I read this section of Women, Passion, and Celibacy | Chapter One: “Genital Messages”…
I wasn’t alive during the 60s and most aces (hell, most people) I know were not either. I’m going to take Cline’s word for it on this one. I don’t have a hard time believing that certain truths about the sexual revolution in the 1960s have been lost on people now, in favor of glorifying that time as a purely good movement in the interest of sex positivity.
… and immediately thought about my mother.
My mother was a part of the 60s ‘sexual revolution’. I don’t know the whole story, and there are parts which I do know but won’t make public, so this is very incomplete.
My mother never had sex before she was 22 years old – and she was fine with celibacy. Her ‘friend’ was not fine with her celibacy, and kept on pestering her about it ‘when are you finally going to do it’, ‘you want to be a virgin until you are how old? 25? 30?’ and so forth. Eventually, my mother gave into this peer pressure, and had sex. While it was consensual in a narrow sense, my mother would have preferred staying celibate longer. She told me that, even though her friend was physically absent and it was a man who put his penis inside her, she actually had sex with her ‘friend’, not with that man.
She continued to have sex with men, but based on what I’ve heard, it was pretty unsatisfying. She was doing it because she felt socially obligated, not because she really, truly, sincerely wanted to have sex … and the result was that she experienced quite a bit of pain and social insecurity. In other words, she was hurt by compulsory sexuality.
My mother is allosexual, and she says that, years later, sex became a genuinely pleasureful and satisfying activity for her. But she regards the pain of those first years as unnecessary, and she thinks that it would have been much better if she had been allowed to explore sex at her own pace instead of the pace that her peers imposed on her.
Though my mother’s first reaction to me coming out as asexual was to deny it, she has always, always been supportive of my celibacy. She encouraged me to stay celibate as long as possible, because she said the older I am, the more life experience I will have, which will make me more capable of starting a sex life in a good way. She never wants me to make the mistake she made, of having sex to please others instead of to please myself.
I wonder why I don’t hear more stories like this. I suspect my mother’s situation is quite common. Then again, I don’t think she has ever spoken with this about anyone besides myself and maybe a couple other people. Perhaps keeping allosexuals quiet about their suffering is itself an effect of compulsory sexuality.