For women, life is not easy. In a patriarchal society, you are expected to perform certain rules as per your gender. Gender roles are taught, normalized and followed by one generation of women to other generation of women. Women have to follow a set of rules which are social norms. They are under scrutiny from the time they are little girls till their death. How a woman should behave, what a woman should eat, what should she wear, what career should she choose or whether she should have a career at all is dictated by social norms. The same is the case for asexual women.
Lives of Asexual Women In The Closet
Often, Asexual Women are told that “it is just a phase”, “things will get better after marriage” which makes many of them stay in the closet. Women at times do not have access to information related to asexuality, especially if they are rural women who can’t access the internet which makes them confused. Most of the time, women are expected to not be sexual or act sexually in any manner. It sets up a view that women aren’t sexual beings with desires and can feel sexually attracted to anyone.
Often, Asexual Women are told that “it is just a phase”, “things will get better after marriage” which makes many of them stay in the closet.
This leads to further misunderstanding for asexual women who feel that it is normal that they do not feel sexual attraction before getting married. Several times, asexual women get married to heterosexual men in an arrange marriage set-up only to realize that they do not feel any sexual attraction towards their husbands. This leads to domestic violence, marital rape and conversion therapy.
There are many problems for women who are asexual. Women in our society are expected to follow the notion of virginity and do not have premarital sex leading to dehumanization of both sexual and asexual women. Just like other queer women who have to stay in the closet because of lack of acceptance, asexual women also stay in the closet. What is more difficult for asexual women is finding the right vocabulary to describe how they feel or what they experience leading to further chaos.
Women at times do not have access to information related to asexuality, especially if they are rural women who can’t access the internet which makes them confused.
In the rural set-up asexual women face stigma, corrective rapes, honor killings, marital rape, etc because of their sexual orientation. And as far as homoromantic and biromantic women (women who are romantically attracted to same sex or both sexes) are concerned, they bear the brunt of heteronormativity and sexualization of homosexual relationships together.
Lives of Asexual Women Out Of The Closet
Coming out of the closet as an Asexual is a great difficulty, people try to gaslight you and express downright denial that orientation like yours exist. Asexual women are more likely to face sexual harassment if they are out of the closet. Asexual women who are out are often trolled, harassed and abused for speaking about the Asexual community.
“If a spouse does not allow the partner to have sex for a long time without a sufficient reason, it amounts to mental cruelty”, said the Supreme Court of India in 2014.
The question of marital rape and harassment in relationships remains an important one for asexual women and women overall. Asexuality is a wide spectrum, each individual is different from another. Sex after marriage comes as a compulsion that violates the rights of women. In the case of sex repulsed women, matters become worse. Asexual women are at the end of this oppressive structure which makes it an obligation to have sex.
In 2018, when asexual women came out of the closet. They were trolled brutally and some were sent threats in their inbox. Shambhavi Saxena, a demi-homoromantic asexual cisgender woman was trolled so widely for over a month. Memes were made on her orientation and women were bashed for “being feminist and hating men”.
Often, I have been mocked for being a sex-repulsed asexual and being told that I hate men or I have read “too much feminism”. Things that Asexual women out of the closet have to go through on an everyday basis are horrible. Men harass queer women, including asexual women and “guarantee” that their actions will turn asexual women straight which reinforces the belief that women are overreacting and sexual orientation is an unreal concept which can be changed or converted to heterosexuality.
Struggles Of Homo and Bi/Pan Romantic Women
Homoromantic, Biromantic and Panromantic women have to fight dual oppression, first for being able to feel romantic attraction towards the same sex, second for not being able to experience sexual attraction (except in the cases of demi and grey sexual ace women) towards any sex.
They are often told that homo romanticism doesn’t exist and they are homosexuals. It is similar in the case of bi/panromantic women. It gets more complicated across regions, castes, and classes. They have to fight their own battles and they also face bi/pan erasure among community members and heterosexual society alike.
The social norms expect all women to act like they do not have sexual desires and act all hyper-sexual for their husbands catering to their male gaze. (as it is assumed that all women will have husbands).
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