My friend Minerva @ Hypomnemata wrote a beautiful post yesterday about identity, language, and her experience of being (and talking about being) sensual in the world as an asexual person. Given the conversations we’ve been having this week on the thread about sexual orientation and desire, and on the thread about marriage and sleeping arrangements, I thought Harpy readers might be interested. She writes, in part:
I all too often feel in these moments that language leaves people in the position of two ships passing in the night with running lights off. I often want to say, “If you would give me a half hour of your time, I could explain it better, and then you wouldn’t be sad.” What I want to do is show them that sensuality and sexuality can be teased apart, and that, if they are honest, both form the underpinnings of how they enjoy their lives and bodies and those of their lovers. If I could just have that time, I could then grasp onto the concept of sensuality and inject it into their notion of asexuality. I could finally combat the notion that asexuality necessarily means not desiring romantic love, shared vulnerability, mutually unfolding mystery, and yes, physical pleasure. However, I very rarely have the half hour that I need, nor do I have an audience willing to chart those waters. Thus, my needs find themselves defined via the label “sensual,” but only internally.