Sexuality is a big part of growing up. It really isn’t until puberty that most kids start to actually think about relationships like that. But, how about the ones who never start to think like that, or feel any sort of sexual attraction to anyone?
This generation’s view on the LGBTQA sexuality group has become increasingly accepted in society, despite the backlash and difficulties that older, more conservative generations have posed in response. This social acceptance is great, but sometimes, it’s hard to feel accepted when social standards glamorise over-sexualized physical attraction to the point of overbearance. Or worse, it’s hard to be accepted when asexuality is continually whitewashed from existence.
So take pride in knowing this: LGBTQA stands for Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Trans-Queer-and Asexual, not Allies.
What is asexuality? Asexuality is defined as the lack of sexual attraction, not to be confused with sex-drive. This doesn’t mean lack of sexual attraction explicitly to the same, opposite, or different gender; this means lack of sexual attraction in general as a whole. In this era of commercial sexualization, asexuals might feel small, almost non-existent compared to the majority; however, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
“I personally don’t have a sex drive or feel any sort of sexual attraction, however i still find people aesthetically pleasing and experience romantic attraction, sometimes,” said Karina Redondo, a junior at Barbara Goleman. “Asexuality is commonly unheard of- when I tell people about they call me a plant. While some people do it as playful teasing, it irks me. I’m not a plant, I am a human being.”
Don’t mistake romantic attraction for sexual attraction either. Asexuals are perfectly capable of being and maintaining a romantic relationship with another person.
How can someone have sex-drive, but not have sexual attraction to others? Not all Asexuals are the same, just as there are different types of heterosexual and homosexual people. Asexuals go through hormonal changes just like everyone, however having a self-sustained sexdrive is different from wanting to have sex with others.
Another common misconception is that Asexuals have never, or will never be in a sexual relationship: that isn’t necessarily the case.
“’It’s not like sex is unbearable – there’s pleasure, as such… It’s just that I don’t have the need to have sex. I like photography, I do sports, I do charity events, I play cello, I write. My energy is that way rather than towards sex,” Clare Green told The Telegraph in an article about asexual awakening.
Asexuality is not set in stone as the only one of it’s kind. An umbrella term for sexualities falling under similar categories is the “gray” area. Some of these include demisexuality – sexual attraction limited to those that they’ve made a strong emotional bond, semisexuality – lack of sexual attraction, but indulging in the act of autoeroticism, and hyposexuality- a naturally low sex drive.
Asexuality is not another word for anti-sexuality; yes it is true that a majority of asexuals never have sex, but it isn’t the same as having a “sex-negative attitude”. Each asexual’s story is different. Some are disgusted by the act itself, some are open-minded to having it with a partner, but disregard the personal feeling or craving that is incorporated with it.
Despite being commonly mistaken as Allies in LGBTQA, asexuals are becoming increasingly popular on social media websites such as Tumblr, and even have several self-made websites for asexual awareness such as asexualityarchive.com and asexuality.org. Slowly, but efficiently, asexuals are incorporating themselves into our common day society and proudly identify under the LGBTQA group.
“We as a society are very inarticulate about the quality and quantity of attraction. We have a very homogenizing, uniform language in which we talk about attraction and love,” said Mark Carrigan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Warwick who has been studying asexuality since 2008.
“This distinction made in the asexual community between sexual and romantic attraction just blew my mind when I heard about it. It’s a conceptually rich language that could be very valuable to even people who are not asexual.”