Like the vast majority of people, I grew up in a society heavily dominated by non-asexual people. Therefore, I ought to understand non-asexual experiences well, right?
Eh, heh heh heh.
Yeah, I know a heck of a lot about allosexual experiences. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I know more about allosexual experiences than any non-asexual knows about asexual experiences, including non-asexuals who have done extensive research into asexuality.
There are, however, still a lot of things about allosexual experiences which I do not get.
For example, you know that statistic about how people think about sex every seven seconds? I don’t believe that’s true, even for non-asexual people. It simply boggles my mind that people would think about sex that often. Every hour, sure, I could buy that. I do not think about sex even every hour, but accounting for the fact that I am asexual and non-asexuals, obviously, are not, I can buy that the vast majority of adult allosexuals think about sex at least once and hour. But every seven seconds? Seriously?
This conviction that that statistic is not true is not based on any real evidence. If someone presented a robust study which proved that, yes, most allosexuals generally think about sex at least every seven seconds, I would have to admit that to my knowledge. But even if I accepted that on a intellectual level, I do not think it would ever make sense to me on an intuitive level.
There are some things which allosexuals take for granted that everyone is aware of, so it’s not said explicitly, and it happens to be something which asexuals generally are not aware of, and then we don’t get it. Thus, when asexuality is acknowledged, and when people take into consideration that some of the people they may be communicating with may be asexual, I am more likely to understand more about allosexual experiences than if everyone assumed that there were no asexuals around.
On the other hand, with something as personal, private, and intimate as sexuality, there are some things one probably is not going to grok unless one is walking in a similar pair of metaphorical shoes.
So that is what it’s like from my perspective, an asexual who has grown up immersed in a culture of allosexuals. What about the allosexuals who did not grow up in a culture dominated by asexuals?
For them, it’s even harder for them to ‘get’ our asexual experiences. Is that a problem? It depends. In most contexts, I don’t think a deep understanding is necessary. What is most important is respect – things like respecting personal boundaries, respecting self-described identities, respecting non-harmful differences in behavior.
And I try to remember how hard it is for me to understand them when I get frustrated by how they do not understand me.