Understanding Asexuality – A Deep Conversation with an Asexual Person
By Ace Noland
As we become more and more aware of the differences of gender identity and sexuality ‘new’ words are coming about to express these old identities. One of these words is ‘Asexual’ and is becoming very controversial among both heterosexual cisgender people and GLBTQI people. So I thought I would take some time to do a very quick discussion about asexuality and cover some questions and misconceptions about it.
Disclaimer: Just like I don’t speak for all transgender, differently abled, white, Christian, etc people. I don’t speak for every asexual person. I simply will be sharing my personal experiences and general information that I have heard from other asexuals.
First off lets have some definitions:
Asexual: ‘a person who is not interested in or does not desire sexual activity, either within or outside a relationship’.
Demisexual: ‘lack of sexual attraction toward any person unless they become deeply emotionally or romantically connected with a specific person or persons’
Grayasexual: ‘An umbrella term for someone who is on the asexual spectrum’
There are lots of other terms that fall underneath ‘asexuality’ but for right now we’ll just focus on these.
To start off this blog I will be sharing a few very common myths & misconceptions about asexuality and explaining why they aren’t true.
Myth: An asexual person can’t feel love
Truth: No, being asexual does not mean you can’t fall in love with another person or persons. Asexuals are not cold hearted beings who can’t feel love. We are just human beings that don’t feel sexual attraction. I found a saying that I think works very well explaining this. Think of romantic relationships as ice cream sundaes and the cherry on top represents sex. Some people need cherries on top of their sundaes to have a fulfilling ice cream sundae while others don’t like cherries, but still enjoy ice cream sundaes. Relationships are similar. Some people need sex to have a fulfilling relationship and others don’t. Neither is wrong or right as long as everyone involved in the relationship are fulfilled and happy then the relationship is ‘right’.
Myth: Celibacy and asexuality are the same thing
Truth: No they aren’t. Celibacy is a choice while asexuality, just like any other romantic/sexual orientation, is not. You can’t ‘choose’ to be asexual. Now celibacy is completely a choice and usually done for religious reasons. Being that you make an oath to be celibate all your life or only until marriage, that is your choice. With asexuality you either are or you aren’t. Celibacy is a choice, asexuality is part of who we are as human beings.
Myth: ‘Just a late bloomer’
Truth: Okay so I’m twenty five and have been romantically active since I was sixteen. I’ve ‘bloomed’ in that regard as much as I’m going to. Even if the person you are talking to is still a teenager or young adult this is a very rude and invalidating thing to say. Sure maybe someone is a late bloomer and will realize in time that they aren’t asexual but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to disrespect their orientation right now. Connected to this is the reaction of ‘you’ll meet someone who will change your mind’. This irks me because there is nothing to ‘change’. This reaction is connected to the mentality that it’s ‘wrong’ to not have a sexual desire and it’s not. It’s perfectly okay. Just like it’s okay to be straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc. Again, as long as those involved in the relationship are happy and fulfilled then it’s ‘right’. The fastest way for us to loose interest in someone is for them to have the mentality of ‘I can change that’.
Now we are going to move into me answering some more specific questions that have been asked to me personally and will focus on my specific answers. Of course this blog is a majority my reactions and my thoughts but I will be taking more specific personal examples to answer these questions;
Question: How are you into kink when you’re asexual
Answer: Simple. Kink does not have to include sex. Here is where books like Fifty Shades of Grey really screw over the kink world. Kink, BDSM, and/or D/s do not have to include sex. Just like a vanilla relationship sex is the cherry on top that not everyone needs to have to be fulfilled. For me personally I enjoy the power exchange between me and my partner. As a Dominant I enjoy the trust my submissive gives me in trusting me that I will take care of them and do what’s best for them. As a submissive I enjoy the feeling of having someone to protect me and help me become a better person. I also enjoy the sense of control in both roles. At ‘play time’ I’ll bring out the whips and chains because I love the energy that relationship gives off. There’s nothing more beautiful to me in how primal and raw it can be. That sense of trust and connection is just so intoxicating that to me the sex isn’t needed to strengthen the relationship.
Queer: How does dating work for you?
Answer: I go on dates just like anyone else and I love to cuddle and touch. I need to be touched to feel charged and content. The only difference that the asexuality causes is my lack of sexual desire. I won’t be jumping at the chance to get into bed with my partners. This also means that I can be viewed as ‘old fashioned’ when courting someone because sex isn’t the top thing on my mind.
Queer: Are you afraid of sex?
Answer: Nope. Yes sex can be dangerous if you aren’t safe but I’m not afraid of it. There are precautions that can be taken to keep yourself safe. I have no hard feelings towards sexuality and I completely support adults who are consensualy having healthy relationships with their sexualities whatever that may be. Sex isn’t something to be ashamed of, in fact it can be beautiful and amazing. I just personally don’t have that desire.
Queer: Do you have sex?
Answer: Yes. Some asexual people are what is called ‘sex repulsed’ where sex is just to much of a disgusting thought that they just will not do it. I will repeat myself again, as long as everyone involved is being fulfilled and happy than the relationship is ‘right’. Now why do I have sex when I have no desire? Well simple I am commonly partnered with someone who does enjoy sex and I want to make them happy, so I give them that pleasure. With the people I love romantically I enjoy this because I can feel energized from the energy that they give me while being pleasured. However to do this I have to be comfortable and in a relationship. Casual sex is something I will not do because there is no benefits to me.
Question: Are you ‘asexual’ because of your disability?
Answer: Ummm nope. I know plenty of ADD and ADHD people who are straight, gay, bi, pan etc. If a person is asexual that does not mean they are autistic. An autistic person isn’t automatically asexual. I’m not really sure why people make this connection but I’ve heard it many times. Nope a person’s disability does not define their orientation.
Question: Are you ‘asexual’ because your transgender?
Answer: Nope. I know far more non asexual transgender people than asexual. Just like disability our gender does not define our orientation. Although, body dysphoria can cause some discomfort with sex which can lead trans people to be hesitant about having sex but hesitant does not mean asexual. My suggestion to a lover of a trans person who is hesitant is to show that you see them as who they are inside and not what their body is. My suggestion to a lover of a trans person who is asexual is to know the difference and to support their lover’s orientation.
Question: Are you ‘asexual’ because you were sexually assaulted?
Answer: Nope. Now that I know what asexuality is I now realize that I was asexual way before that woman put her hands on me. Yes what happened did add some trauma that makes my sexual experiences even less of a possibility but no it didn’t ‘make’ me asexual. I do know sexual assault survivors who still define as non asexual. Sexual trauma and asexuality are two very different things.
Question: When did you realize you were ‘asexual’?
Answer: I didn’t learn the word until about two years ago so that was when I started using the term. If I had the knowledge I have now, I would have realized as soon as hitting puberty. I was never really interested in dating and sex was just not something that grabbed my interest. Sure I read erotica but it was the relationships that interested me rather than the sexual acts themselves. I remember being with my first boyfriend making out with me and not feeling excited at all. It wasn’t because I didn’t find him attractive or that I didn’t ‘love’ him. I am designed differently. At first I listened to the ‘just a late bloomer’ crap that people threw at me throughout puberty but now I realize that this is what I am. I’m asexual. I fall in love still. I create connections just like any one else. I just have no sexual desire.