Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Frustrations

Recently Fox News, that bastion of journalistic excellence, showed a piece on asexuality. It was balanced, respectful and well-researched – I really think it’ll increase visibility and acceptance.
Nah, only kidding. (Here’s a petition asking Fox News to try actually engaging with some asexual people next time they decide to feature a segment on them.)
There are a lot of things that frustrate me, many of which fall under the remit of Queereka or, more specifically, relate to asexuality. This video includes about a dozen of them, but I think my personal least favourite is that being asexual is boring. This is perhaps one of the less harmful frustrating things, but it’s also a variant of something I’ve had drummed into me for most of my life, which is probably why it annoys me in particular. That’s not to say it’s not harmful at all though – the attitude of “this is how much sex you must have before you’re considered acceptable [BUT NO MORE THAN THAT]” breeds feelings of inadequacy in people of all levels of attraction. It also plays into the idea of asexual people being broken or freakish, as well as subtly implying that asexuality is the result of undesirability. It’s certainly more a reflection of the people who say it than the people to whom they say it (and the society in which all those people live).
I actually encountered the “x makes you boring” face to face recently, though in that instance it was being teetotal that was meant to dictate how interesting you are. This person, a nutritionist, also told me that eating more oily fish would cure a decade worth of depression and anxiety. You’ll be pleased to hear I’m not currently downing salmon daquiris in an attempt to make my life worth living.
What responses to your sexuality or gender (or any other important aspect of yourself) do you find most frustrating and why? How do you deal with them?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.
(Featured image by Steve Berry on Flickr.)

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Courtney is a theoretical physics student at Imperial College London, broadly identifying as cisfemale, panromantic, asexual and atheist. She lives with mental illness (worst room-mate ever) and hopes to help break down the stigma attached to admitting that. Her hobbies include campaigning, internetting and spectacularly failing to defy any stereotypes regarding British people and tea. She also identifies as an X-Phile/Browncoat/Whovian, which are clearly the most important things.


  1. August 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm —

    Currently it’s “This must be an abusive situation, you just can’t admit it” in regards to my poly relationship. It’s frustrating because no matter how I tell them that I’m happy and loved, they just won’t believe it

  2. August 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm —

    I’ve had people have issues with my non-drinking before but most people are fine with it in theory, but I’ve had a lot of people take it as some kind of insult that I don’t want to hang out with them when they’re drinking. Like, I don’t mind if someone drinks while we’re doing something else, I play pool with my dad every week and he has a few beers while we play; I’m cool with that, I just don’t want to spend time doing something where drinking is the focus or where people get drunk. I like to think of it like having a friend who doesn’t like Star Trek, if I were to go to a convention I’d probably be dressed as Data, and you could expect me to talk about Star Trek quite a bit. If you don’t like that it’s not insulting to pass on the invitation, but apparently not wanting to go to a bar with somebody is this big deal.

    Also, I’ve had people get genuinely upset with me that I don’t like chocolate.

  3. August 24, 2012 at 12:50 am —

    To my sexuality: …oh, take your pick. Any of the usual bisexual erasure. The one I hate the most is probably “Most women just do that to get guys’ attention.” That’s something I generally answer with the most withering stare I can muster, and it’s my signal that I don’t need to be talking to the person in question.

    To my enthusiasm about the future of science, and transhumanism: “If this is the future, where’s my flying car?”

    The last time I heard that one, it pretty much clinched the decision (which had been brewing for a while) to leave that partner.

  4. August 24, 2012 at 11:34 am —

    Heh. Gender – sometimes when out I find myself in the position of spokesperson for the alien race of Men Who Wear Skirts In Public, gracefully answering the questions of the curious. This actually tends to annoy my friends more than me. I also (being bald) get asked if I’m a Hare Krishna. While these things are relatively minor it is frustrating that I can’t simply dress how I like without it being interpreted as a Statement.

    A more aggravating assumption is that I’m a gay man “in drag.” No, it’s not drag. That’s something specific and completely different. Also I don’t identify as gay. Or as a man. It’s just that some people seemingly can’t process anything more complex than that.

    However, the assumption that because I don’t do it for a living my music is just a trivial little hobby is one that really, really, riles me. As if money is the only validation.

  5. August 28, 2012 at 1:53 am —

    The “You only think you’re asexual because you haven’t tried it with MEEEEEEEEE,” that accompanies 4/5 of the responses I get when I reject the advances of some guy trying to chat me up.

  6. August 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm —

    Wow, was there a single non-problematic comment in that video? The one that frustrates me the most on the asexuality front is when sexuality is just straight up defined as one of the indispensable parts of being human. It’s often implicit, but it frankly scares me how often I see it explicitly stated.

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