Being repulsed and “compromising”? (part 1)

A new analysis of the 2011 AAW Community Census data yielded various findings. One of them which sparked further questions, is the considerable percentage of repulsed asexuals who said that they’re willing to “compromise” (that was the wording used), and have sex with their relationship partner.

On the flip-side, some asexuals who enjoy sex, and some who are indifferent to it, aren’t willing to compromise.Of the 659 respondents who said they’re indifferent towards having sex, 6%, or 40 people, said they aren’t willing to compromise.* I don’t know how much I can say about this, because of the 54 respondents who said that they enjoy sex, 4% said that that they’re not willing to compromise. Rounded down, that’s 2 respondents. It can however, show that just because someone may find sex enjoyable, there are reasons they may still find sex to not be worth it for them, that outweigh what enjoyment they could get from it.

However, I find it troubling that there are sex-repulsed people who say they’re willing to compromise on having sex in a relationship, particularly that it’s not 100% of completely repulsed people saying that they’re not willing to!**

The Asexual Agenda asked some questions about this part of the survey results. As noted in some of the responses, the “somewhat repulsed” category is ambiguous; it’s not clear if it means:

  • A moderate degree of repulsion, that someone who is willing to have sex with their partner, can push aside temporarily, or there are times when they aren’t feeling that repulsion.
  • Being repulsed by some acts, but not others, and be willing to do the acts that the individual doesn’t find repulsive.
  • Some who know that they’re repulsed by sex, yet have their doubts, because they never had it, and are thinking in the hypothetical about that question. These respondents could’ve responded that they’re somewhat repulsed, because they didn’t want to rule out the idea of being okay with something, under some circumstance, or to some extent. Luvtheheaven gives an example of this doubt from her own experiences, despite knowing of not having sex to be an option.

It’s possible that that the “somewhat repulsed” group included respondents for all of these reasons (plus others!), and that there are different degrees of repulsion, that couldn’t have been captured simply under an indifferent/somewhat repulsed/completely repulsed framework.

The results could in part be due to the ambiguity of that question, but I wonder how many of them said that they’re willing to have sex, despite how repulsed they are, just because they don’t want to feel like they’re disappointing their real or hypothetical partner, and feel upset at the thought of not being open to any sex with them?

It’d be better to drop the term “compromise”, and ask multiple related questions. would be something like “Under what circumstances are you willing to have sex, if any?”, to try and capture the various nuances that weren’t accounted for in the original question.


*I suspect that percentage of indifferent asexuals who are unwilling to compromise on sex, is low. It could be because of the indifferent-repulsed dichotomy. As Sara K. notes, it assumes that indifferent asexuals are open to sex, and it’s an assumption even made in asexual spaces. Being repulsed by sex is just one of the possible reasons why someone wouldn’t want to have it.

**Some people who are repulsed by sex, are distressed by their feelings of repulsion; they want sex, and are distressed that they’re too repulsed to go through with it. However, such people are very unlikely to seek out asexual sites for support. What’s much more likely in asexual spaces, are sex-repulsed respondents, who may feel distress over the social pressures to have, or enjoy sex, not from the repulsion itself. They don’t want to change the fact that they’re repulsed, the problem is with the social pressures.


2 thoughts on “Being repulsed and “compromising”? (part 1)

  1. Pingback: Linkspam: October 3rd, 2014 | The Asexual Agenda

  2. Pingback: Being repulsed and “compromising”? (part 2) | Cake at the Fortress

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