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Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Pretending/insisting teens (as a group) aren't sexual hurts asexual teens too

It seems pretty common for adults to refuse to acknowledge that teens, as a group, can be sexual beings. (Or to insist that even if they are, they shouldn't be and must therefore pretend not to be.) Abstinence only "health" classes? "Wait until marriage"? Every time education based on those ideas gets studied, we find it doesn't work. The exact things they're supposedly about avoiding (any result of teen sexuality, that is) wind up being the exact things that happen.

People who pay attention to the results of various approaches to sexual education have a good idea of how badly this goes for heterosexual teens. Sometimes we know how badly this goes for gay, lesbian, bi, pan, or trans teens.

What about the teens who actually don't have the urges that the educators simultaneously insist we must have, but also that we must resist?

I'm asexual. (I'm also bi/panromantic depending on the definitions of the moment, and I'm nonbinary. Queer is a useful umbrella term here.) I don't have the urge to do any sexual stuff. Does that mean the adults who insist teens be non-sexual are safe specifically for me?

Nope! You see, it's not actually respect for my ability to make my own decisions if you're only respecting my ability to make decisions you approve of. Assuming/insisting that I'm making the decisions you like for completely different reasons than I really am is also an issue. One, it's ignoring my agency. Two, you're going to predict my later decisions incorrectly and make bad decisions about what would work for me later. You're ignoring the decisions I'm actually making in favor or projecting different decisions onto me. Among other things, all this makes your advice about abstinence and waiting really irrelevant. I'm not "waiting", because that would mean I planned to do this stuff eventually. 

So: I'm not doing sexual things. I'm maybe saying "wait until marriage" because that's a somewhat socially acceptable way of saying "nope not doing the thing" but then the assumptions go to: 1) marriage is a thing I want (Maybe? Dunno) and 2) once married I'm going to do those things (NOPE). I look for advice on how to handle situations where folks my age are doing sexual things in my general vicinity and I'm not super comfortable. The advice I find isn't useful, because my reasons for not participating aren't moral. Being a repulsed asexual gives me totally different problems with sexual situations than being abstinent for religious reasons.

So, was advice from people who assumed I, as a teen, must have wanted to be sexual but shouldn't act on it useful? Nope. It was too covered in incorrect assumptions and disrespect for anyone who actually did want to be sexual (which was, in their minds, all teens.) Insistence that someone's internal thoughts and perceptions must be a certain way is neither helpful nor safe, whether or not you agree with their decisions.

Advice from people who assumed I, as a teen, must have wanted to be sexual but was under some sort of mistaken impression that I shouldn't for moral or religious reasons? Also neither useful nor particularly safe. Seriously, people who have religious reasons to prefer to wait aren't going to benefit from having their religious beliefs called nonsense. If they're trying to tell other people to wait or interfering with other people's decisions based on personal religious beliefs, that's an issue, but that's not the kind of advice I'm talking about here. And it didn't even apply to me anyways, because religion wasn't my reasoning for not having sex either! Don't assume someone's in that category, or decide they should be.

"I don't want to" isn't the same thing as "I think I shouldn't." Conflating them makes life harder for people who think either way.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to this post from a non-religious asexual who used to be a very annoyed teen/twenty something :)


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