Tim Gunn Hasn’t Had Sex In 29 Years, And It’s None Of Our Fucking Business

Celebrities give up some of their privacy as part of the “being a famous person” thing. Non-famous people tend to have a certain amount of prurient interest in the lives, romantic and otherwise, of famous people. But there is a line, sapients and gentlebeings. I may coo over the TARDIS Neil and Amanda put on the tree, and I may sporfle at the following Tweet!


Amanda Palmer tweet: “hot phone sex w/ a writer has its disadvantages when it comes to his urge to muse over adjectives when I need to orgasm.”

But if I decide that Amanda Palmer’s and Neil Gaiman’s phone sex shows that their relationship is entirely based around sexuality and a sign of deep trust issues in their relationship, I am an asshole! Do not do that!

The same thing is true if the answer to “how much you have sex” is “never.”

Tim Gunn is a person whose existence I have recently been made aware of. He tells people to “make it work” on Project Runway, apparently! I was unaware of the existence of this show until two days ago, mostly because I am unclear on what people put on the TV besides Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory and My Little Pony! He wrote a book about fashion, style, and taste, none of which I actually have! He’s a survivor of suicide, which I generally am in support of, because I fucking love my fellow survivors! Also he knows how to rock a fabulous suit!

NSWATM: Gender theory. Ranting. Suit porn.

Also, he has not had sex for twenty-nine years.

Tim Gunn is fine with this! In fact, Tim Gunn says that he is a “happy, fulfilled individual” who is “happy to be alive and healthy” and whose decision to remain celibate was prompted somewhat by a failed relationship and somewhat by health concerns, particularly the AIDS crisis. It seems to me the only story that all of this ought to prompt is a research article on the possible correlation between celibacy and incredible levels of fabulosity.

Despite his fabulosity, however, some nice lady at the LA Times would like to inform you that his celibacy can only be rooted in Deep Psychological Problems!

Berman said that, if she were treating Gunn, she’d like to know: Does he continue to be celibate by choice — or out of fear? For example, she said, if we lived in a magical world where sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS were not an issue … would Gunn still abstain from sexual intimacy?

“It’s not a natural sort of decision, nor is it biological or physiological — we are not wired that way,” she said. “It sounds like there are issues relating to trust,” she added. “There are ways of documenting and proving that people are free from sexually transmitted diseases in a committed relationship.”

…Uh-huh.

Okay, how the fuck does someone get to be a “sexuality expert” without having heard of asexuals? Are the admissions requirements to being a sexuality expert that low? Fuck, man, if that’s true, I can think of fifteen top blowjob tips and have a new career by next Tuesday.

Okay, listen, people. There are tons of people– male people, even!– who don’t have sex. (Note: self-report data, with all the methodological problems that implies.) If we look at Tim Gunn’s fellow fiftysomething men, 28% haven’t even masturbated in the last year, which means that about 28% are either (a) low-libido or (b) Hugh Hefner. Given that there is only one Hugh Hefner and I’m pretty sure he’s not fiftysomething, that suggests that there are lots and lots of low-libido men out there.

I know this is bizarre to all those “90% of men masturbate and 10% of men are lying” people out there, the “men evolved to be promiscuous” people, the “men naturally have high sex drives” people. But men– people— are different. If you don’t want to have sex, you shouldn’t have sex. That doesn’t make you prudish or uncool, broken or sick, sad or pathetic or wrong. It makes you someone who’s making the right life choice for you at that very moment. Hell, even if Tim Gunn were the only man on the entire planet who didn’t want sex, assuming he was content with his lot, it is perfectly fine and awesome.

Not only that, but it is none of anyone’s business! In fact, I will show you a helpful diagram, which I originally stole from Feministe:


My body. Your business. They do NOT overlap.

The consensual, safe, and emotionally healthy actions I take with my own damn body are none of anyone else’s concern. The same thing is true of Tim Gunn. He might be a famous person, but he has not given up his right to not have people be assholes about him, and long-distance diagnosis of mental problems because of his happy, consensual, safe sexual choices is clearly asshole behavior.

Tim Gunn might be a homoromantic asexual or demisexual! He might be a gay man with a low libido! He might have sublimated his sexuality and his erotic energy into his work! All of those options are fine options, and there is nothing wrong with any of them, as long as he is happy. And, I mean, dude hangs out with Iron Man, how could he not be happy?


Make it work, Tony, make it work.
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45 Responses to Tim Gunn Hasn’t Had Sex In 29 Years, And It’s None Of Our Fucking Business

  1. YmcY says:

    Ozy wins the Internet YET AGAIN.

    What do you do will all the points you keep getting Ozy? Oh the things you must do with those points.

  2. Leo and friends says:

    Long (LONG!) time reader, first time commenter.

    Love! Love your writing in general, but this, love x millions. The sex expert quoted sounded like she graduated from the armchair school of psychology. I distinctly hate how the media correlate any sort of non vanilla, hetero, stereotype enforcing sex drive/type of sex had etc with some sort of mental disfunction. Like you Ozy, I’m not familiar with Tim Gunn’s body of work, but if he says (and he did) that he leads a happy and fulfilled life how about we believe him and move on.

  3. pocketjacks says:

    One thing also to consider, re:his fabulousness, is that a lot of gay men and women become accustomed to celibacy because they’re in an environment where finding another partner is hard, either because the population is small, people aren’t willing to be out and proud, or likely both.

    If this guy’s judging a TV modeling show, chances are this no longer applies to him, but if it did at one point, I can see how prolonged celibacy is something you get used to so that you don’t think about it anymore.

    I don’t know if this guy ever lived in such an environment, but something about the fact that it’s a modeling show, his apparent fabulousness, and the extra amount of impact the AIDS scare had on him leads me to think it’s a possibility.

    Also, I think celebrities are asked to give up too much privacy. If they took action against some of the tabloids out there, as far as my sympathies go that would be one multimillionaire vs. normal working joe fight where I’d be a regular Mitt Romney.

  4. PsyConomics says:

    Wow, I suddenly feel a lot better about my 3-year dry spell and having my “number” be congruent with the smallest number in the set of natural numbers (assuming 0 is not an element of N).

    I’m NOT alone.

    It’s sad that people (a CLINICIAN no less!) felt the need to question his psychological fitness given a conscious choice on his sexuality. One might be concerned had he said something like, “I want to have sex but my body wont let me” or “I find myself cutting off my (non-)plutonic relationships with men due to fear of intercourse/intimacy/emotional closeness/alien abduction.” But being so open and otherwise happy… Heck, if it isn’t hurting others and if it’s not hurting the person in question I really don’t see what the issue is.

  5. YmcY says:

    I have a person in my family who is a not-especially-famous journalist, and she quite commonly gets horrific hate mail (a woman with an opinion? and your employer makes you publicise your email address? take this!).

    Having a non-zero public profile = not necessarily a privilege.

    I also like this from the article:

    The dating website Your Tango notes that there are plenty of reasons people are celibate by choice — as is the case with the terribly handsome Gunn, who likely would have no problem finding a suitor to end his dry spell.

    One reason, the site says, is because it is empowering. “Choosing celibacy can be an empowering move…. Eliminating sex from your list of concerns opens up a tremendous amount of brain and emotional space that the strategizing, analyzing and agonizing over our sex lives often fills.”

    My current “semi-voluntary” celibacy owes a lot to this kind of reasoning. I know if push came to shove I could be non-celibate, given I:

    a) widened the boundaries on the kinds of relationships I was looking for; and/or
    b) put more time, effort and emotional/mental energy into the whole dating business.

    But I don’t want to do either of the above, at the moment anyway. My time and most of all my emotional energy are precious things to me, and I’d have to spend a lot of both to get into the kind of relationships I’m looking for. So I keep an eye out for opportunities, and put a little effort into “increasing my odds”, but overall I’m content just to live my life as it is for the time being.

  6. As someone who is in training to be a therapist (a sex therapist, no less! What are the odds?) I’m not ever surprised when some “expert” shows up in the media saying something that is plainly stupid. One of my lecturers (who is one of the country’s “leading experts” on paranormal psychology) told me that the way the media find their psych experts is to look in the phonebook, call a practicing therapist and ask them if they want to weigh in. They don’t have to be an actual expert in that field, as long as they’re willing to take a cheque and pretend to know what they’re talking about then they get to be an expert.

  7. Not Me says:

    Or he might be a pedophile. Many pedophiles don’t ever do anything to children, because they have self-control and know it’s not a good idea even if it were legal, but they’re not about to admit it in public because people will destroy them for something that they’ve never done and never will do… and there’s nothing wrong with… tha… umm… is there?

    (Probably not, but you never know. As long as we’re reaching, maybe he’s into furniture, but gave up on it because the table can’t love him back.)

  8. f. says:

    People… I had a mere TWO YEAR dry spell due to taking some time for my goddamned self to heal from a difficult relationship. My friends acted like this was some kind of Sex Emergency no matter how often I told them that it wasn’t! And I went to a therapist who actually fixed his mouth to say that I should really be putting myself out there and that maybe I would have better self-esteem if I would “allow men to act on their attractions to you”.

    what the fuck????

    Public service announcement: celibacy is a valid choice and shouldn’t result in people stroking their chins and going “hmmm” and writing thousands of words about your mental health!

  9. f. says:

    Also holy shit, are gay men who survived the time when AIDS was not a managable condition, and saw their friends and lovers wasting away so horribly… just supposed to magically get over it? Damn, that’s an insensitive attitude to what must’ve been a very traumatic time for a lot of people.

  10. monkey says:

    I dunno, maybe this was your point but I certainly don’t need to picture Neil Gaiman having phone sex.

  11. AnonymousDog says:

    I don’t disagree with you about Tim Gunn. But I noticed that you posted that Venn diagram, and then immediately qualified it by saying that the “consensual, safe, and emotionally healthy” actions that you would take with your own body are nobody else’s business.
    Personally, I feel that I have a right to bodily autonomy when I am not affecting anyone else, whether it’s safe and healthy, or not.

  12. Pingback: Quickies: 02/01/2012 - Queereka

  13. ozymandias42 says:

    AnonymousDog: Well, it IS kind of my business if my friends are getting into relationships that show red flags of abuse, or having casual sex that leaves them feeling empty and used, or having sex without protection; it is not my business at all (because their body, their business) if my friends are getting into relationships with people I profoundly dislike, or having casual sex that leaves them feeling happy and affirmed, or having sex with a kind of protection I dislike for some reason. Legally, I go with the “your body, your business, as long as you are not interfering with other people’s bodies” standard; socially, I don’t.

  14. YmcY says:

    Personally, I feel that I have a right to bodily autonomy when I am not affecting anyone else, whether it’s safe and healthy, or not.

    Interesting.

    One of the arguments I’ve used over the years to talk myself down from suicide attempts is that I have binding ethical obligations to other people even if I personally no longer see any point to my existence.

    I ultimately rejected the argument as a piece of reasoning (later on, when not depressed) on the same kinds of grounds most philosophers of suicide have rejected it – you must make the choice to live for yourself, and then all else follows from that, including your ties to others.

    But I’m not sure if bodily autonomy can exist in quite so pure a vacuum as you’ve stated. Nearly everything we do affects someone else, if only indirectly. Sure, I have a “right” to take up Crystal Meth tomorrow if I want. And since I already have psychosis a naturale I’m sure that is about one of the most interesting and dangerous things I could possibly do.

    But if I were to do it just for shits and giggles without really thinking it through, I feel I would be violating ethical duties I have to various loved ones, and to myself, God [remove or substitute at your choice], etc.

    Bodily autonomy is a strong enough ethical principal without having to elevate it into some sort of absolute deontological status.

  15. nobody.really says:

    Tim Gunn Hasn’t Had Sex In 29 Years, And It’s None Of Our Fucking Business

    Good tip: Those of us in the fucking business should probably not waste a lot of time soliciting Gunn.

  16. f. says:

    @ozy, yeah, there is no need to try and reconcile our social standards with societal ones. For one thing, friends rely on each other to have and share helpful opinions on our choices! Though I really don’t need strangers casting aspersions on me for the guy I’m with, I kind of want to hear if my friends think he’s a jerkface.

  17. L says:

    Personally, I feel that I have a right to bodily autonomy when I am not affecting anyone else, whether it’s safe and healthy, or not.

    Nobody ever thinks about the medical bills or the funeral costs. eyeroll.jpg

    If you want to actually delve into more of the ethics of that, go check out some BDSM blogs. Or hell, even some pagan blogs, what with that pesky “do what thou wilt but harm ye none”. As far as kink goes, things get muddled if you have dependents, or no insurance, etc etc etc.

    But really? I’m a huge fan of Tim Gunn in theory (don’t actually watch TV or care about practical fashion tips), and his fulfilling celibacy/asexuality makes me squee so very hard inside. As for that Iron Man suit, though… my fetish attractionometer is beeping.

    I wonder if the sup tag works in these…

  18. Kaija24 says:

    @f: I had a mere TWO YEAR dry spell due to taking some time for my goddamned self to heal from a difficult relationship. My friends acted like this was some kind of Sex Emergency no matter how often I told them that it wasn’t!

    Me too…2+ years of what I called “time out”. I just took some time after the difficult end of something (both job and relationship and some other miscellaneous) to do some things I had always wanted to do that did not involve relationships and to focus on myself for a bit. I really enjoyed not being part of the dating scene and frankly, had zero interest in it for a good bit, not because I was “healing” or “scared” or “out of practice” or whatever some friends and acquaintances tried to tell me, but because it felt right at the time. I figured I’d naturally leave “time out” when it felt right too, and I did 🙂 I DID get annoyed at being pressed to explain or justify WHY I wasn’t dating or looking to date, and it gave me more empathy towards other peoples’ choices and preferences as well….we need to respect all kinds of choices, not just the ones we understand or can relate to.

  19. AnonymousDog says:

    YmcY:
    “Nearly everything we do affects someone else, if only indirectly’.
    L:
    “Nobody ever thinks about the medical bills or funeral costs.eyeroll.jpg”
    True, but everybody wants to apply that with arbitrary exceptions for their own personal kind of risk taking. Why should people’s sexual choices, which do, in the aggregate, have indirect social costs, have more legal and political protection as ‘privacy rights’ than my choice to drive without a seatbelt? Or smoke whatever vegetation I choose, or eat whatever I want? Is it because it’s easier to attach numbers to medical and funeral bills?

    There is a tendency to see more indirect social cost resulting from other people’s actions, and I get suspicious every time I hear that phrase. Too often, socially and politically, some ‘indirect social costs’ are arbitrarily given more weight than others

  20. AB says:

    Tim Gunn has always been one of the best parts of Project Runway. I don’t care about his sexuality as long as he doesn’t harm anyone, which it doesn’t sound like he does.

    Though I am a little bothered that it seems like sex positivity is strictly limited to accepting the status quo of people’s sexuality. I identified as asexual when I was younger, not because I was asexual, but because it was the only group I could see myself fitting, and because it was the only way I could deal with the type of guys who… well, the type of guys who post in places like here (“It’s so oppressive and wrong that women don’t show men more sexual interest. They deliberately choose to make men’s lives miserable. FEEL GUILTY!”).

    And I think there are a lot of people who’re celibate because they honestly have problems with their sexuality which honestly aren’t a choice, who get overlooked by people whose sexuality is more firmly established.

  21. L says:

    @AnonymousDog: My response was mostly sarcasm, because, well… I don’t have an answer to all the social implications of doing whatever the hell you want. I was just pointing out some possible sucky consequences for doing so that oven get overlooked with the romantic notion of Crowley’s “Law”, hedonism, and supposed individuality. But like I said, there are countless others who think about the subject way more than me, hence the bit about blogs.

    @AB:

    And I think there are a lot of people who’re celibate because they honestly have problems with their sexuality which honestly aren’t a choice, who get overlooked by people whose sexuality is more firmly established.

    There are times where I have verbally expressed, in the throes of frustration, the wish for chemical castration or hysterectomy or -something- that would kill all any any remaining sexual inclinations that I have. It’s a shitty place to be, wanting what you can’t have, and looking for ways to escape that want. But hey, cue someone here telling me that it’s my fault for not wanting “real” men and I deserve whatever anguish it winds up causing me. ;P But in all seriousness, I’m actually thankful that I have a very low sex drive, otherwise I’d be feeling the burn of an impossible fetish every day for the rest of my life.

  22. noahbrand says:

    There are times where I have verbally expressed, in the throes of frustration, the wish for chemical castration or hysterectomy or -something- that would kill all any any remaining sexual inclinations that I have.

    I know you’re not actually serious, but for the record: hysterectomy doesn’t work worth a DAMN to kill libido. One of my girlfriends is post-hysterectomy (no cervix, even, which startled me at first) and… yeah. Sexual inclinations evidently still in place and doing fine.

    Admittedly, this entire topic is one of those areas where I have to stretch my social justice muscles a little. As I’ve said before, I’m a high-libido bastard, and so having a low sex drive feels intrinsically alien to me on a certain level I haven’t thought about much. One of the things I enjoyed about Ozy’s post is that it makes clear that this is an area where I personally have to work a little harder to understand other people’s problems, which helps keep me away from the dangerously wrong notion that I lack such areas. Goddamn right Mr. Gunn’s sex drive or lack thereof is none of my business, and I ought to keep that in mind before I start going “Yeah, but 29 years?” or some such nonsense.

  23. granbee says:

    Completely agree with your awesome graph showing the actual space between one’s body and other people’s business spheres! Twitter and email sex are just that–it only exists in cyberspace! Cyberspace is where these folks need to leave their long noses!

  24. Timid Atheist says:

    Seven years since I last even kissed someone of the opposite sex. Interestingly enough, with in the past few years I’ve found that there are some people out there, like me, who love sex, enjoy the thought of it, get aroused, but prefer to auto-pleasure instead of be with a partner. Now I can’t say for sure that this is true all of the time. But I will say that when I was sexually active and with a partner that was willing to help me explore and not make demands, I had the best orgasms after we had sex and I went home and took care of my own pleasure.

    I adored hearing that Tim Gunn was celibate and happy. He is so very awesome and to know that he is happy with the way things are means that there are other people out there who struggle with sexuality and that can find their happiness in their own way. If that’s true for other people then maybe that’s true for me as well. I don’t -have- to be like everyone else if that’s not how I am.

    As always, I love your posts Ozzy. +1

  25. I looooooove Tim! I heart Tim! I especially love his handkerchiefs folded just so in his pocket– they always match his ties perfectly. (Noah, are you on this exalted level?)

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Excellent take-down post here.

    What really annoys me about this article, aside from everything you mentioned, is that it is somehow treated as a “revelation” that Tim Gunn has been celibate for so long. Like as if he hasn’t said a word about this anywhere before. Actually, he’s been talking about this for years now, and if the writer of that article had even bothered to do a quick google search, she would know it. AND asexuality comes up as like the 4th or 5th result, so there’s really no excuse for not mentioning it. There were several articles about it when his book came out. He discusses it in the book as well, and while he doesn’t go so far as to say he’s a homoromantic asexual, he DOES refer to himself as asexual more than once, and (as he does here) he says that his ex left him because he wasn’t interested enough in sex. I’m not sure how aware he is of asexuality as a sexual orientation, and I’m not in the business of telling people how they should identify or anything, but from what he’s said, that seems like a pretty likely option. (Certainly a hell of a lot more likely than pedophilia, as someone up-thread mentioned–seriously??)

    I reviewed his book here if anyone’s interested, way back in 2010.

    I think that Iron Man picture comes from a series he did on superhero costumes a while back, which I found pretty amusing. It’s on Youtube if anyone is curious.

  27. Not Me says:

    @YmcY:

    One of the arguments I’ve used over the years to talk myself down from suicide attempts is that I have binding ethical obligations to other people even if I personally no longer see any point to my existence.

    Years ago, when I was in a particularly bitter phase in my life (but not actually suicidal) I noted that this line of thinking can sometimes result in a paradox, depending on the circumstances: Something along the lines of “I shouldn’t kill myself because I have social obligations and it would harm others. Yet if it weren’t for those social obligations and some of those others, I’d have no reason to kill myself.” Regardless of whether things are really as bad as they feel, this usually isn’t a very good way of deciding what to do about it.

  28. badandfierce says:

    I have a theory. I use theory in a colloquial way here. It’s an idea I have based on observation and hunches, not a scientifically validated set of precepts. But I do sort of think it’s true. Or at least interesting. (Also, almost certainly not original. I accept that.)

    Theory of hostility to asexuality:

    Our test subject is some person of some gender with approximately average-ish sexual desires. Let’s say ey enjoys sexual encounters with a person of eir preferred gender/s three or four times a week, with one regular partner and the occasional guest, making occasional to frequent use of light bondage and power/domination motifs and butt plugs. (This sounds like a pretty normal state of libido/relationship to me, but I am asexual. Feel free to correct me.)

    This person grows up amidst the reactionary kyriarchy and bizarre involuntary celibacy fetish of modern America. (I think :involuntary celibacy fetish captures it best? It’s icky to have sex, but Glob help you if you don’t display the arbitrarily appointed desires ascribed to your status and gender. And suffer for them until either marriage or the attainment of sufficient wealth/power to make up for it.) Sex negative culture surrounds em. Slowly, via an expanding social circle as ey grow up and regular access to the internet, our test subject learns eir desires are fairly ordinary and healthy, not shameful and freakish. Huzzah!

    The revelation comes. “Wait, my experience and desires are valid!” But unfortunately, sometimes this revelation isn’t followed by, “That means I should give credence and respect to a whole range of expression and identities, not just the ones prescribed!” No, you get, “That means I’m the one who’s right and everyone else is wrong!” Being bullied does not always ennoble. Check out the card game nerd who looks down on inferior interlopers like LARP nerds for a good example. (Nerd culture almost always has an example. I don’t know why. Needs further study.) Sometimes the victim would rather grow up to be the aggressor than defend other victims.

    Or, alternately, sometimes people are just kind of thickheaded and hypocritical. I’ve seen people claiming that asexuals are the ones trying to repress everyone else. I just watched an episode of House (my Dad had it on) all about how asexuality is either a lie or an illness. There’s a lot of nastiness out there, and I think that might just be why.

  29. L says:

    Or, alternately, sometimes people are just kind of thickheaded and hypocritical. I’ve seen people claiming that asexuals are the ones trying to repress everyone else. I just watched an episode of House (my Dad had it on) all about how asexuality is either a lie or an illness. There’s a lot of nastiness out there, and I think that might just be why.

    I think I see this happen more in practice. It’s usually some variation of virgin-shaming: “how can you know if you’ve never tried”, “you just haven’t had good sex yet”, “you just can’t get laid”, “you’re just a frigid bitch/loser”, “you just think you’re better than everyone else”, “you’re just trying to be different”, or, as someone already provided for me, “maybe you’re a pedophile”.

    Asexuality can’t just be… it has to be an unpleasant side-effect of something else that is fixable.

    I got a little bit of this a couple weeks ago while I was out having dinner with my aunt, actually. We get drunk together and rant about the family and life and work. She’s also taken me under her wing here on the opposite coast from everyone else we know, so she generally checks in to make sure that I’m doing well mentally, financially, grammatically, etc. So after a few bottles of sake, she asks me if I orgasm enough (and consequently, if my new husband is a good sex partner), because that’s her measure of a well-lived and happy existence. Well, you know, given the facts*, I can’t really fault her? But because my sexual situation is so complicated, and the fact that I measure my satisfaction in good BDSM “moments” rather than orgasms, I sort of joked around and wound up saying “I’m not telling”. Because if I said no, dear lord she would have seen me as someone that needed saving. And in order to get out of that, I would have needed to spill everything.

    *The “facts” being that a sizeable population of women think masturbation is dirty, have never reached orgasm, have never had a partner help them reach orgasm, have never heard of the g-spot, don’t know where their clitoris is, etc.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Or, alternately, sometimes people are just kind of thickheaded and hypocritical. I’ve seen people claiming that asexuals are the ones trying to repress everyone else. I just watched an episode of House (my Dad had it on) all about how asexuality is either a lie or an illness. There’s a lot of nastiness out there, and I think that might just be why.

    There’s a petition about that episode here that’s only 6 sigs short of a thousand. I doubt the producers/writers will actually do anything about that episode besides give some half-hearted not-pologies, but you know. It’s something. Maybe someone else will pay attention even if the targets don’t.

    Both of those theories are true I think, with different people being anti-asexual for different reasons. I think a lot of it, with the people claiming that asexuals are the ones trying to repress everyone else, has to do with religious conservatives pushing chastity on everyone else. A lot of people just assume that asexuals are pushing that crap too. And occasionally some asexuals DO buy into it, particularly young asexuals raised in strongly religious cultures, especially when they are angry about being constantly bombarded with sexual imagery and told that they’re broken. The vast majority of us, though, decry that attitude whenever it comes up. Asexuality doesn’t make us “better” or more “pure” in any way. Asexuality doesn’t even necessarily make one “chaste” in the first place, because some of us do have sex. But it’s just a knee-jerk reaction against the idea that not having sex is somehow better than having it, even though that’s not actually what any of us are saying at all.

  31. debaser71 says:

    Daisy, they sell ties and handkerchiefs together. As a set.

  32. Not Me says:

    @L: It’s usually some variation of virgin-shaming

    Rather off-tangent, but it seems you can’t really win. If you don’t have sex at all, you get virgin-shamed. If you do have sex but don’t do it with most of the people of the opposite sex who are interested in you, you get bitch-shamed. If you do get involved with most of those interested in you, you get slut-shamed. If you have little to no sex mostly because no one’s interested, you get loser-shamed. Married people are mostly immune (unless they have an open relationship, in which case the slut thing comes back into play) but even then there are always people who are going to think you went too fast or too slow to tie the knot. While I used terms which generally imply women here, men get this too, just with a lot less direct name-calling. Basically you get punished for failing to find an impossibly perfect balance between several competing standards.

  33. superglucose says:

    feministe’s venn diagram is utterly inaccurate and if you don’t know why you oughta spend some time taking or auditing biology classes.

  34. Flyingkal says:

    L:

    There are times where I have verbally expressed, in the throes of frustration, the wish for chemical castration or hysterectomy or -something- that would kill all any any remaining sexual inclinations that I have. It’s a shitty place to be, wanting what you can’t have, and looking for ways to escape that want. But hey, cue someone here telling me that it’s my fault for not wanting “real” men and I deserve whatever anguish it winds up causing me. ;P But in all seriousness, I’m actually thankful that I have a very low sex drive, otherwise I’d be feeling the burn of an impossible fetish every day for the rest of my life.

    Yes. This. (Except the “real men” part, and I didn’t long for a hysterectomy on my part…)
    I might have a bit higher sex drive than you, though.

  35. Kaija24 says:

    @Not Me: Exactly…you can’t win because the deck is stacked against you; it’s a stupid system and that is why we should try to disregard a lot of that societal crap and figure out what each of us needs and wants individually. If every single choice you make is going to be “wrong” to someone, then you might as well give up trying to please and do what makes YOU the most satisfied. 🙂

    The continual striving to meet an impossible balance of “standards” is a recipe for disaster both individually and in a relationship. It’s great for making people feel inadequate and selling them something to fix or soothe (whether it’s skin cream, a fancy phone, religious dogma, or a political platform) but death to being able to experience and appreciate the many pleasures of being a flawed but “good enough” human being.

  36. L says:

    @Not Me: Guys get way more virgin-shaming than women do, because… man I shouldn’t even have to say it. Anyways, as far as sexless marriages are concerned, both partners get shamed equally, though I get the distinct feeling that high-libido wife/low-libido husband situations don’t even get taken seriously half the time. Though I think husbands are more likely to get advice along the lines of “man up and divorce her ass already” or “man up and cheat” if they’re the ones getting turned down for sex. You see a crapton of these kinds of threads on Literotica, and it usually takes a couple posts for someone to even remember that the wife is a human being, and suggest that her low sex drive may not be something within her control and that the husband should maybe, I dunno, talk to her instead of having an affair or pressuring her into sex.

    Though threads about mismatched libidos on AVEN are infinitely more sympathetic.

  37. theLaplaceDemon says:

    Also worth noting that Jennifer Berman is NOT someone I would trust to give good mental health/sexuality advice – she has landed some really heavy criticism for her ties to the pharmaceutical industry and for medicalizing normal female sexuality (which seem to be exactly what she is doing here with Mr. Gunn’s sexuality). She does things like promote the use of Viagra to treat “female sexual dysfunction” (which is probably just the new “hysteria” and “frigidity” anyway), despite the fact that Viagra has consistently failed clinical trials with women.

  38. debaser, really? Somebody should tell my husband! He owns neither.

    I think lots of priests are asexual; one of them even told me he was. He chose the job because it was the one place he didn’t get constant pressure from his family and peers.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    I am in total agreement with your post, but I will also share with you that in my class of ~20 sexuality professionals people studying to be certified sex therapists, only two people were aware of the fact that asexuality is a moderately well accepted (by the scientific community) and frequently advocated for (by asexuals) sexual orientation… and neither one of them was the teacher.

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  41. Kyra says:

    Sometimes I wonder if the problem (for the “experts” and other haters) is not the celibacy/whatnot itself, but that the person in question is happy with it.

    It’s as if people drop “we’re all individuals and we’re different” from their consciences, and have a meltdown over the concept of the situation in question being okay, as if the other person’s enjoyment of it or okayment with it undermines their own right to consider it horrible.

    It seems to play out that way in many situations. People who whitesplain hijab as oppression, for example, just refuse to believe that anyone could be anything but horrified at having to wear headcoverings all the time in public, or the occasional people who get into particularly heated arguments over whether a feminist woman could truly be fulfilled as a stay-at-home mother (the flip side of “I’m fulfilled here, so no one else has any business finding it oppressive”). If you don’t like standard sweets like cake or ice cream, it’s often easier to pretend to be on a diet than to say you don’t like the taste, and sometimes people will look at you askance for loving vegetables. I’ve started arguments by stating my preference to endure the pain of having a cavity drilled rather than the for-me-worse distress and pain of the needle they inject the Novocaine with, and it took me ten years to convince a dentist to “put off the Novocaine until I asked for it” and let me try things without it. (I didn’t need it, and she was surprised as all getout that I didn’t cry, beg for it halfway through, or try to clench my lips through it.)

    When people have this understanding that something is horrible (even and perhaps especially when we’re talking about it in a particular situation, like the enforced celibacy of homophobia, virgin-whore misogyny, or being unsuccessful at getting laid), the prospect of someone LIKING that state seems to threaten and undermine one’s own do-not-want of it in one’s own life.

  42. Angie unduplicated says:

    Notme, try this retort:
    I’m tight, hot, disease-free(if that applies) and you aren’t getting any of this good stuff because I never, never give it away to double-binders.
    Asexual can also mean “tired of social dishonesty”. They create misanthropy, not desire.

  43. Pingback: What Men Like In Bed | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

  44. LBT says:

    As a demisexual gay trans guy who still sometimes feels like I’m not really a man… this has made me feel a lot better. Thank you.

    –Rogan

  45. Bibiana says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. To me, what is important is bettering yourself and contributing to life-not whether you have sex or not.

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