Wednesday, 23 December 2009

So just what do you do all day?

The annoying girl (let’s call her V) from the last post returns! In a birthday party she had last Saturday, she brought her boyfriend along, who knew all about my asexuality, and he became the third person (after V and a guy from college), who responded to this news with the question:

“So just what do you do/think about all day?”

On the basis that pretty much everyone who I’ve ever come out to who isn’t a largely disinterested virgin has said this in some form, and it’s something I’ve not heard of from any other asexual, I think this idea deserves more examination.
Before, I’ve always answered with “Whatever you do/think about when you’re not doing/thinking about sex,” and they go away still bemused. This time, and largely to annoy V, who thinks I have some problem with her sexuality, and because I was revelling in the discomfort of this conversation, I asked her boyfriend, “How often, as a proportion of the day, do you spend on sex and girls?”
And he said, after much thought, and after we’d debated whether time spent sleeping could count, that everything he did was because of sex and girls. From the high-class degree he’s studying to the amount of time he works out, everything he does (direct quote) “is so people can find me attractive, and spending time with people who find me attractive.” He then asked me why I hadn’t accomplished anything major with my life. I have, in fact, done very little, despite not having this overwhelming amount of time dedicated to sex and romance, which he seemed to feel was fairly normal.

At this point, trusty V, in an effort to make the conversation awkward for me, and not for her, began to suck his face off. I escaped to the prudish corner of the room (which, given the inexperience of my friends, was basically all of it that didn’t have V in it).
But that’s been rattling round in my head ever since. What do you do all day? What have you achieved with the time you’ve been granted by your asexuality and effective aromanticity? What positives have you made out of a situation that would make people like V feel life isn’t worth living?

I was going to write this down and blog it, but I didn’t have an answer. I felt there was no conclusion. And then, today, on the irritating MSN popup window that always opens, I found this article.
I tend to like perusing the dating articles on MSN (which they have about once a week, sponsored discreetly but not too discreetly by an internet dating service), on the basis that, since this girl ruined Cosmopolitan for me, it’s the best way to press my face against the glass of cosy, vapid, thoughtless heteronormativity, and feel that sort of blankness that comes from seeing your future everywhere, which is normally denied to me.
In a cynical, objective way, of course.

I really can’t tell why, but this article got me thinking about my seemingly inevitable slow-motion realisation of some innate aromanticness in me. Somehow, it got me thinking about how people invest such a great amount of time in boyfriends and girlfriends, and how I have nothing to fill that void, no hope of an intimate connection that is just automatically an intimate connection, because society says it is.

And that’s when I realised. I can spend all of my life forming those intimate connections with other people, connections that don’t have to end, and that have a healthier amount of communication than the standard romance, and that are more tailored to our needs. And I can spend all of my time, outside of work and recreation and sleep and all that other stuff, thinking about my friendships, where they are, how to improve them, how to let my friends know how much they mean to me. THAT’s what I do all day. And I really think I’ve picked the longest straw.


  1. Wow! This is a fantastic essay. Extremely thoughtful and thought provoking. Thank you.

  2. "And that’s when I realised. I can spend all of my life forming those intimate connections with other people, connections that don’t have to end, and that have a healthier amount of communication than the standard romance, and that are more tailored to our needs."

    I haven't read a great deal about asexuality yet. It's a topic and lifestyle that I am still learning about. But from what I *have* read, I see an uncomfortable trend of sexuals and asexuals just being nasty when they meet up. The sexuals look down on the asexuals for not getting girls, and the asexuals say they have "evolved" past the drama and distraction of sex, and that the sexuals have more problems in their lives because of their interest in sex than they would otherwise. How is this different from straight and gay people bashing each other's lives, or any other kind of minority bashing?

    Reading your article made sad. I'm certain there really *are* people who are sexual and don't do *everything* for "sex and girls" (or sex and guys). I, a cisgender female, think about sex as often as most boys are said to and feel a lot happier when I have it, but it's not everything to me. I think about my career in terms of how it will give me the money to have a decent life and savings, not to impress people to fuck me. And, even though I have a growing circle of friends who are involved in the BDSM community, we also spend a lot of time talking about law, Obama, mathmatics, the weather, and Dr. Who. I'll agree that in the US, the sexuals still have a lot of work to do when it comes to communication and the laws of attraction, but we're not ALL jerks like these facesuckers who seem to just want to be rude to you.

    I think asexual people should be able to do what will make them happiest, just like anyone. You shouldn't even spend all your time when you're not working or sleeping thinking about your friends if you just want a way to "fill the void". Writing, activism, computer coding, dance... there are lots of other things that are worth doing as well.

  3. Thanks for your comments, both of you.

    Molly, I completely agree. I hate that idea of asexuals 'evolving' beyond 'icky stuff'. Even not considering the weird moral standpoint on sex, the idea is that asexuals have evolved to be cleverer and less easily led, and yet the idea is built on these stupid misunderstandings of how evolution actually works, so it sort of contradicts itself. Fortunately, I've pretty much never seen this view, except once in a less judgemental 'reducing the population' sort of way on AVEN.

    Yes, I know most sexual people have a large proportion of their life doing non-sexual things. In fact, I'm completely sure even these people I've mentioned spend a lot more time being non-sexual than they realise, but, for some reason, the boldness of his rhetoric, and the way he said it all like it was the most uncontradictable thing in the world made me want to find my place even in his theoretical 100% sexual world. I guess it'll help me if more people turn round and ask me this in the future.

    And you're right, the law, Dr Who, writing and dance are also cool things that I'm not going to give up my interest in. (Obama, maths, the weather and computer programming are also cool, but, for me, from afar) :D