It’s not very often that we find someone that completely matches what we think and have felt our whole lives. This is very much something that happened to me while listening to my weekly podcasts. Famous gay man’s, Dan Savage, podcasts about relationship problems and tips. He recently had a male caller that outlined the following:

My second question pertains to maleness itself. I’ve always felt excluded from traditional masculinity: the discomfort with feelings, the one-upsmanship, the callous jokes, the unquestioned embrace of patriarchal status ideals. I have a hard time making friends with guys because I just don’t trust us to be kind and present human beings. And these days, the message that men, especially straight white ones like me, are hollow, selfish, destructive people who just make everyone else miserable for a living is coming through on all channels.

I had the idea that men are emotionally and physically dangerous instilled in me from a very young age. And in my eagerness to avoid growing up to be a wife-beating pervert rapist, I developed a fear of my own sexuality that kept me romantically paralysed for most of my adult life. I’ve loosened up a bit, but to this day I am astounded that anyone touches any of with a 10 foot pole, despite the fact that it clearly happens all the time, even occasionally to me. So I could do with a shift in perspective and I thought it might be fun to ask you, a guy who sleeps with and loves other guys: what the attraction? Despite all the shitty things that we are and do, what about men would you save if you could strip us down to nothing and rebuild us from the ground up. Because dammit, Dan, it’s very hard to feel sexy when you hate yourself this much.

Caller from Dan Savage’s podcast Savage Lovecast episode 681

I couldn’t help but not only laugh, but also nod emphatically alongside this caller’s response. Just wow. It’s basically a phone call about toxic masculinity which maybe I’ve written about before. It’s a fairly new concept that is a discussion that sparked from a documentary about American boy’s sinking into depression because of the social expectations placed on them to be masculine and “man up.” It’s called The Mask You Live In, and I totally recommend it.

This caller touches on a lot of things that really I can relate to. I never fit into the mould of the other boys. More emotional and feminine could always describe me, and as a result I related better to girls. I get them, and they get me, mostly because women tend to be better communicators. I’ve always had a hard time making and keeping guy friends, and I think it’s mostly because I don’t know how to be around them.

I find it awkward, stagnant, or toxic sometimes to be in a group. The joking and insulting nature of some guys just makes me uncomfortable, and much like the caller I can’t imagine how women or anyone else for that matter could put up with that kind of attitude or behaviour. I was taught, or rather I learned myself, to treat others the way I wish to be treated. Why would I insult others? How does that help build a bond? Why must one be the best at something and always compete?

Self hate is a real thing and it eats away at you. Little by little you feel less of man, let alone person, and it can lead to you comparing yourselves to others and wondering why those types of people that are so toxic are so well accepted and loved? What is it they have that I don’t?

I think I’ve known for a long time that the nice guy never wins. Sure we all like to have them around, but they aren’t the first person we call. They aren’t the ones that we spend all our time with. They aren’t the ones that we want to date. Nobody dates someone because they are nice or kind, and sadly it’s an afterthought.

So what happens to those men that don’t fit into the mould of masculinity? Truth be told, most of them feel the pressure so strongly they conform and it takes a strong person to be able to stand apart and be something better. This ideal that is held by society is something sought after by women and gay men all around, and I just can’t understand it.

I guess that’s why I’m single, because I’m looking for niceness or kindness and it’s so damn hard to find.

An area of concern for the asexual community is health and well-being. While it might be simple to think, “oh yes, they have fewer needs, so how can they be at a disadvantage?” the disadvantages are actually two-fold and much more negative than one might expect. In particular in the areas of: physical health, emotional health, mental/intellectual health, social health, environmental health, and spiritual health.

Mr. Worry

Emotional Health

For asexuals, I think the most difficult thing to think about is the emotional health of a person. Due to the socially-imposed feelings of feeling broken, and very similar to the risks of being part of the LGBT community, asexuals are often at higher risks of depression. This mostly comes from the feelings of shortcomings and not being able to meet the needs of people, or even meet their own emotional needs. This can cause ramifications in other areas of life such as work, relationships, and negatively influence the people around them.

Trauma experiences due to past relationships, or even none at all, might result in the lack of willingness to try to take part in dating, or developing friendships or making meaningful connections with other individuals. It’s important to recognize that support in this area is imperative, as even many medical professional still don’t know much about asexuals, and psychiatrically trained practitioners might not be able to assist with asexual issues because of lack of perspective, empathy, or understanding of the needs or workings of asexual individuals.

One positive thing, I think, is that asexuals utilise their communities quite extensively to help to navigate their emotional needs and boundaries. They learn more quickly about what their needs are, and are more open to emotional exploration because it’s the main facet of their expression. This makes them more articulate when speaking about their feelings, their needs, and why they think they feel that way and how it might be managed.

Physical Health

One of the main topics of concerns for asexuals is physical abuse, which normally comes in the form of sexual assault, or sexual pressures associated with interacting with allosexual people. If an asexual is sex-adverse then the pressures of them dating an allosexual are compounded because 1) the needs of the allosexual are not being meet, and 2) the social pressures that come with evolution of relationships. As a result, many ace people are pressured into sexual encounters with partners, or experiencing a lack of empathy and understanding for their needs or their wishes, resulting in possible sexual assault.

This is especially true for teenagers that are ace and are discovering their needs and dealing with puberty and the sexual urges of their peers. They might be pressured into doing something that they feel they can’t say no to; or even in the adult communities the same pressure for fear of rejection.

There is a wide-spanned debate about how asexuals and hormone levels are either part of the “norm” or if they are “anomalies.” Personally, I believe that unless science says otherwise, ace individuals don’t have anything physiologically wrong with them, and therefore hormone supplements or specialised medication are not necessary.

Some aces report that their doctors put them on medication regimes to try to “fix” their asexuality, and I think such an act stems from lack of proper education or even basic research about asexual communities from medical professionals. A particularly good resource for medical professionals can be found courtesy of the Resource for Ace Survivors. Educate yourself, people…

Mental/Intellectual Health

This type of health mainly focuses on the person’s ability to recognise reality and cope with life. For asexuals, reality will look a little more one way than another, and that’s natural considering that we all have different perspectives of reality. To asexuals, for example, is more sexual than one would expect. How they cope with that, is yet to be fully understood or managed but at least identifying it is a start.

Looking at their own situations in terms of their own self-actualisation and self-understanding might be more heightened while at the same time more self-critical due to the feelings of not belonging or not being good enough for this or that. The differences between allosexual and asexual people are vast, and therefore they are less likely to be able to engage intellectually or mentally with people, due to lack of common ground, understanding, or empathy. This has obvious ramifications on social well-being and connections between individuals across sexual orientation lines.

Social Health

Social Health

To put it simply, social well-being of asexuals should be a major concern for health-care professionals. The feelings of not belonging or not finding their places in the world are heightened because they are navigating a world that is basically foreign to their views. People lose friends because of being asexual. People don’t consider dating asexuals due to ignorance. People treat asexuals with indecency and lack of respect due to lack of understanding. They just don’t feel like they fit in, and as a result social interactions are strained or limited.

I read once a thread on AVEN regarding how many people thought they would die alone due to their asexuality and how that might compare with allosexuals asking the same connection. The results were really depressing, and if you look at it from a logical point of view, or even at the statistical numbers, it’s pretty depressing and bleak. Why else do you think aces would seek comfort and try to “compromise” with allosexuals in order to be at the table for dating or relationships. The thought of sticking to the ace community in itself, and dealing with geographical limitations due to low-percentages of the community, is enough to send someone into instant depression and feelings of helplessness.

Just like there is stigma for other sexual orientations, asexuals suffer from the same results of coming out as LGBT individuals. Though, when you think about it, in theory there should be less hate coming from religious beliefs, but since it’s a fairly new concept most classical religions wouldn’t have any thoughts or perspective on it and it would depending on spiritual leaders to set by example.

Environmental Health

While this might not be a major concern of the ace community, it’s pretty well-connected with social and mental health. While ace people are at risk of mental illnesses, they tend to be able to exist in harmony with societies, mostly because they aren’t rubbing against the core values of them. Unless there is financial circumstances, asexuals would normally have access to shelter, food, and most normal amenities.

Moral and Ethics - The Simpsons

Spiritual Health

This one is a bit difficult for me to navigate because I’m agnostic in terms of religion, but I guess that in terms of other types of spiritual beliefs such as ethics and morals, those tie in with physical and emotional needs. Asexuals might have strong morals and ethics, or loose ones depending on the individual, but my feeling is that they might need to be a bit more flexible with them when navigating dating or relationships.

Asexuals beliefs about their own asexuality are as strong convictions of those of religious individuals, mostly because they are more deeply personal and are related to facts of what they are, versus abstract ideas of what they believe in. Religion is a choice, where being asexual isn’t, so it’s tough to argue against someone who self-identifies about someone, when really nobody has a better understanding of other people, unless you’re psychic or clairvoyant or something.


For further research, the website Asexual Explorations keeps a detailed bibliography of academic asexual research that is worth investigating if you’re interested.