I’m here to shed some necessary light on asexuality.
No, not the scientific term, but the sexual orientation term. And this is because I desire more people to come to terms with the fact that nothing is wrong with them if they’ve never desired sex. Because in a sex-driven society? Not really desiring sex or being sexually attracted to others sexually can get you some strange looks, hurtful reactions, and unfortunately abuse as well.
Now, asexuality is more than the common phrase, “relationships are more than sex!” It is not celibacy (which is a choice while asexuality is not).
Although relationships being more than sex is true, around 1% (roughly 74 million) of the population have no sexual attraction or desire to partake in sexual activities because they’re asexual. (And this is based on very very few studies years ago that weren’t even based solely on asexuality, which can be read about here and here.)
I wanted to talk about asexuality with our lovely Quirky readers in case they ever felt as broken, confused, and unlovable as I did before I learned what asexuality was (thanks, Tumblr!) I knew I just wasn’t interested in sex with anyone, but having everyone tell me I hadn’t met the “right person” yet (even though I was in an almost 4-year relationship with someone I was mutually talking marriage with and still didn’t desire it), that I was repressing something, that I “just wanted a friend”, or any other annoying thing I’ve heard over the years got really really old and saddening. Especially when you’re navigating the world without answers or people willing to validate how you’re feeling.
Now enough with my jabbering. Let’s get you educated.
What is Asexuality?
Image source: Tumblr
In a nutshell, asexuality is when you lack sexual attraction to anyone. Pretty much means you’ve never looked at someone and thought “dang… I wanna bang!”, even within a relationship. But it’s honestly such a broad spectrum when you dig deeper! For example… have you ever thought about the types of attraction that are out here in these streets?
The reason I find this an important thing to cover is because many people truly think there’s only two or three ways to be attracted to a person (no matter what their sex, gender, or relationship is to you). But it’s much more than that!
Let me expand on that first.
Types of Attraction
Image source: Tumblr
I will start with the types of attraction for asexuality because I have told people about my asexuality (in novel-length detail at times), and in response I’ve gotten:
- “… So you just want a friend then.”
- “Have you tried girls? You might be into girls.”
- “You need to get that checked out… every human needs sex.”
- “You just haven’t met the right person yet!”
As you can see, there’s many ways to be attracted to a person, and not everyone experiences every type of attraction. Asexuals don’t look at someone and ever think about having sex with them. There are also aromantics that lack romantic attraction to any particular person.
To pull this attraction thing all together, I’ll use myself as a simplified example:
I’m heteromantic asexual, which means I’m romantically (and sensually!) attracted to the opposite sex. I’ve never looked at a woman or man and wanted them sexually. I’ve also never been attracted to women the way I am attracted to men (romantically and sensually). Now when it comes to aesthetics, I feel I’m more often aesthetically attracted to women than men.
But I still want me a loving relationship and marriage with a man… preferably without sexual encounters.
I’ve grown pretty neutral when it comes down to deciding if I’ll actually ever have sex if I get deeply involved with someone. There’s actually three types of perspectives you can have about sex! And that brings me to my next point about behavior not equating to attraction.
Attraction and Behavior Are Not the Same Things
You can dare a straight woman to kiss another woman, but that doesn’t make her gay now does it? Arousal, and physically having sex doesn’t equal attraction either. To me, arousal is a bodily function just like sneezing or blushing. It just happens! You may want to deal with it, you may not. And it doesn’t always happen at the best time, because arousal isn’t always something that can be controlled. And having sex doesn’t not make you an asexual either.
An asexual can decide to have sex to have children, or to please their partners because they know it’s what their partner is into (100% consented, might I add!).
So behavior does not an asexual make. In fact, you can read up some more on the different attractions and romantic orientations here! As well as a really great discussion on the AVEN forum about libido and sexual desire here! The comments that resonated the most for me were made by users “Star Bit” and “FictoVore.”.
They basically explained how you can enjoy aspects of sex, want to please a partner, or what have you, but you never desire it as an asexual. You can go through the motions of doing sexual acts, with a partner or not, and still prefer not to have sex or don’t feel like anything is missing in their life without sex.
There are plenty of juicy bits within that thread so I highly recommend you check it out if you want to explore this part of asexuality more.
Clapback Resources for Ignorant Comments, Gaining Knowledge, and Reassurance
Image source: adriofthedead on Tumblr
I’ve been pretty much debunking myths about what it does and doesn’t mean to be asexual, but haven’t covered clapbacks for people who say pretty crappy things when (or if) you decide to talk about it to anyone.
For example, the condescending straight (heterosexual heteromantic) male person who tells you, “how do you know you don’t want/won’t like sex unless you try?” Hmm… well how do you know you don’t want to have sex with a male unless YOU try?? For many people, you just know. No testing required.
But I digress…
Honestly, these resources are even for the people in your life who are genuinely curious! Take this arsenal of knowledge so you can feel more well-versed when explaining all you can about asexuality.
(And for people who you can’t talk to, I advise you to step away or not even try for your own mental health and sanity #SelfCare)
- My most favorite informative asexual comic strip evarrrr by adriofthedead! This covers, like, everything! And in visual form too! What else can you ask for when needing clarity on a subject you know little to nothing about?
- AVEN: the BIGGEST hub for asexuals to communicate, learn, and more. If you have any type of questions or want to find resources to just get into anything pertaining to asexuality, AVEN is the place to go.
- A Tumblr resource for People of Color. You may have noticed that a lot of things I’ve posted have been very… not Black. Or even People of Color to be honest. And I think it’s because there just hasn’t been a platform that has stuck too much for Black Asexuals (I haven’t found it yet at least). So this curated Tumblr for People of Color as a whole is the best I’ve found. So I hope it helps with representation for anyone reading! =)
- My other article on asexuality written for Black Girl Nerds. Once upon a time I wrote an article for Black Girl Nerds on asexuality, and a lot of the information overlaps but I tell more of a backstory of my life (aka a past serious relationship) as an asexual in that article.
I really hope this informational article shed some light on the asexuality spectrum! Please feel free to leave comments and questions in the comment section so we can discuss! And of course, fellow asexuals chime in as well! We wanna see you!
As you know, Quirktastic is a safe space for everyone.