On Being Asexual, Etc.

Since it is LGBTQIA+ pride month, I couldn’t let it go by without mentioning something of my own sexuality and how I deal with it. It’s no secret that I’m very much asexual, which is maybe the least understood sexual orientation of all because we’re all so different. So I figured I’d put to rest how I deal with it personally and quash some misconceptions.

First of all, what is asexuality not? It’s not a number of things, but here are the the big ones in my view:

  1. Asexuality is not “aromantic.” Asexuals can be involved in romantic relationships just the same as those who have sexual attraction. It is different for us, admittedly. Some of us are heteroromantic, others homoromantic and some biromantic. I’m the last one of these. I can be romantically involved with anyone, regardless of biological sex or gender identity. I’m just not right now because I’ve not found anyone with whom I would be romantically compatible. That does not mean all of us are in that situation, but some are indeed aromantic entirely.
  2. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy! Some are in indeed celibate, but that’s not universally true, especially for those married to someone with a sex drive. Asexuals might or might not engage in sexual relations. For some, it’s “optional” – a take or leave kind of thing. For me, sex is a no-go and the thought of it disgusts me, but some can tolerate it or maybe even enjoy it for the sake of a partner. It’s just that it isn’t the “end goal” for us.
  3. Asexuality is not a lack of “libido.” Our bodies function the same as anyone else’s. Just because we don’t take interest in sex in and of itself doesn’t mean our biological programming doesn’t sometimes take hold. Most of us (maybe even all of us – though I hesitate to make that claim) are not aroused by looks alone. I know I’m not (even though I do appreciate attractiveness). It takes some serious stimulation, but even as a male I do have erections. Actually, if I didn’t, that would point to some other health problem.
  4. Asexuality is not depression! For whatever reason, so many seem to think a lack of interest in sex has to be related to some sort of clinical depression. Though they can be correlated among those with a normal sexual appetite, asexuals are not by default clinically depressed.
  5. Asexuality is not an “excuse.” I get so sick of this. Many people think aces claim to be that way because they just can’t “get laid.” Whatever. This is one asexual males especially hear in a patriarchal cis-het dominated world. I’m sick of it. See my previous post on virgin shaming.

So what is asexuality? Simply put, the lack of sexual attraction. Nothing more. For us, sex can be anywere from optional to downright disgusting. As mentioned in a previous post and above, for me, it’s the latter end of the spectrum. I don’t know many 32 year old males who have never had any type of sexual contact, but I am one of the few, and that’s how I will die too because I just can’t bring myself to engage in it. I just can’t get past the thought of it.

I will admit, for me that does complicate romantic relationships a shit ton. That’s largely why I’ve not found anyone with whom I would be romantically compatible, among other reasons. I’d have to have someone who felt the same about sex as I do, but as we seem to be few and far between, that’s unlikely, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not one who could “put out” for a romantic partner, even though some aces can. I don’t judge either way mind you.

Alas, not all asexuals are the same, and here’s one key way I am personally different. I’ve discussed this before, but you all know I am very physically affectionate even with close friends – something I’ve discussed prior. I can go all the way up to “make out” level with a person who is not a romantic partner and whom I have no romantic interest in! I’ve done it before with more than one such person (and a mix of biological sexes/gender identites). For me, I totally separate physical affection from romantic love. For me, even “making out” isn’t a romantic exchange, though it can be.  To me, it’s an exchange with someone I love, be it that or a friend/familial relationship. Now, that doesn’t mean I do so with just anyone, and I usually wait for the other party to initiate such contact, but I will respond if initiated and I genuinely love that person. Just stay in “safe zones” (i.e. non-private areas) and I’m just fine with that.

Anyway, I’ve just painted with some broad strokes, and the above are solely my opinions on the topic so nobody murder me here. It’s just my personal take, for what it’s worth. I’d love to hear about the experiences of other aces, so please comment with your thoughts. No two of us are alike, so I always like learning more. Please do share your views, even if you disagree with mine. I might just update or follow up with other persepctives.

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The Hopeless(ly Deprived) Power Cuddler

Would you make fun of me if I told you I still sleep cuddled up with a teddy bear at night? Yes, you say? Well go ahead and make fun of me because it’s true and I don’t deny it. Yes, I know sleeping with a teddy bear is so 1st grade, but when you have an autistic brain that runs 230 MPH at all times (you know, as fast as an IndyCar runs on the straightaways of Indianapolis Motor Speedway), getting to sleep is hard enough without being even more anxious so you do what you damn well have to in order to make it easier to fall asleep and stay that way.

Anyway, childish personal anecdote aside, time to get a bit serious here. The title of this post describes me to a tee. As I’ve eluded to in prior blog posts, I thoroughly love physical touch. I thrive on it. I’m a hugger, a kisser, a hand-holder, you name it. I’m what my “twin soul” affectionately calls a “power cuddler” – no holding back, all of the aforementioned stuff, playing with each other’s hair, ears, rubbing various (non-intimate) body parts up against one another, all up in your business, whatever. It’s just absolutely sublime to me.

I’m sure to someone on the outside looking in it appears to be totally smutty. To the bystander it might look a little like foreplay, but I assure you I completely separate cuddling from romance, sexual behavior or anything. I never understood why the neurotypical world associates these acts solely with sexual attraction. Love comes in many forms after all, not just romantic. If I cuddle up to you, it’s not anything creepy or sexual. It’s because in some way we share a close common bond (whatever that might entail) and it’s merely an outward expression of that bond, regardless of what type it is or who you are – I’ll “power cuddle” with people of any sex/gender, orientation, whatever.

Now, the descriptor in this post is “hopelessly deprived” for a reason – it seems very few people see this kind of thing as something to be shared between people who are otherwise just friends or family and as such I really don’t have anyone around here to engage in power cuddling with. I, of course, respect others’ boundaries and won’t just go up to and randomly put an arm around someone and pull them into close body contact with me. That’s not acceptable behavior in any way, shape or form. I get that. I also get that some people have various traumas in their past that would make such action conjure up memories of painful or traumatic experiences. I also get that. Alas, where all this does put me is in a place that is not conducive to my mental health – I get more anxious, snappy, irritable, depressed, etc. when I’m lacking that.

Living in a world that frowns upon physical affection, being one who loves it is tough. If only everyone else (and especially neurotypicals) understood the power of a good cuddle. It releases endorphins, dopamine, among other “feel good” hormones. It relieves stress, has a calming effect (especially on someone like me), among other things. In a lot of ways I feel sorry for people who frown upon it. Our lives are so much richer when we openly express our love for each other (again, whatever form that love might be in).

If we learned how to hug, kiss, cuddle, hold hands, etc. each other with no strings attached and completely divorced it from romance, think of how much kinder of a world we’d live in. Maybe we wouldn’t have so much hate, pent up rage, school shootings, among other bullshit that’s the reality of life in the modern world. Baby boomers and older love to complain about social media being the reason for it, but I question the validity of their claims. We were detached long before the invention of Facebook.

Alas, I’ve only met one other person on this planet who sees things the way I do, and seeing as how that person is hundreds of miles away, the best I can do is “virtual cuddling” this person whenever possible and just longing for the real thing. It’s better than nothing for sure, but every time we virtual cuddle, god I can’t help but wish it was the real deal. Hopefully someday soon the universe will bring us closer together, but until then, I remain the hopelessly deprived power cuddler.

Tear, sniffle, tear, sniffle, repeat ad nauseam…

I See the Way I’m Acting Like I’m Somebody Else Gets Me (And You?!) Frustrated

OK, if you don’t get that song reference you must be living under a fucking rock because when that song first came out they overplayed it on the radio, so much I hated the song and screamed every time it would come on the radio.

As such, I never really listened to the words that closely, save for its instantly recognizable catchphrase “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” Actually, when you get down to the barebones it’s a very well written and composed song – it’s a lovely use of relative minor/major (and going between the two seamlessly) and the message is very deep and profound, and is why I’ve chosen this song for the 2nd installment of my song lyric inspired posts because again, it hits home and especially during this transitional phase of my life.

Those who knew me even as a kid knew I tried my damnedest to fit the mold, to be “normal” (What the fuck is normal anyway? Who decides that?). This both before and after I was officially diagnosed with ASD (AS at the time, but that diagnosis is gone of course). Shit, even as much as I love my parents, they often wondered why I couldn’t be normal. The only one who accepted me as is was my great-grandmother.

Anyway, the whole point of this is it’s so tempting to try to be someone you’re not in order to fit in, and especially for us neurodivergents. Humans are social animals after all (make no mistake, we ARE animals) and have a need to fit in. Usually that means trying to be how whatever society we live in deems “normal” through either established social norms, laws or whatever the hell else.

Of course, when we ND’s try to act normal and to fit in, what happens? Do we wind up fitting in? Oh hell to the naw. We usually end up looking like total fools, and especially to our loved ones (well, the more open-minded ones anyway). I mean, can you seriously see me wearing cargo shorts and/or full length jeans, still a blank canvas, no piercings, drinking Miller Light and whatever the hell else normal (or, as I prefer to think of them, boring) people do? Yeah, didn’t think so. Would you want me to fit that mold above? Again, if you truly “love” me (in whatever form that love might be), would you want me to? Proabably not because then I’m someone I’m not and why would you love an alternate me?

Nah, I’m not fooling anyone when I become somebody else around everyone else. They all know I (also, anyone else who masks) am not who I am presenting myself to be. And you know what? Not only that it’s fucking tiring to pretend to be someone else around everyone else. It wears on your soul. I didn’t realize that until I started allowing the true me to really shine through.

And who knows? Maybe all the tears I’ve shed this week (and continue to shed) are that unrequited pain exiting my mind, body and soul. That’s OK, because it’s ready to be released, because I had a defective pressure release valve that didn’t allow it to be released. Now that I’ve replaced it with a properly functioning one, it’s working better and it’s working very efficiently too because with each tear I feel a little lighter, a little less heavy, a little less troubled.

So what happens next? Stay tuned to find out tomorrow! In the meantime, enjoy the song and really pay attention to the lyrics if you’ve never done so before. You might just find she’s singing to you too (as it seemed she was me).

I Left My Heart in San Antonio…

It’s been about an hour and a half since I arrived back at my humble abode on the outskirts of good old Crapilene (yeah, I’ll tell you how I really feel!).

I’ve always felt a little bit of sadness after parting ways with a friend when I’m visiting them, but this time it was something much more deep and profound – it was almost a grief-like sadness. I barely held it together while Laina and I said our goodbyes and I pulled out of her driveway, but the four-hour trek back to Abilene was filled with several crying spells (one so intense I almost had to pull over to collect myself as it could have compromised my driving safety).  When I arrived home and walked in, I didn’t feel a “good to be home” feeling. All I felt was a sense of emptiness, a void as it were.

I think the signs are very, very clear – Abilene is not my home. My home is in San Antonio, where I can be close to my neuro-sister (love the term, by the way!) all the time. A place where I can launch Leaf & Barrel (that I’ve talked about before) with my gang and that would be a prime city for it (Abilene would NOT support such a concept).

The past few days were surreal. Some of the best of my life. It was so nice to be able to hang out with someone who does understand me and why I am the way I am. Someone who loves to be hugged and cuddled – even in just a “LYLAB/S” way and nothing romantic or sexual at all. someone who I can cry to for any time and any reason judgment-free. Someone who I can jam with and sing karaoke with in a judgment-free environment. Someone who doesn’t bat an eye at my warped sense of fashion. Someone who I can laugh at weird shit with and get into belching and throat-clearing contests with because we are both easily entertained by such silliness. Someone who is now as passionate about IndyCar racing as I am and who I can actually talk about that with.

I think it’s safe to say a move to San Antonio is definitely in my future. Just when I don’t know, but it’s there. I think this feeling that has overcome me is the universe telling me it’s time for a change, and a big one at that. My life isn’t about being stuck in a 7-4 job, doing dull, mundane tasks with dull, mundane coworkers under the thumb of an asshole of a boss. My life is about doing cool shit with cool people (her words, not mine).

This is of course not an overnight thing. This is going to be at least a months-long process. I have my crew here who I need to get on board with me to make this a reality. We’ve talked about opening a bar together in passing but I think for all of our sakes we need to make this a reality. All of us are not the type of people for Abilene. One of them has a strange attachment to Abilene that is going to be the one I might really have to work over, but the other two might not be so hard (they nearly moved to what Laina and I so (un)affectionately call “DFWTF” due to fatigue of this podunk backwoods hillbilly redneck town).

Now, if after several attempts they don’t come with me, being able to close to them might be a sacrifice I have to make. Sure, I love them to bits, but I’m tired of being held back. If it comes to a point of either you’re with me or you’re not, and they’re not, I might have to leave them behind. I will not stand to be held hostage by anyone, not even my best friends, especially when it’s resulting in me settling for a miserable job and being away from the person who understands me the most. Of course my parents would be somewhat sad to see me go but they’re equally saddened by how miserable I am right now and would rather see me move away and be happy. Same with my tattoo artist, but I’ve become her canvas so I can come back any time to see her and get a new tattoo and see my family in the process. San Antonio to Abilene is only about 250 miles after all.

Well, as the saying goes, “here goes nothing” I guess. Wish me luck as I try to make this a reality. It might be tough, and starting a business is scary as fuck, but it’s clear to me now that it’s a risk I have to take for my own sake. The time has come. And to think none of this would have been possible (meeting someone who feels like a long-lost sibling, placing two kittens in the right home, finding my racing buddy, cuddle buddy, music partner, etc.) without one medical report that led to the start of her blog and nothing more than a small blue mark on my inner right wrist that led to the start of this blog. We’d have never known of each other if not for this wonderful blogging community.

Just goes to show how life-changing one small decision can be, can’t it?

9 Days of Reflection…

Today is a very difficult day for me. I’ve already cried more than I should and that won’t end anytime soon. It’s probably going to be that way for the entire course of the next nine days.

Why now? Well, my great-grandmother would have been 100 years old today (born December 10, 1918 in Japan). She was my rock growing up. Even when my relationship with my parents was strained at best, she was always there for me. I leaned on her hard growing up. My great-grandmother was the only one who seemed to understand me as it were and who knew I was “different” even though my parents refused to entertain the thought.

This nine days of reflection will conclude on the 19th. December 19, 2002 was no doubt the worst day of my life. At the age of 84 years and 9 days, my great-grandmother succumbed to complications from influenza secondary to kidney failure and pneumonia. For years I blamed myself for her death (and so did my parents for that matter), for I am probably the one that gave her the flu (I was sick from it the week prior to her death). In a lot of ways the guilt still sticks with me 16 years later.

I try not to reflect on the circumstances surrounding her death but at times I just can’t help it. Had I not contracted the flu would she still be alive today? Probably not but you never know. Would she have lived a few more years? Maybe, but who knows if they’d have been quality years, for she was active right up until the day she died.

Whatever the case, that day I lost my entire support structure and my home life turned to shit for awhile until my high school counselor finally begged my parents to get me tested. When I finally did get the autism diagnosis it was an “I told you so” moment and not only did I feel vindicated I think there was some vindication for my beloved great-grandmother. She very clearly saw what they did not.

For what I’ll remember most about her? Her kind heart and generous, giving spirit. I’ll remember how she almost raised me herself in the early years when my then single mother was working long hours. I’ll remember how she always stood up for me to my parents, my classmates and my teachers. I’ll remember her love for her flower garden and how meticulously she tended to it, especially her beloved peonies. I’ll remember her amazing cooking and homemade sushi (yes, I was eating sushi before it got trendy).

You can tell what kind of role she played in my life. 16 years of trying to put the pieces of my broken heart back together still hasn’t completely mended it, but taking a huge step to get her memory (in the form of a red and white peony) permanently etched into the dermis of my outer left calf was definitely a healing moment for me.

Rest In Peace, Kimiko Shiho-Holland; December 10th 1918 – December 19th 2002. Gone 16 years, but never, ever forgotten. A life well-lived and a legacy that lives on forever.

In Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my little business venture (not even considering what would be my ultra dream job because that’s not attainable at all) has probably been derailed permanently. I am in between a serious rock and a hard place and I just do not know what to do or how to proceed, because it’s a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” situation for sure.

So, with that, here’s the scoop: my sister’s second kid is due in October. That will put her having two kids by two different fathers. I’m not so judgmental of that situation in and of itself, after all my sister and I have different biological fathers and let’s face it – shit just happens. However, when you have mom, dad, sister, BIL + two little kids living in a 3 bedroom/2 bath house, well, you can see how that just doesn’t work. Also, I come and go quite frequently due to work (the crane business involves a lot of travel after all) but their house is also technically my permanent residence even though I’m only here less than a quarter of the time so you can see how this is a sticky situation for all parties involved.

With that, it’s clear we need a bigger place – a house big enough to fit all of us in comfortably. This means 5 bedrooms, 3 baths and a large common living area and kitchen. We just don’t have that here. Time to look for a new place, which is stressful in and of itself.

Well that’s stressful but manageable right? Well, here’s where the real stress comes in and what’s liable to totally derail my vision to own a cigar & liquor lounge permanently – I’m the only one in my family with good credit.

My poor dad was seriously injured on his job in 2005, my senior year of high school. He was an independent distributor for a local bakery and as such he had no insurance. He blew out his already bad knee which had to be completely reconstructed. No insurance + reconstructive surgery? Can you say massive medical bills? That combined with a lack of disability insurance put a major financial strain on them at the time that they just could not recover from.

My dad was out of work for well over a year, I was a broke undergrad and my sister was way too young to work. All that was a recipe for financial ruin, and that’s exactly what happened. Their previously unblemished credit went down the shitter in short order. They got behind on everything through no fault of their own and have never been able to recover.

Now, my sister I’m a little less sympathetic to her situation. She went out-of-state to college, goofed off instead of went to class, failed out, defaulted on a student loan and racked up several medical bills from her first pregnancy. As such, her credit is about as rock-bottom as it gets when it comes to American credit rating formulae. As far as brother-in-law? Hah. He’s got credit card fraud on his record. His credit sucks even worse!

So where does that leave us? My parents’ credit is fucked, sister’s and B-I-L’s credits are both super-mega-assfucked, but despite having a medical issue 9 years ago that bankrupted me also, I have managed to clean my credit up and although my credit isn’t completely perfect, I can get approved for just about anything. As such, guess who would have to be the primary borrower for a new place? You guessed it: ME.

Now, as my younger sister and B-I-L are in their respective situations due to their own doing, if it was just them in the picture I’d tell them to sort out their own problems. However, with one kid already here and another on the way, that is so much harder of a thing to contemplate. I’m less worried about their well-being (I couldn’t care less honestly, they’re both fuck-ups) as I am the well-being of my 3-year-old nephew and soon to be newborn niece. Of course, my poor parents I’m super sympathetic to for putting up with their shit for this long and I gotta give them credit for doing it. I wouldn’t have had the patience myself!

So having, for all intents and purposes, dependents puts me in such a bad spot. What the hell do I do? If I do the bleeding-heart liberal thing and agree to take on what would be a total mortgage, well I would never make enough money owning a cigar and liquor lounge to pay that mortgage plus all my other living expenses. In essence, I’d be signing myself away to indentured corporate servitude for the rest of my life. Leaf & Barrel Cigars & Whiskey? Fuh-fucking-geddaboutit.

Now, option B would be to be a selfish prick and pursue my own interests at the expense of the two kids especially. See, shit like this is why I don’t want kids of my own, but it’s like I’m being thrust into much of the stress and sticky situation of having to be a parent (in an indirect way). Alas, if I take option B I fear for the kids’ future especially, as well as keeping all kinds of stress on my parents.

Man does this situation suck the big one. I truly do not know what I should do. With option A I’m sacrificing my own goals and dare I say my own mental health and would no doubt drive me into a deep depression long-term and possibly/probably even suicide (due to being stuck in jobs I hate, but pay well, forevermore), with option B I’m potentially harming my nephew and soon-to-be niece. This situation really, really fucking sucks all the way around.

So dear readers, I open up the question to you: If you were in my shoes, what would you do? I hope some of you chime in and maybe even send me private messages because I really want someone I can talk through this with. It’s a major decision that is going to have major ramifications one way or another. Like I feel myself getting sick just thinking about the gravity of this decision. I’ve been faced with difficult decisions in the past, but they all pale in comparison to this one.

Please share your thoughts.

Why I Do Not Want Children

If it’s one thing I’m absolutely rigid on and that I have never wavered on it’s my lack of desire to have children. Actually, it goes farther than that – the idea of being a father just absolutely repulses me, so much I actually ended my last relationship over that very issue. I was put at a crossroads where I had to decide which was worse – being single or having children I don’t really want. Obviously I decided that the latter was a much worse fate. As such, I did the only thing I could do and ended the relationship.

I have a multitude of reasons for not wanting children, but they can broadly be put into two categories: practical and philosophical. We shall take a look at those here.

Practical Reasons:

Concerning my practical reasons for not wanting children, the very first thing to consider is the expense of having children. Kids are not cheap! Doctors visits, increased grocery bills, daycare, school supplies, glasses, braces, sporting equipment, cars/drivers’ education, college, the list goes on! That all adds up.

The second has to due with my internal wiring. I’m one of those autistic people who is incredibly short-tempered. Is that conducive to having children? Absolutely not. I’d likely do them psychological damage with my tendency to meltdown and get frustrated over the slightest thing out-of-whack. That’s not to say all autistic people are incompetent parents. On the contrary, there are many who are quite capable of it. I’m just not.

I also pretty much got the short end of the stick when it comes to genetics, not only with the autism thing but I also have a heart defect (Wolff-Parkinson-White) that has a genetic component and I do not wish to pass that on. I also know I’m a carrier of the gene for Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. Though I’ve not shown symptoms myself, I do know my biological father does and had to have his thyroid basically killed. I do not want to risk passing that on either.

Lastly is just I’m too much of a free spirit to be held down. Not having children I can pretty much travel unhindered, do what I want as far as nightlife and the like. I’m not held down by family commitments, which would no doubt make me miserable.

Philosophical Reasons: 

Before I discuss my philosophical reasons for not having children, I feel I must say that none of what I discuss here is intended to pass any judgment on anyone regardless of what reproductive decisions they might have made. That is not my intention. The views presented here are not original views, but rather views of academics that make the most raw logical sense to me. Again, this is not meant to be a personal attack on anyone so please do not take it that way.

The first, and strongest argument, is the Benatarian Asymmetry, named after South African philosopher David Benatar. Benatar first proposed this asymmetry in a paper titled “Why It Is Better Never to Come into Existence” and was further expanded upon in a full-blown book titled Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence which was published in 2006. The argument is much too long and detailed to list in a blog post, but the meat and potatoes of it is this: whereas pleasure is good and pain is bad, the absence of pain is good even if there exists nobody to benefit from that good, but the absence of pleasure is not bad unless there already exists someone for which such an absence would be a deprivation. In other words, regardless of the pleasure-to-pain ratio in one’s life, although the pleasures of life make our lives go better than they otherwise would, had we never existed we’d have forgone any and all pain (good), but because we would not “miss out” on anything by never existing (as deprivation requires existence), it is always better not to come into existence.

For more clarity of the asymmetry, consider two people: sick and healthy. Let’s say sick gets sick but has a strong immune system and is able to recover quickly from that sickness, while healthy has a weak immune system but never gets sick. Who is better off? Obviously healthy is better off, even though (s)he has a weak immune system. Everyone would agree that it is better never to get sick, regardless of the strength of one’s immune system. There you have it.

The second argument, which is weaker and not an entirely new argument, is the Pollyanna Principle. The Pollyanna Principle is basically an irrational optimism bias. In other words, we grossly over-estimate the quality of our lives. More or less, none of us realize just how much pain and suffering we endure on a daily basis. For a prime example of this, let’s just step back and think about a few things. What do we spend a vast majority of our waking hours doing? Working, of course. It is a very rare and fortunate person who does not completely loathe his or her job. OK, that alone puts our lives more into the pain category. Combine that with the day-to-day pains and irritants we experience and don’t give much thought to: hunger, thirst, heat, cold, financial woes, the need to urinate and/or defecate, the need to sneeze, sniffle, cough, clear the throat, etc. That’s not even considering the bouts of illness and disease we will all face. Our sleeping hours have their own irritants; namely dreams which more often than not result in painful stimuli – fear, sadness, anger, etc.

Given the above, and combined with the fact that nobody consents to being brought into existence (rather, we were all just kind of forced into it), I feel that it is very difficult to justify bringing new individuals into existence.

Given that, the question I’m sure many of you are wondering is, “Do you wish you had never been born?” The answer to that question is, without any hesitation whatsoever, a resounding yes. I would have preferred never to have been brought into existence. However, that statement shall not be construed as “I want to die.” Once already in existence, most of us have an interest in continuing to exist and it can be very easily argued that death is actually one of the many harms we will face in this life (a position Dr. Benatar also defends at great length). That said, I absolutely do support the right to die so that if one decides his or her life is not worth continuing, that choice must be respected and the government does not have the right to stop anyone from taking his/her own life.

The above are the major reasons I have chosen not to have children. Again, these reasons are personal to me and shall not be intended as a personal attack on anyone. If you disagree with them, I’d like to know why. Please feel free to discuss your own views and engage in a healthy and respectful debate. I promise you I will not shut you down. I feel we can all learn something from the other side, whether you are a pronatalist or an antinatalist, a parent or childless/childfree.