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Boys in our Books Friday Question of the Week is the CONVERSATION of the WEEK!
This week, Ami, shares candidly her questions and thoughts about sexuality, culture, and how reading MM romance helped her to find where she fits in it all..
I am an Indonesian and I am a Muslim.
Why is that an important opening? Because I want to say that sexuality or even conversation about sex in my life is different to those of you living in “Western” culture. Indonesia is a country in South East Asia (for those of you who don’t know) and for the most part, our culture is Eastern with a predominantly Muslim perspective as well. So sex is not something we speak of out loud. We don’t really have sex education – oh, wait, maybe nowadays the kids do, but definitely NOT during my school years. We still have a traditional view of “saving yourself before marriage” and that sex only happens once you’re betrothed. And oh, we’re a mainly heterosexual culture as well…LGBT is lacking in visibility.
Then what is the connection about the sex culture and my starting to read LGBT romance?
Somewhere along the way, it made me start to think about the spectrum of sexuality…homosexual, lesbian, trans, bi. I started to think that maybe I also don’t fall into the black-and-white definition of heterosexuality.
For a long time, I wondered about this particular issue. I never really cared about sex before (still don’t *shrugs*). At first I thought it was because of the Eastern culture where sex was not something we casually discussed. But then I found romance books when I was seventeen (English ones, not Indonesian ones) and realized that I could get aroused with the sex scenes. However, I still liked sex better as written words and imagination rather than actually watching it (I tried watching porn and it was NOT appealing).
In my teenage years, while my girlfriends were running left and right, talking about boys, I didn’t particularly think of it as enticing. I liked the idea of marriage but I also didn’t want to marry soon (again because marriage meant that you needed to have sex with your husband). I was fine just by myself – at first I thought that I was simply a loner because I just didn’t feel the push to have a relationship. Especially if the relationship is meant for me to engage in sexual activity.
Then one day I stumbled into this word … asexuality. And it made me think … is this me? Can this be me? I started to look for some online definitions. It is still confusing to me because I don’t really understand the concept behind ‘sexual attraction’. Being an ESL I am worried that I understand poorly when I read the definition. I mean, I do find some celebrities HOT and sexy – though I don’t necessarily want to have sexual intercourse with them. Does it mean I still have ‘sexual attraction’ and does that still fit me into the category of asexual? How about when I actually do feel sexually aroused with sex scenes in a book … to the point that I actually masturbate myself? Does that mean I have sexual desire and therefore NOT asexual?
Then I found THIS definition: GRAY-ASEXUAL
Asexuality and sexuality are not black and white; some people identify in the gray (spelled “grey” in some countries) area between them. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who:
Wait a minute … that IS me!! I can definitely identity myself with the bullet points listed there (either one or two of them). I felt RELIEVED. So there ARE others like me out there (this definition exists for a reason!). Maybe there is nothing wrong with me for not wanting strongly enough to act on having sex. That I can still find Angelina Jolie or Matt Bomer to be sexually attractive but not exactly want to have sex with them. That it is probably okay to have sexual attraction but low sex drive.
Because I’m a grey-A (and probably a grey romantic as well) … and guess what, I was spurred to learn all of this by reading MM romance. By realizing that love can happen to not just one man and one woman. By realizing that sexuality is not black and white. That is how reading MM romance has impacted me, helping me to understand my own sexuality.
PS: I am not exactly telling my parents this, though, since they might not understand, being from different generation and different culture than the Western world. I am fine with not telling them though – besides I can just tell them that nope, I’m not thinking about marriage right now (not exactly about sex), and they will back down *LOL*.