5 Things You Might Not Know About Asexuality
The week from the 22nd of October to the 28th is Asexual Awareness week, and while awareness for the LGBTTQQIAAP community has greatly increased over the past years, it is easy to forget that there are more letters than just LGBT. So here are 5 things you may not have known about Asexuality and the people who identify as ace!
- It’s not a choice!
This is perhaps one of the most important statements in this listicle, because like other sexualities (hetero-, homo-, pansexual, and so on) it isn’t something you choose to feel. When you choose to abstain from sex that is called celibacy. Almost all ace people have felt that way their entire lives and it is not a result of a traumatic experience or the onset of a mental disorder such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
- Asexuality is a spectrum
Asexuality isn’t either liking sex or not liking it, it is a scale of asexuality that is generally seen to go from asexual to sexual and has many identities in between.
For example, someone who is grey-asexual will only rarely experience sexual attraction and even then, only under specific circumstances. Demisexuality, is another part of asexuality, meaning the person will only feel sexual attraction after a strong emotional bond has been formed. The strength of this bond differs from person to person, and some will only feel sexual attraction to a few or even only one person in their life.
- Yes, you can have a relationship if you’re asexual!
Many asexual people want to and do have romantic relationships. Just because you don’t experience any sexual attraction doesn’t mean you don’t experience romantic attraction. For those who don’t experience romantic attraction, it called aromanticism. Many ace people will also enjoy being affectionate with their partners, this simply may not extend to sexual activities.
- They face a lot of prejudice…
Like many other people in the LGBTQIA+ community, ace people face prejudice in the form of being told that they are not normal, that they are wrong for “choosing” not to engage in sexual activity, or that they should be given help and/or medication for their condition. For a long time, a lack of sexual attraction was seen as a mental disorder and treated with medication. Although in most countries this is thankfully no longer the case, many ace people have issues entering into relationships as it is either difficult for their partners to accept the lack of sexual activity in the relationship, or they force themselves to engage in sex when they do not want to in order to make their partners happy.
- …and it’s not just from a heteronormative society!
Unfortunately, this prejudice also extends into the LGBTQIA+ community. The asexual community has struggled with acceptance from this community as they are often told they are straight and therefore do not belong. However, ace people can be both asexual as well as homo-, bi- or panromantic, meaning that they are not exclusively romantically attracted to the opposite gender and therefore not straight. Ace people also do not always identify as cis-gendered meaning they can also be transgender, genderfluid, or non-binary. Equally, definitions of bi- and pansexuality describe them as an attraction to two or more genders, which an asexual person also experiences as a lack of attraction to two or more genders.
http://www.asexuality.org/ Images: https://www.theflagshop.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/a/s/asexual-flag-std.jpg