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Is it right to ask questions about someone's sexuality?

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Posted

I had a question on the Zelda Dungeon about asexuals and thier views on sex, but in the chat this deviated into a discussion about whether or not it is right to ask questions about sexuality. So what do you think? Is it really okay to ask someone about thier sexuality? I personally think that it helps us better understand sexuality as a whole. We would know nothing about anything if we didn't ask questions after all.

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Posted

It doesn't hurt to ask if it's okay. You aren't gonn get a definitive answer. It will depend on the individual.

If you're asking about asexuals, then it's my personal opinion that they don't exist. I think that the title is an excuse or a shelter to hide under because the person knows so little about sexuality/pretends not to know. Humans simply are not asexual, even if they claim to be. I think even eunuchs feel urges, right? I'm saying these things because you asked.

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Posted

I think if you're talking to an average person that you know reasonably well, there's nothing wrong with asking about their sexuality. Once you feel reasonably comfortable talking about personal matters (like, say, when you can talk about insecurities and embarrassing stories) with a friend, talking about sexuality is fair game. Basically friends are fair game and family/mentors as necessary.

 

New friends and acquaintances can be a bit of a grey area; if the topic comes up naturally I think it's ok to ask them and it's a harmless question. Granted where I live people sometimes ask my sexuality just to hear me reaffirm my "straightness" so you have to try and interpret if someone is asking to find out or asking to hear what they want to hear. It's kind of a mess overall and I wouldn't try and steer the conversation in that direction. :X

 

Now, there are some situations you'd need to be careful around. It would be wrong of me to ask someone their sexuality so I can affirm my guess about how gay or straight they are, for example. Shy people won't want to tell you, for example. I've never had a problem with asexual people but in general you always take a risk with anyone of asking a question they've fielded a hundred times already. You mean well, but they're not gonna be too happy being quizzed about that stuff all the time and you have to accept the risk of backlash.

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Posted

Well if you want to ask someone about their sexuality all you've got to do is ask "Is it okay if I ask you about your sexuality?"

If no, then they're not comfortable with it. If yes, then ask away, I guess. All within their comfort on the subject. Personally though I haven't got into a conversation like that before though, because I tend to not really care that much what other people have going on in their own lives. Because I legitimately don't or because I don't want to involve myself with others, I don't know.

 

But I guess it's really a case of, if you want to know something, then ask if it's okay to ask first, and make sure they feel comfortable with not answering. Ask it in such a way as to provide them a way of escaping the question. It's really a question of consent over everything else. Asking someone personal questions is putting them in a place of vulnerability, and it's only fair that you respect their will to refuse that.

 

I feel like the easiest approach is to avoid making assumptions about people. Tread carefully around sensitive subject matter, but once you have probable reason for assuming it's okay to ask questions, go ahead, but be sensitive to their willingness.

 

Of course this is all conjecture though, because I don't actually have in-depth conversations with people.

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Posted

I think it's really only a problem if you're trying to make it into a problem. So if you're about to criticize someone's sexuality, then you shouldn't ask.

 

It's my view that it's kind of pointless other than for a sense of curiosity that you ask someone's sexuality. Other than for the definitive reason that you should do it: if you're interested in that person sexually. In the same vein, I think it's somewhat pointless to be sure of someone's sex unless you're interested in their genitals. 

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Posted

I feel like asking if you can ask would make someone just as uncomfortable as if you asked them.

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