Letters to an Asexual #59 (“You’re not qualified to discuss asexuality. You’re not a scientist!”)

Letters to an Asexual #59 (“You’re not qualified to discuss asexuality. You’re not a scientist!”)


Hey folks, it’s raining where I am, so if
you hear rain or thunder, that’s all it is. I’m gonna bring you another Letters to an
Asexual. This is 59. Um, and it’s a really long and involved one,
uh, so I’m not gonna set it up with too much preamble. But before I get into that, I’m gonna show
you something cute. I have a Cookie Cat pillow. And it’s really, really squishy. This is from Steven Universe, if you are not
familiar. And I also have a Lion from the same show. Very cute. Um, I’m also gonna show you something that’s
not quite as cute. I like to collect the toys for Steven Universe
and sometimes they come out with some pretty cute stuff, but recently they came out with
these. They’re called Micro Pozers. They sorta do this thing where they stick
to each other? Yeah. I don’t know. Uh, it’s very peculiar. Um, but I’m a collector, so I still collected
them even though they’re very weird looking. Um, here’s another very weird-looking toy. It’s like, a cursed image. Um, I still think it’s kind of cute, but um,
I think this one is called a capsule builder or something. Their head comes, uh, with the body inside,
and you have to open them up and assemble them. You can also put their heads on each other’s
bodies if you’re into that. Um, yeah, so. Actually, I’m just gonna show you this real
fast. We’re in the room where my collection is. So, this is where all my stuff is. Uh, those are the builder toys from, um, McFarlane
Toys. So I have all of those, there’s a Big Donut
back there, um, bunch of stuff, these are all the Funko Pops that exist for Steven Universe,
and some backpack hangers, um, that’s Funko’s, what do you call it, uh, Pint Size Heroes,
you can see the other two from the Micro Pozers. I can put these guys back here. Wheee. There you guys go. You know, gotta keep everything organized. Um, yeah, down there I have some sorta miscellaneous
stuff. There’s the series called Cartoon Network
Titans. And I’ve got uh, all the Steveny ones. Which are mostly just Steven recolors. Uh, with the exception of Garnet, who is my
favorite. And down here these wibbly wobbly guys. They’re sort of Weebles. But they’re called Rockerz. And I have all of those. And then over here I got Original Minis, Domez,
and these capsule guys. And up here, all of my Mystery Minis from
Funko. Hooray! Uh, let’s see, camera back where it was, and
um, I’ve also been doing a lot of uh, fan art and comics and stuff, so if you plan to
see this show and you don’t wanna get spoiled, just fast forward a little bit because I’m
gonna show you one of my art pieces I did. Which is pretty cool. This is a re-draw of a comic cover that is
originally by Grace Kraft. So this is my version, it’s kinda nice, Amethyst
Fusions. And uh, I like Garnet a lot, so I drew this
one of them stretching. I don’t know if you can see that. Yeah. And some waffles. I like to doodle. So that’s some happy stuff. Uh, before I go into the ridiculous stuff. Uh, this is a letter, well a series of comments
that I’m going to share with you. Uh, they’re very discouraging, but the good
news is most people aren’t this bad, um, this comes from when I had a gig doing blogging
for Psychology Today, which, I got that invitation shortly after my book was published and they
asked, “Hey, do you wanna do some asexuality-related blogging for Psychology Today?” And I said sure. I ended up doing just two pieces for them
and ended up feeling like I didn’t have that much I was comfortable saying in that, uh,
venue. And it was partly because of comments like
this. So, I’m not gonna set this up anymore because
it’s already so long the way that it is. So for Letters to an Asexual Number 59, I
will present here this, uh, conversation that went on in the comments of one of my articles
that I wrote for Psychology Today, and I don’t remember if I did it on the essay that I did
about asexuality for the mental health practitioner or if I did it for “Asexuality Is Not a Diagnosis.” I think those are the two titles. If you wanted to look those up or if you want
me to uh, link you, I believe I can still do that. YouTube’s been really weird with their rules
changing around, but I think I can still link the articles in the comments, or rather, in
the description of the video. So I received a comment from someone who just
used initials, JS, and JS opened by saying “You are not qualified to discuss this with
any authority. You have literally no idea what you’re talking
about. You’re just a writer. This is a personal blog post and should not
be here for critical examination. It is inappropriate and lowers tone. You’re not a scientist, and clearly you never
could be, since you advocate tossing out the experimental paradigm like a child throwing
its toy from the pram because you suddenly dislike the way it appears. Your subjective experience or feelings are
not a qualification, and the absence of something cannot logically be tantamount to a positive
concept such as sexuality. Lack of libido is a medical symptom in hundreds
of illnesses. Sexualities exist and they are all in the
positive trajectory (toward an object of sexual sentiment). You seem to have a persecution complex and
spend most of your time insulting the reader for daring to question your Tumblr-echoing
opinion when you show a blatant disregard for the subject and practice of psychology. Psychology Today, you’re a good publication,
I expect better than this insult to our intelligence. Psychology is aiming to be a science here!” So I responded to that, and I said, “Very
good example of unnecessary invalidation. You take potshots at my authority while claiming
asexuality is ‘low libido,’ which is not what it is. This is why research is really important before
you try to counter someone’s point, but even if you don’t like what I’m saying, the condescension
and mocking make it very clear you’re aiming for invalidation by intimidation.” And I was fortunate enough to have some clued-up
people in the comments with me. Um, and I don’t know if they were just typical
Psychology Today readers in every case, or if some of them may have followed me from
my social media, I think a couple of them did. Um, but one person responded to JS, and said,
“Just in case you missed it JS, not every single blogger on Psychology Today has a Ph.D,
M.D., M.A. or other academic or ‘scientific title’ you seem to desire them to have. Some writers in PT have a Ph.D. or M.D. and
choose to write about their personal experiences on various subjects. Asexuality is a sexual orientation that happens
to still be in its infancy in terms of awareness, knowledge, and acceptance in the general population,
not to mention the scientific community. Therefore, research is very scarce at the
moment for asexuality. Julie Sondra Decker is brave enough to push
knowledge and awareness out there so that maybe the scientific community will get interested
in researching asexuality. Not all the references she links go to Tumblr…if
you took the time to check them out. When you say ‘Sexualities exist and they are
all in the positive trajectory (toward an object of sexual sentiment),’ can YOU scientifically
back up that statement? If you feel more qualified than the author
of this publication to write about asexuality, go ahead and write your own blog or book about
asexuality…just be sure to back everything up with science so we don’t take you for a
hypocrite.” And I responded to that person and said, “Thank
you Tom, that is well said–and you bring to light a fact that some people don’t realize
about Psychology Today bloggers. They indeed are not all highly educated, nor
are they all scientists (though I do have a minor in psychology). However, Psychology Today explicitly INVITED
me to blog for them after my book was published. I didn’t seek them out. They apparently wanted my voice and thought
I would say something valuable. I try to do so. And yes, while some links do go to Tumblr,
those are simply examples of the types of invalidation we get–so people who read this
and have never had a problem with asexuality don’t imagine we’re making up the harassment
we receive. I guess maybe it’s the proto-scientist in
me that enjoys showing evidence of my claims. There’s not a huge amount of research on asexuality,
true, but it’s not absent–as you clearly know based on your response! But a book exists (predating mine), published
by a scientist who has been involved in many of the studies on people like us, and I linked
to it in the article. (Anthony Bogaert’s book, Understanding Asexuality.) I also linked to a pretty good compilation
of the extant research. But even though I made it clear that ‘science’
HAS investigated asexuality (and continues to do so), I still frequently deal with people
who claim asexuality is something it’s not (like ‘low libido’ or ‘fear of sex’ or ‘hormone
problems’ or ‘psychological dependence on being different’), and then they weaponize
that misconception to yowl at me about how irresponsible my message is. Nice point on the ‘positive trajectory’ comment,
too. We’re a recognized sexual orientation, identified
explicitly as NOT being a disorder in the DSM-5, and Bogaert has published numerous
papers and a whole book about asexuality, with some of his content devoted to why asexuality
constitutes a sexual orientation rather than a lack of one.” And I list some of the other authors who have
published on this as well. “I have read their studies and materials. They are asking interesting questions and
gathering data. I have worked WITH them and supported what
they have done. It’s a far cry from the science-hating tantrum
I’m being accused of when I’m literally saying nothing more than that sexual orientation
isn’t a scientific statement and the invalidation and harassment we receive for it is way, way
too heated and aggressive to be driven by a ‘pure’ interest in science. Those who have that scientific curiosity in
our experiences and our community have done responsible studies and published on them
instead of trying to silence the people who are talking about it, but when I point out
that that’s what’s happening, I’m accused of having a persecution complex by the same
people screaming at the authorities to stop allowing me to have a voice.” Ah, my mouth is gonna get very dry if I don’t
take a sip in between this. It’s just water, don’t get any ideas. Sometimes I wish I drank. So JS returns, and says, “You can’t white
knight one woman against another–but kudos for trying. You said: ‘Asexuality is a sexual orientation’
and ask me to back up a statement about the very paradigm of sexual orientation theory? The same paradigm everyone is using? …..Logical. A woman talking about herself to get attention
or money isn’t brave, and it certainly isn’t scientific. It makes the rest of us who actually work
in STEM look bad. Have fun with that benevolent sexism. Why would I waste my time writing an entire
book about something which doesn’t exist, except in the minds of people who spend their
lives on microblogging sites discussing otherkin and headmates? They couldn’t pay me enough to write on this
site since it’s been going downhill, I actually get paid for my research. You can’t prove a negative, or is pointing
out the logical fallacies from liberal arts majors grounds for ‘abuse’ too?” “It really seems like you’re TRYING to prove
my point,” I said in response. “Hmm, so you have very strong opinions about
asexuality not being real, very strong opinions about the self-evident ‘truth’ of your perspectives
on sexual orientation, and very strong opinions on how disgusting it is when women talk about
*their feelings*. Considering this entire piece is about people
who use techniques like this to invalidate others while pretending it’s science, I guess
I should just thank you for proving that this attitude exists and providing an example of
how nasty and petty it sounds. As we all know, your time is far too precious
to read the research on the topic you’re mocking (though it doesn’t seem to be too precious
to read blogs you believe are ~going downhill~ and then complain about that self-righteously),
and when YOU are paid for something (your research), that justifies it and makes it
worthwhile, while when I am paid for something (the books and articles I’ve sold on this
topic), it’s a travesty and indicative of my need for attention. And heck, linking to Tumblr for examples is
obviously a sign that I support and believe anything any one of the millions of users
might blog about there, and reducing its use to condescending comments about what you think
goes on there definitely makes you look learn–learned. Though for the record, the book I mentioned,
Understanding Asexuality, is by a man named Anthony Bogaert who does not appear to have
stepped foot on Tumblr, and yet he seems to be an example of someone who ‘believes in’
asexuality and has ‘wasted his time’ writing a book about it. Your snotty invalidation attempts are poorly
researched and betray a personal hatred of the topic and related beliefs about it, and
we can all see what’s really going on here. I would recommend some research to read by
people who did not publish on Tumblr and are describing explicitly scientific research
into asexuality, but I have already made it clear such things exist and you came back
with ‘why would I WASTE MY TIME engaging with something that doesn’t exist?’ so I’m not
going to bother–I know you do not want to learn and you’re more comfortable with your
dogma. It’s really gross that you are trying to make–you’re
trying so hard to make yourself look like the one with credentials here, but you should
at least respect yourself enough to know what you’re talking about before you tell other
people they aren’t qualified to discuss a topic you freely admit you haven’t touched
(and you’re too personally disgusted or hilariously prejudiced against to engage with the literature).” So I had another supportive commenter come
in, named Citation. Thank you Citation. And Citation says, “Okay, I’m not a scientist
quite yet. I’m studying astrophysics in college, so I’m
getting there, but not quite there. But I’ve loved science all my life and I’m
pretty sure that one of the tenets of science is that it doesn’t dictate the way the world
works, it only explains it. If you find evidence that goes against your
previous ideas, you don’t just insist that the evidence must be wrong–obviously, if
evidence goes against a really well-established idea, you should make sure it’s reliable,
but if the evidence seems solid, you don’t just discard the evidence, you rewrite the
old theories. Science describes the world and does not determine
it. Now, with something like sexual orientation,
there’s no way to externally validate people’s orientation–you can’t run a test on someone
to be sure they’re straight or gay or bisexual or asexual or anything else. You have to rely on what they say they are. This doesn’t mean you’re obligated to accept
everything that everyone says on sexuality, of course, but see, tons of people report
that asexuality describes them–ignoring all of these people’s testimony is bad science. Before anyone says anything about how popular
opinion doesn’t make something right… of course it doesn’t. The Sun doesn’t orbit the Earth just because
people used to think so. But this is something completely different. Sexuality cannot be attested to apart from
people’s self-reports, unlike the movements of bodies in the solar system. You can’t determine sexuality from behavior
(a gay man could marry a straight woman–but this has often happened, in fact), but even
if you could, the fact that most asexuals refrain from sexual activity should provide
evidence enough. Besides, actual research exists from people
who study orientation for a living that verifies asexuality. I could probably find a lot of it if you wanted.” And I replied and said, “Very well said, Citation. Thanks. (I already linked to research in the article
and mentioned it twice in comments responding to JS, but I only got *NOPE DOESN’T EXIST
WHY WASTE MY TIME* in response, so when you say ‘I could probably find a lot of it if
you wanted,’ you might just want to assume that JS does not want.) The discussion you offered here is in line
with why I actually frequently tell people that you can’t prove a negative–as a way
of SUPPORTING asexuality, not invalidating it. Sexual orientation is the word we use to refer
to what people are experiencing as far as attraction goes. As you said, it’s silly to assume that behavior
is what defines someone as whatever sexuality they are, or else virgin heterosexual people
wouldn’t be straight until they became so through the act of intercourse, and asexual
people who abstained from sex would always be processed as a blank space that is understood
as ‘not yet.’ That’s unscientific, as you said. Logically, if it is possible to be straight
and to be gay and to be attracted to more than one gender, it should be possible to
be attracted to none. Kinsey even identified the ‘no attraction’
population as not fitting into his scale back in the 50s. The people answering that they don’t feel
any of the options offered have been showing up in research with an appreciably large experimental
group since we began doing such studies. It’s ludicrous to ignore that small but consistent
and significant percent and aggressively tell them they have a disorder or are talking about
their feelings for attention. I think JS is coming from a prescriptive background–‘science
says X as far as I’ve ever known based on my admittedly limited exposure to it, so anything
that challenges X is unscientific.’ As you’ve so rightly mentioned, that’s bad
science. But I’m bracing myself for another scathing
commentary about how my presence on Tumblr and my presumptuous tendency to talk about
~feelings~ while female undermines everything I’ve said and necessitates an appeal to authority
to get rid of me.” So JS is back, saying, “At the point where
you start imagining conversations and replies, you should stop pretending to be objective
and see a shrink. Calm down with the CAPS LOCK RAGE and ignorance
of what a logical fallacy is. You’re trying to goad me, everyone can see
it, and it isn’t gonna work, I’m a professional. There are many tests for sexual orientation,
actually. Literally dozens, in that field. Hence I mentioned libido, because those objective
measures can be better explained by medical ailments. Including endocrine–endrocine–” I can’t
talk today. “Including endocrine dysfunction. Occam’s Razor. What I object to is the profiteering of people
who want an excuse to write about personal issues under the veneer of science with no
conception of the topic at hand. No ability to separate themselves, they take
everything as a personal affront. That isn’t science. This whole opinion is greater than evidence
idea is demonstrably false. It’s liberal arts critique, not even social
science for standards. And it fuels the damaging notion that sexual
orientation can be changed. On the subject of the paradigm, it’s too political,
and this muddies the waters considerably. That old canard that ‘It is difficult to get
a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!’ applies. As you can tell, I object to the slightest
broad request for objectivity in a field being met with shrill cries of personalized abuse
from somebody I’ve never met, who requires that offense to make a living and cherry-picks
such feedback to fuel their own persecution complex. As a woman in science, I am ashamed an example
of my own sex makes such excuses and plays victim, or damsel. A single comment shouldn’t get this response
from a sensible person on a real subject, only an insecure one with unsteady foundations. Self-report is too biased, again, self-interest
and social desirability. That last is basic psychology dating back
to Freud’s case studies, and would be laughed out of the average funding committee in this
field. Would turkeys vote for Christmas?” So I responded to JS, and I said, Quote, “You
should really go give attention to important things. Quote, ‘There are too tests for sexual orientation!’ [Mentions things that aren’t sexual orientation
and calls it science] Qote, ‘You just want attention for your personal problems!’ [Whines about how an article that explicitly
isn’t “about science” needs to be scientific] Quote, ‘You have an opinion, not a fact!’ [Falsely categorizes discussion of non-scientific
invalidation of asexuality as lack of respect for objectivity] Quote, ‘Your dangerous ideas
suggest sexual orientation can be changed!’ [Claims asexuality doesn’t exist and it’s
clearly the same thing as a physical dysfunction there are little blue pills for that] Quote,
‘You’re playing the victim!’ [Attacks my orientation and mocks it, makes
laughably exaggerated commentary on what my presence on Tumblr reveals about the reality
of my life, and literally weaponizes mental illness and diagnosis to shut me up] Quote,
‘You respond to comments that invalidated and attacked and misrepresented your message,
so clearly YOU have issues!’ [Continues to respond multiple times to comments]
Quote, ‘You have no business writing about how sexual orientation isn’t science and is
literally the same–the name of how we describe our attraction experiences, because observable
scientific processes are the only respectable way to approach the human experience!’ [Implies that no REAL scientist would ever
take this topic seriously even though every comment has made it clear the studies you
refuse to read are part of how science understands asex–understands sexuality, and that it acknowledges
asexuality and includes it in the DSM-5 as explicitly not a disorder]. But hey, it’s clear from all this that I just
need a shrink and have a persecution complex. Slash sarcasm. You’ve been a beautiful example of the type
of unnecessary, personal-opinion-fueled, individual-prejudice-motivated, ignorant, and condescending type of comments
we sometimes get from people who hilariously claim they’re motivated by science, but the
people who actually understood my article will see that my point stands and that you’re
an illustration of it.” So JS responds. “Get help, hun. DSM isn’t a bible. You clearly love being outraged to play damsel
and continue to seek personal attention for self-obsessed writing about your psychiatric
issues, which must have comorbid conditions judging by the transcript, what with an endless
list of things you supposedly suffer from and how the world is against you for it (that’s
called a persecution complex in this field). Misquoting my replies to other people doesn’t
make you look good, it makes you look insane. On some level, you must understand this because
you daren’t link to me. People can see what I actually wrote and how
you twist it to fit your deluded ideas of persecution and paranoia. You aren’t that special, nobody objects to
you personally because you simply aren’t on their radar of those important enough to notice. You’re hiding behind other (scientific) people
I would much rather read by the sounds of it (maybe they chose you because you’re free
or some such) to push logically false arguments, trying to use fallacies as proof (mathematically
impossible and hilarious) and crying victim when someone dares disagree and point out
your error. You should be thanking me for taking time
to correct you, if you were scientific (hence the word ‘method’). You’re trying to turn this into something
it isn’t, doubtless to profiteer later. Without asexuality, you wouldn’t have a job,
unless you count writing books about fairies (that is more your level of expertise). Your writing cannot stand alone and would
never pass peer review scrutiny in a million years in an academic publication. As I initially stated to the editorial staff,
not you, you insult and attack the readers’ intelligence (as you continue to demonstrate
and prove my point) with your anti-science approach (personal emotionality is greater
than medical evidence from fields like endocrinology, which you predictably ignore), take everything
personally when you’re supposedly discussing the medical human body, plural, and berate
skepticism in a field trying to shed liberal arts-level pandering to anecdote over evidence. In short, I didn’t need to reply those three
times in a row I ignored your tiring rage like a toddler throwing a tantrum in a supermarket,
you prove your ignorance to any reader with a modicum of scientific training or logical
sense. You cannot reason scientifically, it is something
you must prove in your writing with balance and you have failed with egregious levels
of bias. You don’t even understand what a hypothesis
is (n.b. scientific English differs from other forms) and keep using the redundant feminist
theory term ‘invalidation,’ cluelessly ignorant of how stupid it makes you appear to the educated
readership in psychology and hard disciplines like neuroscience. I actually pity you at this point. You must be one of those people who enjoy
wallowing in their self-created misery. Sure, keep ranting. Very healthy. You’re ranting about me (and misquoting, again)
on social media like a teenage girl to generate attention. Mature. You’re much older than me, act like it!” So I replied to JS. I said, “For a scientist, your dogmatism is
incredible. Quote, ‘DSM isn’t a bible.’ No, but it is created by psychologists, who
base what to put in it on scientific investigation. I personally don’t believe textbooks OR bibles
‘prove’ anything, but you’re the one who’s obsessed with authority (considering your
first comment sought first and foremost to convince me I don’t have any business writing
anything in Psychology Today), so I figured you might respect it. Apparently even if scientists collectively
agree on something–scientists in this field, whose work you still refuse to read while
laughing at me for agreeing with them–you will reject it if it serves your own agenda. Let’s make no mistake: you have a really unfortunate
personal problem with asexuality, which you are irresponsibly trying to hide behind extreme
desire to defend science from people whose experiences you believe threaten it. You kept going after me on how I’m *just a
writer*, but aren’t you *just a person in some sort of undisclosed science whose biased
views also aren’t a bible*, and aren’t you also *just a human*? You go on and on about how you’re ever so
important and ever so unable to waste time on this nonsense, but here you are, day after
day, comment after comment, claiming MY continued responses here are indicative of mental illness. (Again, it’s disgusting that anyone claiming
to care about the sanctity of science would weaponize diagnosis, psychology, and mental
illness in this way.) It’s pretty clear that I have a reason to
be invested in this topic. I don’t know what you’re pretending your excuse
is, though. Your opinions are all the more vile because
you’re pretending they aren’t opinions, but you couldn’t even mask your personal disgust
long enough to keep from ruining your ‘logical’ facade by making broad generalizations about
Tumblr users and mocking me for my supposed association with an entire group of people
you believe are self-evidently ridiculous. ‘You clearly love being outraged to play damsel’–I
know you keep bringing this up and that it appears to be your personal Issue right now,
but damsel in this context does not make sense. I saw you try it above claiming that Tom could
not ‘white knight’ against you because you’re also a woman, so clearly anyone who disagrees
with you is actually swooping in to save me instead of, you know, disagreeing with you. Quick distract –distract everyone by pretending
this is about gender dynamics! And then you did it again and a third time,
claiming this is all about me needing attention and crying about my victimhood . . . except
that the only person, literally the only person here, who is attacking me over this is you. You don’t merit outrage. Your comments are whiny and groundless and
mildly incoherent, but they are not outrageous. They are actually exactly what I wrote about
above–poorly reasoned, specious, and grounded in personal hatred of what you don’t understand. I’m not crying persecution and screaming for
rescue and pretending to be helpless just because I pointed out the biases, compulsory
sexuality, and preconceived notions that people take–take for granted when approaching sexuality-related
subjects in their lives. I’m the one actively taking the steps to stop
these things from hurting more vulnerable people. It’s pretty entertaining to see my actions
portrayed as anything even remotely passive. Quote, ‘Misquoting my replies to other people
doesn’t make you look good, it makes you look insane. On some level, you must understand this because
you daren’t link to me.’ . . . I do not know what or where you think
I should be linking you. I’m not ‘misquoting’ whatsoever, and I am
discussing your words in the exact same place that you’re putting those words, it’s not
obscured what you’re really saying. (But I guess if you’re that determined to
believe I’m out to get you, go for it.) I’m sarcastically rephrasing what your comments
sound like to me, and despite that you are appealing to the masses claiming they would
all unanimously agree with you, everyone else in this thread disagrees with you too. So do my followers on Tumblr and the people
who saw what you said on Twitter. Not a single person has come here to say ‘hey,
that scientist person, they’re the one that has a point!’ And it’s easy to see why. ‘You aren’t that special, because nobody objects
to you personally because you simply aren’t on their radar of those important enough to
notice. You’re hiding behind other (scientific) people
I would much rather read by the sounds of it (maybe they chose you ’cause you’re free
or some such)’ Keep telling yourself that. I would actually appreciate it if you’d go
read some of those folks, but I did not quote them because I was ‘hiding behind’ them. You’d already made it clear that I’m a woman
talking about my feelings on a blog and that’s not scientific (even though it was an entire
article about how sexual orientation is not a description anyone proves through scientific
inquiry or experimentation), so I did not recommend my own book to you (the first book
on asexuality that was published by a mainstream publisher for layperson audiences), nor did
I suggest the multiple other asexuality-related pieces I’ve sold or the interviews I’ve done. You appeal to authority over and over again,
calling out this magazine to shut me down because you deserve better, but when I recommend
a source you would theoretically trust if you were not biased (the DSM), you of course
have reasons why that isn’t enough either. As for not being on the radar enough for *anyone*
to notice me, well, you do seem to be a fan of evidence, as well as a fan of authority,
so maybe it will make a difference if I tell you exactly who has respected my work in this
field enough to give it a platform (though it is, explicitly I say, not scientific work
I am doing; I am DESCRIBING this community and my experience as part of it, and that
is not a worthless thing). My book was excerpted in TIME Magazine. It was featured in the New York Times. I was interviewed in the Washington Post because
of my work. The work–the book was given a starred review
in Library Journal. I have been interviewed on the BBC twice,
on international television twice, and have done guest lectures about asexuality at various
events and places of higher learning, including University of Virginia, Creating Change in
Atlanta, and Princeton University. I have had extensive interviews published
in Marie Claire, Salon, the Daily Beast, and Huffington Post (plus more than a dozen smaller
publications). I was quoted liberally (no, not mocked by
the researchers) in an academic examination of asexuality that was published in the journal
Contemporary Sexuality, and I was cited several times (again, not mockingly) in a law paper
that was published in Stanford Law Review. I was in a documentary on this topic that
has been rated on Netflix over 125,000 times (so who knows how many hundreds of thousands
more have watched it without rating). And my book is now a finalist for the Lambda
Award, the most prestigious book award in the LGBT world. But it doesn’t really matter that I trotted
all this out, because when people who say the things you’ve said demand evidence that
anyone important cares and I give overwhelming examples of people in high places who do not
think I’m a blubbering woman with a persecution complex and multiple mental health issues
(you know, since that’s something logical and truth-driven people routinely mock) . . . they
always say it does not matter. Because it is never actually about who respects
me, even though people in your shoes frequently do go on like this: Quote, ‘Your writing cannot
stand alone and would never pass peer review and scrutiny–peer review scrutiny in a million
years in academic publication. . . . Huh. Good thing I am not and never have claimed
to be submitting academic papers for publication, but I digress. My writing, however, does seem to be standing
alone, as my book just by itself went into its second printing very soon after it came
out and continues to sell reasonably well for a book on a niche subject and, I say again,
has been designated as a finalist by the Lammy authorities. It is funny that you think your baseless comments
about no one listening to me have any basis in reality, though. More bullying tactacs–tactics from a person
who knows they are not coming from an evidence-based position, but are determined to claim that
good old stump for logic and science. Quote, ‘You’re trying to turn this into something
it isn’t, doubtless to profiteer later. Without asexuality, you wouldn’t have a job,
unless you count writing books about fairies (that is more your level of expertise).’ Writing about asexuality isn’t my job, though
I’ve made plenty of nice side money doing so. I’ve been employed for all of my adult life,
so trying to rub my face in my failures is shockingly low as well as untrue. And the attempted insult about *writing books
about fairies* is funny too. Who knew–who knew that also being a fantaly–fantasy
novelist would be something a clueless person with a vendetta would attempt to spin as evidence
of my being unfit to write other things? Ah, the straws people like you grasp at–anything
to turn your blatant personal attacks into veiled condescension that you think works
to subtly undermine my credentials. Quote, ‘your anti-science approach (personal
emotionality is greater than medical evidence from fields like endocrinology, which you
predictably ignore), take everything personally when you’re supposedly discussing the medical
human body, plural, and berate skepticism in a field trying to shed liberal arts-level
pandering to anecdote over evidence.’ See, you’re seeing what you want to see, not
what I wrote. ‘Personal emotionality’ was not even on the
radar, and it was not what I said–even though I and the other commenters pointed it out
to you explicitly, you couldn’t stop with your hatemongering for asexuality (‘that doesn’t
exist!’) long enough to understand that sexual orientation isn’t an ~emotion~. It is a description of who you feel attracted
to. And I don’t think it’s unscientific to say
that when you name the feeling, it’s actually supposed to be based on your feelings. If you believe that *endocrinology* and other
biologically based fields are able to create tests that would be the sole arbiters of what
sexual orientation is, you’re not even listening to the basic thesis statement of this piece. Occam’s Razor notwithstanding, sexual orientation
is not determined by a biological reaction. Pretending otherwise is not ‘scientific.’ It is one-dimensional oversimplification. First of all, asexual people *have been tested
in a lab* in one of the studies I mentioned above (which you again refuse to read because
you’re already sure that asexuality doesn’t exist–very scientific of you–but it doesn’t
matter much because one of the people who administered the study was instrumental in
getting the current DSM to recognize asexuality as not a sexual aversion disorder based on
what she found through research on our community, and in your world that probably ruins her
credibility). Their sexual response to stimuli was the same
as the non-asexual people in the study. They identify as asexual because they don’t
find anyone sexually attractive. Not because their bodies or minds have a dysfunction
(at least, not by definition). I’m assuming you did not even know that asexuality
means people who don’t find anyone sexually attractive, given how you won’t stop harping
on how biological reactions are what proves someone has a sexual orientation. But secondly, hey, let’s go with your oversimplified
black and white view and say that if someone has the ability to become aroused and you
test them with various stimuli, you can definitively say what sexual orientation that person is. I guess if a man becomes aroused while watching
a guy-on-guy film and yet insists he is not gay, there is no possible explanation for
why he would get an erection except that he is lying. Same with sexual arousal that seems to come
out of nowhere, or when someone gets aroused when they’re nervous. We can just oversimplify and pretend sexual
arousal is sexual attraction, that endocrine systems and stimuli and biological normals
are all we need to examine, and that variations like asexuality are far more likely to be
fairly rare diseases than to be a sexual orientation. And, if your example is any indication, the
correct way to react to people whom we think have disorders, mental health problems, and
diseases is to repeatedly urge them, with condescension, to ‘get help,’ offer them pity,
compare them to children having tantrums and also to teenagers behaving inappropriately,
gaslight them by asserting them–that their reality is wrong, post multiple strongly worded
statements about how broken you think they are, and tell them they’re immature. (The preoccupation with ‘maturity’ here is
pretty typical with folks like you too. Anything you can desperately grasp at to weaponize. It generally doesn’t work very well with people
who aren’t insecure about their maturity. I’m honestly surprised that you did not add
on the usual accusation of my probable childhood abuse or suggest that no one loves me, ‘explaining’
my supposed need for validation. But none of you can hit all the bingo card
squares by yourselves.) I think it is time for you to reply to my
comment by reminding me how little of your time I deserve as you give it to me anyway.” Yes, of course JS replied. Here’s JS’s response. “Scintillating self-indulgence. Rants are commonly shorter than that, but
. . . in my clinical experience. I will be kind, although you do not deserve
it given your attempts at distortion. If I were practically advising a colleague
on what to tell a patient it would be simply this: You need to list your comorbid conditions
(history of depression, anxiety, emotional instability, self-harm) as a disclaimer above
an article. That is the format and practice in this field. Obscuring such a torrid history is an ethical
conflict and can–will–tarnish your work when it inevitably comes out later on in your
career, as this is all you have in life and must protect it (commenting on something intimate
from a veneer of objectivity and taking feedback on the broader scientific topic personally
to fuel the PR for the next piece of work, typical SJW con). We can all see what you’re doing, please never
delete any of these comments as I wish them to remain online for posterity. Indeed, let as many people as possible see
what I have written here. If you in fact truly believe what you say
you do, you cannot be frightened they would think poorly of you? I call your bluff. Full quotes to avoid ‘confusion’. If you haven’t already been tested for Thought
Disorder, as I expect is the case, you should request as much from your mental health practitioner. It would greatly assist your therapy and I
believe would make you a more contented version of yourself, reducing this sense of injustice
and insecurity that your life, slash, the world isn’t all you wish it to be. Unless you argue with the psychiatric tests
themselves and whomever dispenses yours, in which case nothing can be done for you. Denial of psychiatry as a practice and its
authority over the patient (invalidation, as you would have it) is another common theme
in cases like yours. Quote, ‘sexual orientation is not determined
by a biological reaction’–Oh. You’re one of those people, what a waste of
time this has been. Had you put that in the first line, nobody
would have bothered to read the second. Have fun with homeopathy, since you spit on
science, logic and the medical model with it. I hope the fairy book you’re working on sells,
children won’t have the basis to question you (as dissent distresses you) so you won’t
need to try the ad hominem attacks in the pursuit of sympathy for your choices of omission. Perhaps I should’ve kept it beneath two syllables,
owing to your issue with technical language. — PT editors, I (among others) would be greatly
interested in reading on this topic from the supposedly cutting-edge researchers on this
topic, the pure data and rigorous methodology, not as a book plug or personal branding exercise,
but as a purely logical case for exemption of ‘asexuality’ from the medical model as
symptom, given what is known from neuroscientific studies on computationally measurable physiological
arousal and mistaken conflation of self-reported desire with that objective data. Email me in a hundred years, heehee, when
you find that hard proof for a negative.” And my reply was this. “Thanks, Internet doctor. I’m so glad that you figured out how to diagnose
me over the Internet, assigned me a history of abuse and self-harm, and condescendingly
recommended that others should be warned about me before reading my work. I’m also super glad that you are so kind as
to address me with sweet nicknames like ‘hun’ as you continue to claim I have mental illnesses,
because that’s not at all infantilizing. It’s also adorable and kind of you to indicate
that I reject science and believe in homeopathic remedies if I rightly point out to you that
you can’t take measurements of someone’s arousal and make conclusions about what sort of people
they’re attracted to. This is clearly very good science. As we all know, if someone is sexually aroused,
horny, turned on, or any other colloquial word we might use for it, it is because of
what they are looking at, and genital arousal is identical to sexual orientation. It’s lovely to know that straight sex makes
gay cis men straight (because if they were able to get it up, obviously they were attracted
to the woman), and that if a teenage boy gets an erection for any reason, it is because
he is sexually attracted to someone who is near him that we can objectively make conclusions
about, simplifying everything we can personally see in his environment. It is good to know that this is how sexuality
works, and that those who believe otherwise are therefore rejecting science and objectivity
outright, hate medical science, and believe in whatever other things any drive-by ‘scientist’
wants to assign them. I am glad to know also that ‘fairy books’
mean children’s stories to you, and that you are so knowledgeable about the world of adult
fantasy novels, that you have so solidly nailed my evil desires to brainwash children through
stories because they cannot fight. This is illuminating. And it is wonderful to know that you are so
incredibly sure that no research exists on asexuality that you believe Psychology Today
is reading your comments and despairing at their inability to show you any science, at
which point they will regret asking me to blog for them. Despite that I have told you specifics about
asexuality research in every single comment I have made and linked explicitly to it in
the article before this discussion began, you demonstrated a truly amazing ability to
deny its existence and mockingly ask where the research is, and it’s actually on a level
I see very rarely outside of trolls. Those who are reading this comment besides
JS may be interested in whether such a thing as physiological research on asexuality has
ever been done, though I know JS isn’t personally actually interested in it because of having
judiciously avoided clicking on any links or following any explicitly named researchers’
documentation–as we all know, when we say we’re incredibly curious about a topic, we
grinningly confront someone we think can’t provide it, and sit back and wait for it to
be given to us instead of looking around for what is easily found on the Internet. The answer is: yes, there has been such a
study! The one I mentioned several times, actually. Its title is ‘Physiological and Subjective
Sexual Arousal in Self-Identified Asexual Women.’ It can be accessed here.” And I linked. “It does not, however, ‘prove a negative,’
which is an unscientific concept. Asexual people (including me, IN this comment
thread) readily admit that it is impossible to prove a negative, but since the past and
the present are the best predictors for the future when it comes to one’s sexual orientation
(and it is what everyone else bases it on without hooking themselves up to machines
to prove it), the only thing asexual people are asserting when they say they’re asexual
is that they feel a certain way and ‘asexual’ is the name for that feeling. It makes no absolute claims about what attraction
experiences they might have in the future, or about what their bodies do, or what their
behavior might be now or in the future. It’s pretty amazing how often people insist
it must be a vow or a dogmatic statement, but yeah, people who feel threatened by the
idea of a person who’s perfectly happy without feeling like other people are sexy tend to
ask a lot of invasive and accusatory questions. They’re even willing to assign asexual people
an entire crop of illnesses instead of examining why they are so invested in stopping us from
calling ourselves a word we think describes us most accurately. (It’s also very common to have absolutely
no clue what asexual people are claiming asexuality is, as in the case of this entire adorable
conversation.) The abstract for the study I mentioned above
goes as follows, for those who refuse to click links and assume nothing of value can be in
them: Quote: ‘Asexuality can be defined as a lifelong lack of sexual attraction. Empirical research on asexuality reveals significantly
lower self-reported sexual desire and arousal and lower rates of sexual activity; however,
the speculation that there may also be an impaired psychophysiological sexual arousal
response has never been tested. The aim of this study was to compare genital
(vaginal pulse amplitude; VPA) and subjective sexual arousal in asexual and non-asexual
women. Thirty-eight women between the ages of 19
and 55 years old (10 heterosexual, 10 bisexual, 11 homosexual, and 7 asexual) viewed neutral
and erotic audiovisual stimuli while VPA and self-reported sexual arousal and affect were
measured. There were no significant group differences
in the increased VPA and sex–and self-reported sexual arousal response to the erotic film
between the groups. Asexuals showed significantly less positive
affect, sensuality-sexual attraction, and self-reported autonomic arousal to the erotic
film compared to the other groups; however, there were no group differences in negative
affect or anxiety. Genital-subjective sexual arousal concordance
was significantly positive for the asexual women and non-significant for the other three
groups, suggesting higher levels of interoceptive awareness among asexuals. Taken together, the findings suggest normal
subjective and physiological sexual arousal capacity in asexual women and challenge the
view that asexuality should be characterized as a sexual dysfunction.’ Many other papers of various sorts–some social,
some biological, some academic–are listed at another website whose existence is frequently
ignored by so-called scientists who refuse to look at the research while they scream
about how no one’s really done any research.” And I linked to the existing research. “And remember, all the kids who I will one
day warp with my fairy stories: if you ever meet a person who you think is severely mentally
ill and has a host of personal problems, the very best thing you can do is gaslight them,
tell them how sick they are while clucking about how pitiful they are, write paragraphs
about how much of a failure their life currently is and how terrifyingly awful it will be in
the future as well to the point that they should just give up hope, and call them childish
nicknames–it will relax them and make them feel that you are speaking to them out of
concern for their well-being and desire for them to get better. If you actually just prefer to disrespect
psychology and mentally ill people to use the entire discipline-slash-individual sufferers
as a big pawn in the game to silence a woman talking on the Internet, you should definitely
only do that to people when you’re sure they’re not ill or abused. Because doing that if you truly believe they’re
hurting is pretty horrifyingly cruel behavior, and you certainly wouldn’t want to be one
of those! But when trolling, it’s perfectly acceptable,
because you know it won’t hurt them and you believe it makes you look very smart.” That is where that conversation ended. And um, I no longer accept comments on my
Psychology Today articles because of people like that. Um, I’ve also been writing fewer, um, mainstream
articles about the topic, um. Part of it is just that after my book came
out, uh, I had said a lot of stuff, and then I got more chances to be interviewed and say
a lot more stuff, and I’ve said almost all of the basic and, you know, 201-level stuff,
it’s like, I’ve, uh, gone into a lot of detail about this and um, it seems like, uh, now
the information is out there for people who actually wanna know about it, and um, the
only people left who don’t really know anything about this, that are discovering it for the
first time, like, they’re either simply ignorant or willfully ignorant, and you know, they
can have access to the information if they want it, so um, I haven’t been creating as
much new content because it just isn’t necessary. Um, the old content mostly covers the bases. That said, there’s all kinds of great conversations
going on as conceptions of gender and sexuality and identity in general, kind of expands,
and you know, um, I like being a part of that, I like watching that, but um, I’ve contributed
less in the mainstream media just because uh, you so often need a 101 perspective on
it to even get started, and I’ve just said it enough times. So um, that’s where I’m gonna end this one. And um, thanks for watching my stuff all these
years, and uh, continuing to turn in if you still think I have something interesting to
say. Um, and uh, I hope I’ll see you guys back
for the next video. On Letters to an Asexual Number 60. Bye!

21 thoughts on “Letters to an Asexual #59 (“You’re not qualified to discuss asexuality. You’re not a scientist!”)

  1. Clicks video
    sees time
    Oh boy, buckle in champs, i have a feeling we are about to get thrown into some ignorant ass remarks get thrown all up in this browser.

  2. Ya think OP would be sitting in a room filled with other LGBT people, and just stand up (interrupting their anecdotes about harassment and harm they receive), and claim "None of you are scientists, nor are you providing data! If i dont see a study i dont believe any of your SUBJECTIIIIIIVE experiences"
    Oh wait no…its because people use their own positive or negative experiences with their sexual orientations, and weaponize that to attack us.

  3. Wow, such negative and hateful comments from the ignorant. Before the term asexual became well known, someone in the 1990s. Said to me, you may be asexual when l described a lack of attraction. I also had an aunt on my father's side who had no interest in dating or marriage and was always single, working and caring for her elderly mother.

  4. DSM ISNT A BIBLE!….but imma just go on and on about how MY opinion, with no experience in it, somehow should be taken more seriously then the scientific DSM

  5. “ but so many diseases have low libido as a symptom “
    * gets every test done to determine if I have something, gets cleared as perfectly healthy … simply to satisfy said person in life”
    “ oh it must not be something that’s not discovered “.
    Wow so, I can continually waste money searching for something , my entire life, that may not even be real. And that satisfies you. But it can’t possibly satisfy you , because it conflicts with your world view so much , that I just live as I was born .
    “ tell me about your anxiety and self harm!”
    * proceeds to say you don’t have those things *
    “ oh well that’s just silly, you are lying .”

    Side point: he is also asking you to prove a negative , that you DONT have a disease.

  6. YOU…. the person that has written book after book, and makes video after video demonstrating effective logical thinking …. suffer from “thought disorder “ -disorganized thoughts and speech.
    He couldn’t have thrown a more false accusation at you.

  7. Yesh! When it comes to J.S. you can tell she was responding with rationality and pride, believing she has to be in the right while turning a blind eye to the evidence.

  8. This is interesting at first and gets a bit repetitive. I understand that you may be writing all these comments to demonstrate your reasonable argument to other people who may be reading, which is valid, and you explain your point well for that purpose. If I were actually trying to get this person to listen to me and engage with my argument, I would stop "explaining" as soon as they demonstrated a lack of willingness to acknowledge my points, and start asking questions, pressuring the person to either address some of their fallacies or back down a bit. For instance, trying to get them to pin down a consistent definition of what they consider to be scientific authority.

  9. Uh, I'm 23 minutes in and I keep thinking "I HOPE this JS(possible acronym for 'Just saying'?) woman isn't a 'professional' in the psychology field" since she seems to think you need to be either a psychology major or scientist to talk about anything on this site. She's an abusive gaslighter who desperately tried to make you doubt your own sanity(thank goodness you wouldn't fall for that, but I am concerned if she behaves this way with any patients if she is a psychiatrist. Plus moaning "The DSM isn't a bible" is an odd thing for someone who basically claims 'facts over feelz' to say)

  10. argumentum ad verecundiam(argument from authority). His argument is fallacious and deserves counter-mocking.

  11. Nice collection^^

    People like her are probably beyond any reach and will like you said ignore all evidence that speaks against their beliefs.

    Well atleast asexuality is now known more and better and I even witnessed how 2 times asexuality was mentioned on an mainstream radio station.

  12. I've got to assume that was a troll. The person didn't even respond to the points you made, they kept repeating the same arguments that you had already debunked, and relied heavily on ad-hominim attacks and armchair psychology. They never mentioned what kind of scientist they are, which leads me to believe that they aren't one, especially not a psychologist, since no psychologist worth their DSM would be irresponsible to try and diagnose someone based on a comment chain, looks like they were just throwing a list of common mental illnesses at the wall to see what suck (while implying that people with depression or other mental illnesses don't have anything worth saying). For someone saying that you didn't have the authority, they certainly got mad when you quoted authorities, including the (for better or worse) highest psychiatric authority, the DSM (which they of course dismissed, meanwhile they brought up Freud of all people, whose theories have been widely discredited). They gave no citations for their statements, simply metaphorically putting their hands over their ears and going "la la la, asexuality doesn't exist, la la la, there's no research proving asexuality, la la la, you all just have libido disorders and need to get your hormones checked". That's some troll-y nonsense right there, especially since they were pretty much ticking all the boxes mentioned in your article.

  13. Just out of curiosity, at what age did you know you were asexual? I started identifying as such my junior year of high school, but looking back, I knew when I was nine (I just thought everyone felt the same way).

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