Fetish Ball, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Not Wearing Pants

Note: this post contains stuff about sexuality as it pertains to me. Nothing even remotely graphic, but just fyi in case anyone who knows me reads this.

I’ve been thinking recently about asexuality and my comfort level with sexuality as it is practiced in general. I first discovered I was asexual on my very last day of high school, and became fully comfortable with that idea sometime during February of last year. And since that time, I’ve noticed how much more comfortable I’ve grown with the knowledge that people I know have sex and seeing other people act or perform sexually in front of other people. Furthermore, knowing that I am asexual has let me be a whole lot more comfortable with acting sexually because I know that, for me, it is a performance, and not an extension of my identity.

On Saturday night, I attended my college’s Fetish Ball, dressed in what I called “the morning after” look – think a rom-com during the part when the woman wakes up the next morning after having hot sex and then puts on her partner’s dress shirt from the night before. It’s such a standard heterosexual trope! And Fetish Ball. That’s an entire ball about sex! And loving sex! It is essentially the biggest sex-positive, queer-as-all-hell dance that we have on campus. And yet, aside from a little initial self-awkwardness stemming from the fact that I wasn’t wearing pants, I enjoyed wearing my costume and I enjoyed dancing in it.  For me, it really was a costume, because I was pretending to not be asexual. And I was ok with that. Because I now have the terms to define who I am, which is completely awesome.

In high school, I was uncomfortable and, to an extent, terrified of sexuality and the thought of me acting sexually, largely because I didn’t have those terms. I wasn’t straight and I wasn’t gay, and I definitely wasn’t bi, and as a result, I had nothing to go off of as to how one felt and acted if one was attracted to another person. I disassociated myself from sexuality for two reasons, one of which I’ll probably save for another post, but the other reason was that saying that I was straight, gay, or bi felt like I was lying, and I was not ok with that.

And now here we are a couple of years later with me having had the experience of dancing my ass off wearing only an over-sized men’s dress shirt and a pair of black boots. Fetish Ball wasn’t just a chance to display your fetish or invent crazy (potentially disturbing) ones, but was also a chance to show the possibilities of what individual sexuality can be, and that it can be, and is, so much more than just traditional, heterosexual sex, or even traditional homosexual sex for both men and women. And even though it’s extremely easy for asexuality to be completely invisible (and it pretty much is all the time, unless you know it exists) I still felt like asexuality could be included in that expression of all the possible sexualities that exist out there (possible costume idea for next year: cake fetish?)

Although there are people who disagree with me, I think asexuality is as queer an orientation as anything else out there because it fucks with as many standard sexual conventions as homosexuality does. And if I know I’m queer, I can pretend for one night that I’m not because I have that bedrock of assurance to support me. And that bedrock is comprised of terms and definitions that allow me to claim an identity.

I’ve never really realized how much meaning terms can have, and how powerful the words we use to describe the world are. Being able to find and use terms after not having them makes me a whole lot more appreciative of them. Of course, they can also be limiting and oppressive, but in this case, terms are what assured me that yes, I did indeed exist, and furthermore, there were more like me out there.

In sum, what I’m trying to say that finding, claiming, and having an identity allows me, and allows everyone, to do experiments, take chances, and explore the world more than we did before, because of that support. It allows us to play dress-up with different identities. In terms of sexuality, didn’t have that for a long time, and I am so thankful for having it now.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 3:13 AM  Leave a Comment  

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