Monday, December 27, 2010

Stretching

It's been a while, but this blog grew out of my inability to find anything on the internet when I searched for certain keywords, and now I'm finding that same situation again. So I thought I'd put my own thoughts out there for the next person who might travel my path.

To catch you up a little, I've managed to get my life pretty much back in order. I like living on my own, and I've found plenty to keep me busy. I only miss being part of a couple when I'm at any affair where most of the attendees are in a couple - which is most of the affairs that happen in the frum world. I've always heard that holiday season is especially hard for singles; turns out that's true. And it's really hard to find a vacation companion when you're no longer "one of the girls" but also not a couple. But I've been swamped with Shabbos invitations, sometimes from the most unexpected sources, and everyone has been making a point of being accepting and sympathetic and supportive. I'm in a good place.

There's definitely a part of me that wants to be part of a couple, but I don't want to go through all the same second-guessing and misery again. So I'm trying to work through my issues on my own, before jumping back into the dating game. Of course, it's possible that the only way to find some of these things out is to start dating again, but I haven't yet exhausted the other avenues yet, so I haven't started dating again. I'm considering it, but I vacillate on whether I want to.

It's hard for me to work through my issues, since I'm trying to do it alone. Therapy was a bad move for me: I think at least some of the issues I'm dealing with were created by the therapists. Maybe not, but some of these are ideas I probably wouldn't have been able to come up with myself, so I'm not rushing back into therapy.

The idea I've been wrestling with recently is asexuality. There are forums that discuss asexuality, but none of them address this condition within the context of a family-minded community. Maybe some of the organizations that deal with homosexuality in the frum community have applicable ideas - it's a similar issue in that homosexuals also can't start a traditional family, and the questions about nature vs. nurture are similar - but asexuality shouldn't have the same cultural or halachic taboos. Lack of sexual desire wouldn't lead a person to anything prohibited by the Torah - in fact, it's almost like a geder on gilui arayos. Asexual people, then, have one fewer major ta'avah in their lives. But it does make it difficult to start a family if you're not willing to have sex.

Some people discount the possibility of asexuality; clearly, they'll say, you just haven't met the right one yet. Of course, they'll say that to homosexuals as well. I was never able to decide if I believed that homosexuality was a choice, but I do believe that Orthodox doctrine is that people are judged only for their actions, not for their thoughts or desires. Homosexuality wouldn't be a sin; only homosexual intercourse. There are many urges that we have that we are not allowed to act upon, and this is just another one.

I read an article on one of the frum blogs asking why any girl would date a guy she knew to be homosexual. I'd like to suggest that there are frum girls out there who want to be married, since it's certainly the thing to do, but may not be interested in the sexual aspect of marriage. There are frum asexual women. There are probably frum homosexual women, too.

Am I asexual? I've had my share of sexual fantasies. I'm not immune to good looks. But I have yet to be "turned on" by anything.

But then again, maybe I just haven't met the right guy.

9 comments:

  1. Hmm, I posted this yesterday but it didn't show up. You are not alone or the only one.

    Are you familiar with the website Acebook? It was very helpful to me.

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  2. I came across it yesterday; that's part of what prompted the post.

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  3. I would be careful, categorizing is a dangerous thing to do.

    Nice to hear from you, been thinking about you.

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  4. I am 42, not married, without sexual activity for the past say 20 years.

    In the past, I often felt pressured by the "family-Surroundings" both in the jewish and non-jewish world: The jewish world wants you to find a mate, the non-jewish world thinks even weirder of you if you have no partner.

    In the past months and years, I made my peace with this state of affairs.

    Sometimes, I miss having "a shoulder to rely upon", but honestly, I could not imagine, at the moment, having someone intrude on my privacy on a daily basis.

    So all I can tell you: if you feel all right the way you are, just feel all right, there is no reason to be ashamed of that.

    On the other hand, I think that the jewish shidduch-system is not very favourable to me, because I think I would rather "get used" to someone, slowly, slowly, perhaps starting touching at one moment, etc... The all or nothing system of shidduchim is not for me...

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  5. You've had your share of sexual fantasies- then you're not asexual, period.

    But consistent sexual repression, sexual pressure, or bad sexual experiences can knock one into an asexual mode for a while. You've had all of these, so it makes sense that you need some recovery time. Possibly a lot of time.

    In the meantime, while you're waiting, I suggest you get into the habit of reading cheesy romance literature, the type that would ordinarily be way beneath you.

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  6. "You've had your share of sexual fantasies- then you're not asexual, period."

    That is simply not true.

    Cheesy romance novels will not make much of a difference either.

    Maybe those things are true and work for you, but to assume they are true across the board for all people who deal with this is presumptuous.

    In addition, many people who identify as asexual are interested in changing the situation. Many ARE married to partners who either understand, or are also of the low-to-no libido population. Many people who identify as asexual enjoy emotional intimacy, some enjoy physical contact (like cuddling for example.)

    There is no single answer for that will apply to every person, and simplistic thinking/suggestions/solutions are simply that. Simplistic.

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  7. I meant to say "are not interested in changing the situation." Sorry for the typos.

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  8. Divorcee sed: "I would be careful, categorizing is a dangerous thing to do."

    I'd agree 100%. Why worry about calling yourself anything? Once you trip down that path then you will find all kinds of people who want to offer you a "cure" for something that isn't wrong with you. You are you. Reading a romance novel won't change you into something you are not.

    I chuckled at this quote: "You've had your share of sexual fantasies- then you're not asexual, period." because two people could have very very different ideas of whether a particular fantasy is sexual. I've known someone who thought doing the crossword puzzle with someone was so intimate she fantasized about finding someone who would do them with her. That was a sexual fantasy for her.

    As for what you might be in your future, leave all possibilities open and don't look too far ahead. Just do the next right thing. As for children, there's always adoption.

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