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3 Things I Wish People Understood About Asexuality

I am asexual. Everyone has a different idea of what that means. There is even debate among the LGBTQ+ community whether we deserve to be included. When I come out to people, I get plenty of questions and comments as they try to understand what it is like. Here are three out of the countless things that I wish everyone knew:

Asexual does not equal aromantic.

I am asexual and heteromantic. What this means, basically, is that I have no interest in anything more than cuddles. Heteroromantic means I develop crushes on guys and am able to form romantic connections with them. When I date someone, I date them because we connect on many levels. The physical aspect of a relationship is not the only reason people stay together. Being asexual and being deserving and capable of love are not mutually exclusive.

Asexuality is not just a phase.

Though sexuality is fluid and changes over time, this is something I have experienced ever since I can remember. I have never been “turned on” and there are plenty of things I’d rather do than have sex or think about having sex. It does not mean I am not capable of consensual sexual interactions or that I look down on people who enjoy sex. As long as there’s consent, do what you want. For some people, their asexuality stems from past trauma, which does not make their identity any less valid. The duration or root of someone’s identity should not matter in whether people decide to support them.

Asexuals deserve to be seen and heard.

The best way to end negative stigma is to raise awareness. Aces face aphobia in several forms, including dismissive questions and violence perpetrated by people trying to force them into an identity they do not fit. I do not equate the aphobia I have faced to the oppression that many LGBTQ+ community members face daily, though by being open about this I hope to inspire people to rethink notions they might hold about people based on their sexuality, ace or not.

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Helmi Henkin

Alabama '18

Helmi is a senior at The University of Alabama from Menlo Park, California studying psychology and French. She has been to 78 countries on seven continents! Her favorites are Finland (since that's where her family lives), Bali and Antarctica. When she's not in class or traveling she loves reading, singing and songwriting, and hanging out with friends.
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