3 Specific Experiences Asexuals have with Media

By Sophie Dearden

 

Nookie. Snu-snu. Hide the ferret. How’s your father. Knockin’ boots. Netflix and chill. Bludgeoning the flaps. These are all names for that one magical action known as sex. When two or more consenting adults (because all teenagers are good are pure and totally don’t bone) grind their various body parts together in the hope of achieving physical pleasure.

But did you know there are people out there who don’t have ANY desire at all to make use of their parts in such ways? We are called asexual. And as with most things involving the reproductive organs of human beings, the full story is rather complicated. However, the gist of it is that asexuality exists on a spectrum wherein the people on that spectrum don’t feel sexual desire, or feel it very rarely. (Yet there are many asexual people for whom, romantic desires still exist, such as hand holding, cuddling, kissing, dating, etc.)

Don’t reach for your holy water (you straight people keep that on you at all times, right?) I assure you that we’re not freaks of nature, witches preparing to sacrifice you, nor do we suffer from some horrible affliction. We live happy, fulfilling lives, wondering why on earth you allosexuals (that’s our name for you, rest assured, it’s complimentary) are so concerned with passing your genitals around to each other.

And before you guys complain that you aren’t slavering, sex hungry beasts, you should complain to all those showrunners and writers first. Because really, they are not doing you any favours in that department. Sex in media and I have had a long, strange relationship, and today on PopLurker, I’m going to make you sit here and read about it.

There will be no bathroom breaks.

 

3. Books were the Original Culprit

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I love books. They are near and dear to me. Hell, I would have my books buried with me if it didn’t mean my children wouldn’t have them for themselves. Shit, depending on my mood, maybe I’ll have my books buried with me so my children can’t have them! Take that, future. The point is, I adore my books and treasure them.

All. Sorts. Of books.

Hear me out: I remember there was this big, ornate, swanky wooden cupboard in the living room (that’s right, I’m fancy. Be jealous). In it there were old CDs, some old DVDs…

And two or three shelves full of my mom’s trashy romance novels.

 

Now as a kid this really didn’t matter to me, I doubt I ever gave those spicy cookbooks a second look for a long while. But when I hit puberty and the hormones began rushing through my body (specifically, my crotch) I stopped seeing it as a cupboard full of boring, outdated stuff and started seeing it as a treasure chest full of unmonitored diddlelature.

I can still remember the vague plots of at least two of my favorites. Which is in itself noteworthy because I’m sure my mother would be all like “wait, there was a plot?” But at that age, I ate those books up. I hid them under my bed and memorized the best page numbers so I wouldn’t leave evidence in the form of dog-eared corners, because I’m smart.

Beyond that treasure trove for my horny, teenage self, any book with any mention of lady parts immediately went to my re-reading list. Even age-appropriate books that simply acknowledged the forbidden nether-land were on the same level as my mother’s romancerbation collection.

But.

As I got older there was something I noticed. With the real books I read for the actual story (and only the story) I appreciated the sexual content less. I could get behind romance, but if there was sex, I just switched off, something that still happens to this day. So apparently, I like story with my sex, but not sex with my story. Back then, it even extended to fan fiction I read, just reading all the smut I could whether or not I knew the fandom.

I certainly don’t partake in those trashy novels anymore. But these days I still roll my eyes and complain “get to the good part,” whenever a sex scene rears its head in one of my novels. And when it comes to fan fiction, my pallet is similarly refined-I seek out good-quality, romantic stories, but I absolutely read them to read about my favourite pairings having sex. I’m just only interested if the stuff surrounding the sex is sufficiently interesting and high-quality.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, moms, don’t lock your porn cabinets, your kids will thank you inside.

 

2. Movies don’t make it easier

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This is where the real meat comes in, no pun intended. Around the time I was sneaking those trashy novels around, my hormones overrode my body and compelled me to seek out any image of boobs I could find.

Now before going straight to the obvious, let me start with regular movies.

I don’t know how it happens precisely, but in those couple years when puberty is hitting you, the adolescent brain becomes a super computer perfectly designed for the identification and acquisition of nudity. Truthfully, my asexual brain was no different. By the time I was about fourteen, I was an expert in identifying which movies were most likely to contain nudity, figuring out how best to acquire those movies, and calculating when, in a house of two parents and a little sister, I would be able to pop said movie into the DVD player and get my hit of those sweet, sweet cans.

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This will do just fine

Looking back, I can’t help but feel a weird mix of pride and embarrassment.

Another thing I did was scour every DVD in the house that I hadn’t already watched with my family, and run through it on fast forward so I could search out the maximum number of lady-parts in the minimum amount of time. It was simplistic for sure, but it got the job done and I found a couple good ones that I kept on coming back to.

Now, let’s tackle the elephant in the room. As soon as I got a computer in my room I watched just all the porn. Every porno in the fucking room. A big chunk of what I know about computers and the internet, I learned trying to hide my digital footprint from my parents.

 

But the thing that set me apart from every other kid my age who was doing the same thing was, I just watched porn like any other movie.

I literally…. just watched.

I mean, I got those exciting tingles we all get. My physical reactions were all what one would expect. But never once did I desire to do anything about them. Sure, I sent a couple five-man expeditions south of the equator, but they always reported back swiftly, with news that the south was inhospitable and did not welcome their presence.

What I’m trying to say here is that I didn’t masturbate.

I never thought much of this. Anything of it, really, until I was in high school and I insisted to my friend that I didn’t masturbate. She called bullshit and I tried to explain that it was because I didn’t find myself attractive (anyone else miss that simplistic cut-and-dry teenage shit?) To this day it makes me smile thinking about that, because she looked at me like I was crazy.

It was clear that we were both coming to that conversation with completely different understandings of how that stuff worked; there was my understanding, and her correct one.

 

1. What, did you think TV was any better?

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Now with TV (like everything else around me during puberty) I began looking at it and asking: How can I make you show me boobs? But as I got older (and watched more shows with my mother, who strangely enough factors into many of these stories…) there was a shift in my relationship with sex on TV.

Here’s the thing though, perhaps you don’t realize it, but sex really is everywhere on TV. Most of my favorite shows feature a minimum of one sex scene per season, with some working out to even more than that. And if it’s not being shown, then it’s being talked about even more than that, and numerous other “fade to black” moments, especially on sitcoms, or dramas.

 

And I get it, relationships are a big part of character drama and sex is a big part of relationships, and I know that relationship drama is a big source of fuel to almost every show, but eventually it just gets tiring. It takes me out of the show.

It’s kind of a bummer.

Everyone says that sex sells, but to this day, I can’t fully understand why. And why it has to be in everything still escapes me. It puts me on the outside, looking at stuff and thinking “no, sex doesn’t have to happen. This was doing so well, why did they have to ruin it with naked people?”

 

For example, people having sex with other people when they KNOW that the consequences will be hell to pay. It’s more amplified in comedy but it exists in every genre; if there’s someone that a (usually male) character wants to have sex with, then he’s very likely going to have sex with them at some point, even if means ruining lives, wrecking families, and endangering friendships.

I’m talking about the characters who know that this is a bad course of action. I understood that there were people who would delight in doing sucky things just for the sake of it, or who just plain didn’t care about hurting others. But the ostensible good-guys, who consciously acknowledged that “no, if I have sex with this person, it will result in bad things happening” still, very frequently went through with the deed.

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If you don’t remember where this Degrassi drama went, you don’t truly understand TV.

People make bad decisions, sure, but this was a bad decision that was consistently made by many people in many shows-just try and name a show for adults or even older teens that doesn’t have a subplot of “someone has sex with someone they shouldn’t” at some point in its history. All that left me with the feeling that people in TV shows are selfish and short-sighted-how else could you explain doing something as unthinking as sleeping with your toxic ex? Or your brother’s wife? Or your best friend’s boyfriend?

That doesn’t just baffle me! It BURNS me. Like, physical rage and flames. I cannot imagine anything I enjoy so much that I would put people’s feelings on the line for it. That includes cake! CHOCOLATE cake!

Yeah, I mean business.

A solid amount of this is down to gender stereotypes, of men in particular but it even applies to women. It sends the message that the prospect of sex makes people turn into idiots that go around crotch first hoping to make contact with something amenable. This all left me with a simmering dread of the day my sex drive would turn on and I would morph into a short-sighted sex-fiend. These plotlines don’t resonate with me. I can’t get behind them, and exclusion that’s pretty common to the asexual experience.

Now I’m older and I have a better understanding of sex; it’s ins and outs (heh) and how people comport themselves with regards to it. As an asexual, my relationship to it was and is a weird duality. I can only speak to my own experiences but for me, sex is like vegetables: I don’t like it in general, but I can tolerate and even enjoy it when I want to look for it. But when it shows up somewhere I don’t want it, then it’s just an unpleasant surprise that makes my face scrunch up.

And believe me, that happens way more often than you might guess.

But honestly, I’m still figuring out a lot of this stuff. I’ve only known I was asexual for the last three or four years and I’m still learning exactly what that means for me. Hell, in three or four more years, maybe we’ll have a sequel here on PopLurker that will divulge a different tale, who knows. As for now, I’ll leave you with this much: Ladies and gentlemen, you may all use the bathroom now.

You’ve earned it.

 

You can pay Sophie in chocolate cake on Twitter.

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