Safe spaces and identity

I struggled for a very, very long time with my identity, as referenced in my last post. Once I discovered asexuality, I had serious thoughts that ‘this could be me.’ But it couldn’t, could it? After all, I enjoyed sex. I liked having sex. All the asexuals I knew hated sex. The asexual community was full of discussions about how icky sex was and how no one ever wanted to have it, ever. Even when I talked about being ace, on a popular ace-community forum, but enjoying sex, I was told by another asexual that I could not be ace, because I enjoyed sex.

And that bugged me.

Even as I became more and more certain that I was ace, even as I self-analysed myself nearly to death trying to sort it out and coming to the same conclusion over and over again? I kept feeling like the safe spaces set up for asexuals were not for me. Because sex can’t be talked about in ace spaces. It’s triggering. It’s scary. It’s wrong. Repulsed aces will be hurt by it.

So for me to enter the ace community and speak openly about myself ended up feeling like I would be hurting people’s ability to feel safe in a space set aside for them. So I drifted away from the ace community. Because I didn’t want to hurt other people. I didn’t want to drive other people out of their safe spaces. I also didn’t want to be told that part of my healthy, balanced identity was ‘too triggering’ or needed ‘trigger’ or ‘spoiler’ warnings. That hurt me. The requirement in many ace spaces to hide sexual discussions behind spoiler tags feels like people trying to discuss sex are being shoved into a dark, dingy basement room to express their perversion instead of being allowed to talk about it with the civilized people. It’s not something that should be discussed openly.

Except that it is something to be talked about and discussed openly. How hard it must be for asexuals who are willing to tolerate sex as part of a relationship with a sexual partner! How can they come to their community for support when their actions are dirty, hidden?

I am, I suppose, fortunate. I ‘pass’ as sexual due to my openness about my sexual history and my varied sexual partners. I experience what I suppose could be termed sexual privilege because I pass. I can live as if I weren’t asexual. I am welcome in sexual spaces and, aside from laughing my ass off when I go to a bar with porn playing in it as I did last week, because really, porn is ridiculous, I blend in fairly well.

But that doesn’t make me less asexual. That doesn’t make me feel less forgotten. That doesn’t make my long-term partner feel less undesirable because I am simply not physically attracted to him. That doesn’t ‘fix’ it. It just makes me invisible.

I don’t like feeling invisible. I don’t like feeling isolated. It hurts. I feel like I’m hiding part of myself away by ‘passing’ as sexual. But if I enter asexual spaces, I have to hide part of myself away in order to feel like my ‘perversions’ won’t trigger other people.

I feel, and this is irrational and just a feeling, like I am being slut shamed out of one community and am trying to live on the fringes of another that really doesn’t suit me.

Where do I fit in? Do I count? At all?

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3 Responses to Safe spaces and identity

  1. Pingback: Let’s Not Generalize, Please « Writing From Factor X

  2. Thanks for this,

    Of course you can be an asexual and love sex. Please note that there is people in the world thinking the same as you. And you’re right, this have to be spoken about. More.

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