So, friends and watchers and occasional visitors of all genders, a warning up front: this post is going to get rather personal. Personal for me, that is. Because it is October the 27th, which means it's Asexual Awareness week!
Yay! And as it happens, I recently found out that I am one of those puzzling aces who happen not to be part of a deck of cards, but very much part of the human race.
Originally, I wasn't planning on posting anything about this, but then I just went "sod it" and did it anyway. (Otherwise, I would have made a nice little comic about it. But alas, you'll just get a crappy text post from me. Sorry about that.)
So yeah... Basically, this is me coming out to the internet. And yes, I am so bloody nervous about that, it almost makes me laugh. It's like going to a meeting of the Anonymous Closeted Society, standing in a circle and saying: "Hello, my name is so-and-so, I am this-amount-of-years old and I am an asexual", whereupon the rest of the circle of anonymous chairs will clap enthusiastically. In other words, I feel rather awkward right now and I'm desperately trying to hide behind a wall of bad jokes. But anyway, I'm rambling... Let's just get to the interesting stuff: 1. What is asexuality and is it dangerous?
Don't worry, we're not aliens, plants or single-celled organisms and we can't clone ourselves – This has nothing to do with asexual reproduction. The term 'asexuality',
when applied to a human being, is a label for a sexual orientation and describes people who do not experience sexual attraction.
At all. To anyone. Ever.
Fun fact: The asexual pride flag contains the colours black, grey, white and purple and many aces wear a black ring on their middle finger. This is a pride symbol and also helps us to find other aces. 2. So, does that mean asexuals never have sex?
Nope, doesn't mean that. Some asexuals have sex, some don't. Some masturbate, some don't. Some have a high libido, some don't. Your actions don't determine your sexuality.
If a gay man sleeps with a woman, he doesn't turn hetero. Sexual orientation just doesn't work like that. And it's the same with ace people: If an ace has sex, their asexuality doesn't turn into something else or get 'undone'. Sexual orientation is all about attraction to other people. The act of sex itself is just that: an activity. Some people like doing it, which is awesome for them and some people don't like doing it, which is totally fine aswell. I've read a comparison with skydiving a couple of times: Skydiving is totally exciting and fun to some people, others would rather stay at home and watch a movie. Or read a book. Now replace the word 'skydiving' with the word 'sex' and there you go: same difference. 3. But wait, wasn't there some talk of spectrums and stuff?
Yes, absolutely! And that's the great thing: Asexuality also exists on a spectrum, just as all other sexualities do, actually. It's this big umbrella term that includes many different variations of asexuality, such as grey-asexual
(people who experience sexual attraction infrequently or not very strongly or possibly aren’t quite sure whether or not what they experience is sexual attraction) or demisexual
(people who experience sexual attraction only after developing a close emotional bond with someone). 4. Oh man, but that's sad! That means you'll never fall in love!
To the contrary, lovely anonymous quizzical person! Just because we don't feel sexual attraction or – in the case of people on the ace spectrum – feel it very infrequently, that doesn't mean that we can't fall in love. There's this wonderful term called romantic attraction.
This means that, the same way people have a sexual orientation, they also have a separate romantic orientation
. In most cases they align, (as in: heteroromantic heterosexual, biromantic bisexual, homoromantic homosexual, etc.) but sometimes they don't align (for instance: biromantic homosexual, panromantic heterosexual, aromantic bisexual, etc.)
For every sexual orientation, there is also a romantic orientation and any combination of the two is possible. So going by that rule, the romantic counterpart of 'asexual' would be 'aromantic'
. Actually, there is a high percentage of aromantics in the asexual community, which means they experience neither sexual nor romantic attraction. But that still doesn't mean they can't form a bond with someone and have a meaningful relationship with thtem.
By the way, there are also other forms of attraction next to sexual and romantic: such as sensual
attraction or aesthetic
attraction. 5. Alright, but isn't asexuality just celibacy?
No. No, no and no. Celibacy and asexuality are not the same thing. Celibacy is a choice. A sexual person who chooses
not to have sex is celibate. Asexuals don't choose not to experience sexual attraction. Just as a gay person is born gay, an ace person is born ace. Although a person who has experienced trauma through sexual abuse, rape, etc. can become asexual too. And their identity is just as valid as everybody else's! I can't stress this enough. 6. But why would asexuals need visibility? I mean, it's the opposite of sexual attraction, right? That'd be like calling atheism a religion.
Oh gosh, I tell you visibility and understanding are everything
. I'm a lucky person in the sense that I have a healthy amount of self-acceptance, but before I found the term 'asexuality', even I was wandering around, thinking something was wrong with me. Our culture is very big on sex and love and stuff and I mean, that's okay cause I know that these things are awesome for most people, but if you're the only person in your whole social circle who has never felt love or attraction towards another person and all your same-age friends are in romantic relationships, you can't help but feel like the odd one out. And that's a bit of a crappy feeling, really. It was only after I found out about asexuality that I could embrace that part of myself. That part of me who hates the idea of having sex, who isn't interested in dating, who doesn't understand the concept of having a crush on someone, especially if that someone is a total stranger. I didn't even realize how much it had been bothering me until I started thinking "Hey, maybe I'm ace" and felt this huge sense of relief wash over me.
I've been hanging around the asexual community for only a short while, but I found something rather alarming: there is hardly a life story from a fellow ace that doesn't contain the words 'I thought I was broken'. And that makes me so sad. There are so many people who spent years thinking that they weren't whole, that they were somehow defective, just because they didn't know that asexuality was a thing.
Another big problem is erasure of asexuality. I haven't experienced much of it personally, since this is one of my first attempts of coming out, but I've read many stories from other aces who have come out and were met with totally dismissive comments from people around them. "You'll feel it when you find the right person", "You're too young to know", "You're just *insert sexuality here* and are too scared to admit it", "You just want to be a special snowflake", "How do you know you don't like sex if you've never tried it?", "You're just prude" is just some of the crap they get constantly. And not just from heterosexuals, but from the LGBTQ+ community aswell.
So yeah, I do think this whole asexuality visibility thing is really important.7. Conclusion
Today, I know that I probably suspected I was asexual even before I found the term. At least subconsciously. I found this little gem in my old journals, which I wrote back in March: Happily single. Is that such a bad thing? (RANT)
The thing is, yes I probably knew, but even though it sounds like it in that journal, I never really managed to accept that I was asexual until I actually found the term for it. I don't know if that sentence even made sense, but that's the best I can do right now. It's late and my thoughts are starting to run away from me.
What I want to say is this: Finding out about asexuality helped me understand myself better. And with this journal, I hope I can do the same thing for at least one other person out there. That's why things like asexual awareness week are so important, I think. And honestly, I can't wait for the day when asexual awareness week will become asexual pride week.
Have a wonderful night! Or morning. Or day. Or evening. Or whatever.
Don't hesitate to correct me if I made any mistakes or if I forgot something – I can always add it later. And if you have any thoughts or questions about this subject, I'd love to get a comment from you!
Let's share some insights and discuss this! Cause I'm totally up for that!
If you'd like to find out more about asexuality, I've got a little list of helpful links for you here (in no particular order):AVEN (Asexuality Visibility and Education Network): www.asexuality.org/home/Asexual Advice on Tumblr: asexualadvice.tumblr.com/Asexual Awareness week: asexualawarenessweek.com/asexuality: www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.…
grey-asexual: www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.…demisexual: www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.…romantic attraction: www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.…