"MAYBE YOU'RE JUST A LATE BLOOMER?" Understanding sexual culture through the marginalization of asexuals
An Introduction to Asexuality
The 'umbrella definition': a person who does not experience sexual attraction
Great deal of heterogeneity underlying this: sex/romance
Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN)
Many other sites, forums and blogs. Large YouTube presence.
The Internet overcomes geographical and emotional isolation.
Recruited largely from a pool of people who had reached this end point – methodological limitations
Temporality and Identity
The process of self-questioning and self-clarification as diachronic
Trajectory encompasses distinct stages identifiable with majority of respondents – pathway through that trajectory not homogenous.
Assumed pathology is temporally heterogeneous – disjuncture between pre and post internet experiences
Self questioning / self clarification is temporally heterogeneous - “Maybe you’re just a late bloomer?” / “Maybe you haven’t met the right person yet?”
The Upsides and Downsides to Interlocutors
As well as being synchronic, self-questioning and self-clarification are both monological and dialogical.
While the internet has made the monological dimensions of the process easier (impact of google), dialogue with trusted interlocutors crucial – how well do they understand?
"My friends seem to understand it fairly well, although a few seem to think that I'll change my mind about sex if I ever find the 'right person'"
"At the moment people have joked about setting me up with someone and that 'I need a boyfriend'"
"some have basically said 'I don't believe you, but as long as you're happy'“
Experienced disjuncture between personal experience and culturally available conceptual categories with and through which to make sense of that experience.
Marginalization and the Sexual Assumption
"Said people are no longer my friends because they made life really difficult for me. They would try and do everything they could to gross out the asexual. Be as vulgar as possible, put sex toys in my food and stuff like that"
"I had one friend who was very unsupportive; she just stood there while a friend of hers said all this terrible stuff about I was just scared of sex and needed therapy. They actually ganged up on me: I started crying and they just kept going."
This experience is seemingly very rare - as opposed to marginalization and invisibility
What explains this? Otherwise very caring people act in ways which are very detrimental
They literarily don’t understand – why?
The sexual assumption as unacknowledged and widespread conceptual category – presupposing the universality and uniformity of sexual desire.
The particular experiences of asexuals foregrounds this assumption in a way which rarely, if ever, happens in other areas of social life.