@Kirshizzle asked on twitter “does [being ace] affect your studies at all, just out of curiosity? (:”
That’s a very interesting question… On one hand I have the same requirements as everyone else, I watch the same videos, take the same classes, read the same required material etc. It has certainly influenced what I study outside of the requirements and where I have focused my research.
I admit to being totally naive when I started the sexology program. I was going to research sex education programs and probably never bother coming out as ace because it’s not a big deal, right? …. and then I attended my first class… The class was a SAR (Sexual Attitude Readjustment) program designed to be total immersion in being exposed to a variety of different expressions of sexuality. Except, in the entire all-day-every-day-for-7-days program I was never represented in anything they showed. I heard professors make misinformed comments about asexuality (which they only made in response to me bringing it up because asexuality wasn’t actually covered in the program at all) and I realized that many of my classmates weren’t familiar with the concept at all. This was pretty terrifying because these people are all going to go out and be sexologists, someone that people will come to for help relating to sexual health, sexuality, and relationships and they aren’t going to learn a damn thing about asexuality? Seriously? (The basic requirements for a certificate in sexology are two workbooks, some videos, and attending a SAR, the workbooks and the videos do not cover asexuality at all anywhere).
So being ace definitely effected where I felt I needed to focus my attention. Sex Education is a huge problem in this country and I have always been interested in ways to make it better (there are some really great programs out there I’d love to study and see about adapting to wider markets)… but realizing that the people who are teaching the next generation of sexologists are way behind in their understanding of asexuality is terrifying to me. The stories I hear from aces who went with a partner to see a helping professional to deal with relationship issues who had terrible experiences because the professional didn’t know anything about asexuality are heart breaking. Reading advise columns where an ace wrote in and got a flippant and misinformed response back are incredibly frustrating. Thinking about all of the kids who will grow up feeling broken because they won’t find out about asexuality because sex education materials for both kids and adults almost never cover asexuality maybe until they’re 21 (like I was) or older is depressing.
So while I look forward to broadening my understanding about the whole field of human sexuality for right now almost all of my non-required reading is research, blog posts, essays, articles and forums about asexuality (oh, and videos, too) so that I can try my best to figure out what is most important for ensuring people in the helping professions know about asexuality. I’m doing my best to answer questions (I get a lot, which is great!) or know where people can find the answers they’re looking for.
Other than that, as far as I know I’m the only ace in a sexology program (though I know there are aces studying asexuality in psychology and sociology fields, probably others as well) and I think it gives me a unique perspective on a lot of what we cover in class. I bring with me new ideas from the ace community like the concept of different types of orientations (or even just that it’s possible to be ace!).
If I wasn’t ace I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed what a huge problem it was that asexuality isn’t talked about (let alone taught) to most sexology students and I’d probably be studying sex education programs… so yes, I suppose being ace has effected my studies in that way.