share a living space. Of course, some historical Boston marriages may actually have been homoromantic/homosexual relationships masquerading as something more socially acceptable for the time– but as far as I’m aware the actual definition is basically platonic.

    @ Anonymouse– An asexual person dating a sexual one doesn’t entail the sexual person giving up their sexual desires. Some aces like sex. Some ace-sexual relationships don’t work, but some do. People have the potential to compromise on sex just like they have the potential to compromise on anything else– and with an ace who likes sex and/or a sexual person with a relatively low sex drive, sometimes there’s little or no compromise needed. I wouldn’t be saying this if there weren’t a fair number of examples in the ace community.

    I don’t actually know of any asexual, ever, deliberately lying to a sexual person about their sexual orientation for the express purpose of forming a romantic/sexual relationship with the sexual person. Most of the time the disconnect comes because the asexual person doesn’t realize they’re asexual. I’m sure it does happen (deliberate lying) but it’s kind of a straw person.

  159. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Anonymouse: Sheelzebub, I hear you, fwiw. Oral is the only way I can get off. It’s not even that I don’t go down unless he goes down. I don’t fuck unless he goes down, period. I’d never pressure anyone into it, but I have never, and would never, fuck anyone who found it gross. I’ve always been upfront about it and if that wasn’t his deal then cool, we could do the friend thing. Luckily, I’ve never had a partner who wasn’t into it. If expecting my partner to be into getting me off makes me an oppressive meanie, I’m perfectly cool with that.

    Yeah, that’s how I feel about it. Like I said above, for various reasons I’m not entirely enthusiastic about blowjobs, but I *am* enthusiastic about getting my partner off. And since I pretty much only get off through oral or manual stimulation, having a partner who is enthusiastic about getting *me* off means having a guy who likes oral. And I’m not going to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings if they aren’t into it; they’re not compatible, so that’s that.

    I also don’t date libertarians or men who have or want children.

  160. karak
    karak August 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    To me, oral IS sex. A man saying he refuses to give me oral is right along the lines of a man saying he refuses to touch my breasts or refuses to put his penis in my vagina. There either has to be a damned good reason for it, or I literally am not sure how we are having heterosexual sex, let alone a relationship.

    You aren’t allowed to say, vaguely, “Oh, I don’t like it.” Well, I fucking do, and you must have a good reason to cut out a chunk of my sexuality identity and leave it rotting on the floor.

  161. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm |

    It’s not a good thing if one of the qualities your partner desires and values is an enthusiastic sexual partner, or to feel wanted. Not to have someone doing it just to keep them in the relationship.

    But wouldn’t me putting the effort in to please them inform them that they are wanted? Really honestly wanted? I just don’t understand that showing that I desire a person doesn’t count and is in fact bad.

    I’d never get into a relationship with someone I didn’t want. That couldn’t work.

    You have a very mechanical view of things. Trust me, your partner will figure that out pretty quickly.

    I have a “mechanical” view of things because I’m autistic. Should I not inflict myself on neurotypicals as well?

    Yes, it is still “bad.” You can’t fake good sex. All you can do is engage in dutiful, routine, monotonous sex without adding anything of your own to it. Which is essentially allowing another person to masturbate with your body and not sex.

    So you think it isn’t possible to give someone a good orgasm as part of maintaining emotional bonds, and that orgasms and emotional bonding isn’t sex?

    But you’re still a dick for dating someone who doesn’t share your orientation.

    Maybe people should write a fictional romance where the bad character R.T. has deceived hundreds of people into relationships where they get everything they want out of a relationship until *gasp* it turns out the sex may not be great, and the great heros swoop in and show all these people what real relationships and sex is all about.

    In other words, stop holding me accountable for things that’s never happened. I’ve never dated.

    And because people are talking about asexuals in the thread, and asking why one might want to date, I’ll clarify what kind of asexual I am.

    I want to date and have a partner because I feel lonely. I’m an artist and theatre type and want another person like that in my life, there’s a lot more qualities that I want but I won’t list them all.

    When it comes to sex I’m neutral on it. Sometimes I feel repulsed by it, I have been sexually assaulted, but most of the time I don’t care. I’ve tried sex because sex ed was so bad and didn’t cover asexuality I thought was bi with a very low sex drive. Two women and two men helped me figure out what my real orientation is.

    I’m not against pleasing my potential partner and trying to be who they want me to be within certain parameters, such as accepting my autism and physical disabilities and share similar interests, such as art and writing and other stuff.

    I do write and draw erotic comics and images because as someone who doesn’t understand sex, I am fascinated by it and read material about human bonding and try to distill and express that and my feelings into art.

  162. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm | *

    You can have an enjoyable long-term relationship with someone– and even good sex!– without being sexually attracted to them. You can be romantically attracted to, and deeply in romantic love with, someone without being sexually attracted to them.

    Speak for yourself there. I find this entire construct completely foreign and unacceptable for my own personal relationships. I don’t see them that way and couldn’t stay with a partner who felt that way too.

    Cheshire, my situation is different from yours, but “Oh, you just haven’t been with the right partner yet!” schtick is *painful*. My major sympathies.

  163. Sex, sexism, boundaries, and coercion « Toy Soldiers

    […] stumbled onto an troubling post on Feministe. Jill wrote about another post involving a woman, A. McCarthy, whose ex refused to […]

  164. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm |

    R.T.: So you think it isn’t possible to give someone a good orgasm as part of maintaining emotional bonds, and that orgasms and emotional bonding isn’t sex?

    I can get an orgasm from my vibrator, or a washing machine, or the rear seat of certain Harleys. It doesn’t mean I have an emotional bond with them.

    And yes, if your idea is that you can “do the sex thing” to please your partner, your partner is going to know that you’re just going through the motions.

  165. Erik
    Erik August 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm |

    I’ve never been of the opinion that I’m entitled to anything, let alone a loving partner. You have to earn relationships. Also probably be pretty lucky. Then again, being privileged means that I make entitled statements sometimes. Therefore, I apologize.

    Backpedaling time: I wouldn’t equate insisting on an egalitarian relationship to book-keeping, so I probably misread / interpreted this post wrong. I just picked up a bit of “if a man can’t perform sexually, he isn’t really a man” vibe, which tends to screw me up a bit when I perceive it here; I’ll admit. I have my expectations of what Feministe is just like everyone else does, even if their wrong. I’m only human.

    Either way, I’m probably wrong.

  166. karak
    karak August 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    The tit for tat argument is completely valid, sexually. When I suck him off, he comes. When he refuses to go down on me, I don’t. So, HE gets to come with NO effort and NO consideration from me… and it’s MEAN to point that out.

    Oral is fucking work. I need him to express appreciation for my work, and love for my body, by making me come. And I will remind him, “Dude, I get a neck cramp putting your junk down my throat, now how about you get that pillow under your knees and get to work, hmm?” Asking for fairness in the bedroom isn’t wrong, and if the philosophical ideas of what a sexually comunicative relationship aren’t working out, then you need to bring in the big guns of direct reality. I did it for you, you do it for me.

  167. Dopegirlfresh
    Dopegirlfresh August 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm |

    My day has been made! Thank you for this.

  168. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    R.T., here’s where I think the disconnect may be.

    “I’m not against pleasing my potential partner and trying to be who they want me to be within certain parameters, such as accepting my autism and physical disabilities and share similar interests, such as art and writing and other stuff. ”

    I don’t want a partner to change themselves for me. I don’t want them to be having sex with me because it’s what I want. Most people who are sexual can tell the difference between someone who actually wants sex, for themselves, and someone who is willing to have sex in order to please us. And many of us just don’t enjoy sex unless there’s a level of desire and sexual energy equal or similar to our own being reflected back at us. So, if I was dating someone and I could tell that they didn’t really want sex, I wouldn’t want sex with them either. But I would still want sex. So unless it was an open relationship, that would cause some problems.

    I totally understand the desire for close bonds (I’m a writer, and trust me, I understand the need to have close relationships with other creative people). But for people who want sex a relationship with close emotional bonds wherein one or both of the people involved doesn’t particularly want sex with the other isn’t a romantic relationship, it’s a friendship.

    Wanting someone in an emotional way isn’t the same as wanting someone in a sexual way. They often overlap (that’s certainly what I’m looking for in a relationship), but they’re still not the same thing, and for people who are wired to be sexual the former without the latter just isn’t a romantic relationship in many cases.

    Also, in all honestly, if I was in a relationship with someone and they were willing to have sex to please me, but didn’t really want it themselves (ie didn’t crave it, never initiated it) and I did have sex with them, I’d feel horribly guilty. And even knowing that it was a matter of orientation and not about me, I think it might still have a negative effect on my self esteem in the long run. Because that’s part of how people who’re wired to want sex work – we want to be desired in a sexual way, and if our partner doesn’t want us that way, it can make us very unhappy.

    I think that’s what Amanda, Sheelzebub, etc have been trying to get through to you, or at least part of it.

  169. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    zuzu: I can get an orgasm from my vibrator, or a washing machine, or the rear seat of certain Harleys.It doesn’t mean I have an emotional bond with them.

    And yes, if your idea is that you can “do the sex thing” to please your partner, your partner is going to know that you’re just going through the motions.

    Zuzu, you may want to reconsider likening asexual people to objects. It’s really fucking offensive.

  170. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm | *

    But wouldn’t me putting the effort in to please them inform them that they are wanted? Really honestly wanted? I just don’t understand that showing that I desire a person doesn’t count and is in fact bad.

    Having a partner who wants to make you happy and having a partner who wants to ravish you aren’t the same. There’s an entire piece here which is about wanting your partner to sexually desire you and to express that in ways which are affirming.

    Look, my husband *hates* cooking. Loathes it with the fire of a thousand suns. He’ll do it if our daughter is going to starve without his efforts, but that’s pretty much it. I, however, love to cook. It’s really important to me and cooking for others is a shared sense of community for me. It’s about taking care of people. My husband doesn’t get that at all, but he knows that I like cooking and so makes an effort to participate in scrubbing potatoes or chopping onions. He’s demonstrating to me that he’s participating in something I enjoy and is supportive, but it’s still not the same as cooking dinner with someone who’s all excited about the things you’re making together. Does that distinction make sense?

  171. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

    Li: Zuzu, you may want to reconsider likening asexual people to objects. It’s really fucking offensive.

    Li

    Where the fuck did I do that, Li?

    I was responding to R.T.’s statement that just giving someone an orgasm was enough to sustain a relationship.

    Reading: it’s a life skill. You might want to try it, since you suck at conveying ideas clearly.

  172. Erik
    Erik August 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm |

    karak:
    To me, oral IS sex. A man saying he refuses to give me oral is right along the lines of a man saying he refuses to touch my breasts or refuses to put his penis in my vagina. There either has to be a damned good reason for it, or I literally am not sure how we are having heterosexual sex, let alone a relationship.

    You aren’t allowed to say, vaguely, “Oh, I don’t like it.” Well, I fucking do, and you must have a good reason to cut out a chunk of my sexuality identity and leave it rotting on the floor.

    I’d agree 100% with this; though I don’t think I’ve had the displeasure of dating another guy who didn’t “do” oral. Some probably thought it was icky, but I’ve never been put in the position of them outright refusing if I blow them too. Must be a privilege of our phallic-centered culture, huh?

  173. Henry
    Henry August 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm |

    I don’t mean to come across like an insensitive ass (although I probably will), but I kind of think of oral sex as being like power windows and doors on a car. It’s a standard sexual feature really. I mean, they still make cars with the tedious roller-dealies, but tell me you aren’t a little surprised if you get into a late-model car and see them. You’d definitely want to know why the standard features are missing.

    If a dude’s answer about the lack of oral is any variation of “fuck you, that’s why” (and they mostly all are), the only appropriate response is “eat my pussy or GTFO”.

  174. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    Zuzu

    Wow, I must not have been that memorable a blogger, then.

    Now that you mention that you were a blogger I remember, it’s just that I don’t read the authors names and go straight to the article most of the time.

  175. LC
    LC August 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm |

    These conversations always depress me, because the whole question of whether desire was being faked for other reasons became a big thing in my last relationship. As has been mentioned above, it’s not a good place to be.

    As far as the basic reciprocity thing, I’m in the camp of those who say both sides need to be getting their needs met. (And that might not actually be a straight “oral for oral” transaction.)

  176. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm | *

    Zuzu, you may want to reconsider likening asexual people to objects. It’s really fucking offensive.

    Good thing that’s not what Zuzu said. Her point was that having an orgasm is NOT necessarily a piece of a relationship. You can have orgasms without emotional bonding. Which is a good thing, because lord knows the Babeland website is sufficiently well-loved without emotional connections.

  177. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    You also repeatedly referred to the way ace people have sex as “mechanical” and made other arguments drawing a completely false dichotomy between the sex asexual people have and “real sex”. You are engaging in a ton of dehumanising rhetoric. Please stop it. Interrogating privilege: it’s a life skill.

  178. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

    I’m not against pleasing my potential partner and trying to be who they want me to be within certain parameters

    Whoa! Look, RT, I am now a little scared for you. Do NOT, do NOT, do not EVER try to be who you think your partner wants you to be (or who they say they want you to be). You will be miserable. That’s not healthy. Or okay. You have a right to be yourself, and to be free to find someone who groks to you.

    Sex is one of those things that I want my partner to enjoy. I would hate myself if I learned that it was something my partner endured, didn’t like or care much about, or was sometimes repulsed by, but put up with to make me happy.

    There are people out there who will accept you for who you are. They may may be sexual people, or sexual people with low libidos, or other asexuals. But you deserve better than to try to cram yourself into a mold that is uncomfortable for you and doesn’t fit you.

    If I’m reading this wrong, then I apologize. But it seems like you’re willing to do stuff you don’t like or enjoy to keep someone in your life, and that worries me for you. Please, please, please don’t repress who you are for the sake of having someone in your life–if you have to do stuff you don’t like to keep someone, then you aren’t going to be happy, and you have a right to be happy. You deserve to be in a compatible relationship with someone where you are comfortable and happy and where your needs are met.

  179. Azalea
    Azalea August 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm |

    Kristen J.: Things I have broken up with people over:

    9) Being a Cowboys fan

    THIS would explain a lot! Please answer this one derailing question..are you…*cue the intense scary music violins* a Redskins fan?

  180. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein August 8, 2011 at 11:25 pm |

    Sexual people probably differ in terms of the premium they place on mutual sexual desire.

    For centuries, husbands have happily allowed themselves to be serviced by wives, who, according to popular mythology, had no sexual desires of their own and attended to their husbands’ needs out of duty. So, that kind of dynamic isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for all sexual people. On the other hand, the more feminist a sexual person is, the more likely they are to value mutual desire in their sex life.

  181. JazzHands
    JazzHands August 8, 2011 at 11:26 pm |

    Li:
    You also repeatedly referred to the way ace people have sex as “mechanical” and made other arguments drawing a completely false dichotomy between the sex asexual people have and “real sex”. You are engaging in a ton of dehumanising rhetoric. Please stop it. Interrogating privilege: it’s a life skill.

    You’re wasting your time. Heaven forbid we crimp the ‘normies’ style by insisting we’re people too.

  182. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 11:26 pm |

    Li: You also repeatedly referred to the way ace people have sex as “mechanical” and made other arguments drawing a completely false dichotomy between the sex asexual people have and “real sex”.

    Did I now? I’d love to see those links, because the only time I used the word “mechanical” was in response to RT’s description of how she would have sex with someone who was sexual. And I stand by my characterization of her description.

    I have not discussed the sex asexual people have, so how could I have compared and contrasted with “real sex,” a term I haven’t used but which you have put in quotes as if I have?

    Come on, let’s have them.

  183. Esti
    Esti August 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    I am in NO WAY saying that it’s okay to not disclose important things about your orientation/boundaries/desires to a partner, and I am in NO WAY saying that anyone is obligated to date someone who for ANY REASON, including sexual incompatibility, they do not want to date.

    But frankly? It seems like the shaming here is directed much more at people who have identified themselves as asexual than those who have said that they have sexual desires they won’t compromise for partners who don’t share them. I say that as someone who is not asexual, and who has been on both the much-lower-sex-drive side of a relationship (with lots of shaming for when I wasn’t up for sex, including receiving the silent treatment and being yelled at) and in a relationship with someone who I strongly suspect was asexual but who did not identify that way (and after 3 years with that person, I suspect I could have been okay living with no sexual contact for the rest of my life to stay with a partner I loved that much, had other parts of the relationship not fallen apart). Because yes, you can be sexual and have a happy, loving relationship with someone who is asexual. And someone who is asexual can want to have a romantic relationship without that meaning that they must be with another asexual or that they are necessarily saying they want to trap and make miserable someone who is sexual. And some people have great, satisfying sex even though they know that their partner is doing some or all of those sex acts to make them happy rather than because they themselves desire them.

    I understand that lots of people here have been shamed for their sexual desires in the past and are reacting to perceived shaming from R.T. in light of that. But I really read her (I assume her?) initial post as expressing confusion and perhaps fear that no one who was sexual would ever be willing to have a relationship with an asexual person. I think a lot of asexual people — and particularly those who are willing to be involved in sexual acts even if they wouldn’t initiate them — just really don’t understand how sex/not sex could be a dealbreaker for someone. And sure, you can (somewhat snarkily) tell them to try imagining it, but I doubt anyone here would tell someone who is non-NT and has trouble reading social cues to just imagine why other people care about those things.

    I haven’t read anyone here saying that people are obligated to be in relationships with partners who don’t fulfill their sexual needs or desires. By all means, DTMFA. But there are lots of people implying or outright saying that because *they* couldn’t be with someone who doesn’t share their desires, no one could. That just isn’t true.

    On a (sadly) somewhat unrelated note: I thought the initial post was really interesting, and I was hoping the conversation would be a little more about the idea it raised about the tension between requiring partners to be GGG and not pressuring partners into sex acts that they do not enthusiastically consent to. Because that’s something I’ve struggled with in the past — is there a way for me to personally move past “uh, I just don’t feel like doing this” into being a good sport? How can I ask my partners to try X thing they weren’t initially into without putting pressure on them to do something they just don’t want to do? Of course you can always just break up with people who don’t have compatible sexual desires, but I don’t think the conversation can end there — given how much people’s sex drives and desires vary with age, physical and mental changes, etc., most people will at some point want to negotiate differences in desires in a way that is respectful and non-coercive but doesn’t sacrifice either party’s sexual satisfaction (or lack thereof).

  184. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse August 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm |

    Aydan, I think what you mean when you call someone “sexual” is probably different from what I mean by that? “Sexual,” to me, is not simply the opposite of asexual, but someone who really values the sexual component if their relationships. So the idea that their partner is going through the motions or is OK with sex but just generally isn’t attracted to them or anyone would probably not be something they would be OK with.

    Regardless, I find it sort of interesting that we started with an idea that women have sexual desires and that not having those desires fulfilled could be a deal breaker. Oh and also, “vaginas icky” is quite a mysoginistic attitude and also could be a deal breaker. And that it’s OK for women to both have sexual desires and deal breakers related to those desires. So we started with all that seemingly feminism 101 stuff and immediately got derailed into a “what about the asexuals?!” stuff. Sort of like the elevator guy threads everywhere got derailed into the “what about the shy nerds?!” stuff. I’m just sayin’.

  185. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse August 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm |

    Also, I totes can spell misogynistic. Sigh.

  186. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm |

    Yeah, I was trying not to get into the issue of people who want sex and don’t much care about the feelings of their partners. Partly because I wouldn’t want to see anyone who I care about involved with one of those people. And partly because R.T. seems to be assuming that his/her only option is to find one of those people.

    R.T. – there are other asexual people out there. Open relationships are also a possibility. You don’t have to do things you’d rather not do in order to find a partner, and while people who will expect you to do exist, they’re not very nice people, and you’re entirely within your rights to tell them to go to hell.

  187. zuzu
    zuzu August 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    Esti: I say that as someone who is not asexual, and who has been on both the much-lower-sex-drive side of a relationship (with lots of shaming for when I wasn’t up for sex, including receiving the silent treatment and being yelled at)

    Why is everyone equating this kind of behavior (shaming, pressuring, coercing, etc., whether it’s into having more sex or not having sex or doing certain acts one finds repellent) with deciding a partner is incompatible and not even getting involved?

    I would be a manipulative, bullying asswipe if I pressured or shamed an asexual partner into having sex when he didn’t want to. He’d be a manipulative, bullying asswipe if he induced me into a relationship by pretending he liked sex and then when I was emotionally invested, started rejecting me because he was never that into it at all. But if he were to tell me he was asexual on our first date and I said thanks but no thanks and went on my way, neither of us would be an asshole. And why? BECAUSE NEITHER OF US IS ENTITLED TO A RELATIONSHIP.

  188. bpbetsy
    bpbetsy August 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    I realize everyone has their own priorities and ways of making relationships work, but personally the idea of performing sex acts I’m not thrilled about out of sheer obligation sounds tedious, unpleasant and exhausting. It reminds me of when I had to do sex work that I didn’t enjoy simply because I needed the money. I cannot imagine a relationship that is “worth” regularly performing not-fun sex acts out of duty instead of desire or pleasure. I would honestly rather skip sex altogether than do the things I’m not into – and I’m someone with a very high sex drive (I actually take anti-depressants in part to reign it in!) So I can really empathize with aces as well as those who have aversions to specific acts.

    The good news is, I’ve been lucky enough to find compatible partners so far – people with nearly identical likes and dislikes. Certain things are just off the menu. Like oral. BTW, I’m a woman who exclusively dates other women. (So consider this a note for other lesbians who don’t love oral but are worried they won’t find a girlfriend!)

  189. Feminist sexual double-standards | Sofiastry

    […] Via Feministe: […]

  190. Esti
    Esti August 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm |

    CassandraSays: But for people who want sex a relationship with close emotional bonds wherein one or both of the people involved doesn’t particularly want sex with the other isn’t a romantic relationship, it’s a friendship.

    No, for *some* people who want sex a relationship without sex isn’t a romantic relationship. There are a number of people, myself included, who have been in romantic relationships in which a) there was unlikely to ever be sex, or b) there was no sex at the time even if at some point in the future it might happen. I have been head over heels in love with people with whom I did not have sex, and who I recognized I would probably never have sex with.

    (Sorry to single you out — your comment was a lot more respectful than many of the ones on this thread, but I wanted to highlight for R.T. that not all sexual people think that romantic love requires sex.)

  191. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm |

    @Esti – I think romantic relationships in which the desire for sex fades over time are actually rather common. But do you really know anyone who’d be OK with a potential partner waiting to get into a romantic relationship without ever disclosing that they had no real interest in sex? I can see how people would agree to a relationships anyway in some circumstances, knowing that, even if they were sexual, but I can’t see anyone who was sexual being OK with not having their potential partner’s lack of interest in sex disclosed.

    To me it seems a lot like my situations as a person who’s bisexual. There are a lot of lesbians for whom that’s a dealbreaker. My pool of potential female partners would be bigger if I concealed the fact that I’m bi. But it would be unethical and unfair of me to do so. Even though some lesbians are fine with it, some aren’t, and I need to give them the opportunity to make an informed decision, because that’s the right thing to do.

  192. R.T.
    R.T. August 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm |

    Zuzu

    I can get an orgasm from my vibrator, or a washing machine, or the rear seat of certain Harleys. It doesn’t mean I have an emotional bond with them.

    And yes, if your idea is that you can “do the sex thing” to please your partner, your partner is going to know that you’re just going through the motions.

    But the difference is that I’m an emotional creature and human being who would be participating in another’s pleasure and trying to make it as good as possible for them.

    Is communication and being sharing pleasure, even if I can’t feel sexual pleasure because I’m anorgasmic, but can feel emotional pleasure invalid? Yeah I’d be going though the motions, the ones that I’d communicate with my partner to know which makes them feel best, but I’d still be sharing something together with my partner.

    Does the idea of my partner wanting me not factor? In a good relationship both partners would want each other.

  193. Aydan
    Aydan August 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm |

    zuzu: I would be a manipulative, bullying asswipe if I pressured or shamed an asexual partner into having sex when he didn’t want to.He’d be a manipulative, bullying asswipe if he induced me into a relationship by pretending he liked sex and then when I was emotionally invested, started rejecting me because he was never that into it at all.But if he were to tell me he was asexual on our first date and I said thanks but no thanks and went on my way, neither of us would be an asshole.And why?BECAUSE NEITHER OF US IS ENTITLED TO A RELATIONSHIP.

    Right, but the thing is, being asexual /= not liking sex. You (general you) could dump a partner because they told you they were asexual on the first date, and not have any information on their feelings on sex. It seems it would be much more valuable to talk about the frequency with which one desires sex (and what sort of sex, etc) then simply to talk about whether or not either partner is asexual, because some sexual people don’t like much sex and some asexual people like sex. I don’t know how common it is for an asexual person to like or not like sex, but I suspect there are a good number of asexual people out there who don’t ID as such simply because they do like sex, and the stereotype is that all aces dislike sex.

    Anonymouse– yes, I am using sexual as a synonym for “not-asexual.” And yes, the derail is unfortunate. I jumped in to do ace 101 but I realize this isn’t an ace blog.

  194. Li
    Li August 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    Yeah, look, I take it back. Clearly I’m too angry to be able to differentiate comments properly anymore. I’m bowing out.

  195. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm |

    Azalea: THIS would explain a lot! Please answer this one derailing question..are you…*cue the intense scary music violins* a Redskins fan?

    No…a Patriots fan. I just hate the Cowboys on principle ;)

  196. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm |

    Aydan, thanks for explaining asexuality in comment 160 and in others. I’ll be processing it for a while, though I still disagree with just about everything else you’re saying. (But I’m probably just too invested in my own opinion right now. Someone being wrong on the internet and all that.)

  197. R.T.
    R.T. August 9, 2011 at 12:00 am |

    Sheelzebub, Zuzu, Amanda, CassandraSays, others I may have missed. Thank you for the advice, and I apologize for not taking it well.

    I guess I’ve got a lot to think about and work out before I ever date. I’m sorry for making a mess of the thread too.

  198. Esti
    Esti August 9, 2011 at 12:01 am |

    zuzu: Why is everyone equating this kind of behavior (shaming, pressuring, coercing, etc., whether it’s into having more sex or not having sex or doing certain acts one finds repellent) with deciding a partner is incompatible and not even getting involved?I would be a manipulative, bullying asswipe if I pressured or shamed an asexual partner into having sex when he didn’t want to. He’d be a manipulative, bullying asswipe if he induced me into a relationship by pretending he liked sex and then when I was emotionally invested, started rejecting me because he was never that into it at all. But if he were to tell me he was asexual on our first date and I said thanks but no thanks and went on my way, neither of us would be an asshole. And why? BECAUSE NEITHER OF US IS ENTITLED TO A RELATIONSHIP.

    Zuzu, with all due respect, I really think that you’re reading things into people’s comment that they didn’t say. In that *one parenthetical* I described the specific circumstances of one of MY relationships. I did not say that shaming someone who are dating is equivalent to breaking up with someone you are not compatible with. In fact, I mentioned (more than once) that I am fully, enthusiastically on board with the idea that no one has a right to date you, and that you have the right to end a relationship for ANY REASON, INCLUDING SEXUAL INCOMPATIBILITY.

  199. LongHairedWeirdo
    LongHairedWeirdo August 9, 2011 at 12:01 am |

    I sometimes wonder if some folks have an advantage here. I tend towards chronic depression, and my thoughts on a breakup tend to be “anyone has a right to break up for any reason, or no reason; what are you going to do, call the relationship police? Would they undo the breakup, if they existed? If they did, have you ever been in a relationship so dead it’s started to stink? You think that’d make you happier than a breakup?”

    So, the whole, OH NOES, YOU BROKE UP OVER THAT? doesn’t really affect me. I don’t see the point of arguing what’s fair or unfair for a reason to break up.

    I think it’s silly to break up if a guy “just” doesn’t want to perform cunnilingus. But then, I’m not there. I don’t know how it feels when he refuses to perform. Maybe he does act like cunnilingus is the equivalent of a rim job (which, hey, if you’re into that, good for you, but I don’t fault anyone for finding that beyond what they can stomach). So, maybe it’s not just that – maybe it’s something else, and the only words seem to fit are “he won’t go down on me.” And maybe it’s not just tongue; maybe he’s not willing to learn to do anything that doesn’t involve his dick. “Sure you can suck me off, you can learn to give a great hand job, and, for your pleasure, we can have intercourse,” so he seems like a selfish dick. (Hah! See? I made a funny!)

    Or… maybe she’s in the wrong, if there was a “right” or “wrong” about these things. Maybe it was a hideous, horrible mistake. In which case… wow, it’s *still* not any of my business, is it?

    (I was about to say “Unless she’s dating me.” But that’s not right either, because I’m not the same person she dumped, and we won’t form the same couple that broke up, so, honestly, it’s not my business at all.)

  200. Esti
    Esti August 9, 2011 at 12:06 am |

    CassandraSays: @Esti – I think romantic relationships in which the desire for sex fades over time are actually rather common. But do you really know anyone who’d be OK with a potential partner waiting to get into a romantic relationship without ever disclosing that they had no real interest in sex? I can see how people would agree to a relationships anyway in some circumstances, knowing that, even if they were sexual, but I can’t see anyone who was sexual being OK with not having their potential partner’s lack of interest in sex disclosed.To me it seems a lot like my situations as a person who’s bisexual. There are a lot of lesbians for whom that’s a dealbreaker. My pool of potential female partners would be bigger if I concealed the fact that I’m bi. But it would be unethical and unfair of me to do so. Even though some lesbians are fine with it, some aren’t, and I need to give them the opportunity to make an informed decision, because that’s the right thing to do.

    I’m not saying that it’s okay to hide that orientation from a partner (in fact, I said the opposite in my first comment). But the part of your comment I responded to wasn’t discussing whether it’s okay for people to blindside their partners with their asexuality (which, sometimes, is unavoidable: if your sexual desire fades/disappears after you’re in the relationship, or if you didn’t realize you were asexual initially), it was the idea that sexual people only have friendships, not romantic relationships, with people they don’t have sex with.

  201. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 12:12 am |

    I think a lot of sexual people, maybe even most, wouldn’t call a relationship where there was never any sex right from the beginning and no plan that sex would happen at some point a romantic relationship. So in many cases an asexual person’s disclosing their orientation would mean that many sexual people would only consider them as a potential friend, not a potential romantic partner. There are probably exceptions, but the majority? Are probably going to write off the asexual person as a potential partner.

    Which seems to be what some of the asexual people upthread were getting at, that they were worried that if they were honest people who want sex wouldn’t be willing to consider them as potential partners. And that’s a valid concern, but it’s still not a good enough reason to conceal one’s orientation, hence my anecdote.

  202. PB&J
    PB&J August 9, 2011 at 12:13 am |

    Huh. Nice to know that so many people believe that my marriage (coming on twenty years) is manipulative and fundamentally incompatible.

    I’m asexual, he’s not. I can’t speak to dating as an asexual because I didn’t figure it out until much later. But a sexual person with a fairly low sex drive, and not much zest for experimentation, and an asexual who enjoys touching and being touched can certainly come to a mutual satisfactory compromise. I don’t initiate sex, but I don’t loathe it either, and I certainly enjoy the closeness and the other things that come along with sex, like back rubs. My love of touching him and being close seems to sub in close enough to sexual desire for his needs.

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a compatible partner for many of the people posting on this thread, but a sexual/asexual partnership is no more impossible than any other relationship where the sexual desires aren’t entirely compatible.

  203. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 12:18 am |

    Esti: Zuzu, with all due respect, I really think that you’re reading things into people’s comment that they didn’t say. In that *one parenthetical* I described the specific circumstances of one of MY relationships.

    And yet you’re not the only one I was responding to. There’s a whole lot of OH NOES HOW CAN YOU BREAK UP OVER THAT while there’s also a whole lot of mistaking dealbreakers for staying-and-manipulating.

    Aydan: Right, but the thing is, being asexual /= not liking sex.

    And yet, when it comes to me personally, I kind of don’t care about the distinctions. If a guy isn’t into sex, he’s not for me.

    R.T.: But the difference is that I’m an emotional creature and human being who would be participating in another’s pleasure and trying to make it as good as possible for them.

    Is communication and being sharing pleasure, even if I can’t feel sexual pleasure because I’m anorgasmic, but can feel emotional pleasure invalid? Yeah I’d be going though the motions, the ones that I’d communicate with my partner to know which makes them feel best, but I’d still be sharing something together with my partner.

    Does the idea of my partner wanting me not factor? In a good relationship both partners would want each other.

    If you are up front with your partner and your partner is okay with this, go for it. But don’t imagine that just going through the motions will be sufficient for a lot of people.

    I’m also not sure you really get what “wanting” someone really means in the sexual context. Or that part of wanting someone is that they want you as well. If you don’t, really, or not in the same way, that’s going to affect your partner’s desire. Which, again, may work for you and your partner, but it’s not something you can get away with not disclosing prior to getting emotionally attached.

  204. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 12:19 am |

    LongHairedWeirdo: I think it’s silly to break up if a guy “just” doesn’t want to perform cunnilingus.

    You wouldn’t find it silly if it were the only way you could orgasm.

  205. DexX
    DexX August 9, 2011 at 12:24 am |

    @Nahida (28) – I’m a bisexual man who loves oral sex in all its permutations. I find it kind of baffling that some non-gay men don’t like giving oral to women, but I suppose everyone has different turn-ons.

    Anyway, I just wanted to state that women do not all taste the same; far from it. Just like different people smell distinctive – their skin, their hair, their breath – women taste quite distinctive too. One woman doesn’t even taste the same all month around, with texture and flavour changing around ovulation and other times.

    There’s a certain similarity, of course, but a wide range of variations. To me, a female partner’s smell and taste is as distinctive and beloved as her face or voice.

  206. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 9, 2011 at 12:26 am |

    zuzu: You wouldn’t find it silly if it were the only way you could orgasm.

    Oh zuzu, you silly woman you. Why would you want an orgasm? Those are for dudes. Only shallow hussies like orgasms.

  207. DexX
    DexX August 9, 2011 at 12:30 am |

    Oh, and regarding the topic, it really sounds like selfishness was the problem here, rather than unwillingness to engage in a particular sex act. I wouldn’t go so far as to equate willingness to go down with selflessness and unwillingness as selfishness, but as a general rule a selfish person would be less willing to engage in any act that doesn’t directly get them off. Explains half-hearted fingering, too.

  208. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 9, 2011 at 12:35 am |

    Sheelzebub: Sex is one of those things that I want my partner to enjoy. I would hate myself if I learned that it was something my partner endured, didn’t like or care much about, or was sometimes repulsed by, but put up with to make me happy.

    There’s a category of sexual behavior that it’s not practical to pass or enforce laws against but aside from that it’s rape in any meaningful sense. “Putting up with” is in that category, to me.

    Esti: It seems like the shaming here is directed much more at people who have identified themselves as asexual than those who have said that they have sexual desires they won’t compromise for partners who don’t share them.

    I think that’s a false dichotomy, at least if we include “not having it” as a sexual desire. But if a relationship is working for the people involved I, at least, am not going to tell them it isn’t. No one is (intentionally) shaming asexual people, or anyone, in successful mixed-desire relationships. In unsuccessful ones where being mixed-desire is the problem, you really don’t get to force the other person to have or not have sex.

    I thought the initial post was really interesting, and I was hoping the conversation would be a little more about the idea it raised about the tension between requiring partners to be GGG and not pressuring partners into sex acts that they do not enthusiastically consent to.

    It strikes me that GGG is only intended to apply to things one person feels strongly about ant the other doesn’t. It’s one thing to “pressure” someone into trying something they’ve never considered or felt any specific interest in (but, never having considered it, don’t find objectionable either); it’s another to pressure someone into doing something they absolutely do not want to do.

  209. Neil Hansen
    Neil Hansen August 9, 2011 at 12:51 am |

    I think I’ll pop some corn in advance.

    Thanks for that image, Kristen J. I’ll think of your popcorn farts next time I’m eating some sloppy pussy.

  210. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada August 9, 2011 at 1:22 am |

    Hi all.

    I fully agree with Amanda in the sense that people are not entitled to be with someone they want. All involved have to agree.

    I also agree that sexual incompatibility should be a deal breaker.

    With that I don’t mean that people has to have the same sexual drive and the same sexual preferences.

    Incompatible for me is can’t live like this without hurting or overjoyed. (frustration insecurity, laking etc)

    A partnership is a risk, It should give you more than it takes.

    At the same time I have this fuzzy feeling that the article comes out as a “I don’t want to feel guilty, so yes is his right, but I will socially same him into compliance” drop on him a bunch of insults (social) plus feel entitled to insulting him too.

    Kind of what we live as women with a bunch of stuff.

    So my point is:
    1. We are entitled to end with any man for any reason.
    2. Men should not be expected to like any sexual act. Even more they should not be expected to like sex.
    3. We should not be expected not to like sex, or sacrifice sexual satisfaction for emotional one.
    4. We are not more entlited to insult men than men to insult us.

    Thanks my take :) I hope I did not insult any one.

    I will be reading again tomorrow, so please don’t take me not answering if you address me as lack of respect.

    a Hug,
    Avida

  211. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 9, 2011 at 2:00 am |

    RT,

    I was one of the people who felt a little slut-shamed by your early comment in the thread, and I responded immediately by pointing out that dealbreakers are individual and sexual ones are also legitimate.

    You didn’t include me in your broad apology but I accept it anyway. I really appreciate how you put it.

    That you are not NT and that you have never dated wasn’t known up front. I think you’ve learned something here. I wish you the best in trying to find a relationship with someone you love and respect, who loves and respects you in return, and with whom you don’t feel you have to stretch too far to please them, and who doesn’t have to stretch to far to please you.

    We all look for that, and some find it faster than others. We all have wonderful things about ourselves, things that are challenging for partners to deal with, and tons of things that are great with one person but just don’t work with another. I’m not even convinced that asexuals have it particularly hard… us BDSMers, or non-car-users, or non-pit-shavers, or urbanites who refuse to live in the suburbs or rural areas, (I am all of those) or whatever, all have things that fit some partners much better than others. Zuzu doesn’t want kids: that’s a minority position that limits her field of possible partners, but it’s important enough to her and likely important enough to others that she discloses it up front.

    Good luck with your dating. I really think that you’ll have the best chances if you disclose early. Not necessarily the first date, but within a few, as soon as you find out he or she is not an asshole who is likely to blab to your entire social network.

    Best wishes.

  212. Anonymice
    Anonymice August 9, 2011 at 2:15 am |

    R.T.,

    I think I may have a different take on asexual-sexual relationships than many of the other commenters here, especially after reading what you and others have to say about what it is like to be asexual. But first of all, let me say, it may be more positive for you to think of yourself as preorgasmic rather than anorgasmic. It took me until I was 27 to orgasm with any frequency, and until I was 29 to do so by myself. Yeah, clearly I’m an idiot.

    But I am not quite sure I agree with the other sexuals about whether sexuals could happily have relationships with asexuals, and here is why. I feel like people are so different in their emotional and psychological reactions to eachother. As I get to know partners, I realize more and more the areas of overlap and stark contrast in the way we see the world, eachother, and our relationship. As long as these differences are respectfully communicated, and I feel cared for, that is enough for me. So for me, if an asexual person did not feel desire in the way that I did, but was able to make me feel desired and I felt that I was meeting his needs, I don’t know that I would mind. Now, if someone were doing something that was unpleasant for them, or if they could not make me feel desired, I would feel horrible about that. And if I made him feel like less of a person because he did not do certain sexual things, or like them, I would feel horrible about that, too. And maybe I wouldn’t be able to make it work out with an asexual person, who knows. But I don’t think that everyone will be completely closed to that, as long as they realize that it isn’t about them. And of course, as someone said upthread, you should respect and value your own boundaries, because they matter, too.

    I am actually in a platonic friendship right now with a man who is also sexual like me, because we really liked eachother, but had no desire to boink. So, those can be found and can be really meaningful.

  213. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 9, 2011 at 3:32 am |

    Also I just wanted to clarify our reaction. To you, you may have been asking an innocent question, since you have no personal experience with dating. But there is no tone on the internet, and we are very accustomed as women to having our sexual needs discounted or made to seem wrong.

    Too often, in het relationships, the idea that as long as compatibility is otherwise there, good sex will follow actually means that the woman subsumes her desires while doing her best to meet the man’s needs.

  214. tree
    tree August 9, 2011 at 4:19 am |

    PB&J:
    Huh. Nice to know that so many people believe that my marriage (coming on twenty years) is manipulative and fundamentally incompatible.

    I’m asexual, he’s not. I can’t speak to dating as an asexual because I didn’t figure it out until much later.

    don’t forget abusive! we are abusive, lying liarpantses who lie and abuse. meanwhile our poor partners are prostrate from the horrors of enduring the sexual deprivation we impose upon them. or something.

  215. Momentary
    Momentary August 9, 2011 at 4:26 am |

    I agree strongly with everything Esti has said in this thread.

    Question for people for whom ongoing mutual sexual desire is a necessity in a romantic relationship: when you’re in the early stages of forming a long term relationship, do you explicitly tell your partner that you will end the relationship if they stop wanting to have enough sex with you at any point in the future? Do you feel any responsibility to explicitly disclose that?

  216. the-r-evolution
    the-r-evolution August 9, 2011 at 4:44 am |

    I vehemently support this post, but I take issue with the very last part.

    As part of our whole BDSM relationship, my partner- a straight man- does not go down on me (nor do I ever ever want Him to). But I promise that things are fucking AWESOME in the sack.

  217. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 4:55 am |

    In my judgment, RT is being shamed and piled on. She has explained, over and over, that she is autistic; that she does not have a sex drive but that she understands that others do; that she has been sexually assaulted; and that while she doesn’t understand (a.k.a. “relate to”) sex being so important, she has participated in sex because she is aware that it is valued by others and she wants to be emotionally connected to people.

    For that, she has been accused of lying to the fictional people she has not ever dated; for “slut-shaming” (though I did not read any comment of hers saying people are sluts for enjoying sex); for being unable to participate in sex to her (fictional) partners’ satisfaction because they will be able to tell she is being “mechanical”; that a vibrator or a washing machine could do the same thing RT could do for a partner; and, she shouldn’t have sex because she doesn’t like it.

    No matter what RT says here, she is wrong. She has clarified statements others found offensive. She has tried to explain that she is NT. She has owned her “errors” in commenting and people are treating her like CRAP.

    And: Not everyone in the entire freaking world likes receiving oral sex. Even though the OP and the OOP (the author of the cited article) frame their arguments as though this were true.

    Shout-out to Jacobtk: I’m so sorry for the abuse your aunt perpetrated on you. What a shitty circumstance for you. I’m really sorry.

  218. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 4:56 am |

    “She has tried to explain that she is NON-NT.”

  219. kiturak
    kiturak August 9, 2011 at 5:09 am |

    Momentary:
    Question for people for whom ongoing mutual sexual desire is a necessity in a romantic relationship:when you’re in the early stages of forming a long term relationship, do you explicitly tell your partner that you will end the relationship if they stop wanting to have enough sex with you at any point in the future?

    I’m with you here – and I’m a very sexual person, though not actually needing mutual sexual desire in every relationship (I’m poly, would probably be different otherwise).

    It’s been said a lot that asexual people have this obligation to “out” themselves practically from the beginning. This is affirming sexual relationships as a norm.
    I’m all for communicating desires, expectations and boundaries early on, but this should be something sexual people should do first – not expect everyone to be sexual and to tell them if otherwise.
    In fact, asexual people, having a marginalized sexuality, have every right and occasion to protect themselves by chosing their own time to “out” themselves, if falsely assumed sexual. That doesn’t mean entering (or staying in) relationships on false premises, but that’s an annoyingly persistent strawperson in this thread, and not something anyone here has ever argued for.

    So, @CassandraSays, I don’t wholly agree: Yes, we as e.g. bisexual people should communicate, but not any more than (in your example) the lesbian biphobe should, early on, state explicitly she doesn’t want bisexual women. Treating “outing” as something to be done by marginalized sexualities is upholding oppressive societal norms.

    I’m sick and tired of everyone assuming I’m straight and monogamous. Do I correct them, whenever it’s ok and safe for me to do so? Yes. Does that mean it’s ok for them to assume the stuff in the first place? No.

  220. kiturak
    kiturak August 9, 2011 at 5:19 am |

    Oh, and @tinfoil hattie: thanks.

    @R.T. There are lots of people who find sex as you describe it something beautiful to have, and most definitely NOT something sex with a thing could replace. I’m among them. Just to be clear. For other people that’s not enough, but that’s ok also. As long as everyone is clear and explicit about what it is they want, it’s always possible to find out if you’re compatible or not.

  221. Momentary
    Momentary August 9, 2011 at 5:34 am |

    kiturak: @R.T. There are lots of people who find sex as you describe it something beautiful to have, and most definitely NOT something sex with a thing could replace. I’m among them. Just to be clear. For other people that’s not enough, but that’s ok also. As long as everyone is clear and explicit about what it is they want, it’s always possible to find out if you’re compatible or not.

    Co-signed.

  222. chava
    chava August 9, 2011 at 6:01 am |

    Except…none of this is really about (a)sexuality. The guy in the OP was fine with SEX, but said he was “afraid of it,” “it” being vagina or oral sex or both, hard to tell.

    This is a statement that yeah, kind of sets of alarm bells for me. You’re *afraid* of the vag because one time a vag stank at you? Meh.

    As far as the asexuality thing…whatever works for your relationship. I do think both sexuals and aces have an obligation to disclose how much sex they’ll be wanting (or not) before making a long term committment with someone. Doesn’t matter if it’s BDSM sex, upside down sex, or no sex at all.

  223. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 6:18 am |

    What the fuck? How is it on an asexual person to disclose her asexuality as the Other? Why not on the highly-sexual one to disclose his hypersexuality? What even determines high and low sex drive? Are bisexuals also required to subject their orientations to review too?

    Queer non-privilege aside, asexuals are not privileged in relation to sexuals as a whole and this thread is reeking of it. I also like all the commenters telling an Autistic woman about slut-shaming like she has no concept or experience of that.

  224. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 6:30 am |

    chava:

    As far as the asexuality thing…whatever works for your relationship.I do think both sexuals and aces have an obligation to disclose how much sex they’ll be wanting (or not) before making a long term committment with someone.Doesn’t matter if it’s BDSM sex, upside down sex, or no sex at all.

    This makes more sense, because you’re creating a scenario in which both parties make sexuality and sexual acts a discussion and not an anomaly. I think it’s a good idea for people to communicate how much sex they’re going to want and how soon so everyone has an idea of each other’s expectations, and none of this necessities casting someone as the Other who needs to come clean to everyone she dates about her freakishness. -_-

  225. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 6:30 am |

    Sex is one of those things that I want my partner to enjoy. I would hate myself if I learned that it was something my partner endured, didn’t like or care much about, or was sometimes repulsed by, but put up with to make me happy.

    I’m just quoting myself here since there seems to be questions about why it’s better to disclose asexuality. We would not be compatible. And I realize that some people think it’s just sex and what’s the big deal, but here’s the thing: you don’t have the right to unilaterally decide for your partner what is important to them.

    And yes, I’m pretty clear about liking sex. Libido does drop off for many people after awhile, but if it dwindles down to nothing and the other person is not willing to figure out what’s going on and address it, then the relationship is in trouble. Sex is important to me.

    The reason why people in this thread were talking about misleading your partner was because of several things R.T. wrote that led people to believe that s/he thought it was an acceptable thing to do. R.T. later clarified they thought it wasn’t okay.

  226. kiturak
    kiturak August 9, 2011 at 7:11 am |

    Sheelzebub, it was not about “should asexual people be sincere” and compatibility, but about “why shouldn’t sexual people go first with the disclosures”?
    And in your, and often my case, it’s not only about “liking sex”, but “liking sex in a specific way not anybody will want or be able to share”, which is completely ok, but important to disclose up front as well, as early as possible without being weird, and not to automatically expect of another person until stated otherwise.
    So in a way it could be construed that sexual people would be misleading asexual people when they expect a specific kind of sex and are not open for a relationship otherwise, and not state that fact in, what, the first two hours of the first date?

    Sheelzebub:
    The reason why people in this thread were talking about misleading your partner was because of several things R.T. wrote that led people to believe that s/he thought it was an acceptable thing to do. R.T. later clarified they thought it wasn’t okay.

    I read the whole thread. The reason people were talking about misleading your partner was that a statement of R.T.’s was misunderstood and misconstrued into said strawperson. After the clarification, that thing’s still not been buried. Please, let’s.

  227. kiturak
    kiturak August 9, 2011 at 7:33 am |

    kiturak:
    So in a way it could be construed that sexual people would be misleading asexual people when they expect a specific kind of sex and are not open for a relationship otherwise, and not state that fact in, what, the first two hours of the first date?

    I don’t know if it’s clear that this is not what I think, but what the “misleading people”-argument looks like if you turn it around. Sometimes that stuff needs time.

    Concerning the OT, it’s been said that the “trading” of oral sex against oral sex doesn’t always work – I do care about reciprocity, but if the other person won’t either go down or do anything else that’s good for me and basically doesn’t care about my pleasure (and not because they’re asexual, but because they’re a fucking lazy egotist jerk, it’s no use for me to reply with “HAA NO BJ FOR YOU EITHER, THEN!” because not only do I need my oral sex to get off, ffs, but also, why the jerk? So, still DTMFA.

  228. Momentary
    Momentary August 9, 2011 at 7:34 am |

    kiturak:
    Sheelzebub, it was not about “should asexual people be sincere” and compatibility, but about “why shouldn’t sexual people go first with the disclosures”?
    And in your, and often my case, it’s not only about “liking sex”, but “liking sex in a specific way not anybody will want or be able to share”, which is completely ok, but important to disclose up front as well, as early as possible without being weird, and not to automatically expect of another person until stated otherwise.
    So in a way it could be construed that sexual people would be misleading asexual people when they expect a specific kind of sex and are not open for a relationship otherwise, and not state that fact in, what, the first two hours of the first date?

    In my experience it is rare for people who are partnering “for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness or in health” to clarify up front that they mean “unless my partner no longer wants sex.” If that’s what lots of people mean in that situation, I have no problem with that, but I kind of think they should say so. It’s not what I mean.

  229. karak
    karak August 9, 2011 at 7:36 am |

    “Question for people for whom ongoing mutual sexual desire is a necessity in a romantic relationship:when you’re in the early stages of forming a long term relationship, do you explicitly tell your partner that you will end the relationship if they stop wanting to have enough sex with you at any point in the future?”

    Yes. Yes I do. I even tell them how often I want to have sex, how much more often than that I am willing to, and under what conditions I refuse to have sex and what mainstream sex acts I will NEVER do. Before we have sex, I tell them this so they know. Sex, religion, reproduction and money are the four most important things in any relationship, and I clarify my positions on all four VERY early on. I have no idea why you wouldn’t.

    I think it’s a little preposterous to demand that I have no assumptions about the sexual nature of my partner and I’m some sort of closet bigot if I do. Especially if we’re already having sex. If we are sleeping together, and a huge chunk of your sexual identity is violated or unfulfilled, you need to tell me because I am not a sexy mindreader. If you date me I’m going to kind of assume you find me interesting and sexually attractive. If you sleep with me, I am going to VERY STRONGLY believe you have a sexual interest in cis women. This is not unreasonable.

    If I start dating you, and make it tacitly or explicitly clear, “Hey, I’m going under the Popular Heterosexual Dating Model, with the related assumptions, like we’ll have sex and maybe get married and have kids and shit” if you object to any that, it behooves you to tell me.

    Ideally, this is all moot, because we both sat down and had a nice talk about sex and expectations before we had sex the first time, but if we didn’t–well, eventually, we need to. And if you have a sneaking suspicion that your sexual desires and your partner’s aren’t aligning, it’s kind of your job to bring it up and either set it straight or break up with them.

  230. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 7:57 am |

    What the fuck? How is it on an asexual person to disclose her asexuality as the Other? Why not on the highly-sexual one to disclose his hypersexuality? What even determines high and low sex drive? Are bisexuals also required to subject their orientations to review too?

    I don’t think it’s about review as much as it is about trust.

    Most relationships aren’t negotiated like discussions on feminist blogs. People don’t tend to sit down, go through a checklist of each other’s privileges, and decide who owes whom what.

    Relationships are mostly just trial and error.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of pretty big bombshells in relationships. I coped with it – and thankfully they didn’t ruin anything – but it still sucked at the time.

    Dishonesty is often forced by whatever social climate you live in, it’s true – most people do not mean to omit certain things, or else flat out lie, I think – but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with.

    I think the major point borne out of this discussion bears repeating – none of us are entitled to a relationship.

    Love and understanding always help, though.

  231. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 9, 2011 at 7:57 am |

    <blockquote?How is it on an asexual person to disclose her asexuality as the Other? Why not on the highly-sexual one to disclose his hypersexuality?

    HER “hypersexuality” you mean. And, I do. Before the relationship even starts – when we’re in the butt-sniffing stage, I straight up tell them: I have a strong sex drive. Due to a past abusive, rapist boyfriend, I’ve already been through a shaming, denying, manipulative relationship and will NOT go through it again. Therefore, if he doesn’t think he can or wants to keep up, move along.

    And, I think I finally truly get why Jill said she only reads the comments because she has too.

  232. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 9, 2011 at 8:20 am |

    I think it’s a little preposterous to demand that I have no assumptions about the sexual nature of my partner and I’m some sort of closet bigot if I do.

    If you were a GOOD woman and a GOOD feminist, you’d know your place.

    asexuals are not privileged in relation to sexuals as a whole and this thread is reeking of it.

    NO, it ISN’T. Its been stated 73 billion times now that NO ONE should be pressured to do what they don’t want to do, that people have a right to seek a compatible partner, that WHATEVER works for any given individual relationship is cool. There is no one size fits all.

    Someone said upthread that asexuals are an extreme minority (something in the realm of 1%, apparently). If that’s the case, then clearly the chances that such a person is going to get involved with someone NOT asexual is nearly guaranteed. It’s up to them to decide what their relationship will look like – IF they want to get into one.

    Some of us are straight up saying it probably wouldn’t work for us. What the fuck is wrong with that?

    As I’ve said, I was in a relationship with someone with a lower sex drive who, unfortunately for me, was also a manipulative, coercsive asshole who, after beating me down (sometimes literally)for having a strong sex drive, would then force me to perform sex according to his desires, while totally neglecting mine. He made me fucking beg for scraps, until I finally got the fuck up and left.

    So yeah, I take extreme umbrage at the suggestion that someone with a lower sex drive has the right to hide that from me, and I’m a closet bigot for not just accepting that.

    Of course, I’m not saying that being asexual is being just like my ex. I’m saying be fucking honest because, if there are past traumas that might have contributed to one’s aversion to sex acts, there are past traumas that contribute to one not being okay with that. To each her own.

    The not entitled thing runs both ways: I’m not entitled to the sort of relationship I require from someone who has a lower or non-existent sex drive, just because I choose that person.

  233. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 8:30 am |

    In my experience it is rare for people who are partnering “for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness or in health” to clarify up front that they mean “unless my partner no longer wants sex.”

    If you aren’t going to try and figure out what’s up if your interest in sex completely wanes, I think it’s selfish to expect your partner to stick around and be unfulfilled. Fair enough if you don’t want it anymore AND if you don’t want to find out/address why you don’t want it any more, but it’s not fair to then expect your partner to put up with a frustrating, unfulfilling relationship.

    And yes, I’m pretty clear about my sex drive with my partners. I’m very upfront about dealbreakers. Which is why I would be horribly betrayed, hurt, and angry if a partner wasn’t honest about something as basic their sex drive. If you don’t want it very much, or if you only like doing it a certain way and will not entertain the thought of doing anything else, ever, then we are not a good match.

    And really, what karak and Natalia said. Bombshells are never fun–and what’s worse is when it’s obvious there’s an issue but your partner never tells you, refuses to discuss it, and/or turns it around on you. That goes for sex, what you want out of the relationship, desire (or lack of desire) to have children, whatever. If you’re in a relationship the onus is on both people to be honest about what they want and need–it’s not on one person.

    I don’t want to have kids. Ever. That’s fairly unusual so I am upfront about it. The onus is on me to make sure that any romantic partner understands that I will never, ever change my mind about this. The onus is on me because the majority of people out there want to have kids, and it’s a reasonable assumption for a romantic partner to make. It’s cost me relationships with great guys, but it would have been shitty to get into something that would have left us feeling resentful, pressured, and shut down.

  234. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused August 9, 2011 at 8:39 am |

    I will admit, I have not announced on the first date that I have a high sex drive and that I will not be happy with a relationship with infrequent sex.

    But normally, by the time the first “date” happens, I’ve had sex with that person a few times already. So if your preferred order of events isn’t sex then romance, well, we’re likely not to have gotten together in the first place.

    But your point is well taken that it’s not necessarily on the smaller or marginalised group to out themselves. I hadn’t looked at it that way before.

  235. Esti
    Esti August 9, 2011 at 8:59 am |

    @Rare Vos

    I haven’t read a single comment that said that someone needs to stay with an asexual partner if that isn’t compatible with their sexual desires. Not one. But I’ve read at least two dozen comments telling asexual people that no sexual people will want to be with them, that they could never satisfy someone who wants sex even if they are GGG, that attempts to satisfy their partner would mean they are just lying there while someone masturbates into them (which — HOLY FUCK), that saying you don’t understand the importance of sex to others (i.e. BEING ASEXUAL) is slut shaming, that sexual minorities have the obligation to disclose first, that if you don’t want sex you can never have a romantic relationship, etc. etc. etc.

    I understand that women have historically been shamed for having high sex drives, and that some people on this thread have been personally hurt or abused by partners for having high sex drives. But women have ALSO been shamed, attacked, raped, bullied, and targeted in a variety of ways for NOT wanting sex. So let’s try not to react to the former by perpetuating the latter.

  236. LongHairedWeirdo
    LongHairedWeirdo August 9, 2011 at 8:59 am |

    You wouldn’t find it silly if it were the only way you could orgasm.

    Well, and I think that was clearly the only point to my response. In fact, didn’t I say that explicitly? Didn’t I say “assuming that’s the only way you can achieve orgasm? No, I guess I didn’t. Well, anyway, thank you for reminding me that talking about a generality requires one to talk about every single specific case.

    I mean, obviously, not every generality requires every single specific case be touched. There’s always cases you don’t know about.

    Oh, and there are always cases you can safely assume people can handle on their own.

    And of course, there are degenerate and vacuous cases.

    And there are cases where….

  237. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 9:05 am |

    And I’ve read comments about how breaking up with someone because your sexual needs aren’t being met is selfish and shallow (or implied as much) and how it’s petty and scorekeeping to want your needs met.

  238. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse August 9, 2011 at 9:05 am |

    Is that “do you disclose how sexual you are” thing supposed to be some kind of gotcha question or something? Because yes. It’s good dating/relationship practice to discuss your expectations and desires. But no, you wouldn’t discuss how you’d hypothetically react if 10 years down the line your sex life changed drastically, while on your first date. That’s jumping the gun just a bit. However, telling the other person that you find them desirable and would like to have sex with them, and what kind, is perfectly reasonable and to be expected.

    And again, this dude in question is not asexual. He likes sex just fine, he just doesn’t like to please his partner. She has every right to DTMFA. Again, why has this perfectly routine observation been derailed into all of this? And by the way, just because someone is a cis hetero vanilla monogamous woman, doesn’t mean her sexuality isn’t marginalized. Exhibit A: this dude and his “vags are gross smelly grossness” attitude. And it’s not like he is a weird outlier or anything; women’s sexualities are marginalized, period, no matter who they fuck or don’t fuck and how often.

  239. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 9:10 am |

    tinfoil hattie: In my judgment, RT is being shamed and piled on. She has explained, over and over, that she is autistic; that she does not have a sex drive but that she understands that others do; that she has been sexually assaulted; and that while she doesn’t understand (a.k.a. “relate to”) sex being so important, she has participated in sex because she is aware that it is valued by others and she wants to be emotionally connected to people.

    For that, she has been accused of lying to the fictional people she has not ever dated; for “slut-shaming” (though I did not read any comment of hers saying people are sluts for enjoying sex); for being unable to participate in sex to her (fictional) partners’ satisfaction because they will be able to tell she is being “mechanical”; that a vibrator or a washing machine could do the same thing RT could do for a partner; and, she shouldn’t have sex because she doesn’t like it.

    Reading comprehension: It’s what’s for dinner!

    You know, RT didn’t mention her autism or not having dated until well into the thread, and instead her comments made it sound as if she were describing what she did do, not what she would do in a relationship with someone who was not asexual. And yes, it sounded like she was lying to people about her status because she thought that if she just put Slot A around Tab B and did all the forms she thought would get her partner off, that would be sufficient for someone who was not asexual. I stand by my description of that as mechanical, and I do not back off my characterization of her description as akin to what a vibrator does. She’s apologized for the undertones of slut-shaming.

    So your Monday-morning scoldypantsing is not necessary, thank you.

  240. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar August 9, 2011 at 9:13 am |

    LHW, where you are in a social majority (like TAB cis men, most of whom take orgasm from sexual encounters for granted during much of their adult lives), and you assume that the only cases that need to be talked about are the ones you’re familiar with … that’s privilege.

    There are lots of folks who, even when they have a willing partner and they want to come, can’t be sure they will.

  241. pekover
    pekover August 9, 2011 at 9:18 am |

    Esti:
    On a (sadly) somewhat unrelated note:I thought the initial post was really interesting, and I was hoping the conversation would be a little more about the idea it raised about the tension between requiring partners to be GGG and not pressuring partners into sex acts that they do not enthusiastically consent to.Because that’s something I’ve struggled with in the past — is there a way for me to personally move past “uh, I just don’t feel like doing this” into being a good sport?How can I ask my partners to try X thing they weren’t initially into without putting pressure on them to do something they just don’t want to do?Of course you can always just break up with people who don’t have compatible sexual desires, but I don’t think the conversation can end there — given how much people’s sex drives and desires vary with age, physical and mental changes, etc., most people will at some point want to negotiate differences in desires in a way that is respectful and non-coercive but doesn’t sacrifice either party’s sexual satisfaction (or lack thereof).

    I was interested in this, too. Do you think we could use the idea of ‘good faith’ to negotiate this path? Like, we aren’t obliged to be game for every single sexual activity, but we are obliged to treat our partner’s desires as valid, we’re obliged to consider the desires with as few preconceptions as possible, and we’re obliged to at least consider stretching our boundaries, all in good faith. And I think we may also be obliged to acknowledge that our refusal to explore certain activities, while totally justified for us, will also be having a negative effect on our partner’s enjoyment of sex. Might not be a huge negative, but it’ll be there, I would think.

  242. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 9, 2011 at 9:22 am |

    haven’t read a single comment that said that someone needs to stay with an asexual partner if that isn’t compatible with their sexual desires. Not one. But I’ve read at least two dozen comments telling asexual people that no sexual people will want to be with them

    In other words, you completely ignored what doesn’t fit your desire to manufacture an insult out of shit no one said. Got it.

    But women have ALSO been shamed, attacked, raped, bullied, and targeted in a variety of ways for NOT wanting sex. So let’s try not to react to the former by perpetuating the latter.

    WOW! Thanks for the info! I’m such a fucking moron, I had no idea this was the case! Since NO ONE perpetuated the latter, and in fact said do whatever works for you, and so will I, can we stop playing Oppression Olympics yet, or are we going another round?

    ++

    Well, anyway, thank you for reminding me that talking about a generality requires one to talk about every single specific case.

    That’s been this entire thread. The topic was a woman not getting something out of a relationship and therefore ending it, and we’re now all shallow selfish slutty bigots for not talking about something else.

  243. Brandon
    Brandon August 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |

    Ok Jill, that means men can dump women for not giving blowjobs. I don’t want to be holding one gender to a double standard. Fair is fair.

  244. igglanova
    igglanova August 9, 2011 at 9:28 am |

    This is really so controversial, the idea that guys who refuse to go down are (with few exceptions) selfish pricks that deserve to be dumped? We really needed a 200-comment derail to hash out the fact that lying is bad?

    And, of course the onus is on an asexual person to tell their partner! It’s not an unreasonable assumption that a dating partner is sexual until proven otherwise, given how the vast majority of people are sexual. Am I being shamefully privileged by being unable to read someone’s fucking mind, or by streamlining my life by deciding not to anticipate every rare exception in every situation? It’s hard to out yourself, but tough shit; you’re in for way worse of a shitstorm once that partner figures out that you’ve been lying to them the whole time.

  245. ArielNYC
    ArielNYC August 9, 2011 at 9:36 am |

    I’m still amazed that cunnlingus is a controversial subject in the 21st century. Isn’t rimming the new frontier? But that’s a whole separate can of worms…

  246. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 9:45 am |

    ArielNYC:
    I’m still amazed that cunnlingus is a controversial subject in the 21st century. Isn’t rimming the new frontier? But that’s a whole separate can of worms…

    Well, I’d hope the person you’re rimming doesn’t have worms.

  247. m
    m August 9, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    zuzu: And because of that, I look at cunnilingus as the equivalent not of blowjobs but of intercourse, as something that’s a pretty reliable way of getting off.

    This this this!

  248. LongHairedWeirdo
    LongHairedWeirdo August 9, 2011 at 10:07 am |

    Thomas:

    LHW, where you are in a social majority (like TAB cis men, most of whom take orgasm from sexual encounters for granted during much of their adult lives), and you assume that the only cases that need to be talked about are the ones you’re familiar with … that’s privilege.

    Wow! I didn’t know I had to comment on *everything* that was needful, or even useful, to talk about! Do you have these rules in a FAQ or something? But… huh. Why isn’t everyone else following that rule?

    Look, I’m sorry that you didn’t like my response; sure, there was more that could be said, but, I’ll bet someone else has said it. So why bother trying to say it myself?

    And I’m even sorrier that the only thing you can do with your dislike is to make a boatload of assumptions and make a pretty pathetic complaint. But that’s not my problem.

  249. ArielNYC
    ArielNYC August 9, 2011 at 10:25 am |

    “Well, I’d hope the person you’re rimming doesn’t have worms.”

    One may hope.

  250. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    igglanova:
    And, of course the onus is on an asexual person to tell their partner! It’s not an unreasonable assumption that a dating partner is sexual until proven otherwise, given how the vast majority of people are sexual. Am I being shamefully privileged by being unable to read someone’s fucking mind, or by streamlining my life by deciding not to anticipate every rare exception in every situation? It’s hard to out yourself, but tough shit; you’re in for way worse of a shitstorm once that partner figures out that you’ve been lying to them the whole time.

    If I can use the p-word in a constructively critical, introspection-provoking way, I would say yes. It’s not that asexuals don’t form an extreme minority or that it’s not perfectly logical for you to assume someone is sexual, but more about where you’re drawing the lines of disclosure.

    For example, does someone with a low sex drive have an obligation to disclose this? What about someone with a REALLY low sex drive? Instead of viewing asexuality as a “rare exception” you could look at it as a spectrum of behavior that you should figure out where your partner fits in. Chances are someone is going to have to compromise somewhere.

  251. Katniss
    Katniss August 9, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    Brandon:
    Ok Jill, that means men can dump women for not giving blowjobs. I don’t want to be holding one gender to a double standard. Fair is fair.

    I love how you seem to think that this is some sort of “gotcha” question. If you’ve read the thread at all you’d see many many people that it is okay to dump a partner for ANY reason if you are dissatisfied. There are reasons that might make you seem like kind of a jerk, but it is still everyone’s right not to be in a relationship that they aren’t happy with.

    Basic point: you aren’t very good at this, Brandon.

  252. Neil Hansen
    Neil Hansen August 9, 2011 at 11:11 am |

    Jill: Of course men CAN dump women for not giving blowjobs. Is there a law against dumping non-blowjob-givers that I’m not aware of?

    Well, there is no law, to be sure. But I did it to two ex girlfriends…everything else was great, but if I can’t get great head, she has to go.

  253. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 11:13 am |

    Rare Vos:
    <blockquote?How is it on an asexual person to disclose her asexuality as the Other? Why not on the highly-sexual one to disclose his hypersexuality?

    HER “hypersexuality” you mean. And, I do.Before the relationship even starts– when we’re in the butt-sniffing stage, I straight up tell them: I have a strong sex drive.Due to a past abusive, rapist boyfriend, I’ve already been through a shaming, denying, manipulative relationship and will NOT go through it again. Therefore, if he doesn’t think he can or wants to keep up, move along.

    And, I think I finally truly get why Jill said she only reads the comments because she has too.

    Thanks for the correction, but actually no. I was talking in terms of generalities, I have no idea what gender R.T.’s hypothetical partner identifies as.

    As for everything else: yes. This is exactly what I’m talking about, glad we’re on the same page.

  254. figleaf
    figleaf August 9, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    First of all, what Tinfoil Hattie #216 said. Aren’t into sex so you shouldn’t expect romantic love in your life and all that. I’m almost as far from asexual as it gets but I’m always startled at the intensity of people’s reactions. Nobody knew R.T. was autistic but it’s kind of… well… shameful how much other shit people started making up about her.

    For instance at no point did she say wanting sex makes you shallow. That was Amanda putting words in her mouth.

    Sheesh!

    figleaf

  255. troubled
    troubled August 9, 2011 at 11:25 am |

    She wants someone to please her and he won’t do it? It’s not rocket science – dump him. The majority of guys enjoy it. Reading political implications into this seems forced. All people, gay, straight, cis, etc., face partners unwilling to go down, for no better reason than “ew,” very often. I have been in several relationships with women where I was the only one going down, and I put up with it because I placed other things above feeling pleasure. Other people might not be wiling to do that, and that’s fine too.

    Neither one of us ever felt a strong calling to a monogamous commitment, so I managed to stick with our quasi-open arrangement for well over two years. In technical terms, we had agreed to date other people, but only have sex with each other. At least, those were the terms under which Robert claimed to operate. Privately, I saw things a little differently. In another city, I’d be hoisted onto a hotel sink without so much as a second thought. Sometimes, I’d meet with other partners in the same week I’d slept with Robert. And I didn’t feel guilty. I was desperate to have my body explored with eagerness rather than trepidation. I used protection and hoped that no one would feel betrayed.

    This is a much more troubling part of the article than the part about a boyfriend with hang-ups. Non-monogamous sex is extremely risky, regardless of whether two people “agree” to that sort of arrangement, and she was very wrong to expose him to that kind of risk.

  256. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 11:27 am |

    zuzu: Reading comprehension: It’s what’s for dinner!

    You know, RT didn’t mention her autism or not having dated until well into the thread,

    And yet this was still after you compared her to a vibrator or washing machine as something that could give you an orgasm and yet wouldn’t make you feel any sense of attachment (#165).

    Yes, I saw that “wasn’t what you intended.” Intent isn’t magical, it doesn’t make your comments any less ableist, and you should have apologized immediately after you found that out and people called you on it. That you haven’t makes you an ableist piece of shit.

    I’m sure you don’t see it this way and will accuse me of rudeness or lacking reading comprehension, but if you’re not Autistic it’s not for you to decide what’s dehumanizing to us (although I don’t think this is that fucking radical). You fucked up; it’s been pointed out twice now in the context of two marginalized groups, you haven’t owned it and have continued to be a self-righteous ass.

  257. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    zuzu: NON-NT. NON-NT. NON-NT. And sexually assaulted. Get it? “Reading comprehension” indeed.

    Also: Several attempts by RT to explain herself, to apologize (twice! two times!), and to clarify.

    What’s her proper level of penance?

  258. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 11:31 am |

    Also, Zuzu? YOU ARE A CF.

    Ha-ha, so there.

  259. La Lubu
    La Lubu August 9, 2011 at 11:32 am |

    Let’s say that either on an online dating site, or during some form of in-person meet-and-greet, I identify myself as a heterosexual woman. Why would it be wrong for potential partners to assume that in light of that revelation, my sexuality is (a) geared towards men, and (b) active (the “sexual” part)?

    Frankly, I greatly appreciate it when folks are up-front about their dealbreakers. It’s very respectful of other people. If I go through all the trouble of scheduling my second job and getting a babysitter so I can go on a date, I do NOT, under any circumstances, want that date to be with an asexual. Sex is important to me in a relationship, and I am unwilling to work around someone who prefers their intimate relationships to be nonsexual (or, limited, grit-yr-teeth-style sex).

  260. titfortat
    titfortat August 9, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    I remember my cousins wife discussing Blow jobs with her friend and remarking how disgusting it was to swallow. So I gently pointed out that considering her husband has to pretty much bathe in her juices while doing her the least she could do was take a couple of seconds and swallow. You think this would be relationship 101, but no you have to explain things dont ya. ;)

  261. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 9, 2011 at 11:53 am |

    Sex should probably be discussed fairly early on in the sort of relationship of which sex is typoically a part (and don’t tell me there’s no such thing). I don’t mean “asexuals need to unilaterally come out,” I mean “all people involved need to make sure they’re roughly on the same page.” no one should say or let relationship partners believe that they will want a different level or type of sexual activity than they expect to. And if that expectation changes, that too should be discussed.

    Though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Deep Conversation. It should explicitly come up, but you don’t need contracts and checklists.
    * * *

    tree: meanwhile our poor partners are prostrate from the horrors of enduring the sexual deprivation we impose upon them.

    I take your self-description seriously; please do me the same courtesy.

    Shaun: What the fuck? How is it on an asexual person to disclose her asexuality as the Other? Why not on the highly-sexual one to disclose his hypersexuality?

    If you’re going to label obverse of asexuality “hypersexuality” I have trouble interpreting that as good faith. This is precisely what I mean by one person saying “I’m normal and you’re not.”

    Dr. Confused: But your point is well taken that it’s not necessarily on the smaller or marginalised group to out themselves. I hadn’t looked at it that way before.

    Well … it’s not, statistically, unreasonable of me to assume a potential partner’s sex drive is close to the mddle of the bell curve.

    Anonymouse: However, telling the other person that you find them desirable and would like to have sex with them, and what kind, is perfectly reasonable and to be expected.

    Now that’s mechanical. “Female human! I find your features pleasant and erotically stimulating! I would like to rub your genitals with my lingual and digital appendages, and then my own genitals! This will provide me with pleasure, and I hope it will do the same for you!”

    figleaf: For instance at no point did she say wanting sex makes you shallow.

    Well, as a consequence of non-neurotypicality, something she said sounded like that, even if that wasn’t her intent. But I don’t see attributing that staement to her was malicious or purposely misreading her; I wouldn’t classify it as “putting words in her mouth.”

    The fact that she didn’t mean “expeciting sex in a relationship is shallow” doesn’t mean she didn’t seem to suggest it.

    Shaun: And yet this was still after you compared her to a vibrator or washing machine as something that could give you an orgasm and yet wouldn’t make you feel any sense of attachment (#165).
    Yes, I saw that “wasn’t what you intended.” Intent isn’t magical, it doesn’t make your comments any less ableist, and you should have apologized immediately after you found that out and people called you on it. That you haven’t makes you an ableist piece of shit

    I’m not sure which side of the able-bodied privilege line I fall on. But I will say that (IMO) if I do something which demonstrates extreme miserliness, and someone remarks on it without drawing attention to my ethnicity, it’s not antisemitic.

  262. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm |

    tinfoil hattie: zuzu: NON-NT. NON-NT. NON-NT. And sexually assaulted. Get it? “Reading comprehension” indeed.

    Neither of which she disclosed until she was neck-deep in the thread. Were we all supposed to read her mind?

    In any event, having been sexually assaulted is not a “get out of consequences for saying dumb shit free” card. Nor is it something that erases one’s responsibility for treating partners ethically and taking their desires and drives into account.

    Also? Other people — even the sexuals! — have been sexually assaulted, on this very thread.

    Jill: What is a CF?

    (I hope it means cunt-face. *please let it mean cunt-face*)

    Why not? It’s as good as anything else if it’s going to be thrown at me as a means of shutting me up.

  263. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm |

    tinfoil hattie:
    Also, Zuzu?YOU ARE A CF.

    Ha-ha, so there.

    Not anymore, I’m not.

    Ha-ha. So there.

  264. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm |

    Hershele Ostropoler:
    If you’re going to label obverse of asexuality “hypersexuality” I have trouble interpreting that as good faith. This is precisely what I mean by one person saying “I’m normal and you’re not.”

    I’m sorry, is hypersexuality abnormal now? I tried to use terminology to include a spectrum of sexual desire rather than categories of normal/Other.

  265. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

    Hershele Ostropoler:

    I’m not sure which side of the able-bodied privilege line I fall on. But I will say that (IMO) if I do something which demonstrates extreme miserliness, and someone remarks on it without drawing attention to my ethnicity, it’s not antisemitic.

    Uh… what are you even saying here? One, we’re not talking about able-BODIED privilege. Two, ableism is not the same as anti-Semitism and you’re not really in a position to decide what is and isn’t ableist, period.

  266. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    Shaun: I’m sorry, is hypersexuality abnormal now?

    The use of “hyper” kind of answers that question, Shaun.

  267. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos August 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

    While full disclosure is nice, I think we need to be compassionate to the fact that self-discovery and coming out can be difficult processes, and often the only way to figure these things out is through trial and error in sexual relationships. I’ve certainly been in the position of breaking up over deal-breakers that I didn’t even know existed.

    Sexuality changes over time. I didn’t know 10 years ago what my sexuality would be today, and I don’t know what my sexual needs will be be 10 years in the future. The calculus of balancing needs, wants, and boundaries becomes much more difficult with a decade of history and trust.

    There really needs to be a better dialogue and conversation for negotiating differences in sexual needs in relationships that goes beyond DTMFA or the even worse pop-culture advice of toys and lingerie.

  268. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos August 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    Sorry, cross-posted.

  269. DouglasG
    DouglasG August 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Sorry to go back to post #14, but in that post Mr Millar mentions DTMFA as being a Savage response usually given to Women With Men. I had not noticed that in particular. Was that just an impression, or have you counted? And did the observation just address mere numbers, or is the proportion of WWM who receive a DTMFA reply higher than that of WWW, MWW or MWM?

  270. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

    “How is it on an asexual person to disclose her asexuality as the Other? Why not on the highly-sexual one to disclose his hypersexuality? ”

    Why not both? I’m generally in favor of as much openness as possible in terms of dating. Clear communication leads to better relationships, and expecting people to be open with a potential romantic partner is not the same thing as expecting them to out themselves to all and sundry. I also think that the idea that people who like sex are Othering asexual people by expecting disclosure is a strawman, since none of us said that we did not intend to be equally open and honest in return. And I’m baffled as to why anyone would want to defend lack of openness in a relationship as a good thing. Again – hiding things from society at large to protect yourself, totally understandable. Hiding things from people you want to have an intimate relationship with that may affect that relationship in significant ways – not really a very good idea, not really fair to the other person. (Which is why I tell people who I might have sex with upfront that I’m a domme, too – not because I’m Othering myself, but because if that’s not going to work for them it’s better that both of us know that as soon as possible.)

    In terms of the outting oneself as bi issue, yes, if people are bi-phobic that is their issue. But really, if they are, I’d rather know as soon as possible, and my disclosing that I’m bi will usually prompt them to make it clear that they’re bi-phobic, thus making my life easier in the long run.

    And to refocus on the actual subject of the thread…the man described is not asexual. He’s just selfish. There is no good reason why anyone should feel bad for dumping someone who’s selfish, and when it’s a man being selfish about sex in a hetero relationship, and he thinks vaginas are icky…yeah, DTMFA.

  271. DouglasG
    DouglasG August 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    While I (nearly?) always say retrospectively that any break-up for any reason was correct, my one little quibble with DTMFA culture is that it tends to spread out in people’s minds sometimes to reach an extent that people start applying an MF(A) label to anyone they or a friend dump. Ms Zuzu makes a good point in #188 with an example of a parting of the ways in which neither of them would be the A-word. There often doesn’t have to be one.

    To use Ms Kristen’s list (which I like; it provides some interesting negative inferences about Mr Kristen):

    [1) Sex – too much and too little
    2) Purchasing a motorcycle
    3) Shaving his head
    4) Intentionally burping in front of my mother
    5) Messiness – too much and too little
    6) Watching Jaws way too often
    7) Not telling me he had a kid
    8) Wearing a cologne I didn’t like
    9) Being a Cowboys fan
    10) Not tipping well (numerous, numerous occassions)]

    I’m not sure whether to try to make a sliding scale or just divide cases into DTMFA or SYNAM (Sorry, You’re Not a Match). Offhand, 4, 7 and 10 seem to be the strongest DTMFAs (although I do know some members of the Pigskin faith for whom 9 would blow all the others out of the water, and I’m not sure how much I’m joking to say so). 1 and 5 are tricky because they’re already on a scale, 6 to a lesser extent. The others appear SYNAM with no known details, although I could fairly easily see 8 being DTMFA and maybe just possibly 2 slightly more easily than 3.

    No reflection on Ms Kristen was intended – although it would be interesting to learn of any particular dumpees she considered to be either MFs or NMs.

  272. figleaf
    figleaf August 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    What still gets me is the incredible number of sometimes-only-slightly older men and women for whom fellatio is a total third rail. What I’m concerned about with the current conversation is that sort of like Dan Savage’s “giving fellatio/cunnilingus is not negotiable” posts from a few years ago, or Rachel Kramer Bussel’s similar “receiving fellatio is not negotiable” post a little later, is that it could turn cunnilingus into a similar third rail.

    When I was growing up hetero fellatio was almost literally the last frontier. PIV intercourse could be fine, hetero anal intercourse was acceptable, cunnilingus was fine, and fellatio was considered so disgusting and degrading that even in the late 1970s a lot of street/subsistence sex workers refused to do it. (There’s a great footnote in an Australian police study of sex work in the 1960s that sex workers not only assaulted fellow sex workers who performed it, they assaulted customers who requested it.)

    As recently as five years ago Twisty Faster initiated the infamous “blowjob wars” mainly be repeating what had been uncontroversial conventional wisdom when she was a young woman.

    Now it’s evidently “not negotiable” and seemingly the move’s afoot to put cunnilingus in the same category. The rebel in me is going waait a minute.

    Can we walk our way back to the point where the original poster twigged to the fact that her partner wasn’t “overcoming issues,” and he wasn’t an ace, and he probably isn’t gay or “ex-gay” and trying to pass, and he isn’t clueless, thumbless, nutless, or anxious, but instead he’s a selfish jerk?

    Because I think a lot of the absolutism expressed here and thereabouts is standing proxy for “what a fucking user.” Which is getting turned into a general principle of kicking each other to the curb.

    What it really boils down to instead, and what I think is galvanizing a lot of the response here (including the negative responses all the aces are getting) is that “GG&G” has historically been a total fucking Cosmopolitan Magazine construction. For women. Where the indoctrination is basically “put up with any shit you have to, swallow any unfulfilled longings, because if you don’t he’ll go find someone to replace the deeply insecure you our magazine goes to incredible lengths to cultivate.”

    Instead what Jill (but possibly not the OP she cites) is saying GGG swings both ways champ. And “fake it till you make it” actually isn’t all that bad because, guess what, about 99% of the time the end result… and for that matter the actual intention… of “fake it till you make it” is you’ll probably actually make it!

    That’s not saying Twisty Faster ever needs to give anybody a blowjob, ever. Nor does the OP’s erstwhile asshole… err… partner ever need to give anyone cunnilingus. But at least Twisty’s always been honest enough to say exactly how much the entire idea of men, and our penises, make her want to vomit. The OP’s boyfriend not so much. Twisty’s also got enough integrity and, possibly, self-knowledge to understand she doesn’t need a man to buff her status or self-esteem. Again, the OP’s boyfriend? Not so much.

    figleaf

  273. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    Like the part in the OP where i said this?

    No, like the entire post where a man not giving oral sex to a woman is a total dealbreaker and there is a 100% instance of no hetero man who does not perform cunnilingus being good in bed. I have actually had pleasurable experiences from men who have not gone down on me! Orgasms, even. I’ve also loved receiving cunnilingus! And I know women who do not love it! Or even like it! So your one-size-fits-all “dealbreaker”? Not so universal.

    Also: “CF” was a joke between zuzu and me. We had a friendship outside of this commenting space. Unfortunately, she has informed me that we are no longer friends. I’m sad about that.

  274. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    Also, you have to love how sexual behavior and/or inclinations that would be seen as totally average and unremarkable if coming from a man has been labelled as hypersexual when coming from a woman. Hmm, how might that relate to the subject of the post?

  275. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    Are people forgetting that the “A” in “DTMFA” is “Already”?

    As in, you’ve put up with this for a long time, you’ve tried and failed to work it out, you’re writing in to an advice columnist because you’re hoping he’ll validate your justifications for staying with this person despite all that, and now he’s going to tell you that you’re just dragging out a bad thing you know is bad, so DTMFA?

    People are acting as if it’s all pre-emptively getting rid of perfectly good matches before even trying to come to some kind of compromise.

  276. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    Know what else, Jill? I don’t call women “cunts.” I’m a feminist.

  277. shady
    shady August 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    it’s funny that you should say “Puppy Kickers R Us” – my lesbo friends and I discovered that the old T-9 autofill programs would change “pussy licker” into “puppy kicker.”

    it became an inside joke, as in “where are you guys off to?” “oh, you know, gonna go kick some puppies.”

  278. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    Also, you have to love how sexual behavior and/or inclinations that would be seen as totally average and unremarkable if coming from a man has been labelled as hypersexual when coming from a woman. Hmm, how might that relate to the subject of the post?

    Yeah, this. I’m just waiting to be armchair diagnosed with nymphomania.

  279. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |

    tinfoil hattie: Also: “CF” was a joke between zuzu and me. We had a friendship outside of this commenting space. Unfortunately, she has informed me that we are no longer friends. I’m sad about that.

    Is this really the forum for airing that? You’ve got some serious boundary issues.

  280. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Yes, we’re all saying that you must do orals or else you’re a bad person. That’s exactly it.

    Sheezus. For some women, that’s the only way they can get off. For others, it’s really important to them. Having that as a dealbreaker (because you will find the sex unsatisfying) doesn’t make you a bad person, and saying so doesn’t mean that it should be everyone’s dealbreaker.

  281. Andie
    Andie August 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm |

    I can kind of see where RT was coming from as far as compromising in an Ace/Sexual relationship…

    There’s a difference between quid pro quo and a couple (say, an ace/sexual couple) coming to an agreement through communicating where one may be like “You know, I’m not terribly into sex, I can take it or leave it, but I am totally into making you happy, so I’ll enthusiastically take part on occasion because I know you enjoy it” and the other partner saying “And I know you’re not really into it, so I’m not going to get all butthurt and insecure when you don’t initiate/aren’t always totally enthused/ etc because I want to respect your boundaries.”

    But if this isn’t realistic to either party, then it’s not unreasonable for one or the other or both to part ways.

  282. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    Sorry, zuzu, I am defending myself against the implication that I would call you, or any woman, a “cunt face.” I have the right to clarify that jokey little implication. That’s where my boundary is, all right. For sure.

  283. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    Jill, you are being disingenuous. You are projecting your opinion and experiences onto all men and women while being annoyed at others whom you perceive as doing the same thing.

    Also: “I was kidding!” Huh. I thought that didn’t really cut is as an excuse when someone else is affected by something one says.

  284. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    My response to a previous commenter’s snark about my “boundaries” is in moderation. So I’d like to re-iterate that being accused of calling a woman a “c***-face” is something I am well within my rights (and “boundaries”!) to refute.

  285. LC
    LC August 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    As long as we’ve gone completely off the rails, let me disagree with this.

    Now that’s mechanical. “Female human! I find your features pleasant and erotically stimulating! I would like to rub your genitals with my lingual and digital appendages, and then my own genitals! This will provide me with pleasure, and I hope it will do the same for you!”

    No, that’s *hilarious*! I now really want to try this in the most ridiculous 1950’s space alien voice I can muster.

  286. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    I didn’t say you’re not a feminist, Jill. I don’t appreciate your implying I would use that term. Christmas on a cracker.

    And there are tons of other “inside jokes” here among long-time posters. For crying out loud.

  287. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    “This is getting seriously weird.”

    What’s this ‘getting’ shit? Weird’s been here for hours and is settling in with a beer.

  288. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    And everyone, I’m sorry for the derail of the derail. Truly sorry. I won’t do it again.

  289. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    men who think pussy is gross or going down on a woman is emasculating.

    I’m sorry; I’m not understanding this phrase. Can you help?

  290. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

    Jill: …I think that thinking pussy is gross speaks to a whole set of other issues.

    I would agree with you, as I suppose most on here would, BUT, on the other hand, a lot of people do have ‘other issues,’ and that doesn’t mean they should automatically be cast aside. Remember, the original article was not about someone who was perfect in EVERY other way, or even particularly nice from the description given. Had he fulfilled all (well, most, no one is perfect) of her other needs this would be a different story.

  291. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    tinfoil hattie:
    men who think pussy is gross or going down on a woman is emasculating.

    I’m sorry; I’m not understanding this phrase.Can you help?

    Imagine a venn diagram – inside one circle is “men who think pussy is gross” inside the other is “going down on a woman is emasculating.” She prefers the outliers.

  292. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    LC:
    As long as we’ve gone completely off the rails, let me disagree with this.

    No, that’s *hilarious*! I now really want to try this in the most ridiculous 1950′s space alien voice I can muster.

    It should really be an alien from an Ed Wood movie.

  293. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Weird’s been here for hours and is settling in with a beer.

    I just had a seriously amusing mental image there. In my head, weird is a large, green blob with purple spots of various sizes. And prefers IPAs and chilling on fluffy red couches.

  294. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm |

    Sure, I’m projecting my opinion that men who think pussy is gross or going down on a woman is emasculating.

    I don’t understand this sentence. It seems to be missing something. “I’m projecting my opinion that men (who think pussy is gross or going down on a woman is emasculating)” … are … what?

    I think men who think pussy is “gross” or performing cunnilingus is “emasculating” are limited men with whom I would not want to be in a sexual relationship. I also think some women might not mind this. That seems to be a position many people have not considered.

    If one doesn’t enjoy receiving cunnilingus and one meets a man who doesn’t enjoy giving it, maybe that’s a match made in oogy-sex heaven.

  295. Jadey
    Jadey August 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    Shoshie: I just had a seriously amusing mental image there.In my head, weird is a large, green blob with purple spots of various sizes.And prefers IPAs and chilling on fluffy red couches.

    Shoshie, that description makes me think of this wonderful kid’s book about an anthropomorphized fart.

    That is all I have to contribute to this thread.

  296. Andie
    Andie August 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    Jadey: Shoshie, that description makes me think of this wonderful kid’s book about an anthropomorphized fart.

    That is all I have to contribute to this thread.

    Robert Munsch is all kinds of awesome. I want to guest post about the feminist message in ‘The Paper Bag Princess’ but I’m sure it’s been covered before.

  297. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    Jadey: Shoshie, that description makes me think of this wonderful kid’s book about an anthropomorphized fart.

    That is all I have to contribute to this thread.

    Yes! That’s it! Seriously, Jadey, are you wiretapping my brain or something?

    P.S.
    This is also the only thing that I have to contribute to this thread.

  298. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom August 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    “I just had a seriously amusing mental image there. In my head, weird is a large, green blob with purple spots of various sizes. And prefers IPAs and chilling on fluffy red couches”

    Somebody needs to at least offer weird some chips or something.

  299. LC
    LC August 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    It should really be an alien from an Ed Wood movie.

    BRILLIANT!

  300. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    I still think those women should take a good hard look at their relationship and be like, “Hmmm, my partner thinks that my body is disgusting.

    Hmmm. Worth pondering. But issues like this are not so cut-and-dried, are they? Perhaps, unfortunately, said woman might sadly agree with him. And therein lies the crux, I think.

  301. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    This is turning into the best derail EVAR.

  302. LC
    LC August 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    I always offer weird chips.

    Then we get into a fight whether I meant “chips” or “crisps” and it all goes to hell.

    At least weird likes the IPA and the fluffy couch.

  303. Jadey
    Jadey August 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    Andie: Robert Munsch is all kinds of awesome.I want to guest post about the feminist message in ‘The Paper Bag Princess’ but I’m sure it’s been covered before.

    Oohh, but that’s the best one! I used to read that one two or three times a week at my day camp and eventually gave it to one of my girl campers. You should totally blog about it – the world needs more Munsch-love.

  304. Andie
    Andie August 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

    Jadey: Oohh, but that’s the best one! I used to read that one two or three times a week at my day camp and eventually gave it to one of my girl campers. You should totally blog about it – the world needs more Munsch-love.

    I think may do that.. when I had a copy (before my kids destroyed it, because they destroy things) I read it to my girls all the time.

  305. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm |

    @DouglasG,

    Okay, none of those dudes where asshats. They were all reasonably nice dudes that I didn’t want for various reasons. Even the bad tippers were not objectively bad tippers…I just tip to living wage (when I can afford) which is not compatible with people who are 15 percent tippers. Except the Cowboy’s fan who was evil for obvious reasons.

    Sure DTMFA includes the implication that the dumpie is a shithead, but among my friends its come to mean dumping in general…which is something that a few of my friends struggle with and DTMFA makes everyone chuckle.

  306. R.T.
    R.T. August 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    I’m kinda re-entering this discussion with a bit of trepidation as I feel that I’m still being trashed.

    I feel angry reading the new comments in this thread today, but I’m really, really sorry for typing things that hurt, and I know intent is meaningless as hurt takes place in the person who’s been hurt. I don’t know how to convey that anymore than to apologize.

    I also apologize for not outing myself right away as autistic, I felt that I’ve outed myself so many times that people would be angry with me for continuing to do so. People are weird and take umbrage at the fact one’s status may be different from theirs and I know Amanda knows I’m autistic, and knows I am a forequarter amputee so I don’t get why treats me as she does, and resent deeply being called undesirable, however I know sex matters to her a lot, so I guess I deeply offended her.

    I also want to out myself as male. I don’t like divulging that information and was fine when refereed by sex neutral terms but I don’t want to deceive people into thinking I’m a woman.

    A lot of people have expressed outrage at an asexual not outing themselves immediately and this demand is exactly what I read about all over the net. The same is asked of trans people. Aren’t there strategies one can follow to learn whether or not it’s safe, like having a couple of dates first or saying things are moving too fast if the partner wants sex on the first date? Is that asking for too much?

    Dr. Confused

    Thank you. I need things explained plainly to me because I don’t get or infer them like everyone else seems to. I feel as if a grenade set off in my face when all I wanted was a answer to a question I thought was simple and straight-forward about relationships.

    Anonymice

    I’ve lost my ability to orgasm, however I’m undergoing chemo so maybe I’ll be able to again when treatment is over. The thing is, I don’t miss them. I’m not happy they’re gone but I’m not unhappy either. Thank you for your comment too.

    tinfoil hattie

    Thank you very much for your support.

    kiturak, Momentary

    Thank you.

    Shaun

    Thank you Shaun for writing-out.
    Esti

    Thank you.

    If I missed anyone, thank you.

  307. Kristy
    Kristy August 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm |

    I was dating this guy once who told me that he didn’t give oral sex to women who weren’t virgins because he didn’t want his mouth where some other guy’s cock had been. I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say. What I SHOULD have said was, “You kiss me on the mouth don’t you?”

  308. Esti
    Esti August 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    R.T., for what it’s worth, I think you’ve shown a much higher degree of empathy for others, and a much better understanding of how to have a respectful conversation about people’s differences, than some of the other commenters on this thread. I hope that this discussion hasn’t been too painful an experience for you.

    @Jill

    I realize I contributed to what was in fact a massive derail from the original topic, but I think the derail was kind of necessary when someone’s good-faith question about the importance of sex to relationships became a really nasty pile on against someone who is non-NT, a minority sexual orientation, and a sexual assault survivor.

  309. Kristy
    Kristy August 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    As a woman with a fairly severe disability I’d like to say that yes, yes “we” have found ways to have wonderful sex. Oral and otherwise. It just takes patience, adaptability and creativity.

    Dr. Confused:
    And what’s with all the discussion of neck/spinal problems?Try a different position, people!I promise you, you can give head from all sorts of fun angles.Lie in the bed with her on your face.Sit on the floor with her on a bed in front of you.Buy special furniture if it’s really that difficult, but I am sure people with all sorts of disabilities have found ways to have wonderful oral sex.

  310. Dominique
    Dominique August 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    It’s simple. Of course you should never pressure anyone into a sex act they don’t want to do. And I never want to suck a guy off when he doesn’t eat my pussy. Q.E.D. Nobody gets any. Good night.

  311. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm |

    R.T. I considered that perhaps you might be male, and I indulged myself … decided I’d used “she” and “her” as the universal pronoun, for once.

    I’m sorry for the hurt you’re feeling; I’m sorry you felt marginalized; I am sorry you feel “undesirable.” I mostly admire you greatly for your ability to hold your head high and act with the utmost integrity under the circumstances. I have learned a great deal from you.

    Perhaps others have too, and perhaps this “derail” wasn’t so much of one after all.

  312. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    Since Weirdness is having a beer and popcorn and there’s a fart laying on my bed, here I go.

    Esti: I think the derail was kind of necessary when someone’s good-faith question about the importance of sex to relationships became a really nasty pile on against someone who is non-NT, a minority sexual orientation, and a sexual assault survivor.

    Esti and RT, please. Hold up. If the question is in good faith, it’s only so in hindsight. Because crucial information was withheld. Which was kind of a point of contention through this whole derail? The “good faith” question and “empathy for others” included some extremely nasty implications about the role of good faith and honesty in relationships and people have the right to come down on those implications as hard as they did, since these implications are often actively used to oppress women, things like an expressed need for sexual relationships, things like wanting to feel desire without shame or derision. In the future, needing to express feelings that aren’t related to the OP can be dialed in to thingsFeministedidntwriteaboutdamnit.tumblr.com.

    I’ve got to question why expressed non-NT minorities who are sexual assault survivors deserve more or less empathy than anyone else on this thread. Or why it’s assumed there’s only one non-NT or minority or sexual assault survivor participating on this thread, and that any non-NT minority sexual assault survivor would take one position over another. Sure, we’ve all got some Venn diagrams of oppression up in here, but that doesn’t give us the right to derail unrelated conversations and repeatedly insult and challenge people who are providing direct answers to the questions RT asked. It’s not cool to imply that the real issue here is ableism, and not that people are reacting to the fact that it’s kind of dickish to derail an entire thread and make everything discussed thereafter derivative of one person’s poorly and (purposefully, we now know) incompletely expressed personal experience.

    This is one of those situations where a person could hop in and be all, “Me, this is how I feel. I know I’m typical/non-typical in XYZ regards, and these are the situations that contribute to my circumstances. This is how my experience is like/different than the OP, and why. It is important because [___________].” That’s not what’s happening here. Apologies accepted, but backtracking and pretending that everyone arguing for mutuality was rubbed the wrong way because ABLEISM is extremely disingenuous. If we want special status because of our intersecting oppressions, we can start a drum circle phone tree and arrange that for later for people interested in personal healing. But c’mon, this is a blog, this blog is about a lot of controversial current events, this is not therapy, we are not your enablers, and nobody knows you’re a dog on the internet.

  313. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    Florence: thingsFeministedidntwriteaboutdamnit.tumblr.com

    Oops, I lied. I have another thing to contribute to this thread, and that’s that I really kinda wanted this to be an actual tumblr.

  314. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm |

    Can we go back to the asexuality/ableism thread now?

    Yes, I think so.

    FLORENCE. The issue is not that disabled people deserve “special status” or that people were attacked for providing “direct answers.” Zuzu and Rodeo both intimated, in different ways, that RT was an object. Since you apparently require someone to break it down for you, even though it’s not my job, Autistic people are routinely compared and reduced to objects. We are considered to be unfeeling automatons, “mechanical,” and incapable of love and even platonic relationships. These are things that were said to me growing up, these are messages every one of us hears from the media, from “support” groups, from just about everyone we come in contact with.

    Ergo, yes, it is very ableist to make this comparison, or to let this comparison stand once it’s been pointed out. If I were to call a commenter a monkey, and then discover this person is African-American and finds this offensive because of an entire history of black people being dehumanized by the term monkey, you can be damn sure I’d apologize for it before moving on. That same courtesy has not been extended here.

    I realize RT is male (Sorry, RT, I was running with Tinfoil Hattie’s pronouns!) but that doesn’t mean he has the same experience of sexuality as an able male. Rather than being slut-shamed, disabled people are simply not believed to be capable of being sexual or being objects of desire or rape (and disabled women occupy both categories). I realize you’re concerned about the appearance of slut-shaming women, and I’m equally concerned about this phenomena. One of them has been repeatedly apologized for and expressed as not RTs intent. The other one has been run with, defended, and no apologies are made. I wouldn’t call this “special status.”

    So yes, one of the issues in this thread is ableism. Ableism is capable of existing side-by-side with sexism and any other kind of ism, and it’s kind of a supremacy to assume that all issues have to fall in line behind sexism or slut-shaming or anything else as The One that everyone needs to be concerned about first.

    Finally, if you are not yourself disabled–and hell, even if you have some other disability–I ask you to question why the accusation of ableism bothers you more than someone else experiencing ableism.

  315. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm |

    (cheers loudly for Shaun’s eloquence)

  316. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm |

    Shaun: FLORENCE.

    Oh, he’s using all caps. You’re in for a scolding, missy!

  317. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    Shaun: if you are not yourself disabled–and hell, even if you have some other disability–I ask you to question why the accusation of ableism bothers you more than someone else experiencing ableism.

    I’m a non-NT minority sexual assault survivor. That’s my trump card, right?

  318. raya
    raya August 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Shaun:
    yes, one of the issues in this thread is ableism. Ableism is capable of existing side-by-side with sexism and any other kind of ism, and it’s kind of a supremacy to assume that all issues have to fall in line behind sexism or slut-shaming or anything else as The One that everyone needs to be concerned about first.

    Finally, if you are not yourself disabled–and hell, even if you have some other disability–I ask you to question why the accusation of ableism bothers you more than someone else experiencing ableism.

    Yes. Calling out Ableism does not equal derailing.

    And I’m not sure how I feel about commenters telling someone that they have a responsibility to disclose their non-NT status, sexual orientation or anything else some people may regard as relevant when discussing a topic. You know, sometimes you’re just not aware that your opinions – and/or the way you express them – are so strongly influenced by your own privileges or the lack thereof. Or sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable enough to disclose your mental status or whatever and want to engage in a discourse anyway.

  319. Angry Black Guy
    Angry Black Guy August 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    I read through all of these comments, very interesting and refreshing to see feminist not speak about oral sex with men in an “ewww, that’s the patriarchy!!!!” sort of way.

    But I mostly come away feeling sorry for R.T., first because R.T. was kind of blasted for being asexual when others didn’t know about the autism issue, and secondly, because relationship are good without sex, but they are many magnitudes better with sex.

    I was saddened to be reminded that there are people who cannot establish that connection.

    Which makes me think the guy in the original story is even more stupid for refusing to find a way to satisfy his partner using a method that is not offensive to him. Dental dams, etc.

  320. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    raya: Or sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable enough to disclose your mental status or whatever and want to engage in a discourse anyway.

    And sometimes you reveal it at the end of an unflattering conversation and throngs of people come out to defend you.

    Hey, if you don’t want to disclose anything about yourself you don’t have to and shouldn’t be forced to, but neither should you expect the world to read your mind or your circumstances, or accuse the world of bigotry for failing to take your undisclosed personal circumstances into consideration.

  321. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    R.T. was not piled on because he’s autistic. When people started arguing with him, they had no idea that he is autistic. They were annoyed by and responding to the words he actually wrote, not a disability that they were not even at that point aware of. How is that ableism, exactly?

  322. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

    Shaun, your apparent definition of ableism is pretty strange to me.

    RT – for what it’s worth, good luck.

  323. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    R.T. was not piled on because he’s autistic. When people started arguing with him, they had no idea that he is autistic. They were annoyed by and responding to the words he actually wrote, not a disability that they were not even at that point aware of. How is that ableism, exactly?

    Let me bring this down. Calling someone mechanical, saying that having sex with them would be like MASTURBATING INTO AN OBJECT, aside from being completely dehumanizing, is an ableist dialogue when applied to a disabled person, regardless of intent. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person or you should be shot (anymore than if you said it to an able person).

    It does mean that should you discover the person you said this to is disabled, and then others TELL YOU this is an ableist narrative, you should apologize and back the fuck off. If you do not, you are ACTIVELY BEING ABLEIST. It doesn’t mean you’re an ableist yourself, but that the action you’re currently undertaking is ableist.

  324. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm |

    Florence: I’m a non-NT minority sexual assault survivor.That’s my trump card, right?

    No it really isn’t. I am semi-frequently heterosexist despite being a sexual minority myself, I’ve been ableist before and probably will be in the future, and plenty of people who are sexual assault survivors victim-blame–just look at any DSK thread (not just on here) and keep in mind at least 1/4 of the women and maybe even 1/6 of the men have been sexually abused in some way or another.

    Being Autistic does not prevent you from leveling ableism against another Autistic anymore than being a woman prevents you from using sexism against another woman. Further, if you are not yourself Autistic, then you don’t have our experience of ableism. Being non-NT yourself definitely gives you a window into it, but you are not the absolute spokeswoman on ableism anymore than I am, and I would definitely defer and listen to, say, a Deaf self-advocate who said something I said was dehumanizing to her as a Deaf person.

  325. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm |

    Natalia:
    Shaun, your apparent definition of ableism is pretty strange to me.

    RT – for what it’s worth, good luck.

    *sighs* How is this strange Natalia? I’m more than willing to have a conversation about it, what I’m rejecting is the narrative I don’t have a right to make that call.

  326. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 9, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    Shaun: saying that having sex with them would be like MASTURBATING INTO [PA note: technically on, yeah?] AN OBJECT

    notably, this happened after RT discussed his autism. I get the justification applied afterwards, but the conversation was pretty clearly stemming from actual sex RT has/would have. I dunno, if it were me, I’d be pretty hurt by it too – specifically because it really does mimic a lot of the rhetoric around autism. Shaun isn’t saying that all autistic people are right all the time and thus above reproach. But this narrative? It’s one I’ve heard around this particular disability before.

  327. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    So basically you’re just going to pretend that since those comments happened any and all arguments made in opposition to R.T.’s original points are invalid, even if they came from people who did not in fact make those comments? Because that is exactly how you have been coming across here.

    Again, the argument with R.T. was well underway by the time the comment you’re referring to was made. So while I agree that that particular comment was not OK, I’m finding it very annoying that you’re attempting to use that as a means to suggest that any and all arguments made that were in disagreement with what R.T. actually said are also ableist, even the ones made long before the comment that you’re referring to.

    At this point I have no quarrel with R.T. and wish him the best of luck in finding a compatible partner. But that still doesn’t mean that his initial comment was OK, or that people should not have been allowed to argue with it simply because he is autistic.

  328. Esti
    Esti August 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm |

    I wasn’t saying that people have an obligation to read other commenters’ minds, or that non-NT status is a trump card. But R.T. disclosed in his very first post that he was asexual and people still jumped all over him for “slut shaming” simply for asking whether sex was actually that important to people. And then that pile on intensified when he explained that there were additional reasons for why he didn’t understand the importance that some people ascribed to sex. I have reread his early comments and I honestly don’t understand how people took what he was saying to be criticism of their sex drives. I know we all come to these conversations with our own sore spots, but this — to me — read as a really unfair twisting of an individual’s words, and everything he disclosed about his identity did nothing to stop people from continuing to attack him.

  329. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    Shaun: Being Autistic does not prevent you from leveling ableism against another Autistic anymore than being a woman prevents you from using sexism against another woman. Further, if you are not yourself Autistic, then you don’t have our experience of ableism. Being non-NT yourself definitely gives you a window into it, but you are not the absolute spokeswoman on ableism anymore than I am, and I would definitely defer and listen to, say, a Deaf self-advocate who said something I said was dehumanizing to her as a Deaf person.

    Cool. And if you do want your disability-which-is-relevant-to-interaction to be considered, such as autism (which might affect your ability to communicate), it’s on you to disclose that in a timely manner.

    The kind of tragic irony here is that a conversation (that RT made about himself and his personal shit) about disclosure in which people made the argument that disclosure is generally a net positive when communicating about our collective and individual needs, RT’s feelings were ultimately hurt by failing to disclose vital information to understanding his POV. When a writer doesn’t make him or herself clear, is it the audience’s fault? Or is that ableism?

  330. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    @CassandraSays Not any and all arguments. I think I’ve given some pretty specific examples. Regardless of R.T.’s initial points, the WAY in which they were addressed, on the whole, was completely inappropriate.

    Please find me where I said no one can argue with anyone who is Autistic–this is yet again a straw man.

  331. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    @ Esti – The thing is, other people clearly felt under attack too. I can certainly see that in the coments from Sheelzebub in particular. So why aren’t her feelings relevant too? That’s what’s bothering me about the way this conversation has gone, that on a post specifically about how women are shamed into not asking for the sex they want there was a comment posted that initially seemed to be another instance of shaming women for wanting sex, and some women were (predictably and understandably) upset by that, and yet apparently that’s no big deal and we’re supposed to extend compassion to R.T. but not to them.

    Now that I know that R.T. is autistic I can see why he didn’t realise that his initial comment would be upsetting to a lot of women in this specific context. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was in fact upsetting to a lot of women, and they responded based on that.

  332. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: notably, this happened after RT discussed his autism. I get the justification applied afterwards, but the conversation was pretty clearly stemming from actual sex RT has/would have. I dunno, if it were me, I’d be pretty hurt by it too – specifically because it really does mimic a lot of the rhetoric around autism. Shaun isn’t saying that all autistic people are right all the time and thus above reproach. But this narrative? It’s one I’ve heard around this particular disability before.

    I’ve never heard this before. I *have* heard it used to describe an unwilling or unenthusiastic sex partner, which is the context I read it in. In my mind this is Occam’s razor — when people are talking about “going through the motions” in sex, which I think we can agree that’s kind of the subject RT was defending and naysayers were refuting, making the jump to “ableism” is kind of a stretch.

    In the same way that talking about the difference between getting an orgasm from a sexual partner is different from getting an orgasm from a vibrator. This isn’t equating an inanimate object to an autistic person. Sorry.

  333. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    You know, the first time RT mentioned he was autistic was in comment 163, which was in response to my comment at 133 that his description of sex sounded mechanical. My comment about vibrators and motorcycles came at 165, but was in response to something that had been going on for a while already (RT’s belief that his partner should be perfectly satisfied if he only goes through the motions of pleasing his partner; this was part of a larger discussion that had been going on for some time about how being enthusiastically wanted is something that people who value sex crave, and which can’t really be faked).

    At that point, I was still responding to RT’s arguments from asexuality, not responding to his revelation that he was autistic. I do see where someone who is autistic would take offense at my statement.

  334. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    @Florence Well Florence, disclosing his autism would certainly have made things clearer. It might also have opened him up to personal attacks and ableism, which is why disclosing is a personal decision. It’s not about “fault”–if the commentariat had simply told him this implied slut-shaming and was inappropriate this wouldn’t have even been an issue.

    What made it ableism was the narratives and the language used which exist independently of this conversation and the people in this thread. It’s a bit like that basketball player calling someone a f****t on the court and then his defender’s saying “well, we don’t know that the person he directed it to was gay, therefore this can’t be homophobic unless he is” and ignoring the fact that that word and those narratives carry power embedded within the language, in the same way I can say “fox hole” and another English speaker knows I’m not talking about a hole in the ground that a fox made.

  335. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    “When a writer doesn’t make him or herself clear, is it the audience’s fault? Or is that ableism?”

    If the writer is autistic then it’s neither party’s fault, really. People who are autistic are going to have problems communicating sometimes, and neurotypical people are going to have problems divining what they actually meant but didn’t really say. What I keep trying to point out here is that to expect people not to get upset about the actual words that were written when in this context the words were in fact upsetting and problematic is not a reasonable expectation.

    Also, again, there’s been othering in multiple directions in this thread. Yep, the comment Shaun keeps highlighting was rude and potentially triggering, but so was referring to women who like sex as “hypersexual”. So I’m not willing to go along with the “everything was fine and then mean people started being ableist and those are the only people who were not being very polite or reasonable” argument.

  336. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    Shaun: Well Florence, disclosing his autism would certainly have made things clearer. It might also have opened him up to personal attacks and ableism, which is why disclosing is a personal decision. It’s not about “fault”–if the commentariat had simply told him this implied slut-shaming and was inappropriate this wouldn’t have even been an issue.

    They did.

  337. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm |

    Esti: But R.T. disclosed in his very first post that he was asexual and people still jumped all over him for “slut shaming” simply for asking whether sex was actually that important to people.

    And it’s been explained over and over why that was viewed as slut-shaming.

    In any event, what relevance does asexuality have to the OP anyhow? Neither of the participants in the original story were asexual, the guy was just being an asshole. Jill was very clear that she was discussing dudes who were selfish/hated women’s bodies, not men who just didn’t like sex.

  338. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    Shaun: @Florence Well Florence, disclosing his autism would certainly have made things clearer. It might also have opened him up to personal attacks and ableism, which is why disclosing is a personal decision. It’s not about “fault”–if the commentariat had simply told him this implied slut-shaming and was inappropriate this wouldn’t have even been an issue.

    Whoa. You didn’t even read the thread, did you?

  339. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 7:11 pm |

    RT has now apologized three times. Is it still necessary to keep harping on the comment he originally made, and explain why it was wrong, wrong, WRONG, and besides NOBODY KNEW HE WAS AUTISTIC THEN, so he was WRONG WRONG WRONG, and who cares if he acknowledged it and tried to clarify himself?

  340. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm |

    zuzu: In any event, what relevance does asexuality have to the OP anyhow? Neither of the participants in the original story were asexual, the guy was just being an asshole. Jill was very clear that she was discussing dudes who were selfish/hated women’s bodies, not men who just didn’t like sex.

    Right, and when one person decided to make the thread about his personal issues, others took offense. Which is completely reasonable. Because regardless of your NT status, it’s rude to make everyone else indulge your shit just because.

  341. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm |

    At that point, I was still responding to RT’s arguments from asexuality, not responding to his revelation that he was autistic.I do see where someone who is autistic would take offense at my statement.

    How generous of you.

    @ Florence & Zuzu
    Yes, I did. I read the entire fucking thread. Note the use of the word ‘simply.’ SIMPLY. It would be like if I called you out on your ableism and preceded it with “Listen up, cunts!” and then you said “If Shaun had simply explained why it was ableist his comments wouldn’t have been misogynist at all” and then a bunch of men proceeded to lol that you musn’t have read the thread.

  342. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm |

    “It’s not about “fault”–if the commentariat had simply told him this implied slut-shaming and was inappropriate this wouldn’t have even been an issue.”

    They did. It didn’t work. In retrospect I can see why the fact that he’s autistic may have affected his perception of the situation and thus his ability to understand WHY it wasn’t appropriate, but the fact remains that people did try that avenue and it didn’t work.

    Also, you keep saying that people who’re not autistic need to step back and recognise that they don’t understand some things. I’m going to point out that as a man you are very clearly not understanding the specific way that slut shaming is experienced by women, and thus ask you to step back yourself. It’s clear that you don’t understand why Zuzu, Sheelzebub etc got so upset, but that’s not because it was unreasonable of them to get upset – you don’t understand because you’re not a woman and do not share their personal history.

    And THAT is what’s bothering me so much about the way this conversation is going. Women should not be expected to feel guilty about getting upset or angry about feeling slut-shamed on a thread about slut-shaming on a feminist blog. Critique the specific language they used if you like, but stop acting as if their feelings didn’t matter or weren’t valid.

  343. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm |

    Shaun, it’s like you’re dying to make racist, homophobic, and sexist analogies.

  344. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm |

    Florence: I’ve never heard this before. I *have* heard it used to describe an unwilling or unenthusiastic sex partner, which is the context I read it in. In my mind this is Occam’s razor — when people are talking about “going through the motions” in sex, which I think we can agree that’s kind of the subject RT was defending and naysayers were refuting, making the jump to “ableism” is kind of a stretch.

    Not only that, but he was talking about going through the motions, learning what might please his partner, because as he stated, he had no real interest in sex but recognized that a partner might. The context was quite clearly asexuality, not autism — especially because autism hadn’t even come up yet.

    You know, in the real world, if you want accommodations for a disability (at least under the ADA), you have to ask for them.

  345. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm |

    Shaun: @ Florence & Zuzu
    Yes, I did. I read the entire fucking thread. Note the use of the word ‘simply.’ SIMPLY. It would be like if I called you out on your ableism and preceded it with “Listen up, bitches!” and then you said “If Shaun had simply explained why it was ableist his comments wouldn’t have been misogynist at all” and then a bunch of men proceeded to lol that you musn’t have read the thread.

    Shaun, I think you’re being ableist due to my inability to read minds.

    WHY DO YOU HATE THE NON-TELEPATHIC?

  346. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    CassandraSays: And THAT is what’s bothering me so much about the way this conversation is going. Women should not be expected to feel guilty about getting upset or angry about feeling slut-shamed on a thread about slut-shaming on a feminist blog. Critique the specific language they used if you like, but stop acting as if their feelings didn’t matter or weren’t valid.

    What CassandraSays… um, says!

    You’re not really any better than LongHaired Weirdo up above, who tells the laydeez they’re being silly for considering breaking up with a guy who won’t go downtown.

    Except you dress it up in a lot of identity-speak.

  347. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    “It’s not about “fault”–if the commentariat had simply told him this implied slut-shaming and was inappropriate this wouldn’t have even been an issue.”

    They did. It didn’t work. In retrospect I can see why the fact that he’s autistic may have affected his perception of the situation and thus his ability to understand WHY it wasn’t appropriate, but the fact remains that people did try that avenue and it didn’t work.

    Also, you keep saying that people who’re not autistic need to step back and recognise that they don’t understand some things. I’m going to point out that as a man you are very clearly not understanding the specific way that slut shaming is experienced by women, and thus ask you to step back yourself. It’s clear that you don’t understand why Zuzu, Sheelzebub etc got so upset, but that’s not because it was unreasonable of them to get upset – you don’t understand because you’re not a woman and do not share their personal history.

    And THAT is what’s bothering me so much about the way this conversation is going. Women should not be expected to feel guilty about getting upset or angry about feeling slut-shamed on a thread about slut-shaming on a feminist blog. Critique the specific language they used if you like, but stop acting as if their feelings didn’t matter or weren’t valid.

    If I can say this without any implication I’m trying to pull a trump card on you, I am no man. That said, I recognize that my masculine presentation does confer benefits because I am generally misgendered in public.

    As I mentioned before, disabled people, regardless of gender or presentation, do experience sexual oppression in a distinct way from women as a class, so I have *some* understanding of why it upset certain people.

    That is not what we’re talking about here–at least, not what all of us are talking about here. As tinfoil hattie has pointed out, R.T. has apologized THREE. TIMES. for that bit of slut-shaming. I’m not criticizing, nor have I, the feelings that brought up nor those commenters’ right to a reaction. I’m pointing out that, in the course of responding to slut-shaming, unintentionally or not, commenters engaged in ableist dialogues, and that’s not okay.

    I understand what you’re saying, and I agree it would not be okay for women to be made to feel guilty about engaging slut-shaming on a feminist blog. That’s not what we’re talking about here, and no one (as far as I can see) is disputing that women had a right to respond to that or that the original dialogue was not inappropriate.

  348. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm |

    Florence:
    Shaun, it’s like you’re dying to make racist, homophobic, and sexist analogies.

    It’s almost like I’m trying to make analogies you might understand to get through your thick heads.

  349. rae
    rae August 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm |

    This thread makes me so glad that when I’m single I have sex first and date later (if that’s even where things end up going). At least a baseline of sexual and personality compatibility have to be established before I even think about entering into a romantic relationship with someone. Being a slut makes everything so much simpler. :-)

  350. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    Um, Shaun? No one, at this point, is still mad at R.T. As you would see if you, you know, actually read the whole thread, pretty much everyone who was initially annoyed by R.T.’s comments has since told him no hard feelings and the best of luck. It is you who people are still annoyed with, not him.

  351. raya
    raya August 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    CassandraSays: “It’s not about “fault”–if the commentariat had simply told him this implied slut-shaming and was inappropriate this wouldn’t have even been an issue.”

    They did. It didn’t work. In retrospect I can see why the fact that he’s autistic may have affected his perception of the situation and thus his ability to understand WHY it wasn’t appropriate, but the fact remains that people did try that avenue and it didn’t work.

    To be honest, I still don’t see why RT’s first comment implied slut-shaming AT ALL, and I’m not autistic. Perhaps it’s due to me not living in the US and therefore not being able to examine his post within the framework of the cultural context of most commenters here, but … I somehow doubt that? I just really wish someone would have explained what exactly was so upsetting about RT’s comment, and why it was slut-shaming. I feel like this isn’t what was happening.

  352. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    Being a slut makes everything so much simpler. :-)

    Smooches. Personally I tend to go on a few dates first, but once the sex has happened, if it’s not working, we’re done. Apparently being unwilling to be endlessly accomodating regardless of whether or not my needs are being met makes me an awful person, but oh well, so be it.

  353. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm |

    Shaun: I understand what you’re saying, and I agree it would not be okay for women to be made to feel guilty about engaging slut-shaming on a feminist blog. That’s not what we’re talking about here, and no one (as far as I can see) is disputing that women had a right to respond to that or that the original dialogue was not inappropriate.

    You are disputing it, Shaun.

    You are criticizing the response to RT’s statements as ableism, and you came right out and said that the commentariat was somehow ableist in its response to RT because had they just done what they actually did do but you didn’t acknowledge they did, everything would have been copacetic, magically, even though what actually happened was that multiple people pointed out what was shaming about his statement and he didnt’ get around to telling anyone he had autism until about 150 comments later, but now you’re all YES IT’S STILL ABLEIST AND SHUT UP THAT’S WHY.

    Man, when you get a drum, you really bang the hell out if it, don’t you?

  354. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm |

    Cassandra, are you even reading what I’m saying? I didn’t say people were still mad at RT, and I don’t give a shit if you or others are annoyed at me for CALLING OUT ABLEISM. I said it was ableist, this is a narrative that is hurtful to me and damn sure looks like it was hurtful to R.T., you shouldn’t do it, and that has nothing to do with whether or not he’s been forgiven for slut-shaming comments.

  355. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm |

    Shaun: It’s almost like I’m trying to make analogies you might understand to get through your thick heads.

    I’m officially raising an eyebrow at the the guy who is using language like “monkey”, “faggot”, “cunt”, “stupid”, and “bitches” to make rhetorical points on a social justice blog.

  356. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    @ raya – Well, I think a few others were more upset than I was, so I’ll let them speak for themselves. But for me, his initial comment basically read as follows.

    (Sigh) Why are some people so obsessed with sex? Why is it so important to you ladies that men give you orgasms? That’s so shallow of you, while I am above such things.

    Now, granted, it later became clear that this was not in fact what he meant. But that’s how it initially came across, and that’s what people were reacting to. It was particularly upsetting for women who’ve been guilt-tripped about wanting sex, or wanting sex that actually gets them off, in previous relationships.

    It’s definitely not just a US thing – I’m British, and grew up mostly in the Middle East and Asia.

  357. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

    @ Zuzu – Shaun’s drum is giving me a headache. I think he should apologise for triggering my migraines.

    (I also think he should read less selectively, but that’s a different, though related, issue.)

  358. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm |

    CassandraSays: (I also think he should read less selectively, but that’s a different, though related, issue.)

    YOU ARE ABLEIST AGAINST THE SELECTIVE!!

  359. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    @ Zuzu – Shaun’s drum is giving me a headache. I think he should apologise for triggering my migraines.

    (I also think he should read less selectively, but that’s a different, though related, issue.)

    Now you’re just being an asshole.

  360. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    Well, it’s been a grand time being dehumanized, but it’s almost sunset and I’m off to watch bats emerge for the night. Tinfoil Hattie, you’re my hero today. Thanks to everyone else who addressed this constructively.

  361. Ophie
    Ophie August 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    My boyfriend doesn’t want to go down on me and I don’t want to go down on him. Yes, I get the ew girl icky parts up close bit, too. But it’s not like he was good at it since he doesn’t really enjoy doing cunnlingus. I had a girlfriend who loved eating girls out and it was amazing, because she enjoyed it. My boyfriend does like pleasuring me and in turn pleasures him.

  362. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm |

    Shaun: I said it was ableist, this is a narrative that is hurtful to me and damn sure looks like it was hurtful to R.T.

    And yet you don’t give a fuck about a slut-shaming narrative being hurtful to anyone like Sheelzebub, who was literally beaten for asserting her need for sex, or to any other woman who’s been punished for wanting to be a sexual being and have her own needs and desires valued rather than accept less-than because women aren’t supposed to like sex because that makes them slutty and dirty and wrong.

    No, you only give a fuck when you can call such women bitches and accuse them of being ableist for fighting against those oppressive narratives.

    Have fun with those bats.

  363. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm |

    In good faith:

    raya: To be honest, I still don’t see why RT’s first comment implied slut-shaming AT ALL, and I’m not autistic. Perhaps it’s due to me not living in the US and therefore not being able to examine his post within the framework of the cultural context of most commenters here, but … I somehow doubt that? I just really wish someone would have explained what exactly was so upsetting about RT’s comment, and why it was slut-shaming. I feel like this isn’t what was happening.

    I’ll start by saying this was probably one of those threads that an asexual man should probably have read and not commented on. The “sometimes it’s good to listen” thing. Because the thread is really about women’s sexual needs and desires and our inability — still — to express said needs and have them respected by partners and the public at large. It’s also a continuation of the conversations we’ve been having on this blog about deserving happy and functional, communicative relationships.

    RT starts off by saying that he doesn’t get why sex is so important, phrasing it in a way that makes the need for sexual compatibility sound frivolous and shallow. It then sounds like he’s making the case that he’d “stoop” to sex if that’s what was required for a relationship, and that he thinks that breaking up over sexual incompatibility is “weird” and “sad”. This is, again, on a thread of women talking about how sexual incompatibility has been anywhere on the scale of annoying to actively harmful in their lives. The comment is completed with the question about whether or not it’s normal for “sexuals” to be so entitled.

    People immediately bristled at the comment for a variety of reasons. “Sexuals”, the statement that everything we’ve been talking about is weird and sad, the idea that it’s fine to just go through the motions when your partner is looking for enthusiastic consent. As the conversation developed (over 350 comments), RT backtracked and both clarified his position and revealed more information that gave context to his POV, including his abilities and inexperience, and he graciously apologized and bowed out of the conversation when he realized that he’d stepped on some toes and that this wasn’t the venue for this conversation.

    And seriously, RT, I do not want to pick on you in particular, and I do appreciate your apology and I appreciate you trying to figure this shit out, because relationships can be a shitty hellhole anyway and it can be extra difficult to navigate when you have other non-normative mitigating factors at play. A feminist blog is usually a good place to figure this stuff out — but not a thread like this, which is really designed to center sexual women’s feelings and experiences. Maybe try http://captainawkward.com/ to get some awesome dating advice?

  364. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

    zuzu: No, you only give a fuck when you can call such women bitches and accuse them of being ableist for fighting against those oppressive narratives.

    Bitches or cunts, one or the other.

  365. R.T.
    R.T. August 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    Zuzu

    I had a question about sex in relationships. I had no idea that it would become the thing it did and I know better now. I simply thought I’d get an answer and everyone would move on.

    Neither did it occur to me that asexuals couldn’t comment.

    I apologize for the thread, again, and I apologize for writing when it was not my place to.

    The last thing I wanted to do was make this thread “about me.” I don’t want the attention, and I thought I’m supposed respond to people who are talking to me so I did.

    Is there something I can do to make this right between you and me? Is there an apology you need that I haven’t given yet or something else, because I don’t want to make enemies here, just be part of the discussions and community.

  366. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm |

    R.T.

    I’m not Zuzu, obviously, but I really don’t think anyone is going to bear any hard feelings towards you over this. Please don’t take the collective ire being directed as Shaun as being about you, because it really isn’t.

    Also, seconding the recommendation for Captain Awkward. This is the kind of thing they specialise in, and there’s a lot of good advice being given over there to and from all kinds of people.

  367. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm |

    R.T.:
    Zuzu

    I had a question about sex in relationships. I had no idea that it would become the thing it did and I know better now. I simply thought I’d get an answer and everyone would move on.

    Neither did it occur to me that asexuals couldn’t comment.

    I apologize for the thread, again, and I apologize for writing when it was not my place to.

    The last thing I wanted to do was make this thread “about me.” I don’t want the attention, and I thought I’m supposed respond to people who are talking to me so I did.

    Is there something I can do to make this right between you and me? Is there an apology you need that I haven’t given yet or something else, because I don’t want to make enemies here, just be part of the discussions and community.

    I don’t really need an apology from you, RT, but if I were you, I’d read what Florence wrote in the comment above yours if you want to avoid situations like this one in the future.

  368. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    Make that the comment two above yours.

  369. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm |

    @RT

    Shit. You aren’t really a member of the commentariat unless you get into a knock down drag out flame war with someone. I think its a rite of passage or something.

  370. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm |

    The bats were wonderful, thanks for asking Zazu!

    The slut-shaming narrative being directed at Sheezlebub was over by the time I got here, and she’s not the one being an utterly privileged piece of shit, you are. I’m perfectly willing to call out slut-shaming on Neurotypical women–you could always use your reading comprehension to find it, but your cookies, I don’t need, NT.

  371. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    Shaun: I’m perfectly willing to call out slut-shaming on Neurotypical women–you could always use your reading comprehension to find it, but your cookies, I don’t need, NT.

    What makes you think I’m NT, Shaun? I haven’t said one way or the other.

  372. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    Shaun: piece of shit

    Keep talking, man. Your sneering really sells your cause.

  373. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 8:54 pm |

    Florence: Keep talking, man.Your sneering really sells your cause.

    Tone argument, tone argument! Also, please keep misgendering me, I love that.

  374. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    Shaun: I’m perfectly willing to call out slut-shaming on Neurotypical women–you could always use your reading comprehension to find it, but your cookies, I don’t need, NT.

    Is “neurotypical woman” and/or “NT” a slur now?

  375. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    So: what makes you certain I’m NT?

  376. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm |

    Shaun: Also, please keep misgendering me, I love that.

    “Man” is being used slangily. Like “guys”. Like, “Guys, I still can’t figure out why Shaun is still here after flouncing ten comments back.”

  377. Ismone
    Ismone August 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm |

    RT,

    I think you did the right thing by apologizing, and it was a noble thing.

    Everyone else,

    So far, RT is the only one who has apologized. I kind of a have a problem with that. Not because anyone should apologize about misconstruing RT’s earlier comments, because I think that although we now know they were innocent, at the time, we could not have.

    But as much as a I love y’all, and I really and truly do, I think that the comments about mechanical sex and washing machines, although not meant in a harmful way (just like RT’s comments) are really, really offensive. Just because someone doesn’t experience emotions like us NT’s, or sexual desire like those of us who are sexual, doesn’t mean they are mechanical or incapable of pleasing a partner. It just means they process that real world we live in differently. I know it is hard to imagine–I only started imagining it because of close relationships I have had with people with really different brains.

    But I know y’all to be kind people. Please try.

  378. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm |

    “Is “neurotypical woman” and/or “NT” a slur now?”

    I get the feeling that in this particular case it’s intended to be a slur somewhat similar in spirit to “Muggles”.

  379. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

    And Shaun has no answer to my question.

  380. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. August 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm |

    Damn it people. The over/under on this thread was 350 exclusive of any posts made by Kristen. This is the 10th time I’ve lost. At this rate I will be handwriting all of the holiday cards until the end of time.

  381. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm |

    Mr. Kristen J.:
    Damn it people.The over/under on this thread was 350 exclusive of any posts made by Kristen.This is the 10th time I’ve lost.At this rate I will be handwriting all of the holiday cards until the end of time.

    On a post about blowjobs, feminism, and DTMFAing? Shit, we’ve got at least another fifty comments to go before the week is over.

  382. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    I must be honest and say I’m learning a lot from the de-railing. I think a lot of philosophical questions opened up. Normally de-railing is just a shout fest, but the issues raised here hit almost everything that feministe covers regularly.

  383. Aydan
    Aydan August 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm |

    This is another derail, but I hope it’s less derail-y than the ace 101 stuff I was posting upthread:

    Kristen J.: Even the bad tippers were not objectively bad tippers…I just tip to living wage (when I can afford) which is not compatible with people who are 15 percent tippers.

    This is a concept that interests me (and I had actually never thought about it until this moment, since I don’t go out to eat or do things that otherwise involve tips on a regular basis), but is there a good way to figure out how to do this for a specific area? How do you figure out how much to tip? Is it just tipping to a higher percentage, say, 20 or 25, or is there a way to take average rent and figure it out? I’m assuming a living wage varies by too much across the country for an average to be meaningful. Google turns up some stuff state by state– if I calculate living wage (for one adult?) for the place I live, should I assume that waitstaff are paid the minimum for tipped employees and just go off of that, assuming they spent x minutes/hours servicing my table? I’m probably overthinking this…

  384. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm |

    I was grocery shopping, since apparently I can’t go 30 minutes without Zuzu desperately wondering where I am. I’ll answer your question when you go back and answer any of mine you’ve ignored, but I don’t think we’re operating under the same definition of NT anyway.

    Florence, NT can’t be a slur because it’s addressed at a dominant group. Most members of the group wouldn’t even know what it means. I apologize for jumping to the conclusion you were calling me a man, that makes more sense in context. I wish you were also capable of actually reading the context of what I’m saying to you, but apparently the possibility that I used a slur referring to members of a dominant group is more pressing.

  385. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm |

    Shaun: I’ll answer your question when you go back and answer any of mine you’ve ignored, but I don’t think we’re operating under the same definition of NT anyway.

    IOW, you have no answer. You’ve got no idea whether I’m neurotypical or not, and you wouldn’t dare say why you think I’m not because you might well be wrong, so you just dodge the question and move the goalpoasts.

    My, what an utterly privileged, piece-of-shit thing to do, Shaun.

  386. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm |

    zuzu: you wouldn’t dare say why you think I’m not

    Make that “why you think I am.”

  387. LongHairedWeirdo
    LongHairedWeirdo August 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    You’re not really any better than LongHaired Weirdo up above, who tells the laydeez they’re being silly for considering breaking up with a guy who won’t go downtown.

    Oh, no, I’m now a bad example! Oh, the shame.

    Tell you what: free lesson in colloquialisms. It’s not universal, but it’s pretty broad.

    When people say something like this:

    I think it’s silly to break up if a guy “just” doesn’t want to perform cunnilingus

    They often mean one thing, and nothing else, is wrong. See, the word just there? With that wonderful – okay, sub-literate – use of quotes for emphasis? Yeah. That thing. Just.

    Anyway: common colloquialism, and when it’s used, it means the speaker wants to emphasize “that’s it; nothing else; not even in either of our imaginations.” Eh. I’m weird; the name ain’t just for my hair, after all.

    BTW, I would like to thank the critics; there was a time when I’d have felt a need to defend myself, or explain myself, but your criticisms were just so fucking *ridiculous* that I was able to break away from that urge; you may have helped me out here.

    So, a recap:
    Main point: people have a right to break up for any reason, or no reason.

    Second point: even if the reason *does* sound silly, there might be more to it.

    Third point: Even if there *was* a standard for right and wrong, how is it anyone’s business besides the break-er’s? (It’s not even technically the break-ee’s)

    I could now add a fourth point: you have every right to disregard how “silly” someone thinks your stated reason might be. And if you can’t deal with “I think it’s silly”, well, good luck – it’s a harsh world out there, and people are going to say worse than “I think it’s silly” when discussing a limited hypothetical.

  388. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    And telling women, on a feminist blog, that it’s “silly” to break up with a man who won’t give you sexual pleasure? How does that fit into your argument?

  389. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    You’ve made it pretty clear you’re not Autistic, Zazu. Go beat some other horse.

  390. realitycheck
    realitycheck August 9, 2011 at 11:02 pm |

    I believe this thread was originally about dumping a dude who wants blow jobs, but doesn’t return the favor cuz it’s a disgusting, stinky woman part. Or did I somehow miss Jill’s original intent?

    Some woman will dump for that reason, some won’t. As long as the woman involved is doing what she truly she wants is the only important point. Jill shared her personal thoughts on the matter, and, I believe, she was inviting other woman to discuss this issue.

    I’m not quick sure how so many others got the idea it was about so many other things.

  391. Shaun
    Shaun August 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm |

    Pretty much, yes. Neurotypical was originally used to describe non-Autistics. See this page, http://web.archive.org/web/20030216005006/http://web.syr.edu/~jisincla/language.htm, or the wikipedia entry, or http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/neurotypical .

    Other groups have since claimed the label as their own, which I don’t really agree with, but that’s a completely separate topic.

  392. zuzu
    zuzu August 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm |

    Shaun:
    You’ve made it pretty clear you’re not Autistic, Zazu. Go beat some other horse.

    How are you certain? What’s your standard, Shaun? How do you diagnose autism spectrum disorders over the internet?

    Come on, this should be easy for you. You know who’s NT and who’s not. You know who’s an NT piece of shit and who’s not. What’s your secret?

  393. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm | *

    Are we sure there isn’t a mini-game for smart phones where all you do is move goalposts for your own amusement? It would seriously take the edge of some of these threads if people had another outlet.

  394. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 9, 2011 at 11:24 pm |

    Aydan: This is another derail, but I hope it’s less derail-y than the ace 101 stuff I was posting upthread: This is a concept that interests me (and I had actually never thought about it until this moment, since I don’t go out to eat or do things that otherwise involve tips on a regular basis), but is there a good way to figure out how to do this for a specific area? How do you figure out how much to tip? Is it just tipping to a higher percentage, say, 20 or 25, or is there a way to take average rent and figure it out? I’m assuming a living wage varies by too much across the country for an average to be meaningful. Google turns up some stuff state by state– if I calculate living wage (for one adult?) for the place I live, should I assume that waitstaff are paid the minimum for tipped employees and just go off of that, assuming they spent x minutes/hours servicing my table? I’m probably overthinking this…

    Oh, so typically I know approximately the living wage for a single person in my area.

    http://www.livingwage.geog.psu.edu/

    I assume people pay for themselves and two children at least. Then I look at about how many tables and guestimate. Usually I tip about a 1/4 to 1/3 of living wage. Which, since we eat at cheap local places is usually much more than 15%. But, and this is the critical part, *we can afford it*.

  395. Nahida
    Nahida August 9, 2011 at 11:32 pm |

    Shaun: Calling someone mechanical, saying that having sex with them would be like MASTURBATING INTO AN OBJECT, aside from being completely dehumanizing, is an ableist dialogue when applied to a disabled person, regardless of intent. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person or you should be shot (anymore than if you said it to an able person).

    Okay, seriously did everyone just miss this?

    There is no asking for mind-reading involved. It’s dehumanizing rhetoric. Is it so outrageous to ask that people not be compared to objects, regardless of whether or not they are disabled?

  396. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm |

    Shaun, that’s funny – you’re MY hero today!

    I also won’t stand by and withhold my opinion if I perceive an injustice. I did not intend to insult anyone with my comments, and I made my apologies to the best of my ability. That’s all I can do.

    That’s all RT can do, too. And if the thread isn’t about RT anymore, and nobody’s mad at him any longer, why is everyone still so pissed off? At Shaun? For calling out ableism? And when did he call women bitches? And who called anyone here a cunt?

    Remember that a golden rule of feminist blogs is: it doesn’t matter if you’re the dominant group and you believe you weren’t being insulting. What matters is how it felt to the oppressed group. Remember that?

    I’m pretty appalled at how mean some people are being, just for the sake of being mean. RT asked for compassion and got told he and his non-neurotypical, missing-arm, chemo-enduring self could just take his preciousness and go to hell. Now Shaun’s the target of the dominant group’s mean comments. WOW.

    RT/Shaun: tinfoilhattie @ google dot com. Any time. It’s been real.

  397. Ismone
    Ismone August 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm |

    Seconding Nahida, here. I don’t think R.T. and others on this thread are above criticism, but I do think some dehumanizing rhetoric was used, and should be owned up to.

  398. DouglasG
    DouglasG August 10, 2011 at 12:28 am |

    Ms Kristen – I applaud your chooser, then.

    Personally, I tend to tip about or over half, but that’s largely accident, out of a preference for liking a tip to consist of a single bill, generally a five, and almost always (on the extremely rare occasions when I eat out at my own expense) having an order under $10. (A single would be undertipping and I don’t part with twos, although, if they were as common as ones I’d be much closer to average.) I think it may be some variation on my grandfather’s tipping style. He turned 99 this year, and invariably tips one dollar plus any coins he receives in change on his bill regardless of his order, just as he used to do seventy years ago, when such a tip made rather a larger percentage.

  399. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 10, 2011 at 12:34 am |

    Whoops – Shaun = a woman, I believe. So when did SHE call women bitches?

  400. Shaun
    Shaun August 10, 2011 at 12:56 am |

    @tinfoil hattie
    I was a little unclear, I had a lot going on. I don’t know if I can be a woman, but I know I’m not a man. Either set of pronouns is fine to use.

    And I believe they’re responding to 352.

  401. Hypocritical male feminist David Futrelle gives tacid approval to corrective rape. « ACatalogueofLies

    […] Feministe has recently advocated sexual coercion of men in this article. See coverage of that on Toy Soldiers and Sophiastry here, and […]

  402. ch
    ch August 10, 2011 at 4:32 am |

    Shaun, you know, I am an autistic woman. I am also, as you so charmingly put it, a hypersexual. Even, dare I say it, a slut. And I think RT’s first comment was really slut-shaming (and I’ve experienced tons of slut shaming in my life), and I’m glad he later apologized. But I still side with zuzu et al. Just putting all that out there, since you seem to think you’re arguing against only neurotypical privileged people (which =/= non-autistic, in my opinion, but that’s a different argument)

  403. Shaun
    Shaun August 10, 2011 at 5:10 am |

    ch:
    Shaun, you know, I am an autistic woman. I am also, as you so charmingly put it, a hypersexual. Even, dare I say it, a slut. And I think RT’s first comment was really slut-shaming (and I’ve experienced tons of slut shaming in my life), and I’m glad he later apologized. But I still side with zuzu et al. Just putting all that out there, since you seem to think you’re arguing against only neurotypical privileged people (which =/= non-autistic, in my opinion, but that’s a different argument)

    That’s great. I’m really not sure what you’re “siding with Zuzu” about, but then I’ve met Autistics with all sorts of opinions, like the ones on Wrongplanet.net. They were still using ableist dehumanizing dialogue and I don’t need every Autistic on the planet to agree for it to be so, though I’m sure they’ll be glad they can use you as their “Autistic friend” who agrees with them.

    By the by, if hypersexual is a pre-existing offensive term, just let me know. I was looking for a superlative to contrast with low sex drive, and I also made it pretty clear I wasn’t attaching a value judgment to it. I think anybody entering into a sexual or even romantic relationship should communicate how much sex they’re expecting, or any sex at all.

    You’re right, the definition of Neurotypical is another argument, and one I’m not interested in entertaining in this thread. I think the definitions and history speak for themselves but there are definitely bigger fish to fry here.

  404. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 10, 2011 at 5:19 am |

    :::Whistles:::

    Can I call a time-out here?

    Just want to clarify something–I was never physically beaten for asserting my needs–guilt-tripped, verbally attacked, called a freak and had my mental health speculated about, yes. (Kind of like what happened in this thread.) But I wasn’t beaten.

    I’ve left R.T. alone because a) he apologized for being hurtful (which is more than what some of the other guilt-tripping and slut shaming people in this thread have done) and b) one of his posts left me more concerned for his well-being on several other fronts (which I addressed in a post to him). Which he acknowledged, and RT, if you’re still reading, I hope you’re well and please know that you should not have to hide who you are or what you like or don’t like to have a satisfying relationship.

    As far as the slut-shaming goes, I found it far more hurtful and frustrating to hear about how standing up for your needs, and how the double-standard of “the woman serves, the man is served, and any deviation from that is icky” makes you shallow, score-keeping, and downright abnormal. I mean, hey! Women who have very average sex drives haven’t been tarred with the freak or abnormal labels at all. And there were a lot of people pulling that shit.

    What was frustrating was hearing that yes, of course you should DTMFA, but that it was shallow and sad and oh! the little comment about matrimony was a nice little cherry on the slut-shaming, put up with it bitch shit sundae. So we’re back to being in the bitches can’t win land. Which is par for the course, I suppose, but I’m sickened to find this among the commentariat at an erstwhile feminist blog.

  405. Momentary
    Momentary August 10, 2011 at 5:39 am |

    Sheelzebub, if any of my comments came across to you as slut-shaming, or as casting standing up for your needs or challenging double-standards as shallow, I apologize for that. It was not my intent.

    My stance is that pressure for sex in a more broadly partnered relationship also has horrible extremely gendered precedence that I don’t see how we can ignore here. Being in a position where you are shamed and dismissed for your sexual needs is horrible. Being in a position where you are told that you will never be worthy of having anyone who will be your partner and watch your back and offer mutual caretaking when you are old unless you can manage to provide not only sexual willingness but sexual desire on cue, is also horrible. I do not believe that there is anyone in this thread whose intent is to perpetrate either of those kinds of horribleness on anyone. I see people in this thread trying to speak to the the horribleness they’ve experienced, and getting a lot of backlash because what they say pattern matches to bad stuff people on the other side have experienced.

    And I say this as a person who identifies as strongly sexual but who does not see sex as a fundamental part of long-term partner bonding. So it’s not simply a matter of asexuals versus sexuals here.

  406. Shaun
    Shaun August 10, 2011 at 5:49 am |

    Sheelzebub, I’m not really sure how to read your post (or if it was addressed at me at all). My quarrel wasn’t with you, and if I had a problem with anything you said in particular I don’t remember. I like your posts, and I hope nothing I said came across as slut-shaming. If it did, let me know, I’m more than willing to apologize and address that. I’ve tried to treat the slut-shaming as an established fact and address some of the other commenter’s ableism.

  407. Nahida
    Nahida August 10, 2011 at 7:12 am |

    Furthermore, I found the whole “we didn’t know he was autistic! or we wouldn’t have been dehumanizing! he should have told us he was autistic!” thing absurd, and quite frankly pathetic. Reducing people to objects is just… wrong, regardless of who’s on the other end. If I say something racist, whether or not what I’ve said is racist is not dependent on whether my audience is a person of color. It will be racist if I am talking to a white person, and it will be racist if I am talking to a person of color.

    RT lost me at his “fuck you” directed at Zuzu, and as Ismone said he is not above criticism–but he freakin apologized for slut-shaming.

  408. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 7:51 am |

    @ Kristen J.: That makes sense. Thanks.

  409. Tyro
    Tyro August 10, 2011 at 8:24 am |

    RT asked for compassion

    I think people are all-too-willing to give in to the geek social fallacy that everyone needs to be validated and accepted, and I think that RT expects it to be in effect.

    We all have our own issues that make us difficult to get along with, undesirable to certain potential partners, etc. Some of these issues might be very uncommon and make it difficult to find like-minded people. And we need to own it rather than get upset at the idea that people might voluntarily choose not to be with us or someone like us because of our personal issues/preferences/beliefs rather than whine about that situation and even worse prevail upon feminism or other liberal/progressive ideologies as demanding that our personal issues be celebrated/validated.

    Instead of someone whining that, “as an [insert sexual/personal issue here], I feel left out of this idea that anyone can dump me for not meeting their sexual/personal expectations,” it’s instead important to find the right community rather than expecting the existing community to change their expectations/needs about love and relationships simply to make you feel better about yourself.

    “I can’t be with someone who isn’t willing to go down” is owning your personal issue. “Shouldn’t everyone still love me and give me the benefit of the doubt if I have [issue]?” is not owning it.

  410. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 10, 2011 at 8:25 am |

    There is no asking for mind-reading involved. It’s dehumanizing rhetoric. Is it so outrageous to ask that people not be compared to objects, regardless of whether or not they are disabled?

    Sure, if you completely divorce it from its context anything can be made to sound negative. I suppose that’s what we must do when desperately trying to manufacture a way to accuse other feminists of being selfish slut bigots – sorry, PRIVILEGED selfish slut bigots.

    Cuz, I know, as a highly sexual black bisexual woman, there’s nothing but rainbows and lollypops out there for me.

  411. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 10, 2011 at 8:29 am |

    What was frustrating was hearing that yes, of course you should DTMFA, but that it was shallow and sad and oh! the little comment about matrimony was a nice little cherry on the slut-shaming, put up with it bitch shit sundae. So we’re back to being in the bitches can’t win land. Which is par for the course, I suppose, but I’m sickened to find this among the commentariat at an erstwhile feminist blog.

    Bitches aren’t supposed to win. Especially not if the topic is sex. Put up, and shut up or be a selfish slut bigot.

    I pick the later, frankly, since its just ONE MORE group of people shaming me for my sexuality. I’m used to it.

  412. Rebecca
    Rebecca August 10, 2011 at 8:46 am |

    So does that mean that as a straight woman, if I don’t want to have oral sex with a guy willing to have oral sex with me, because it’s uncomfortable and I hate the taste aka I find it gross, that he has the right to kick me to the curb? What about other things I find gross or distasteful like anal sex or having him piss or shit on me? Does that make my a bastard fit only for disposal?

  413. Azalea
    Azalea August 10, 2011 at 9:39 am |

    Tyro:
    RT asked for compassion

    We all have our own issues that make us difficult to get along with, undesirable to certain potential partners, etc. Some of these issues might be very uncommon and make it difficult to find like-minded people. And we need to own it rather than get upset at the idea that people might voluntarily choose not to be with us or someone like us because of our personal issues/preferences/beliefs rather than whine about that situation and even worse prevail upon feminism or other liberal/progressive ideologies as demanding that our personal issues be celebrated/validated.

    Instead of someone whining that, “as an [insert sexual/personal issue here], I feel left out of this idea that anyone can dump me for not meeting their sexual/personal expectations,” it’s instead important to find the right community rather than expecting the existing community to change their expectations/needs about love and relationships simply to make you feel better about yourself.

    Yup. Yep. Yeap.

    It all boils down to realizing that no one is entitled to a relationship with any other person if that person does not want to be in a relationship with you for whatever reason . Compatibility matters.

  414. Azalea
    Azalea August 10, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    Jill: Of course he has the “right” to kick you to the curb for whatever reason he wants. You are allowed to think he’s a jerk for doing so, but he has that right.

    I’ll reiterate, though, that motivations matter. If a man is unwilling to have oral sex with you because he thinks it’s emasculating or because he thinks vaginas are gross, that speaks to a whole set of misogyny issues, and I think it’s worth breaking up with him. If your dude wants to piss or shit on you and you’re grossed out by that, he is of course allowed to break up with you, but because you two aren’t compatible if he needs his pissing fetish met and you don’t want to meet it — but it isn’t because you’re a jerk. Does that distinction make sense? I know we all want an easy rulebook for sex, but I do think that historical marginalization and the construction of sex as something women “give” to men (and centered on male pleasure) matters in these discussions. Which is why I’m on board with the whole “you can dump anyone for any reason,” because of course you can, but I think it gets a little more complicated than that when we’re talking about whether or not the dumpee is a jerk who deserved to be dumped.

    If you think your partnr’s genitals are too gross for your mouth, yes you deserve to be dumped whether those gentials consist of vulva and vagina or penis and testicles you STILL deserve to be dumped for thinking someone’s genitals are gross. Seriously how could you have any kind of interactions with this person’s genital if you think they are gross?

  415. zuzu
    zuzu August 10, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    Sheelzebub: Just want to clarify something–I was never physically beaten for asserting my needs–guilt-tripped, verbally attacked, called a freak and had my mental health speculated about, yes. (Kind of like what happened in this thread.) But I wasn’t beaten.

    Sorry about that. I remembered you saying that you’d been beaten down, and I drew a conclusion from that.

    And I also see that Shaun isn’t going to tell how she determines who’s NT and therefore a piece of trash, but at least she’s told us now that she considers only some people the right kind of non-NT as well.

  416. zuzu
    zuzu August 10, 2011 at 10:04 am |

    Jill: Not to keep beating this dead horse, but that’s not what was said. RT — who I don’t want to keep harping on, because he apologized and has been very kind on this thread — said that he put effort into giving his partner orgasms even though he had no sexual desire for his partner, and that he could go through the mechanics of sex if necessary, and that the very process of giving someone an orgasm facilitated emotional bonding. Zuzu was responding to that last part — her point was that emotional bonding is much more than just giving someone an orgasm, and she illustrated that with the fact that she can get orgasms for a variety of inanimate objects. That isn’t saying that sex with RT is like sex with an object. It is saying that there’s a fundamental flaw in his theory on sex and bonding, as illustrated by the fact that orgasms =/ emotional connection.

    This is getting a little far afield, but that keeps coming up so I just wanted to put that out there.

    THANK YOU.

    And Nahida, I refuse to apologize for the language I used because this is what I was saying — I was responding to RT’s arguments, not RT’s person.

    And again — I’ve been getting a lot of shit for my use of the term “mechanical” wrt to RT because he’s autistic — but I used that term THIRTY COMMENTS BEFORE HE REVEALED HIS AUTISM.

    And I don’t have Shaun’s secret powers for divining who’s autistic and who’s not.

  417. zuzu
    zuzu August 10, 2011 at 10:27 am |

    I would also point out that the people scolding me are not quoting my comments, but Shaun’s rather slanted summary of my comments.

  418. zuzu
    zuzu August 10, 2011 at 10:31 am |

    Rebecca: So does that mean that as a straight woman, if I don’t want to have oral sex with a guy willing to have oral sex with me, because it’s uncomfortable and I hate the taste aka I find it gross, that he has the right to kick me to the curb? What about other things I find gross or distasteful like anal sex or having him piss or shit on me? Does that make my a bastard fit only for disposal?

    Once more, with feeling:

    Yes, he has the right to kick you to the curb for any reason whatsoever.

    So do you.

    You’re not entitled to a relationship. If one partner in a relationship finds it’s not working, for whatever reason, that person is not obligated to stay in the relationship. And using guilt or manipulation (“If you really loved me, you’d…”, withdrawal, silent treatments, etc.) to keep someone in a relationship is shitty.

  419. Tyro
    Tyro August 10, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    And again — I’ve been getting a lot of shit for my use of the term “mechanical” wrt to RT because he’s autistic — but I used that term THIRTY COMMENTS BEFORE HE REVEALED HIS AUTISM.

    And even then, it is perfectly valid to regard someone who has no desire for sex and can only act it out in a mechanical fashion as undesirable in a partner. If Jill’s blog post inspires someone who is unhappily dating an asexual partner “going through the motions” when she’d actually prefer a more sexually interested partner with whom she has better physical chemistry to break up with her partner, then that’s a good thing.

    Be up front about what you want. Seek out like minded people. Own your issues. Readjust/recalibrate expectations based on experience. I would add, “this isn’t that hard,” but the truth is that it is that hard. It’s hard to live your life feeling that you have an “obligation” to others or “owe” others are have to “sacrifice” while at the same time trying to make sure that you have an obligation to yourself and who you are. Dating/love isn’t charity. And it isn’t about “social justice” except insofar as it is about allowing people to make decisions for themselves based on their own self-definitions and expressions of their own preferences and identity.

  420. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova August 10, 2011 at 11:23 am |

    Shaun,

    It seems as though you believe that ableism = every time someone’s disability is not automatically centered in a discussion, among other things. I think this is reactionary and ultimately unhelpful.

    Disability exists on a spectrum and, sure enough, in some cases it can be a major reason for communication failure – that’s why I think your analogies (wrt racism, for example) don’t quite work. And it’s nobody’s fault when it happens – it’s just the way things are sometimes. I can understand that RT was hurt by this discussion – and like I already said, I genuinely wish him the best of luck. But other people were angry and confused for a reason too.

    You seem to be outraged by the fact that zuzu didn’t immediately fall all over herself apologizing to RT once his status was disclosed. But she’s entitled to her reaction just as anyone else on here.

    I think it’s useless to draw lines in the sand – who’s allowed to speak, who’s not, those Autistic people over there who don’t talk like you want them to talk, etc. Especially in the middle to what already amounts to a huge derail.

    Of course, to quote Jill paraphrasing The Big Lebowski – It’s just, like, my opinion, man.

  421. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 10, 2011 at 11:24 am |

    I think people are all-too-willing to give in to the geek social fallacy that everyone needs to be validated and accepted, and I think that RT expects it to be in effect.

    I was thinking more of giving RT compassion because he apologized and asked for it, not because he passed the “you deserve compassion” test.

  422. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 10, 2011 at 11:56 am |

    raya: And I’m not sure how I feel about commenters telling someone that they have a responsibility to disclose their non-NT status, sexual orientation or anything else some people may regard as relevant when discussing a topic.

    Well, ok. But do you see how it changed people’s perspective on what R.T. said, though? People were, apparently reasonably, indulging in all sorts of reading between the lines when it comes to his words, when it turned out he has a condition that typically manifests itself in, among other things, not actually putting anything between the lines.

    Esti: But R.T. disclosed in his very first post that he was asexual and people still jumped all over him for “slut shaming” simply for asking whether sex was actually that important to people.

    How is that not slut-shaming? Intent isn’t magical. I realize it’s (by definition?) not that important to most aces, but surely if I say it’s imortant to me, I’m in the best position to know, aren’t I?

    Shaun: It’s a bit like that basketball player calling someone a f****t on the court and then his defender’s saying “well, we don’t know that the person he directed it to was gay, therefore this can’t be homophobic unless he is” and ignoring the fact that that word and those narratives carry power embedded within the language,

    That particular word is used to label someone as gay in a pejoritive way; the message is “you’re less-than because you’re gay,” and that’s homophobic whether the person is gay or not.

    Anyway, autism is no more the same thing as homosexuality than it’s the same thing as Judaism.

    Ismone: I think that the comments about mechanical sex and washing machines, although not meant in a harmful way (just like RT’s comments) are really, really offensive.

    Would they be equaly offensive about someone who was NT?

    One could argue that the thing that led Zuzu to refer to R.T.’s conception of sex as “mechanical” is partly a result of R.T. being autistic, but I think it’s pretty clear that she didn’t use the term in reference to his being autistic or directly because he’s autistic.

    Nahida: Is it so outrageous to ask that people not be compared to objects, regardless of whether or not they are disabled?

    I think it’s an accurate, for the length, summary of what R.T. said about himself.

    I also think it was actually, in context, condemning the idea of people being objectlike.

    * * *

    Now then. Attempting to rerail:

    1) If one party has a non-negotiable opinion on giving oral sex, and the other has a non-negotiable opinion about getting oral sex, and the two are irreconcilable, it’s a dealbreaker.
    2) Anyone is entitled to non-negotiable positions on oral sex, or anything else.
    2b) Anyone is entitled to negotiable positions on oral sex, or anything else.
    3) Anyone is entitled to end a relationship for any reason whatsoever.
    4) Anyone is entitled to seek a compatible partner. No one is entitled to a compatible partner.
    5) No one is entitled to make a partner compatible. Anyone is entitled to attempt to become compatible with a partner.

    Does anyone take issue with any of that? I’m sincerely and nonsarcastically interested in knowing why, if so.

  423. abby
    abby August 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm |

    Rebecca:
    So does that mean that as a straight woman, if I don’t want to have oral sex with a guy willing to have oral sex with me, because it’s uncomfortable and I hate the taste aka I find it gross, that he has the right to kick me to the curb? What about other things I find gross or distasteful like anal sex or having him piss or shit on me? Does that make my a bastard fit only for disposal?

    it doesn’t make you a bastard fit only for disposal. what it does make you is someone unsuited for an exclusive sexual relationship with someone for whom oral sex, anal sex, watersports, and/or scat are extremely important parts of their sexuality.

    neither of you has to be the bad guy in this situation. i’ve had people in my life i’ve considered dating, then stepped back, thought about what each of us wanted out of a relationship, and decided “you know what, this is a bad idea.” i’m the only person who gets to decide what the dealbreakers are for me, whether they’re “won’t go down on me” or “will raise future children in a religion i don’t follow” or “canucks fan” or “wants to live on a farm”.

  424. Shaun
    Shaun August 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |

    Rare Vos: Sure, if you completely divorce it from its context anything can be made to sound negative. I suppose that’s what we must do when desperately trying to manufacture a way to accuse other feminists of being selfish slut bigots– sorry, PRIVILEGED selfish slut bigots.

    Cuz, I know, as a highly sexual black bisexual woman, there’s nothing but rainbows and lollypops out there for me.

    I think we established 200 comments ago that the slut-shaming, it happened and it wasn’t cool. This is a straw-person, yet again–no one in this conversation is calling anyone a slut, so what’s really bothering you? Is it the idea that someone might call you privileged? Why is talking about ableism instead of one of those topics so threatening?

  425. Shaun
    Shaun August 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm |

    Jill: Not to keep beating this dead horse, but that’s not what was said. RT — who I don’t want to keep harping on, because he apologized and has been very kind on this thread — said that he put effort into giving his partner orgasms even though he had no sexual desire for his partner, and that he could go through the mechanics of sex if necessary, and that the very process of giving someone an orgasm facilitated emotional bonding. Zuzu was responding to that last part — her point was that emotional bonding is much more than just giving someone an orgasm, and she illustrated that with the fact that she can get orgasms for a variety of inanimate objects. That isn’t saying that sex with RT is like sex with an object. It is saying that there’s a fundamental flaw in his theory on sex and bonding, as illustrated by the fact that orgasms =/ emotional connection.

    This is getting a little far afield, but that keeps coming up so I just wanted to put that out there.

    Holy shit Jill, not everything is about Zuzu. Go read 113–Rodeo is the one who made the comment about not wanting to “masturbate into someone,” and no one but Esti and Nahida (and maybe some others, but certainly not the commenters we’re talking about) said shit about it.

    I realize people say a lot of outlandish things on your blog, and Zuzu used to blog here and you don’t know me from Eve, but no. Comparing receiving an orgasm from a person to receiving one from a vibrator is dehumanizing. Especially in the context where someone else already referred to the person you’re speaking to as an object to masturbate into. Context matters. YOU may not see it as ableist, but as an able person it’s not about you. You have to make an executive decision in order to moderate, sure–I don’t expect a safe space–but the facts remains Zuzu said something that was hurtful to a marginalized group of people for reasons relating to their marginalization and has gleefully carried on with being ableist.

  426. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    Shaun: Go read 113–Rodeo is the one who made the comment about not wanting to “masturbate into someone,” and no one but Esti and Nahida (and maybe some others, but certainly not the commenters we’re talking about) said shit about it.

    For years I have been using the simile “like a fancy box to jack off in” to describe the way some guys have treated unwilling or unenthusiastic partners. Are you telling me that all this time I’ve been discriminating against non-NT people?

  427. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    I stand by the statement. Someone who goes through the motions of sex without *desiring* me is like me using their body to masturbate with, which in turn is similar to using a vibrator or other object. The only difference I can see is that the latter wouldn’t make me feel sad and gross inside.

    You’re policing language in order to accuse me/us of ableism. Unfortunately for you, I don’t feel bad for using common metaphors, similes, and analogies to describe how something makes me feel. If you’d like me to stop, you’re going to have to do a better job explaining how a feminist-identified person on the comment thread of a blog can dehumanize an entire class of people simply by describing how an experience that she has not had, is not having, and will never have with any person who posted here.

  428. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    The bit about vibrators, washing machines and Harleys is no less problematic as a reference to asexuality in general than as a reference to autism (which, to be clear, it’s been established that it’s not the latter). R.T. asked, essentially, “Do orgasms + emotional bonding = sex?” Zuzu answered, essentially, “Orgasm /= sex” (so they were talking past each other). But the assertion that I got, at least, was that all you can possibly get out of sex with an asexual is an orgasm, which is why it’s (supposedly) like using a vibrator or riding a Harley. The question was, “Do orgasms + emotional bonding = sex?” and the answer appears to have been “There’s no emotional bonding in sex with an asexual.” Which is an insulting assertion.

    If I am wrong (the double negatives in R.T.’s comment are confusing, and maybe Zuzu was confused too) then I’m glad. But given some of the other insulting implications about asexuality that have been slung around on the thread– asexuals can’t have good sex, asexuals can never ever please a sexual partner sexually, when a sexual and an asexual have sex, it’s basically the same as the sexual masturbating with an object… which is a literally objectifying assertion, asexuals shouldn’t date sexuals– it wouldn’t be out of line with the tenor of the thread.

  429. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    Aydan: But the assertion that I got, at least, was that all you can possibly get out of sex with an asexual is an orgasm

    How is that different from R.T. saying he would do the work needed to provide his partner an orgasm but would have no investment in the act himself? Again, nonsarcastic and not rhetorical.

  430. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    And I appear to have crossposted with a whole bunch of people talking about something similar. Sorry about that.

  431. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    Ooooh.

    But the assertion that I got, at least, was that all you can possibly get out of sex with an asexual is an orgasm,

    See, Shaun? This is how you explain the problem you have with someone’s statement.

    Thanks Aydan.

  432. Shaun
    Shaun August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    Jill:
    I’m not under the impression that everything is about Zuzu (although you are definitely under the impression that this entire conversation, which had nothing to do with asexuality or ableism in the first place, should be all about you and what you want to discuss, and that the only people who have a right to speak are those you deem worthy based on their ability status which you alone are able to discern, over the internet). But then the rest of your comment is also about how Zuzu said something that you think was “hurtful to a marginalized group of people,” so I’m not entirely sure what your point is. That you get to discuss how crappy Zuzu is, but if I point out that in context her comment was actually totally above-board then I’m making “everything” about Zuzu? Because ableism?

    Well, hey, we all have our prioritizes. To you everything’s about hats and wine.

  433. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    tinfoil hattie: At Shaun? For calling out ableism? And when did he call women bitches? And who called anyone here a cunt?

    “monkey” in 325.
    “cunts” in 352
    “faggot” in 345

    Are we cool with this, collectively? Because I have serious issues with being called a bigot by someone who is so free with sexist, racist, and homophobic analogies. Oh, and that when questioned on it, this person likes to call others stupid.

  434. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    “To you everything’s about hats and wine.”

    Troll.

  435. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Hershele Ostropoler: How is that different from R.T. saying he would do the work needed to provide his partner an orgasm but would have no investment in the act himself? Again, nonsarcastic and not rhetorical.

    I have to run, but my interpretation, given his comment about emotional bonding, was that the value of the act for him would be primarily emotional rather than sexual– not that he wouldn’t have any investment in the act himself. I mean, being able to please your partner, regardless of your own emotional or sexual benefits, is itself an investment.

  436. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    Rodeo:
    I stand by the statement.Someone who goes through the motions of sex without *desiring* me is like me using their body to masturbate with, which in turn is similar to using a vibrator or other object.The only difference I can see is that the latter wouldn’t make me feel sad and gross inside.

    There are different kinds of desire. You can desire to have sex with someone without being sexually attracted to them. You can desire the intimacy without specifically desiring the sex. You can desire the physical pleasure… You seem to be implying that asexuals, by definition, don’t get anything out of sex, which is itself problematic. Yes, some asexuals are repulsed, and some are not. The only quality all asexuals share is a lack of sexual attraction to people.

    I find your statement problematic, Rodeo, because on a thread full of people talking about how important sexual compatibility is to them (which is completely fair), you’ve equated my sexual worth to that of an object on the basis of my sexual orientation.

  437. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Aydan: I have to run, but my interpretation, given his comment about emotional bonding, was that the value of the act for him would be primarily emotional rather than sexual– not that he wouldn’t have any investment in the act himself. I mean, being able to please your partner, regardless of your own emotional or sexual benefits, is itself an investment.

    I think this is a totally fair statement, but what it’s missing is that the women discussing this possibility were also talking about the importance of desire, not just desiring, but of being desired. That in itself is worthy of unpacking, especially the status of women as the keepers of sex and the positioning of The Gaze in our culture, but unfortunately the derail kind of prevented all the talk about women’s sexual experiences (which was the point of the threeeeeeeeeead).

    Maybe this is a failure of understanding asexuality (which is completely possible). The way I read it, RT’s ambivalence, or not knowing how to feel about it, brought up a lot of concerns about being with someone who wasn’t enthusiastically consenting to sex. Sexual or asexual, when we typically talk about feeling coerced to have sex, or of just being uninterested in sex but feeling made to do it anyway, or of feeling obliged to have sex, as a woman in this world, that’s a terrible road to have to walk. In a feminist mind, this is on a continuum that includes rape.

    So were they talking past each other? I guess. But with this being a feminist blog that encourages non-judgmental and enthusiastic participation in any or no sex acts at all, I am not surprised there was so much backlash to RT’s questions. But then, as an asexual man, this really wasn’t about him to begin with. And it sucks that yet another thread got derailed by some guys who decided that they knew better than the women who should have been centered in the conversation what to talk about.

  438. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Aydan: my interpretation, given his comment about emotional bonding, was that the value of the act for him would be primarily emotional rather than sexual– not that he wouldn’t have any investment in the act himself.

    Ok. This part goes back to comment 128, in which R.T. rather hostilely intimated that the experience of having sex with him would entail being serviced without any real desire on his part, as he went through the motions.

    So my characterization of his having “no investment” is imprecise. But I think that sort of sex is qualitatively different from sex with someone who wants to have sex with you.

  439. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    Yup, Aydan. I totally got that from the earlier statement that I thanked you for. Makes a lot of sense.

  440. zuzu
    zuzu August 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |

    Aydan: the answer appears to have been “There’s no emotional bonding in sex with an asexual.” Which is an insulting assertion.

    You’re wrong. I made no blanket statements about sex with asexuals.

    Sexual people do not always emotionally bond during sex, either; I’m not sure why there’s an assertion that emotional bonding is required. But you can’t create an emotional bond with someone just by doing what RT proposed, which is learn the moves even if you’re not into them. As others have pointed out, that may well be a dispiriting experience for the sexual partner of an asexual — and remember, at the time all of this came up, participants were still operating under the assumption that RT was proposing that an asexual who did this without revealing to a sexual partner that he was asexual would be able to essentially pass for sexual and therefore not have to reveal to the partner his asexuality.

    While RT later clarified his position, thus negating some of the underlying assumptions, the critique I made of it in the context in which it was apparently made stands, and it’s important for anyone criticizing me for making it to read what I actually wrote, not Shaun’s highly dishonest characterization of my position.

  441. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

    Aydan: I find your statement problematic, Rodeo, because on a thread full of people talking about how important sexual compatibility is to them (which is completely fair), you’ve equated my sexual worth to that of an object on the basis of my sexual orientation.

    I’m sorry, but I genuinely don’t see how this speaks to anyone’s worth as a human being. This is about desire. Having sex with someone who does not sexually desire you is problematic for feminists/feminism/women/women’s rights for reasons that have been stated explicitly throughout this thread.

  442. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |

    Having sex with someone who does not sexually desire you is problematic

    Sure, but I could see it being GGG in certain respects, especially in a committed relationship.

  443. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    Rodeo: Sure, but I could see it being GGG in certain respects, especially in a committed relationship.

    Of course! But this was the crux of the whole disagreement. A lot of people said they just couldn’t see themselves happy in a relationship with someone who just didn’t sexually desire them. This was posited as discrimination against asexual people. Which met with the response that no one is entitled to a relationship.

  444. Rodeo
    Rodeo August 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    Oy.

  445. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    Jill: Clearly people who get off on being hit with a big foam finger are being treated terribly here.

    Heh…but what about the MOTORBOAT NOISES?

    Also, thank you commentariat…I don’t have to write Holiday cards for the next two years. Did I mention our family card list contains 112ish names? *dances around the living room*

  446. Azalea
    Azalea August 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    Jill: Oh totally, I agree (although as I said in the post, physical pain is a different story). The commenter brought up shit and piss, though, which are very different. I don’t think it’s questionable to think that body waste is too gross for your mouth.

    The initial thing was just to switch it, she essentally said she’d refuse to give a blowjob because of the taste and its icky. Yeah that guy would have a reason to dump her and think she’s a jerk. And vice versa if he felt her genitals were gross.

  447. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar August 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm |

    “monkey” in 325.
    “cunts” in 352
    “faggot” in 345

    Are we cool with this, collectively?

    I’m putting on my old-timer pants for this one. You know what might fix the 500-comment clusterfuckatastrophes here? More banhammer.

  448. pekover
    pekover August 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm |

    Hershele Ostropoler:
    Now then. Attempting to rerail:
    1) If one party has a non-negotiable opinion on giving oral sex, and the other has a non-negotiable opinion about getting oral sex, and the two are irreconcilable, it’s a dealbreaker.
    2) Anyone is entitled to non-negotiable positions on oral sex, or anything else.
    2b) Anyone is entitled to negotiable positions on oral sex, or anything else.
    3) Anyone is entitled to end a relationship for any reason whatsoever.
    4) Anyone is entitled to seek a compatible partner. No one is entitled to a compatible partner.
    5) No one is entitled to make a partner compatible. Anyone is entitled to attempt to become compatible with a partner.

    Does anyone take issue with any of that? I’m sincerely and nonsarcastically interested in knowing why, if so.

    I don’t think there’s much point of re-railing at this point, but just in case – No, I don’t think I have a problem with any of those points, except that they’re based on an almost legalistic sense of relationships, and as such, I think they cover only a small portion of the possible effects of each problem. If these were short-term business partnerships (with blowjobs?) this would be fine, but they’re not. We’re talking about long-term, highly emotional situations.

    So, sure, people are entitled to walk away from a relationship at any time, for any reason. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy decision. And it doesn’t mean that the decision won’t have a profound influence on both the leaver and the leavee.

    The original question, as I read it, was attempting to reconcile the right to walk away with the perceived obligation to be GGG. Does the GGG obligation only apply to those who want to stay in a relationship (ie you can either be GGG or you can get out)? How does it fit in with your idea of non-negotiables as expressed in points 1 and 2? etc.

    So, yeah, I’m good with your points as long as you’re accepting that they’re pretty basic, and the hard work comes after we all accept that they’re true.

  449. pekover
    pekover August 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm |

    sorry – “not much chance”, not “not much point”

  450. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    RE Tyro’s comment – Yep. The geek social fallacies have been showing up quite a bit in this thread, and people do get Very Upset when it’s pointed out that yeah, it might be a bit unfair that some people will never consider you as a romantic partner, but that’s the reality. Which is why I posted my anecdote about being a woman who’s bi. LOTS of lesbians will never, ever consider dating me because I’m also interested in men. I accepted the term “biphobia” above because biphobia does exist, but honestly, if any given lesbian doesn’t want to date me then…she doesn’t want to date me. Calling her biphobic isn’t going to change that. I could in theory guilt-trip her into dating me by pointing out that maybe she’s being a bit biphobic, but she’s not going to be happy with the end result, and chances are neither am I. So why would I do that?

    Not only is no one entitled to a relationship with a specific person/group of people, if one does succeed into somehow getting that person/a member of that group of people to agree to a relationship, it’s probably not going to turn out great. People are entitled to have sexual preferences, and if those preferences mean that they are not going to consider me as a potential partner? Shrugs. Even if I think their reasons are a bit shitty, that’s not going to change their preferences. And I don’t think that “but that means they won’t date me and that’s clearly unfair” is actually a shitty reason. So yes, Rebecca, a man has the right to break up with you if you don’t want to give him head (and you have the right to think poorly of him for it). No one is required to stay with anyone they don’t want to stay with. People can decide not to be with others for whatever reason they want, however unfair or illogical it may seem to anyone else. That’s the way relationships work. Doesn’t mean you can’t give some reasons the side-eye, but yes, people can dump their partners for any reason at any time.

    Also, Jill is correct about what actually transpired with the “dehumanising” comments. I can see why someone might have read them that way, but that was very clearly not the intention, nor was it in context what the comments actually meant. Jill’s already laid out the analysis, so I’m just chiming in to say thanks, and yep, that’s what actually happened.

    Also chiming in to support Florence’s point about language. If we’re going to be very specific about what language is and is not OK, some things are really clearly not OK. Like using the word “cunt” on a feminist blog. Or quite openly calling people pieces of shit. There’s only one person who’s done that so far in this conversation, and it’s not any of the people being accused of being ableist. So yeah, not feeling inclined to give a lot of weight to anything Shaun has to say at this point.

  451. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    “And even then, it is perfectly valid to regard someone who has no desire for sex and can only act it out in a mechanical fashion as undesirable in a partner. ”

    This is something I was actually hoping we could talk about, before the thread got derailed. It seems to be that some people are fundamentally wired for mutuality in terms of sex, and some aren’t. Which is hard to explain because we don’t seem to have any terminology for it. For example – I’m a domme, right? But I have zero interest in scenarios in which my submissive partner is doing stuff just to please me. I can get into giving pain, but only if my partner is someone who gets off on pain. Not is willing to tolerate – actively gets off on. With a partner who does not get off on pain, I have no interest in any sort of BSDM play that causes pain, because what makes the interaction fun for me is doing something and then seeing the other person get off on it.

    I have no interest at all in sex where that element of interactivity and flow of energy between partners isn’t there. Vanilla, kinky, whatever – if there isn’t a sort of energy loop where I’m getting off on what the person is doing to me and they’re getting off on what I’m doing to them, I’m just not interested. Bored or indifferent or dutiful sex kills my libido dead – in that case, I’d rather masturbate. And I wonder if that’s what some other commenters were trying to get at above, the idea that for some people sex just isn’t fun unless there’s a whole lot of mutuality and energy transferrance going on.

    Which of course means that for me anyone who’s just going through the motions isn’t going to be a suitable partner. In cases where people are into it at some times and not others – sure, that’s very common and no big deal, we’ll just stop for now and try again later when they’re in the mood. But someone who just doesn’t have strong sexual impulses, as part of their nature, just isn’t a match for me. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just wrong for me (and I am wrong for them).

    I wish we had better language to talk about this, because honestly, I’ve met people who have that quality of mutuality in terms of sex in both vanilla and BSDM contexts, and also people who don’t, and it crosses lines in terms of orientation, etc, and we don’t seem to have a word for it, to the point where I’m not sure I’m even explaining what I mean in a way anyone else will understand. But it’s a quality that I look for in potential sexual partners, and usually can’t tell for sure if it’s there until we interact in a directly sexual way (though there are some clues that can hint at it). And in my experience if it’s not there my sex drive goes bye bye in that relationship, and that tends to make both me and my partner unhappy, so I try to avoid that.

    (Waits for someone to either try to slut shame me or tell me that I’m horrible because this means that there are a whole lot of people who I’m not interested in dating.)

  452. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm |

    CassandraSays: I wish we had better language to talk about this, because honestly, I’ve met people who have that quality of mutuality in terms of sex in both vanilla and BSDM contexts, and also people who don’t, and it crosses lines in terms of orientation, etc, and we don’t seem to have a word for it, to the point where I’m not sure I’m even explaining what I mean in a way anyone else will understand.

    I completely understand and agree. And it gets all bound up with this idea of “enthusiastic consent” which makes everything so much more difficult to parse.

  453. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm |

    pekover: No, I don’t think I have a problem with any of those points, except that they’re based on an almost legalistic sense of relationships, and as such, I think they cover only a small portion of the possible effects of each problem.

    That carefully enumerated list should, ideally, be well under the surface. It is, indeed, meant as things I feel you have to take as read for a relationship to even be possible.

    As Natalia said, “most relationships aren’t negotiated like discussions on feminist blogs. ” I intended to make explicit some things that are usually implicit — a good start when people are talking past each other.

  454. LC
    LC August 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm |

    Sign me up with CassandraSays and Kristen J here. (Actually, CassandraSays’s description of how she’s wired sounds very close to my own.)

    I’m also really glad there was no assumption this exists only in BDSM contexts.

    And yes, I would like better language to talk about it as well. I’ve sometimes fallen into the general structure of “play” with that idea that play as a general sense is something you do “with” people, and is enjoyed by everyone involved. (Or at least, that is what fun play is.)

  455. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    And I wonder if that’s what some other commenters were trying to get at above, the idea that for some people sex just isn’t fun unless there’s a whole lot of mutuality and energy transferrance going on.

    Which of course means that for me anyone who’s just going through the motions isn’t going to be a suitable partner. In cases where people are into it at some times and not others – sure, that’s very common and no big deal, we’ll just stop for now and try again later when they’re in the mood. But someone who just doesn’t have strong sexual impulses, as part of their nature, just isn’t a match for me. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just wrong for me (and I am wrong for them).

    I wish we had better language to talk about this, because honestly, I’ve met people who have that quality of mutuality in terms of sex in both vanilla and BSDM contexts, and also people who don’t, and it crosses lines in terms of orientation, etc, and we don’t seem to have a word for it, to the point where I’m not sure I’m even explaining what I mean in a way anyone else will understand. But it’s a quality that I look for in potential sexual partners, and usually can’t tell for sure if it’s there until we interact in a directly sexual way (though there are some clues that can hint at it). And in my experience if it’s not there my sex drive goes bye bye in that relationship, and that tends to make both me and my partner unhappy, so I try to avoid that.

    I get this. And I agree– sex with someone who’s not into it is a major squick. I suspect, though, we define “into it” differently. Asexuals can be “into it,” can have sex that isn’t bored, indifferent, or dutiful, without being sexually attracted to their partners. Will they have strong sexual impulses that easily translate to involving other people? It’s statistically unlikely, though the asexual community– like any other community– is not a monolith, and our definitions of “sexual impulses” may also vary. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get energy from and enjoy the physical sensations, the bonding, your partner’s pleasure, your own, the fun of it… there’s a lot to sex, and a lot more to desire than sexual attraction.

    I feel like I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but there are so many stereotypes and misconceptions about asexuality out there (see: this thread). I think a lot of them have driven some of the conflict (or at least what caught my eye– separate from the allegations of ableism and slut-shaming) in this thread, because of what people assumed (or it seemed they assumed) asexuals thought about sex or how asexuals engage in sex or whatever. And I guess it makes sense that the asexuals who like sex the least will stand out the most and therefore become aligned in people’s heads with asexuality. But, like I said, the only thing all asexuals have in common is a lack of sexual attraction to people. (And that doesn’t hold true for grey-asexuals and demisexuals, obviously.) Not sure that reiterating more 101 is going to do any additional good at this point, so…

    I think the area between enthusiastic consent and grudging acceptance is where GGG comes in. Everyone has their own ideas about where in that region things start to squick them– where GGG turns into something more like grudging acceptance– (which I think goes back to the mutuality concept) and presumably also about the ways in which they can recognize enthusiasm being demonstrated. This is one of those things that people should talk about first, in addition to just “what’s your sex drive like.”

  456. rae
    rae August 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm |

    If a person is interested in sex, feels positively (rather than indifferently) about having sex with their partner, participates in sex out of enjoyment (rather than duty), and possibly has sexual impulses…what does the term “asexuality” even indicate. I can understand that some people aren’t interested in sex, ever, but I am baffled by what the label “asexual” means if it can refer to someone who joyously participates in sex with partners.

    For the record, I’m with CassandraSays – that feedback loop of mutual pleasure is the point of sex for me.

  457. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 10, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    “I suspect, though, we define “into it” differently. ”

    I suspect that we do (or at least, it sounds that way based on what you’ve said throughout this thread). And what some people are trying to say is that for them your definition of “into it” may not be what they’re looking for in a partner, and if that’s the case they have every right to say so and choose their partners accordingly. Which doesn’t mean that for other people your defintion of into it wouldn’t be just fine, it just means that for some people it’s not a good match for them.

    For the record, my gut response to the GGG concept tends to be “no”. For me personally, obviously not for everyone, but for me it often seems too close to grudging acceptance, or at least resigned acceptance, and I wouldn’t be having any fun with someone who was in that frame of mind, and if I’m in that frame of mind I definitely won’t be having any fun at all. Maybe that will make the disconnect between your idea of into it and mine clearer?

  458. zuzu
    zuzu August 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    Aydan: Asexuals can be “into it,” can have sex that isn’t bored, indifferent, or dutiful, without being sexually attracted to their partners.

    That might be fun for the asexual partner, but again, if the sexual partner values knowing that the person they’re having sex with is sexually attracted to them, then why would it be fun for the sexual partner?

  459. Aydan
    Aydan August 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm |

    @ CassandraSays: I think you’re right. It is a hard thing for asexuals and sexuals to talk about together because one group doesn’t experience or understand the concept [of sexual attraction] and the other group can’t understand not experiencing it. It’s kind of like people trying to discuss the necessity of the color blue to various types of art, whether sculpture or painting or black-and-white photography… except only one subset can see blue or distinguish it from, say, green.

    I’m not actually heavily invested in the GGG concept– not a big Dan Savage fan, for the reasons elucidated above– but I think it has to be terribly context dependent. OK for some people, and not for others… honestly, much of this thread could probably have been summed up by saying “Some things work for some people. Some don’t. Relationships go best when you maximize the things that work for you both but it’s no one else’s business outside the relationship how much you do this or what you do when you can’t.” I don’t think that’s terribly controversial, it’s just the context.

    @ zuzu: Well, if the only reason sex is fun for the sexual partner is because their partner is sexually attracted to them, then it wouldn’t be fun, and they wouldn’t be a good match with an asexual partner. But I’d be surprised if this were the only reason most sexual people have sex. You can value having your partner be sexually attracted to you and still have fun having sex with an asexual (presumably) depending on what other things you value in sex and how much you weight each of them. It’s different for each couple, just like relative sex drives are different. The existence of long-term relationships between asexuals and sexuals, involving sex, makes me pretty sure they’re finding some common ground somewhere.

    rae:
    If a person is interested in sex, feels positively (rather than indifferently) about having sex with their partner, participates in sex out of enjoyment (rather than duty), and possibly has sexual impulses…what does the term “asexuality” even indicate. I can understand that some people aren’t interested in sex, ever, but I am baffled by what the label “asexual” means if it can refer to someone who joyously participates in sex with partners.

    Seriously?

    Not being sexually attracted to people of either or any gender. That’s the definition, as I have mentioned above. That’s what asexuality is. (Not sure about the sexual impulses bit. I’m not sure what those constitute, but I don’t know if that’s specific to me or generalizable to most asexuals.) Many asexuals don’t like sex, but that’s not part of the definition, and many do like it. If you’re asexual, you don’t see someone, or think about someone, and want them in a sexual way. You never meet someone and instinctively want to have sex with them, or at least want it on a visceral level as opposed to an intellectual level (with the standard disclaimer that the asexual community is not a monolith and I could be wrong). You can still be interested in sex because it feels good, feel positive about having sex with your partner because it feels good and you like them and it feels good to them… and still not crave it, or feel like you need it. I’ll go out on a limb and say that casual sex is not a concept that has meaning to most asexuals*. As I said above– it’s like liking food, liking the way it smells, tastes, and looks when you encounter it, enjoying eating it, enjoying cooking for yourself and others, enjoying the social aspects of eating… and still never getting hungry.

    AVEN is deeply problematic in many ways, but you might have better luck browsing there for the experiences of many asexuals, or else the asexuality tag on Tumblr. I’ve tried to explain what asexuality is and isn’t on this thread in a couple of different ways and I’m not sure I’m getting anything across.

    *I do know of some asexuals who specifically want to engage in a one-night stand or hire [I hope this is a non-offensive term, and I apologize if it is not] a sex worker, so they can figure out what the big deal is about sex without jeopardizing a friendship or having to deal with a confusing emotional context.

  460. rae
    rae August 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm |

    What I don’t understand is how liking sex and being “interested in sex because it feels good, feel[ing] positive about having sex with your partner because it feels good and you like them” is consistent with “not being sexually attracted to people of either or any gender.” For me, liking sex, being interested in having sex, actually having sex because it feels good, enjoying sex with a partner you like, are all components of sexual desire. So to say that someone who feels those things does not experience sexual attraction just does not make conceptual or definitional sense to me. It seems like that definition of asexuality pidgeonholes all sexual desire as being of the “craving” variety in a very narrow sense, while simultaneously overbroadening asexuality to the point where the distinction between asexual and mainstream sexuality collapses. The analogy doesn’t really clarify it for me either, because while I am highly sexual, I will not die or become exhausted/distracted to the point where I am unable to concentrate on my usual life due to lack of sex. To define the only truly sexual sexuality as such a necessity it is analogous to hunger seems to lay the foundation to saying those of us who are highly sexual are entitled to sex. Which we most certainly are not.

  461. Shaun
    Shaun August 11, 2011 at 12:12 am |

    CassandraSays:

    Also chiming in to support Florence’s point about language. If we’re going to be very specific about what language is and is not OK, some things are really clearly not OK. Like using the word “cunt” on a feminist blog. Or quite openly calling people pieces of shit. There’s only one person who’s done that so far in this conversation, and it’s not any of the people being accused of being ableist. So yeah, not feeling inclined to give a lot of weight to anything Shaun has to say at this point.

    Jill: What is a CF?

    (I hope it means cunt-face. *please let it mean cunt-face*)

  462. zuzu
    zuzu August 11, 2011 at 12:14 am |

    Aydan: @ zuzu: Well, if the only reason sex is fun for the sexual partner is because their partner is sexually attracted to them, then it wouldn’t be fun, and they wouldn’t be a good match with an asexual partner. But I’d be surprised if this were the only reason most sexual people have sex.

    Whoa, false dichotomy much? Why would it have to be the ONLY REASON? No one does anything for one reason only, but if you enjoy having sex, you usually want to know your partner’s into it and that your partner wants you and finds you attractive.

  463. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 11, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    @Aydan,

    One of the reasons its so hard to talk about this is as you say we have no words for the gradiation of sexual *craving* (for want of a better word). But I will say that for some people having a partner who craves you is the point of sex. Without that some are uninterested in sexual contact.

  464. Aydan
    Aydan August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am |

    rae:
    What I don’t understand is how liking sex and being“interested in sex because it feels good, feel[ing] positive about having sex with your partner because it feels good and you like them” is consistent with “not being sexually attracted to people of either or any gender.” For me, liking sex, being interested in having sex, actually having sex because it feels good, enjoying sex with a partner you like, are all components of sexual desire. So to say that someone who feels those things does not experience sexual attraction just does not make conceptual or definitional sense to me. It seems like that definition of asexuality pidgeonholes all sexual desire as being of the “craving” variety in a very narrow sense, while simultaneously overbroadening asexuality to the point where the distinction between asexual and mainstream sexuality collapses. The analogy doesn’t really clarify it for me either, because while I am highly sexual, I will not die or become exhausted/distracted to the point where I am unable to concentrate on my usual life due to lack of sex. To define the only truly sexual sexuality as such a necessity it is analogous to hunger seems to lay the foundation to saying those of us who are highly sexual are entitled to sex. Which we most certainly are not.

    The point of the analogy is not that sexual people need sex to survive– that’s where it breaks down. The point is that it’s possible to enjoy sex without craving it or, more specifically, having some sort of visceral, physical desire for it.

    As for the rest, I’ll try my best to elucidate, but I’m probably not going to be very good at trying to define something I don’t experience (also, I don’t define sexual desire and sexual attraction as the same thing. The latter definition is narrower for me than the former):

    Orgasms feel good. Being touched in the “right” way by someone who respects my bodily integrity and my boundaries feels good (and for me this is a platonic thing). Doing fun things with someone I love is usually fun. Making someone I love happy and making them feel good is fun, whether it’s in a sexual context or not. Sharing moments of connection and intimacy with people I love is good and pleasant. Why would putting these all together not be good or fun? None of them are, for me and [some] other asexuals, inherently sexual (no, not even the orgasms) but they all occur during sex. However, even though this all adds up to something hypothetically enjoyable, it’s not something I feel that I at all crave or need. If I died without having sex, I wouldn’t be much more disappointed than if I died without, say… visiting South America. I’d be much more likely to miss the intimacy and bonding that often accompanies sex, but is dependent not on the sex itself, but the fact that you trust someone enough to have sex with them. I don’t know if I would say any of what I have described constitutes sexual desire (for example, you can desire an orgasm, or you can just think they feel good, and neither of those necessitate the involvement of another person, so what is that?)

    And even though I think it adds up to a positive experience, I have never met anyone I wanted to have sex with. It’s like how, even though I enjoy playing Scrabble, and I know several people with whom I would enjoy playing Scrabble, I’ve never met someone who I noticed I particularly wanted to play Scrabble with instead of do other things because of some characteristic about them that “spoke” to me. It’s not, “I want to have sex with you,” but, “I want to make you happy and you are someone I think I would enjoy this with and I think we would both like it; sex is one thing we could do that I think we would both like, but it’s not necessarily unique in that it’s the only thing that would make us both happy and we would both enjoy.” It’s the difference between saying “I’m hungry” and “I enjoy eating,” or “I’m thirsty” and “lemonade tastes good.” Also, as far as I know, asexuals tend to be significantly less aroused by just being around or hanging out with people they like, than sexuals do. Other things– many asexuals don’t get/use the concept of “sexy” (some/many will use the word, to mean one of a variety of things). What does it mean? If a sexy person is one you want to have sex with, I’ve never experienced that. If a sexy thing is something that is supposed to make you think of or want sex, I’ve never experienced that. It just doesn’t happen. Same with “hot.”

    I don’t know if any of this is helpful or illuminating, and I’m wary of making the conversation too much about my specific experiences for a variety of reasons.

    @ zuzu– I agree. What threw me about your comment was the implication that the sexual partner wouldn’t have any fun unless their partner was sexually attracted to them. That’s why I pointed out that this would only be true if their partner being sexually attracted to them was the only thing they enjoyed about sex.

    @ Kristen J.– Yes. A big part of the asexual community is just figuring out the language to talk about this stuff. And it’s always interesting to get the perspective of sexual people, for a variety of reasons.

  465. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar August 11, 2011 at 8:58 am |

    What each of us gets, or wants to get, out of sexual interaction (if anything) is highly individualized, to the person and sometimes the situation. Any of the things we want may be fine or it may be problematic. Seeking orgasm can be great or it can be selfish. Seeking a partner’s orgasm can be generous or onerous. Seeking validation can be self-care or self-negation. (Some of the things some of us BDSMers seek may sound very troubling to folks who don’t do things the way some of us do. Seeking intimacy through fear, or catharsis through pain, is foreign to a lot of people.)

    Wanting to be wanted by one’s partner is common but not universal, and neither its presence nor its absence necessarily makes a particular sexual dynamic problematic. It’s simply a question of people having matching wants. I just can’t see telling people that they have an obligation to have sex in a way or a dynamic that isn’t going to work for them. I can’t see telling sexual people that they have to be willing to be sexual with partners for whom the activity isn’t erotic if that doesn’t work for them, any more than I can see telling asexuals to be sexual in a particular way because of some obligation to please a partner.

    The only way to deal with these things, really, is person to person, because the permutations are too numerous and unpredictable to talk about in broad swathes.

  466. LC
    LC August 11, 2011 at 9:48 am |

    As is common, I like what Thomas wrote.

    Aydan, thanks for the elaboration on what you mean by asexual. It is interesting, because I pretty much felt it described my experience and attitude towards sex until you reached the whole “not understanding sexy”.

    As someone else mentioned, we don’t have a very good language for gradations of desire. I don’t consider myself asexual in the least, but I have friends who will say things like “I haven’t had sex in a week! I’m going crazy!” and then use that as justification for why they cheated or otherwise did something kind of dumb. This always boggles me mind.

    Clearly the categories bleed into one another. I’m somewhat fascinated by this grey area of liking sex, but not finding people sexy. Thanks for enlightening me.

  467. zuzu
    zuzu August 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |

    Aydan: @ zuzu– I agree. What threw me about your comment was the implication that the sexual partner wouldn’t have any fun unless their partner was sexually attracted to them. That’s why I pointed out that this would only be true if their partner being sexually attracted to them was the only thing they enjoyed about sex.

    I didn’t imply any such thing. This is why I’m finding this discussion frustrating. You take my qualified statements and make them into blanket statements: where I say if, you see only. Where I say for someone who feels this way, you see for everyone.

  468. Aydan
    Aydan August 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm |

    zuzu: I didn’t imply any such thing.This is why I’m finding this discussion frustrating.You take my qualified statements and make them into blanket statements: where I say if, you see only.Where I say for someone who feels this way, you see for everyone.

    zuzu: That might be fun for the asexual partner, but again, if the sexual partner values knowing that the person they’re having sex with is sexually attracted to them, then why would it be fun for the sexual partner?

    Then, if we’re both working off of the assumption that there are additional things enjoyable and fun about sex than having one’s partner sexually attracted to them, whether or not either partner values that… why would it be a question whether or not the sexual partner could have fun, whether or not the other partner was sexually attracted to hir? I mean, yes, zhe might not be having the maximum potential fun, but I’m not sure any more what your question is referring to. (I assumed by “it” you meant sex as I had described it in 473, since that was the comment you quoted.)

  469. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

    rae: What I don’t understand is how liking sex and being “interested in sex because it feels good, feel[ing] positive about having sex with your partner because it feels good and you like them” is consistent with “not being sexually attracted to people of either or any gender.”

    What I’m getting is that there’s (for some people) an attraction to sex per se but not to sex with anyone in particular.

    That’s not what the word “asxual” sounds, morphologically, like it should mean, but as an analogy to “homosexual” and “heterosexual” it makes sense: “none” as opposed to “same” or “different”. It compounds the confusion because people who experience no sexual desire are pretty clearly a subset of people who have no desire for anyone.

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: Seeking orgasm can be great or it can be selfish. Seeking a partner’s orgasm can be generous or onerous.

    Or selfish.

  470. Florence
    Florence August 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

    Shaun:
    Hey dude. You’ve called several of us stupid. You called one of us a piece of shit. You’ve used patently offensive analogies to try to make a point about autism. You’ve made gross assumptions about all of our disability statuses. You’ve purposely twisted our words and intentions, ignored the contexts in which our arguments occurred, and have effectively centered a feminist discussion about sexual female desire around your personal baggage, including using ableist (and other -ist) language to defend yourself. You’ve sullied this space with your nastiness and continue to show up to defend yourself instead of stepping back and offering apologies or choosing to bow out of a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with you or your pet projects. I don’t know why you aren’t banned yet, because if it were me, you’d have been branded a troll and put on a permanent black list the moment you came in and called a former writer here with a lot of credibility, education, humor, and expertise a piece of shit.

    I also don’t care what justification you have for using racist, homophobic, and sexist language under the umbrella of rhetorical analogy — and your “listen up, cunts!” was not permissed by Jill’s obvious joke (which was later hashed out in the thread), it isn’t hypothetical or clever, and I presume you have the guts to own up to it. (I also notice that it started out as “listen up, bitches” and was changed to “listen up, cunts.” Vastly stronger language. Very curious about that change.) If I showed up on a blog about disability and used obvious ableist slurs to “get” any point “through [anyone’s] thick head” I would have rightfully been called out on it and probably banned. Because it’s tantamount to hate speech in intent and it’s obviously designed to disrespect the community with which I claim to want to interact.

    Not to mention that your entire original argument re: autism in particular, rests on *misreading the timeline in which this totally documented conversation actually occurred*.

    This is one of those cases where I probably shouldn’t be feeding the troll, but I am giving you this in good faith as a way for you to go back and recap the way you’ve behaved against other people who were arguing for their right to speak on the topic at hand without being twisted into monster bigots for your entertainment. You’ve called us cunts. You’ve called us stupid. You’ve called us pieces of shit. You personally attacked the proprietor of the blog as being a frivolous person. This is as much an appeal for you to be banned as it is for you to open your eyes to your base behavior.

  471. Florence
    Florence August 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    Aydan: why would it be a question whether or not the sexual partner could have fun, whether or not the other partner was sexually attracted to hir? I mean, yes, zhe might not be having the maximum potential fun, but I’m not sure any more what your question is referring to.

    Just speaking for myself here. Because it’s as much about urgency and need and catharsis as it is about the feel-good sex act. So, for example. I was in a relationship with a guy who was on some pretty heavy medication that sucked the drive right out of him. He could still perform if the conditions were right, but without the drive or the urge, I didn’t feel right trying to talk him into or seduce him into having sex with me. The feelings just weren’t mutual, or AS mutual. That mutuality, or the “feedback loop” that someone else mentioned upthread, is as much a part of the fun and satisfaction as the physical interaction. Especially as a sexual assault survivor, the squickiness of “coercing” or “convincing” or “seducing” or “pressuring” someone into doing something with me sexually that he just wasn’t into was too much. It felt like I was using his body or pressuring him to do something he wasn’t truly interested in, and it was disheartening and made me feel sad. It wasn’t even that he wasn’t willing to give it a go, but the lack of enthusiasm and desire pulled that urgency out of the act.

    Right now we’ve got this idea of “enthusiastic consent” as the basis for more feminist sex, and when you remove the enthusiasm from it you’re left with consent. This is fine, I guess, but it’s effectively changing the sex event from “YES!” to “Sure.” And that doesn’t feel much different to me from the scenario I experienced above.

  472. LC
    LC August 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    @Florence

    Right now we’ve got this idea of “enthusiastic consent” as the basis for more feminist sex, and when you remove the enthusiasm from it you’re left with consent. This is fine, I guess, but it’s effectively changing the sex event from “YES!” to “Sure.” And that doesn’t feel much different to me from the scenario I experienced above.

    I’ve actually seen that used as a complaint against the use of the word “enthusiastic”. I know people who say it feels like pressure on them to always pretend like they are super into it and it is the best thing in the world.

    I don’t think that’s the intent, but it does seem to imply to them that without “urgency” as you put it, it can’t be consent. That doesn’t seem right, either. (I’ve taken to using “active” as opposed to “enthusiastic”, personally.)

  473. zuzu
    zuzu August 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    Aydan:
    Then, if we’re both working off of the assumption that there are additional things enjoyable and fun about sex than having one’s partner sexually attracted to them, whether or not either partner values that… why would it be a question whether or not the sexual partner could have fun, whether or not the other partner was sexually attracted to hir? I mean, yes, zhe might not be having the maximum potential fun, but I’m not sure any more what your question is referring to. (I assumed by “it” you meant sex as I had described it in 473, since that was the comment you quoted.)

    Because I’m asking you, IF someone VALUES HAVING THEIR PARTNER SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THEM, what would be fun FOR THEM about HAVING A PARTNER WHO WAS NEVER GOING TO BE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THEM?

    If.. then… see how that works?

    You seem to be saying that because sex feels good otherwise, it shouldn’t be a big deal if your partner finds you sexually attractive. Which is a very casual dismissal of my if-then. I’m not talking about someone who doesn’t give a toss if their partner thinks they’re hot, or wants them. I’m talking someone for whom that’s an important part of sex. What’s in it for them?

  474. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    Aydan: why would it be a question whether or not the sexual partner could have fun, whether or not the other partner was sexually attracted to hir? I mean, yes, zhe might not be having the maximum potential fun, but I’m not sure any more what your question is referring to.

    I wouldn’t say the physical sensation is always the same, but it falls within a fairly narrow range (disclaimer: I’ve only had sex with women, and not a whole lot of them at that). IME, easily 2/3 of the difference between sex with Pat and sex with Sam — probably more — is their response. It’s mostly about the other person. When you then go to bed with Sandy, and Sandy just isn’t into it at all, it’s much less fun.

    LC: I’ve actually seen that used as a complaint against the use of the word “enthusiastic”. I know people who say it feels like pressure on them to always pretend like they are super into it and it is the best thing in the world.

    Why is this a bug rather than a feature? If you’re not super into it, if you could take or leave it, what’s wrong with leaving it? It’s possible there’s a middle I’m excluding here.

  475. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    Hershele Ostropoler: Why is this a bug rather than a feature? If you’re not super into it, if you could take or leave it, what’s wrong with leaving it? It’s possible there’s a middle I’m excluding here.

    My husband and I tend to want sex about the same amount, but we often want it at different times. When he wants sex and we do it, I may not start out enthusiastic about having sex or I’ll have sex because he really wants it at the moment and I want him to be happy (also, still being an active participant). Often I’ll end up being an enthusiastic by the time we actually begin PIV, but I started off wanting to go to sleep and more “meh, OK, sure” than “Yay! Sex!”.

  476. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos August 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    LC:

    I don’t think that’s the intent, but it does seem to imply to them that without “urgency” as you put it, it can’t be consent. That doesn’t seem right, either. (I’ve taken to using “active” as opposed to “enthusiastic”, personally.)

    I don’t know about “urgency” so much. But I’m reminded of the recent article about the woman who asked for and got “dub-con” violent sex as a way to reach some sort healing from her PTSD. “Enthusiasm” doesn’t even come close to covering all the emotional states in which I might want or need sex. And then there’s wrestling with sex on top of medical concerns.

    In addition to enthusiastic consent, I think we need to have a space for examined and negotiated consent. And part of that is a way of talking about asymmetrical relationships that doesn’t assume that one person or the other is being emotionally or sexually abused.

  477. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    Shoshie: When he wants sex and we do it, I may not start out enthusiastic about having sex or I’ll have sex because he really wants it at the moment and I want him to be happy (also, still being an active participant).

    I should have worded it better; I didn’t mean you shouldn’t have sex you’re not enthusiastic about, only that you shouldn’t feel compelled to, or to feign enthusiasm you don’t feel.

    I’ll cosign CBrachyrhynchos saying that enthusiastic consent isn’t the whole story, certianly. I always got the impression the “enthusiastic consent” was (initially) (intended as) a guideline for casual hookups and incipient relationships rather than ongoing relationships, as an answer to all those people who say they can’t always tell whether someone’s consenting or not. If we stipulate that it’s not always easy to tell consent from non-consent, and it’s even harder to tell someone else’s consent from their non-consent (particularly, perhaps, if you’re non-NT), it’s comparatively easy to tell someone’s enthusiastic consent from their non-consent.

  478. Aydan
    Aydan August 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    zuzu: Because I’m asking you, IF someone VALUES HAVING THEIR PARTNER SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THEM, what would be fun FOR THEM about HAVING A PARTNER WHO WAS NEVER GOING TO BE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THEM?

    If.. then… see how that works?

    You seem to be saying that because sex feels good otherwise, it shouldn’t be a big deal if your partner finds you sexually attractive.Which is a very casual dismissal of my if-then.I’m not talking about someone who doesn’t give a toss if their partner thinks they’re hot, or wants them.I’m talking someone for whom that’s an important part of sex.What’s in it for them?

    This is where you are losing me. Back in comments 477 and 480 we agreed that most sexual people get something out of sex that goes above/beyond the fact that their partner is sexually attracted to them. That is, that’s not the only reason people have sex. “What’s in it for them” is, therefore… whatever they get out of sex that goes above/beyond the fact that their partner is sexually attracted to them. If you are asking me to elucidate these things specifically, you’d be better off asking a sexual person. But we’ve agreed that having your partner be sexually attracted to is not the only thing most people get out of sex, or the only thing that makes sex pleasurable, so…

    I’m not disagreeing that for many or most people, having your partner be sexually attracted to you is important, and that if your partner isn’t, the sex may not be as good. (However, an asexual person can be “into” the sex they are having with a sexual person, and “into” the person non-sexually, without being sexually attracted to them, and I’m not convinced, from what other sexual people have said, that these things are always terribly distinguishable during the sex itself.)

    When I think about sex involving asexuals vs. sex that doesn’t, a lack of “urgency” is actually one of the things that frequently comes to mind. However, I think there’s a sort of mimicry/edge blending/grey area going on there, too. You can be in a place where you really really want the sex you are having with your partner, which creates urgency, without feeling what I think most people mean when they say you “want” someone sexually.

    Do many or most asexuals feel this way? I actually have no idea– because the stereotype of asexual people is that they don’t have or enjoy sex, aces who do may not self-identify as asexual, may ID as grey-asexual, or may feel atypical and therefore not speak up about their experiences. It’s an unfortunate positive feedback loop. I know that there are many asexuals who don’t like sex, or who would be less enthusiastic about sex than I have described here– because like any other community, the ace community is not monolithic. I just don’t know what proportion of the community they comprise.

  479. La Lubu
    La Lubu August 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    But we’ve agreed that having your partner be sexually attracted to is not the only thing most people get out of sex, or the only thing that makes sex pleasurable, so…

    Aydan, I sure can’t speak for all sexual people, and I agree that having one’s partner be sexually attracted to them isn’t the “only” thing that makes sex pleasurable—but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that having one’s partner be sexually attracted to them is an essential component, if not the only component, for most sexual people (and especially, for most sexual women).

    Anecdatally, almost all of the women I know have been in at least one emotionally abusive relationship, and the form of that emotional abuse that all of them had in common was this: denigration of one’s physical appearance and sexual desirability. So, having sex with someone who is “meh” about it, is libido-destroying. I literally could not, despite my best efforts, have anything remotely resembling pleasurable sex with someone who didn’t strongly desire me on a physical, as well as mental, basis. Sex is a sensual activity. If the sensual pleasure isn’t there, there’s no “there”, there!!

    And frankly, knowing full well that a partner was only engaging in sex with me as a duty, or to keep me around because he liked my other qualities (just not my sexuality, or wasn’t sexually attracted to my body)—that would be seriously creepy to me. It would feel coercive despite that partner’s verbal reassurances that he was ok with it, or doing it to please me, or whatever. I would still hear an unspoken “even though that’s not true.” It would be….”rape-y” is probably the wrong word, but that is what came to mind.

    Mutuality is essential for most sexual people—and I’m seriously afraid of the ones for whom it isn’t (for what oughta be obvious reasons). Not the sole component, or necessarily the main component—just a necessary ingredient, or catalyst, that makes everything else possible.

  480. zuzu
    zuzu August 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    Aydan: This is where you are losing me. Back in comments 477 and 480 we agreed that most sexual people get something out of sex that goes above/beyond the fact that their partner is sexually attracted to them. That is, that’s not the only reason people have sex. “What’s in it for them” is, therefore… whatever they get out of sex that goes above/beyond the fact that their partner is sexually attracted to them. If you are asking me to elucidate these things specifically, you’d be better off asking a sexual person. But we’ve agreed that having your partner be sexually attracted to is not the only thing most people get out of sex, or the only thing that makes sex pleasurable, so…

    So: You’re failing to see that there’s a good deal of complexity in what goes into pleasurability. Just because you have an orgasm doesn’t mean it’s good sex. There are a number of factors which are important to people who are sexual, and it’s quite a lot to ask of someone who finds mutual desire an important component of sexual pleasure to give that up permanently.

    I mean, we’re not talking about something waxing and waning here — as in the example Shoshie gave above about her and her husband, who often don’t both feel up to it but sometimes do — but rather, permanently forgoing something that’s important to that person. And as several people have said, after a while, they personally, when faced with a partner who didn’t desire them, would start feeling like they were coercing, imposing, etc., or at the very least that there was something wrong with them and their desirability.

  481. LC
    LC August 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    @Herschele Ostropoler

    Why is this a bug rather than a feature?

    I do think you’re missing a middle ground there, and Shoshie and CBrachyrhynchos touched on it.

    only that you shouldn’t feel compelled to, or to feign enthusiasm you don’t feel

    And yet this was exactly what I was told by these women they heard when I said “enthusiastic consent”. It was viewed as a demand for performance. As you say, the term was brought up to counter the whole “consent is so hard to determine”, but it does seem to have spun in this unfortunate direction in some cases. (I am not sure how widespread this interpretation is.)

    @CBrachyrhynchos

    “Enthusiasm” doesn’t even come close to covering all the emotional states in which I might want or need sex.

    In addition to enthusiastic consent, I think we need to have a space for examined and negotiated consent.

    Yes, this is part of what I’m trying to get at.

    I would still hear an unspoken “even though that’s not true.” It would be….”rape-y” is probably the wrong word, but that is what came to mind.

    Having been in a situation like this, that’s definitely right for me. The generous assumption is she was asexual or grey-asexual (I’ve never encountered that term before so I am not sure what it is encompassing) and didn’t know it or know how to express it. (There are less generous interpretations, of course.)

    It was still pretty devastating.

    I’m definitely going to have to do some reading on asexuality, since Ayden keeps describing something that seems remarkably difficult to separate from sexual. As I understand it you can like sex, like that person, and like sex with that person, but be asexual. That this is an internal quality of the perception of desire seems clear, but what that line is seems very vague to me.

    Mind you, we are somewhere past 500 now, perhaps we should find a way to start an asexuality thread?

  482. Florence
    Florence August 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm |

    La Lubu — thank you. You perfectly articulated what I’ve been trying to say less gracefully for some time now. :D

  483. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos August 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    If it’s important to you, you have every right to demand it from a relationship and break up if you can’t get it from the relationship.

    I object to the view that we can’t explicitly negotiate or compromise in this area, that any relationship where asymmetries in sexualities are explicitly discussed and negotiated is inherently abusive. If you don’t want to participate in those relationships, you don’t have to.

  484. Andie
    Andie August 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Jadey: The world needs more Munsch-love.

    And more Munsch Love it shall have. Linked at Name.

  485. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |

    zuzu: So: You’re failing to see that there’s a good deal of complexity in what goes into pleasurability. Just because you have an orgasm doesn’t mean it’s good sex.

    I think I can actually understand why someone who can easily orgasm without feeling any desire for the other person — is that a fair characterization? — doesn’t see what other people get out of being desired.

    LC: And yet this was exactly what I was told by these women they heard when I said “enthusiastic consent”. It was viewed as a demand for performance

    Well, all I can say about it is that it’s wrong. Or not even wrong. Anyone who says “you’re supposed to consent enthusiastically” is coming very close to saying “you’re not supposed to say no, you’re supposed to say yes,” but I don’t think the enthusiastic consent model is the problem there.

    LC: As I understand it you can like sex, like that person, and like sex with that person, but be asexual.

    I wonder if there are people who identify as asexual because they believe there’s supposed to be a choir of angels or whatever, and they’ve never hear that choir, and instead of concluding that the choir isn’t there, they conclude that they are incapable of hearing it.

  486. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    La Lubu: Mutuality is essential for most sexual people—and I’m seriously afraid of the ones for whom it isn’t (for what oughta be obvious reasons). Not the sole component, or necessarily the main component—just a necessary ingredient, or catalyst, that makes everything else possible.

    LC: It was still pretty devastating.

    Is it a heart-breaking and difficult thing to deal with, especially when it comes in the middle of a long-term relationship? Certainly. I have no objection or blame towards those who consider this an irreconcilable difference.

    But framing people honestly struggling to come to terms with this as deceptive or abusive doesn’t help.

  487. La Lubu
    La Lubu August 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm |

    But framing people honestly struggling to come to terms with this as deceptive or abusive doesn’t help.

    Perhaps my language was inartful, but I wasn’t trying to say that—what I was trying to get at, was that engaging in sex with someone who does not desire it, but is doing it as a form of negotiated transaction or tit-for-tat is or would be very triggering on a number of different levels for many people, probably disproportionately women. Triggering in a way that would not only remove any pleasure from the act itself, but carry forth into other aspects of the relationship as well. It’s about boundaries, trust, communication—-I don’t think most people have the ability to be able to negotiate terms when their practices and views regarding those things are so radically out of step with another person.

    And all this negotiation isn’t happening in a vacuum. Women especially are “supposed” to be good negotiators, and willing to compromise. We’re not supposed to have “dealbreakers”, especially if we’re not perfect. We’re especially not supposed to have sexual dealbreakers, especially if we’re not physically perfect.

    I object to the view that we can’t explicitly negotiate or compromise in this area, that any relationship where asymmetries in sexualities are explicitly discussed and negotiated is inherently abusive. If you don’t want to participate in those relationships, you don’t have to.

    I agree with this—in theory. In practice, no one, anywhere, personally or in overculture messaging, is telling me I can’t explicity negotiate or compromise in the sexual arena. What I get instead is the lecturing tone delivered by some of the messages in this thread—that because I can negotiate, I should, and that’s it’s unreasonable for me not to, particularly since I don’t meet physical perfection as exemplified in photoshopped media imagery, and that I’m missing out on “great partners” because I…..know what my own boundaries and limitations are, and insist upon them and only engaging in partners who are compatible to those needs. I get lectured on how those aren’t “really” needs, just desires, and therefore should be up for negotiation. I get told about my obligations, and how I should be more understanding/liberated/whatever.

    And I call bullshit to that. If that makes me an unreasonable hardcore bitch, I’m cool with that.

  488. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    CBrachyrhynchos: Is it a heart-breaking and difficult thing to deal with, especially when it comes in the middle of a long-term relationship? Certainly. I have no objection or blame towards those who consider this an irreconcilable difference.But framing people honestly struggling to come to terms with this as deceptive or abusive doesn’t help.

    That’s why *to me* it makes more sense to think of this in terms of a pseudo orientation. For some, a lustful? partner(s) is *necessary*. For others maybe preferable. For still others, perhaps not. I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of these sexual alignments. They are just different from one another and we have trouble talking about it because I think people assume their alignment is everyone’s alignment. Which obviously doesn’t work.

  489. Florence
    Florence August 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm |

    What La Lubu says, as always. Also,

    CBrachyrhynchos: But framing people honestly struggling to come to terms with this as deceptive or abusive doesn’t help.

    I haven’t seen a lot of that on this thread (but we’re at 500+ comments now, so) except where RT was initially saying that deception might be the only way he could find and maintain a relationship by not telling his partner about his asexual orientation. The backlash against that was fair, I think, because of the issues individual posters brought up regarding trust and intimacy (re: feeling “rape-y” as the sexual partner) and the strong disapproval by the group that entering into a relationship via planned deception was a bad idea. Which it is! I get that disclosure is really scary and opens people up for harm and abuse, but that can’t be the final step in our search for personal and social justice.

    [And speaking for myself, my disability can’t be the crutch I lean on to avoid having decent, meaningful, respectful relationships with the people in my life. Lying about my disability is a lack of integrity. Allowing my disability to be my excuse to be a dick to other people is a lack of integrity. Lack of integrity isn’t disability. I’m offended that the initial defense of the lack of disclosure –among feminist people — in sexual relationships — which are so often loaded with triggers and negotiations for us — Because Disability is trying to be excused Because Disability. The topic of disclosure and the whens/wheres/hows is a whole other ball of wax, but I refuse to let disability become the laurels we lay on as we avoid managing respectful emotional boundaries. And the defense of this excuse is becoming a really tiresome standard derail in the blogosphere at large.]

    Other than that, I haven’t seen any outright charges of underhandedness regarding asexuality on this thread. I do see a lot of confusion and people grappling with Ace 101 stuff, in part because the definition of asexual orientation that we’re using here is so murky. I’m not sure I really get it, at least as we’re defining it. I’m fitting a lot of asexually oriented blogs into my reading material this week though. And BTW, Ayden’s blog is quite good, peeps.

    La Lubu: I…..know what my own boundaries and limitations are, and insist upon them and only engaging in partners who are compatible to those needs. I get lectured on how those aren’t “really” needs, just desires, and therefore should be up for negotiation. I get told about my obligations, and how I should be more understanding/liberated/whatever.

    And I call bullshit to that. If that makes me an unreasonable hardcore bitch, I’m cool with that.

    This.

  490. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

    Aydan, you are really, really not listening.

    “Then, if we’re both working off of the assumption that there are additional things enjoyable and fun about sex than having one’s partner sexually attracted to them, whether or not either partner values that… why would it be a question whether or not the sexual partner could have fun, whether or not the other partner was sexually attracted to hir?”

    Multiple people in this thread have said that sex with a person who is not sexually attracted to them is not fun for them. Why don’t you believe them? It’s fair enough if you don’t understand them, but to flat out refuse to believe the words that they are saying about their own experience and preferences is really not OK.

  491. La Lubu
    La Lubu August 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    That’s why *to me* it makes more sense to think of this in terms of a pseudo orientation. For some, a lustful? partner(s) is *necessary*. For others maybe preferable. For still others, perhaps not. I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of these sexual alignments. They are just different from one another and we have trouble talking about it because I think people assume their alignment is everyone’s alignment. Which obviously doesn’t work.

    That’s a really interesting statement, Kristen J., and I think there’s a lot to unpack there. I don’t quite understand what you mean by “pseudo-orientation”, and that’s probably all wrapped up in my own defensiveness about my right as a woman to both have sexual desire and have that not be pathologized or up for compromise.

    And those neck hairs were raised by the following word you used: “lustful” (which, I recognize that you saw as problematic because of the question mark). What is “lustful”? We don’t all have the same definition of that word, and it is used differently towards different people. I’m pretty sure if I described myself as “lustful” anywhere in the online dating world, or even in person, simply meaning it as, ‘I do have a sexual appetite, and I’m GGG’ (GGG being an extremely loaded term in and of itself)—it would be a massive “failure to communicate”. There are all kinds of cultural landmines with that. We’re still not yet at a point where women can be frank to people we are not intimate with (as either friends or lovers), about our sexuality without being seen as “oversexed” or “slutty” or whathaveyou.

    We’re still at a point where women are expected to do the lion’s share of compromising in heterosexual relationships, especially around sexuality and sexual practices. Therein lies the rub. We get a lot of backing for compromising and being all go-along-get-along; none for standing firm on our own needs, and recognizing them as needs, not mere (consumer) desires.

  492. Shaun
    Shaun August 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    Florence: Shaun:You’ve sullied this space with your nastiness and continue to show up to defend yourself instead of stepping back and offering apologies or choosing to bow out of a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with you or your pet projects.
    If I showed up on a blog about disability and used obvious ableist slurs to “get” any point “through [anyone’s] thick head” I would have rightfully been called out on it and probably banned. Because it’s tantamount to hate speech in intent and it’s obviously designed to disrespect the community with which I claim to want to interact.

    I think this is where the conflict started, because it means that you viewed my coming in and calling out ableism as an intrusion to the real work you were doing here about slut-shaming.

    But feminism has to be about disability because (some) women are disabled. If a space isn’t about recognizing that some women live in the intersection of sexism and disability it’s not really a space for women (and non-men), just for certain kinds of women.

    I will acknowledge if the word “c*nt” was triggering maybe I should have starred it to disrupt the appearance, but if that was the case why didn’t Jill’s usage bother you (or if it did, why didn’t you say anything)? The qualitative difference can’t be that it was a “joke,” as if jokes are never offensive, and her use DID offend at least one person in the thread. The point of the analogy was to try to illustrate why the arguments you were defending were unacceptable in an ability context regardless of how unacceptable the original commenter’s sexual language was because it hurt people who were not involved or complicit in the original exchange. If you can tell me a better way I could have made the analogy for you, part of my intended audience, I’m listening, but I refuse to accept the idea that it is inappropriate for me to make analogies when being attacked by -ist rhetoric, and again, as for the word itself, the blog proprietor had already established precedent by *using it in a joke.*

    You’ve accused me of twisting your words and intentions but you ignore the context in which I speak. You put “stupid” in the same class of words as actual slurs but only object to it when it’s said by me, even though I apparently never actually said it. You deny me the agency to analogize about intersections *I experience personally* by accusing me of homophobia, ableism, and to some degree sexism. And yet you expect that I render special treatment unto a former writer and that one of the moderators has greater, not lesser latitude to use slurs even if they offend others. Something doesn’t make sense here, and I suspect this is more about who is saying it than what is actually being said, or what intersections of kyriarchy those speakers reside at.

    I believe your appeal to me was made in good faith and because you spoke to me that is why I have answered. I have tried, though, to explain why what happened previously was hurtful, ableist rhetoric and injurious to the passive reader. It’s not about coming in and “derailing,” it’s about the expectation that a feminist space should be a place inclusive of women (and non-men) regardless of what kind of woman they are, just as you, me, or any disabled woman should expect a disabled space to include women.

  493. Aydan
    Aydan August 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    Aydan, you are really, really not listening.

    “Then, if we’re both working off of the assumption that there are additional things enjoyable and fun about sex than having one’s partner sexually attracted to them, whether or not either partner values that… why would it be a question whether or not the sexual partner could have fun, whether or not the other partner was sexually attracted to hir?”

    Multiple people in this thread have said that sex with a person who is not sexually attracted to them is not fun for them. Why don’t you believe them? It’s fair enough if you don’t understand them, but to flat out refuse to believe the words that they are saying about their own experience and preferences is really not OK.

    Because if anyone has said precisely that, I have missed it. There is a difference between “sex with a person who is not sexually attracted to me is not fun for me” and “sex with a person who is not into it is not fun for me.” There is also a difference between “sex with a person who is not sexually attracted to me is not fun for me” and “having sex with a person who is not sexually attracted to me diminishes my enjoyment of the act.”

    Because I felt like I was saying the same things over and over again, and because this was never meant to be a thread about asexuality, I wrote up an asexuality 101/201 post on my blog, summarizing and reiterating many of the things I have been saying. For anyone who’s interested in further reading about asexual issues, I recommend Writing From Factor X by Sciatrix, who also keeps a good blogroll of other asexuality-related blogs. Shades of Grey is another good blog and, like Writing From Factor X, has an extensive list of recommendations. The asexuality tag on Tumblr is a third place to look, though it tends to contain more skirmishing and less long content than the other two.

  494. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    @La Lubu,

    I feel like there really aren’t good words to use here. I feel lust (which for me doesn’t carry the same baggage). To me that word means that I experience sexual desire. Having a partner that also experiences sexual desire is a *condition* of my sexual desire. I’m not interested unless my partner is interested. Period. The idea that you could experience “pleasure” from sex when your partner is not sexually desiring the interaction is a completey foreign concept to me.

    BUT, people have explained that they don’t have the same experience with sexual desire and its interaction with a partner(s) sexual desire. Some people prefer (but do not require) partner who sexually desires them. Some people are indifferent.

    I don’t think that’s *necessarily* reflective of compromise, it can simply be that people have different experiences with sexual desire.

    I guess in my mind it seems to make sense in the same way that lots of sexual preferences (?) (fuck all the language here is ridiculous) make sense. I.e., some of us like/dislike/need massages, bondage, multiple partners, feet, food, foam fingers, motorboat noises, etc. etc. etc.

  495. R.T.
    R.T. August 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm |

    RT was initially saying that deception might be the only way he could find and maintain a relationship by not telling his partner about his asexual orientation.

    Only other people are writing that I would deceive a partner, not me, and justifying this by claiming they can read between the lines or put two and two together when they have nothing to work with and no knowledge of me.

    This has to stop. I feel that the discussion has turned from misunderstanding to abuse because this idea is persisting despite the many times I’ve corrected it.

    And Florence, I am getting extremely annoyed with you saying that I’m using disability as a crutch.

    But screw it, writing fiction is fun and I don’t want to be a buzzkill

  496. zuzu
    zuzu August 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm |

    Shaun: But feminism has to be about disability because (some) women are disabled.

    And you’re just so sure you know who those women are, don’t you?

    How are you so sure I’m NT (sorry, an “NT piece of shit”)? You’ve never answered that.

  497. zuzu
    zuzu August 12, 2011 at 12:00 am |

    R.T.: I don’t want to be a buzzkill

    That horse left the barn when you decided that making a thread about women’s sexual desire all about a man’s lack of desire was a good idea.

  498. R.T.
    R.T. August 12, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    The comment must have been pretty un-gendered since you, as I recall, were the first to call me a woman, and it was an un-gendered, uni-sex question and one about sexuality. It seemed on topic to me, and this big to do is based on a misunderstanding.

    You’re not going to find anything of value in me so stop the digs.

  499. zuzu
    zuzu August 12, 2011 at 12:45 am |

    And yet you knew you were a man, RT. Moreover, this “big to do” has a lot more with Shaun and his trolling than with you at this point.

  500. La Lubu
    La Lubu August 12, 2011 at 7:56 am |

    I feel like there really aren’t good words to use here. I feel lust (which for me doesn’t carry the same baggage). To me that word means that I experience sexual desire.

    You’re right. There aren’t any good words to use here because of all the intersections and histories. I mean, let’s face it—one of the reasons the word “lust” doesn’t carry any baggage for you is because you’re married. Married women are allowed to feel lust; indeed are supposed to feel lust, at least for their husbands. I’m not just a single woman, I’m a long-term single woman who is an unwed mother. “Lust” as applied to me means “has an insatiable hunger for sex, an uncontrollable sexual appetite”. That stereotype wouldn’t be any big deal if it didn’t also impact my professional life—which it does, via rumors (some of which are really bizarre). My slice of the world has long been liberated when it comes to economic, political, or educational opportunities and achievements of women (before the mainstream), but is still in the dark ages when it comes to sex and sexuality. Just sayin’…it’s not like all I have to do is “free my mind”—I already have to negotiate my way through a world where my relatively-middle-of-the-bell-curve sexual desire is pathologized as sexual vampirism because it isn’t reined in by the presence of a husband. I’m supposedly that chick that’s gonna fuck your husband behind your back, y’know? And that’s tiring. (mentally tiring, not literally—and not because I’m in shape for all that extracurricular sex. *smile* in my world, to speak of a woman in that manner is to disrespect her—and I’m tired of being disrespected, is all.)

    Sure, people have different experiences with sexual desire…but you know who we haven’t heard from in this lengthy thread? Women who experience lust on a regular basis, who are willing to engage with a partner who does not feel lust, ever. Nothing but crickets chirping from that end of the room, which leads me to believe that while that end of the room isn’t devoid of people, the population is pretty damn sparse.

    I can get why asexuals don’t necessarily want to advertise that fact. Absence of sexual desire is pathologized at least as much as middle-of-the-bell-curve sexual desire is reimaged as “over-sex-ed-ness” in women. And shoot, as a person who lives in a place where there isn’t exactly a density of singles (welcome to the rust belt! leaving so soon?), I know, viscerally, that the dating scene is no picnic. But. Within the context of slut-shaming, within the context of the expectation of women to compromise every-damn-thing that is important to us (perhaps a slight exaggeration, but I’ve had a lot of time to be on the receiving end of “well-meaning” lectures, being in my mid-forties and all)….within that context I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we admit that in all but very rare cases, sexual people are not a good match for asexual people, and that this is basic information that should be provided to a potential partner (not necessarily the world at large—but yeah, in populations of less density—including urban areas of less than a quarter million people—it’ll work out that way).

    Look. I have to live with the fact that various assumptions are projected onto me whether I like it or not, and that the more I verbalize my displeasure with that—well, that’s supposed to be evidence that all those assumptions are true. Evidence that I am who others say I am. All I can do is keep my head up with a dignified silence, and a sniff at their ignorance. Why is that supposed to be too much a burden for asexuals? Because they can hide in a way I can’t? Or is that just my “sexual privilege” talking? Because where I’m from, being a “slut” isn’t a place of sexual privilege for women.

  501. Aydan
    Aydan August 12, 2011 at 8:38 am |

    OK, so here’s the question I have:

    I understand, and agree, that having sex with a partner who’s not in some way into it, or who’s not enjoying it, is not particularly fun. I also would not want to have sex with someone who was lying back and thinking of England. But that’s not actually the scenario I’ve been talking about, which may be why it seems like I’m saying the same thing over and over again.

    My point is that there are more ways to be into someone and to enjoy them than to be sexually attracted to them, and that not being sexually attracted to your partner doesn’t mean you’re not into them or not into the sex.

    So in light of that, I’m curious how you tell the difference between your partner being specifically sexually attracted to you, or “wanting” you, and your partner wanting the sex that they’re having with you. (Obviously if your partner’s selfish that would be a giveaway, so assume that by “sex” I don’t mean “their own orgasm” but the entirety of the encounter.)

  502. Aydan
    Aydan August 12, 2011 at 8:50 am |

    I guess another way of saying what I’m trying to get at is, by what criteria do you determine that your partner’s sexually attracted to you, assuming you don’t ask “Are you sexually attracted to me?” and they don’t come out and say “I’m sexually attracted to you”?

  503. LC
    LC August 12, 2011 at 9:07 am |

    CBrachyrhynchos

    But framing people honestly struggling to come to terms with this as deceptive or abusive doesn’t help.

    I was going to get very defensive about this, but re-reading, I can see how my post reads that way. I was actually trying to imply that if this was what was going on, it can still hurt, even though there was no fault there. (I’d actually far prefer discovering this was the case.)

  504. LC
    LC August 12, 2011 at 9:33 am |

    Aydan, I think this last question is really getting at the core of it. And, given that we’re not mind readers, I am not sure there is an easy answer.

    I’ll throw something out that may help explain some of the visceral pushback you’re getting. (Or maybe not, personal experiences are not always helpful. *grin*)

    I often distinguish between “casual” sex and “disposable” sex. Casual can be not about a long-term relationship, or any expectation, but is based on desiring *that* person at that time. (And it being mutual, of course.)

    Disposable is about getting laid, and frankly, who it is doesn’t matter so much as long as they get the job done. (Again, mutuality is assumed.)

    When many people talk about one night stands being “empty”, I tend to assume they are talking about what I term “disposable” sex.

    Personally, I don’t like feeling disposable.

    What you describe, where someone likes the sex, but isn’t sexually attracted to the person, sounds a lot like disposable sex the way I conceive it. You want the sex, but who it is from doesn’t really matter all that much.

    That’s sort of the flip side of the whole “you don’t actually want the sex, so I feel like I’m pressuring you” side of it which has been brought up earlier.

    But, as you say, if all we have to go on is that you like me and you like sex with me, how would I know the difference? Honestly, I suspect I wouldn’t. However, I can’t divorce “liking sex” from “finding people sexy”, so I have a major block in understanding your internal process here. (That’s clearly my thing, I just have no conceptual framework for it.) If I like someone, and like sex with them, then I find them on some level sexy. Q.E.D. I literally cannot have liked sex with them if I didn’t find them sexy, so for me, to have someone say “I like sex with you but don’t am not sexually attracted to you” sounds completely wrong.

    I’m glad you put up those Ace posts, and I have a busy enough day at work that I suspect I won’t get to them until the weekend, so please excuse me if I am going over previously-trod ground.

    (I also don’t want to do the whole “I will ask my ace friend!” thing, since that just seems rude and annoying.)

  505. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 12, 2011 at 9:33 am |

    @La Lubu,

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I am just trying to figure the right words to talk about this issue and you’re right they all have baggage. Including the shit load of misogyn