October 19-25 is Asexual Awareness Week.
Imagine being told you have to choose something, although none of the choices are right for you. Imagine being told you’re broken, damaged or defective, when you’ve never felt more strongly about your well-being. Imagine being bombarded with images that are supposed to excite, entice or arouse you — but feeling nothing at all in return.
Imagine people thinking they know everything about you, yet actually knowing nothing about you.
This is how it feels to live an asexual life. It’s a life spent constantly explaining what you are — and what you are not. It’s a life spent defending a sexual identity that operates on a spectrum, not an “either/or” set of choices. It’s a life spent under the microscope being examined and analyzed — sometimes even by people within the LGBT community.
What defines asexuality, really? An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. It’s that simple.
Let’s discuss what asexuality is NOT:
- Asexuality is not the same as celibacy. Celibacy is a choice to deny yourself sexual relations, even when tempted by sexual attraction. Asexuals do not feel sexual attraction, have no choice to make, and have nothing to deny themselves.
- Being asexual is not sexual repression. People who do not feel sexual attraction have no sexual feelings to repress.
- Asexual people are not anti-sexuality. They respect others’ right to sexuality, even if they don’t experience it themselves.
- Asexuality is not caused by a fear of intimacy. People can feel emotionally intimate without being sexually intimate.
- Asexuals aren’t “going through a dry spell” or “waiting to meet the right person.” Dating status doesn’t define sexual orientation — nor can someone change your sexual identity for you.
- Being asexual is not a physical, emotional or psychological problem that needs to be fixed. Asexuality isn’t caused by a hormone imbalance. Asexuals don’t need analysis or diagnosis — they need acceptance and support.
- Asexuals are not an “invisible” orientation. It is projected that as many as 1% of the adult population experiences no sexual attraction to men or women.
- Most importantly, being asexual does not mean someone is “broken.” Asexuals aren’t defective or damaged — no matter how difficult their relationships may have been in the past, their identity is innate, not caused by a relationship experience.
We are proud to stand with ACEs during Asexual Awareness Week. We applaud supportive agencies, such as ACE-WI, AVEN, Asexuality Archive and others, who are driving awareness and advocacy across our community.
For more specific information about asexuality, visit the Asexuality Visibility & Education Network website.