I HATE that when I tell people I’m asexual, one of the very first things they ask me is whether I masturbate. Because first of all, hello, that’s kind of rude, isn’t it? It might be okay if you and I have been friends for a while, and you ask discreetly. But most of the time I’ve known these people for all of a few weeks, if that, and they ask right out in public. If I were doing visibility work, I’m sure I’d get asked all the time by reporters and talk show hosts. And I do think it’s a good question to ask, in order to educate people, which is why I’m talking about it here, but really? I just don’t want to show that much of myself to the public. It’s a very private thing, for me. It’s the one thing I would really rather stay in the closet about, especially because answering that question honestly would lead to a whole host of challenges to prove myself to other people.
Which leads me to my second–and most important–point: it doesn’t matter.
Whether I masturbate or not has no bearing whatsoever on my asexuality. It is not a contradiction, as most ignorant sexual people perceive it to be. Because like I said in the previous post, I learned to masturbate as a child, before I even had any concept of what sexuality was. I don’t connect it with other people. I don’t have any desire to do so. It is something to be done alone, not shared with anyone else. That’s not to say I think it should be something shameful, that everyone should do alone. If other people enjoy mutual masturbation, then hey, whatever floats your boat, man. But for me? No thanks.
I think one of the main problems that sexuals have with understanding how asexuals can masturbate and still call themselves asexual is, they think about masturbation so much in terms of frustrated desire that they don’t realize that for other people, it’s not. Several weeks ago, I watched an internet argument develop between a fellow asexual and a skeptical sexual about masturbation. The incredulous sexual, when informed that people who masturbate can still be asexual, said, “Then what are they masturbating to?”
Okay, stop right there. What? Since when do we all have to fantasize in order to masturbate? I’ve never done it–in fact I’ve tried to, and it doesn’t work for me.
Not all of us keep a mental image in mind while we’re doing it, and even for those of us who do, would that indicate an actual desire to do whatever-it-is in real life?