Asexuality and Mandarin

I have never tried to have a conversation about asexuality in Mandarin.

I would like to. But I don’t know how to.

The English-language asexuality community is still developing the language needed to describe our experiences in English … and most of that language is still not understood by fluent English speakers outside of the community.

I once tried to discuss asexuality in English with Taiwanese people who spoke English at a high level. They had a lot of trouble getting what I was talking about. It wasn’t because their English was lacking – it was because they simply had never encountered some of the concepts I was trying to describe.

I would currently rate my Mandarin speaking skills to be at B2. If I have trouble getting Taiwanese people who speak English at a C1 level to understand asexuality when speaking in English, I think it would be nearly impossible for me to try to communicate it with my B2 Mandarin. Especially since I don’t have the vocabulary to have a thorough discussion of sexuality in Mandarin. I can understand the basic words used to describe queerness in Mandarin (such as the word tóngxìngliàn which literally means ‘same-sex (romantic) love’ and is close to the English word ‘homosexual’), but I wouldn’t be able to follow an in-depth discussion on queer theory.

I do, however, understand a lot of the vocabulary related to romance, love, marriage, and so forth, even if I don’t always usan’t always usee it correctly (thank you, my dear Mandarin-language melodramas). And I know that these words often don’t have direct translations to English.

For example, I once asked about same-sex marriage in Mandarin. Mandarin has a number of words for ‘marry’, two of them being (娶) and jià (嫁). is generally used as ‘he her’ and jià is generally used as ‘she jià him’. So I ask how would these words be used in same sex marriage. Some people answered that the more masculine party would the more feminine party. Some people answered that the true meaning of is the stronger party marrying a weaker party, and that the true meaning of jià is the weaker party marrying a stronger party. Thus, in situations where the woman is the stronger party she actually her husband; same-sex marriages can also have stronger and weaker parties. My favorite response, however, is that and jià are very patriarchal concepts, and that only more egalitarian words for marriage (such as hé…jiéhūn) should be used, regardless of whether or not it’s a same sex marriage.

See why I can’t really figure out how to discuss asexuality in Mandarin?

It would really help if I had contact with a Mandarin-speaking asexuality community. They could teach me how to describe asexuality in Mandarin, and would probably understand even my broken Mandarin. But I don’t know how to look for such a community.

You Will Meet Someone

I remember one time, when I was a little girl, I met somebody in a mall. She told me that everybody has a special person fated for them, and that was their future spouse.

Even as a girl, I thought that was bullshit, and I told her so (I did not use the word ‘bullshit’ because I was not old enough to use such language, but that’s what I meant). My parents have never been married, so that were pretty clear evidence that some people were not fated to marry a star-crossed spouse.

I remember one time, on a car trip, I mentioned that I never kissed anybody on the lips. Somebody else answered ‘Oh, you will, you will, it will happen’.

I remember one time, the subject of marriage came up:

Me: I do not want to get married.
Other person: Why not?
Me: I do not know anybody I want to marry.
Other person: You will meet someone.
Me: How do you know?
[At this point the other person had to actually think about this, and realized that, no, she does not know that I ‘will meet someone’]

I think the people who say things like to me have good intentions, and in situations #2 and #3 I think they were trying to reassure me. Society teaches us that we must get married to be happy, so people assume that the prospect I might never marry must make me unhappy.

The reality? It does not reassure me at all. It is because people make comments like this all the time that people get the idea that marriage is the key to happiness … even though it’s not. Marriage sometimes makes people happy, but it does not always make people happy, and many people are happy without it. And when people make comments like this, I feel society trying to squeeze me into some generic mold so I become an indistinct cog in the system instead of letting me express my humanity in my own way. I’m pretty resistant to this type of pressure – even as a little girl, I thought it was pretty ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean I want people to keep on pouring this crap on me.

Now, I have not taken a vow of celibacy, or even a vow to remain unmarried (though it would be very difficult to persuade me to get married – I would need some awfully compelling reasons). I think it’s okay if I do end up meeting someone I want to marry, and I think it’s okay if I don’t. I do not know if I will meet someone, and neither do you. Please stop saying it.