Issues with Language

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Issues with Language

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:06 am

This site has a convoluted history, but is technically part of the antisexual community, which is composed of people who rejected sex, and identify as antisexual, but may or may not be considered part of the celibate community. Whether a cohesive celibate community exists or not, is another question.

The antisexual community originated in Russian, where it's clearly understood to not be part of the celibate community, because they define celibacy as being for religious reasons. There've been English-language offshoots, and this is one, but language differences in English make the question of whether this is part of the celibate community or not, a complicated one.

In English, "celibacy" has several definitions. The informal definition, which is widely used in asexual spaces, and some other sexuality-related communities, is long-term sexual inactivity that is presumably voluntary. The more formal, and original definition is to never marry, which was during a time when vowing to never marry also meant with it, vowing to never have sex. However, also in English, exists the involuntary celibate community, who argue that celibacy can also be involuntary, and that people who choose to not have sex for whatever reason, are voluntarily celibate.

By those standards, we're (voluntarily) celibate, but may feel like that label doesn't fit us, because we either think it's for religious reasons, or is imprecise, because "celibacy" is used as an umbrella term in English. However, because "celibate" is the much more widely used and known term for the rejection of sex in English, some members here identifying as celibate instead may be expected, so we all need to adhere to these rules, from the introduction:

…You're still welcome to join, but please be considerate, and don't tell the self-identified antisexual members that they're using the wrong label. Likewise, they, or we can't say you're using the wrong label for your experiences, if you're identifying as celibate without religious reasons. We understand that you may find the celibate label useful for your experiences, and wouldn't want it taken away, like how we don't want our own labels taken away.

6. Don't attack someone's choices in labels.

Those of us who identify as antisexual, or celibate (or nonsexual, or sex-free), may not agree with each others' choices in labels, but it's crucial that we respect each others' choices. Whether those who identify with other labels count as part of this community, or may be potential allies instead, is another currently unresolved question, but we should hear them out. This sub-board (Other Outsiders) was created to allow the self-identified celibate, nonsexuals and sex-free, etc. to share their experiences, and to answer this question for themselves.

It's important to keep in mind that one thing that has been said from the Antisexual Stronghold is acknowledgment that not everyone who finds their concepts useful and relatable, necessarily identifies as antisexual, nor do they have to.

That does also raise the question: are these labels being unnecessarily divisive? That's another unresolved question, and one worth discussing.

Another issue is that identifying as antisexual is impractical in English, so why are some of us so insistent on it? Those of us who identify as antisexual meaning they rejected sex (and actually meaning what the Antisexual Stronghold meant) are knowingly using an impractical label, and using a definition that originated in Russian; some terms and definitions don't carry over well from one language to another, but we still found it useful despite those issues. We don't want it taken away, nor have to give it up, because we'd lose something in the process. Those of us who are also part of the asexual community often feel pressured to assimilate, and use their framework instead, but it doesn't have any term that adequately fits us, and our experiences.

We're not referring to hating "sexual" (non-asexual) people, though many people we were hoping would understand us, often claim we are. This wasn't intended at all; in Russian, "sexual" isn't the term used to refer to non-asexual people. The intended point was being "against sex" (that was the wording used, which it turns out, has harsher connotations in English), not against the people who have it.

For those of us who identify as antisexual, there's also the need to speak for oneself, writing about what we are, from our own perspective, instead of just being spoken about, and spoken over. This issue isn't simply a matter of switching from one label to another. We're trying not to lose a framework that we found useful for our experiences, to define ourselves, and how we conceptualize sexuality.
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