Summary: A common assumption about sexuality is that all humans have sexual desire, which suggests that sexual identity is biological or innate (e.g. see Foucault 1978; Planned Parenthood). However, in this interview with Tucker Carlson, asexual activist David Jay broadens the discourse on sexual orientation by bringing asexuality to the forefront of the discussion. In short, an asexual person is defined as someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Through his interview with Carlson, Jay challenges the commonly held belief that all humans are sexual beings, and effectively creates a dialogue for viewers to rethink taken-for-granted assumptions about male-dominated heterosexuality. Questions to ask while watching this video include: How does Tucker Carlson define sexuality in patriarchal terms? How is his definition of a heterosexual male limited? How does David blur the dichotomous lines of gay and straight? Can we understand sexuality on a spectrum instead of as mutually exclusive? Why is Tucker pressuring David to “try” sex? Is this Tucker’s attempt to make David an intelligible body? Why is it so important to Tucker that David perform his sexuality “properly”? How does Tucker abject David and the concept of asexuality? Why is the concept of asexuality so problematic for Tucker? Julia Kristeva’s (1982) theory of abjection may serve as a useful concept to frame discussions around this video. The abject is defined as “the other” or as “the human reaction […] to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between the subject and object or between the self and the other.” We fear and loathe the abject because they are threatening to the social order and ultimately to conceptions of our self. Considering this, another question to ask is whether or not asexual relationships threaten heterosexual masculinity. The discussion of asexuality challenges naturalized conceptions about human sexuality and paves the way for the exploration of other forms of intimacy, sexual orientations and partnerships. It is only when we let go of normative prescriptions of sexuality that we can experience and recognize other forms of love and expression.
Submitted By: Pat Louie