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Adrenarche

*prods the pretty article on sexual development possibly being more gradual than a simple teenage sexual awakening, and starting earlier*

I like this word.

It says that realisation of attraction and orientation, including asexuality, starts at, like, 10. A very, very good reason to be open-minded about it and talk to kids.

I remember there being a lot of ado about boybands in primary school, even before the boyfriends thing started.

Go read: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Michael.Berger/lit/McClintock.pdf 

Followed link from: http://asexandthecity.tumblr.com/post/134290479956/submitted-by-so-much-depends-upon-a-for

http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Michael.Berger/lit/McClintock.pdf

Far More Intimacy For Body And Soul

One philosophical point that stares me in the face is the dichotomy between body and soul or mind. Love has become the expression of the soul. Sex of the body. Asexuality says we do not wish for sex and your typical love and relationships with our bodies and minds, as one whole. We need to discuss them as one coherent entity if we are to be accepted.

Traditionally, the sexual drive is seen as lust, a drive of the flesh and therefore worse than the more superior desires of the soul or mind. In modern times, sexual desire is located in the body, the focus of research is on how body is the instrument to both give and receive whatever acts flow from attraction. It is seen as natural, because we’ve all got similar bodies, right? A lack of sexual desire is a physical dysfuntion…. right?

To be asexual is having an experience alien to humans, whether you view it from an old-fashioned or modern perspective about how sex and sexuality works.

Or so we’re told.

But if body and mind are one… if we do not receive signals from others that excite us sexually, and do not put out those signals, if we experience an absence of sexual desire or the absence of a wish to express a sexual drive or even just attraction to any specific partner, or whatever asexuality is, if all of these are seen as coming from the same source, the subject, body and soul, then can it be weird?

Then we can simply be on the asexual spectrum, body and soul, and some signs of that can be perceived through the senses, or through instruments, some expressions of that asexuality occur in our mind, conscious or subconscious, and it’s all part of the same process, no bit invalid, no bit not ours.

After all, by sheer volume, we are a pretty common variety of human beings, not a single anomaly, which means the sexual drive is not an essential feature of the human condition.

Demisexuality and Mental Health, accepting (a)sexuality.

Are there any common assumptions made about a particular mental health issue that do not apply to you because of asexuality? Or have extra complications when you add in asexuality?

Let’s see where this list takes us…

  • Teenage lust was a non-issue. I didn’t feel any.
  • Promiscuity and STDs and condoms were only theoretical things.
  • Presence or absence of sex do not count as faithful symptoms, in my case, of good or bad mental health.

A deeper, cultural issue, to consider during therapy: I think for demisexual and asexual women especially, sexual freedom is important. Because it leaves you free not to have sex, or have it in your own time. It is with a profound relief that I can say that I’ve never experienced sexual assault, and only rarely heard of it second hand.

A general openness towards different sexualities (to the LGBTQ community), translates into a more welcome place in which to be ace or demi, I feel. Both because you’re encouraged to explore your own sexuality during your teenage years and because it’s less hard to get people around you to accept there’s variations in levels of sexuality, the way there is variety in who that sexuality is aimed at.

In an openly sexual country (aka the western world) I think you’ll have to deal with the pressure to have sex, in and out of a relationship. It’s probably the biggest point of inner conflict for me. In a more traditional culture, you’ll have to deal with the pressure to marry and have children. For women, that translates in having to have sex with your husband, whether you want it or not. I think that is a deeper horror when you don’t want sex at all.

In general, the drive to just have sex is like a foreign language. It’s harder to understand. Entire genres of commercials and music clips don’t make sense. You can go along in jokes and behaviour, the way you learn to buy a certain type of shoe or shirt. But you wouldn’t do it on your own.

Consider this: a girl walks down the street in a short skirt and is accosted. The assaulters claim she wanted it, and general audiences do, at least, agree she ‘dressed slutty’. This is a travesty. How much more so, if that girl didn’t just not want to have sex at that point in time, but never in her life has, or will, and doesn’t even really understand why other people do. And, because of a lack of information, can’t even articulate her confusion.

Demisexuality and Mental Health, consensual healing.

6. What advice do you have for aces who are trying to find either a mental health care provider, or some kind of support group/system?

  • You’re in charge. You remain in charge. You are the one who lives in your head, who observes the problem, the process of healing.
  • Do not let people take away your independence. You will lose it, to some degree, but it’s yours to give to someone you trust, not theirs to take.
  • Should people infringe, whether parents or friends or colleagues or therapist or partner, stay away from them while you heal. You’re vulnerable and anything you do in this time will affect the rest of your life. The wisdom you garner will benefit you for the rest of your life. The hurt caused during this time lingers in deep scars.

Demisexuality and Mental Health, the good stuff.

4. Have you had any positive experiences with therapy? If so, can you give specific examples of what your provider did right? What things helped you the most?

  • Treatments and therapists aren’t ‘one size fits all’. Don’t be afraid to talk with a few until you find one with whom it clicks.
  • Treatment, for me, didn’t work until I wanted it to. I think that’s underestimated in many cases. People wait to be helped, not realising help doesn’t work unless they’re open to accept it. People try to help when that person’s not ready for it at all.
  • DO NOT underestimate the importance of your religious identity and most deeply held beliefs. Find a therapist that matches yours, or one that is actually open-minded. Treatment strips you to your core, where you can be hurt and twisted very badly. And though especially Christians and atheists match on the surface, both being movements that grew up in the western world, core beliefs can be very different.
  • Set a goal, and a deadline. Treatment, in most cases, is meant to help you work towards being a functioning adult. It’s alright to remain different, slightly odd…

Demisexuality and Mental Health, the therapist.

3. [cut for length] Is there another intersectional issue that is more important for you to find a therapist […], that you would prioritize that instead of understanding of asexuality? Have you even decided not to bother coming out to your therapist about being ace?

I think it’s good to know that your mental health and physical health impacts your sex drive. Your sexual drive may vary throughout your life. A really busy time at work may shut it down. Graduating from college may fire it up, because you cast off a big burden.

My sexual drive didn’t come online until over a year had passed after I’d seen my last therapist.

What I do think is a shame is that, though we talked around my having a partner, is that after I declared myself single, we rarely touched the issue again. As if being single was sort of a catch-all for “oh, don’t have to talk about sex, then.”

I think the taboo of NOT having sex comes into play there. It’s weird how abstinence is more shameful than sexual activity, in our culture. It’d be so much better if both were accepted.

Demisexuality and Mental Health, proper treatment.

2. Have you felt unable to access treatment because of asexuality or conflict? Or, was the quality of your treatment reduced? Have you experienced reparative therapy—done with the intent to “cure” or “fix” your asexuality? Even if the treatment you received was not aimed at “fixing” your orientation, was it more difficult because you had to spend too much time educating your provider instead of focusing on things that would help you?

I received treatment, but it didn’t have anything to do with my sexuality, but rather with a mental issue that preceded even puberty and struck during high school and college.

Having gone through several iterations of therapy, I think I can provide a few signs of treatment that will succeed:

  • You have chosen to seek treatment. No matter how clueless you are or powerless you feel you are, treatment, any kind, won’t work unless you wish it.
  • Your therapist is respectful of your identity, in its entirety.
  • The family or friends you choose to depend on during your treatment (and you’ll need a few) are completely respectful of your space, as if you’re a functioning, healthy adult even if you’re not, without enabling you to indulge in whatever bad behaviour you exhibit due to your issues. This, truly, is the type of love you need, and it’s hard to find and keep up. This support becomes easier for people to give if they can share the burden with others.
  • Your treatment fits your psyche. You may need to try a few different types before you find one that works.
  • Your treatment goes to the roots of the problem you have. If you tackle only the symptoms of a mental health issue, it will return with a few new heads added on. Like a hydra.

Demisexuality and Mental Health, a series

The coming two weeks, I’ll be posting short, daily posts about how demisexuality and mental health were related in my case. The occasion is the Carnival of Aces, an writing initiative for asexual visibility that changes hosts and topics every month. This month’s topic is Asexuality and Mental Health, and its host Prismatic Entanglements will be collecting the contributions for asexualsurvivors.org. A worthy cause.

The call for submissions had an excellent list of prompt questions, which is what turned a single blog post I wanted to contribute into a series. I feel it’s be more readable that way. Watch for titles starting with “Demisexuality and Mental Health” and the tag “demi & mental health”, created along with this post.

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A Hat Full of Ness

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Myscape

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Prismatic Entanglements

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Asexuality in A Sexual World

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