Today I’m gonna talk about the often forgotten A in LBGT (exactly). Asexuality is unfortunately not very well understood, but for those people who are asexual, finding out that it’s a thing can be a godsend. As you may have noticed, I’m not asexual so this blog is based on research and things that my ace friends have said to me.
First up, a few basics:
- An asexual person (“ace”, for short) is simply someone who does not experience sexual attraction.
- It is a real thing.
- Aces are not just sad loners who can’t get laid.
- Asexuality is not the same as celibacy.
Because our society is pretty obsessed with sex, for many it’s inconceivable that asexuality is a thing. In fact, often asexuals may not realise for years that they are, just because nobody has presented it as an option. Instead they can face bullying for being a virgin, being tormented with “you just need to find the right person”, or told to man up.
“I only found out about asexuality last year, so most of my life I just felt like an absolute oddball, that no-one will ever love me or I’ll never actually know what love is because I don’t want to hump someone all the time. But I’ve always wanted a romantic connection with someone and have fallen for people because of their personalities.”
In actuality, there is no “right person”, just like there isn’t a right person to turn a lesbian straight. Asexuality isn’t that hard to imagine really, everyone has days where they’re not horny. It’s just that all the time. And this doesn’t mean that aces don’t have relationships or fall in love, far from it. It’s just that to them a relationship of any sort doesn’t need sex.
Like with other sexualities, asexuality has its own spectrum. So aces may or may not either feel sexual attraction or have sex. For example, an ace might have sex because their partner wants to, even though they don’t have the desire. Or some aces describe themselves as “grey As”- those who very rarely feel sexual attraction or only feel it once they have a strong emotional bond with something. There are of course others who never have sex thank you very much. Not wanting sex is not the same as denying yourself it- to deny yourself you must want it in the first place. And the asexual aspect of their identity doesn’t affect who they fall in love with. Aces can be homo-, hetero-, bi-, or aromantic. I was talking to someone the other day who is asexual and biromantic. So they don’t want to have sex but can fall in love with men or women (not ball point pens hahaa).
I was also told by a friend the importance of the difference between aesthetic and sexual attraction. That is, asexuals can think people are attractive without wanting sex with them. Very few people seem to grasp the concept, especially when it’s men admiring people. This is pretty true across society; women can often comment on how hot a woman is and noone calls them a lesbian. If it’s a man doing the talking, of course he wants to bang her, or he’s gay. Usually you can shrug it off but imagine how frustrating it must be to hear it all the time.
Aces aren’t weird, they’re just people. Who can spend all their time not shagging enjoying other things. Like music, reading, socialising, or eating cake. There’s a really good video here that explains it in more depth (though CW, there’s a random bit which suddenly shows hardcore porn). Most importantly, if someone tells you they’re asexual, believe them. Don’t ask them loads of “but what if…” questions, don’t try to help them out of it, and DON’T keep trying to set them up with “someone nice.”
For those who want to know more, here’s a link to a friend’s blog where she comes out. It’s a lot more detailed than this one and you can hear first hand what it’s like for her.