The more you know

It’s time to stop joking and start taking asexuality seriously

A 2016 review published by the University of British Columbia confirms that asexuality isn’t some bizarre form of “psychopathology” or the result an extremely low libido as famously diagnosed by zoologist and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Instead, researchers say, “available evidence points to asexuality being best conceptualized as a unique sexual orientation.”

In other words: Having no sexual orientation is itself a sexual orientation. Just like being gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, etc., etc., etc. Now, one asexual man has opened up to HuffPost about his experiences surviving in a very non-asexual world.

“To me, asexuality has always meant simply a lack of sexual attraction,” Ace (not his real name) says. “There definitely are shades of asexuality. … There are asexuals who identify as sex-repulsed, sex-favorable, or any where in between.”

Related: Guys share what it’s like to be gay and asexual

Ace explains that many people treat asexuality, in general, the same way they do bisexuality, like it’s just a phase, or a joke, or some sort of character flaw.

“Asexuality is often portrayed as a joke or juvenile or as a result of another ‘undesirable’ quality in a character,” he says. “As I get older, I also experience a lot of young adults making rude or ill-informed comments about people who might not like sex. I realize that a few ignorant comments aren’t so bad, but they do hurt just a little.”

Since it’s not taken seriously, Ace says, there are a lot of misunderstandings surrounding it.

“I’ve read a lot of articles, opinion pieces, and social media posts telling asexuals that we are wrong or ill or confused,” he says. “I’ve had one person in my personal life try to convince me otherwise, but they turned out to be a very unsupportive friend in many other instances.”

He continues: “Ultimately, it’s not up to any person to make the label for another. Sexuality can be a very private thing; we can each label our own if we so choose, but I don’t think it’s fair to label anyone else.”

Related: Model Austin Armacost comes out as asexual

Another common misconception Ace hears is that asexuality is a result of some sort of negative sexual experience in a person’s life.

“Just like any human experience, there are an infinite amount of ways asexuality can come to be,” he explains. “Sometimes a person might experience a traumatic event, or have a hormonal imbalance, or any other cause, but it also happens without stimulus as well. In all cases, it doesn’t matter how the asexuality ‘came to be,’ if a person identifies as asexual, then you should take their word for it.”

So where do we go from here? The answer is simple: Education, of course!

“Just to learn as much as you can,” Ace says. “There are millions of different ways to experience life, and it is difficult for a lot of people to empathize with an experience they don’t like or understand. Knowledge and understanding are the keys to tolerance.”

Related: Asexuals are tired of your crap, demand greater visibility

h/t: HuffPost

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20 Comments

  • DuMaurier

    I’m not going to make a ‘joke’ of this, but…as the letters on our acronym increase and increase, I’ll just say that I’m a bit unclear about when and how something is declared a discrete “unique sexual orientation” instead of just being the kind of individual personality trait or quirk we’ve always known existed.

  • Donston

    Okay, so you lack sexual attraction or you want to sustain from sex. And? Does it make you feel bad that people still hit on you or some might question whether you are legitimately asexual? It seems some try so hard to gain acknowledgement or be seen as victims. And I fail to see how this has any connection to homosexuality or trans people or queerness at all.

    Also, people need to stop pulling info from Kinsey’s studies, which are dated and often contradict modern modern studies. Have sex. Don’t have sex. What’s at stake?

    • Donston

      *abstain

    • Lustreck

      Did you even read the article? It’s not about abstinence. It’s an orientation.
      Trans and homosexual people are not the only queer people on the planet. Get over it….

    • Lustreck

      I’m just gonna reply again here because it looks like you have comments/replies all over this article.
      Anyway.
      As a gay person, stop speaking for asexual people. Thanks. It’s very clear you don’t even understand the definition of the word and it’s ridiculous that you think you’re entitled to moan and complain about a topic apparently too complex for you. Asexual people can and do have sex (and, of course, some don’t). Asexual people have always been here, always will be. Asexual people have also been marginalized. It took you thousands of years to even recognize that there were more sexualities than gay and straight, so please just shut up with telling ace, bi, and pansexual people that we haven’t faced discrimination when you’re quite literally contributing to it, especially in accusing us of using our sexualities as some form of protective label. So no, you don’t acknowledge us (or anyone else that isn’t straight or gay, apparently). I don’t know why you care so much. Just let people live. We’re not harming you. We’re not “fake” or “confused”. We really don’t need people who have no clue what they’re talking about to try to tell us that we’re in the wrong. You could at least take five minutes to google things or actually ask an asexual person before opening your mouth that wide. I suppose I should accuse you of making up your sexuality to play victim (and know-it-all) as well?

  • Donston

    The problem with the “asexual movement” is similar to the problem with the “bisexual movement”. While there are people (even men) who fit into these categories, too often people (particularly men) are flat-out lying or using these labels to hide fear, self-hate, self-denial, perversions, kinks and narcissism, and that hurts the general perception. They can keep complaining about being pegged all that want. But too often people who use these identities fit into these categories. Also, people who lack sexual attraction is one thing, but a lot of people who say they’re asexual simply wish which seems kinda odd to me abstain from sex. To me, if you have any sexual attractions at all you’re not asexual. Ultimately, I just don’t see their connection to us. You’re acknowledge. Now, we can move on?

    • davidkohl

      I agree in that I don’t really see the connection between people who are asexual and groups of people who have been oppressed and faced discrimination for thousands of years. In the 1970’s in th UK there was a Prime Minister who was famously described as asexual. Nobody paid the slightest attention and it did not affect his career in any way. I have not yet heard anyone – even the extreme religious right wing -attack asexuality as immoral or demand that it be made illegal. I am sorry asexuals everywhere – I just don’t see the connection to us.

  • Kris

    I consider myself to be asexual now … Like he said , it could be a hormone inbalance or it could be medication related … whatever … I just don’t care to have sex with anyone anymore …

    • Donston

      Yeah, that’s not really asexual to me. Lacking interest in sexual acts, not being able to build a sex drive isn’t the same as being repulsed by sex or lacking any sexual attraction. And many people lose interest in sex as they older. Either way, I don’t really get the desperate need for rec. I mean, what exactly is the asexual struggle, what are the prejudices and limitations they face, what physical and emotional abuse do they deal with and potential shunning from friends, family and community? In fact, homosexuals are often told they should practice abstinence. Is it just they’re sick of people not believing them or sick of people asking them out? That’s just childish. Also, if you masturbate you’re not asexual.

  • SonOfKings

    Good Lord. Everyone wants to feel special. I think next week I’m going to declare myself to be a-racial, because I just don’t feel all that Black, White, or Asian anymore. Then I’ll start an a-racial movement: Transparent Lives Matter.

  • crowebobby

    I’m 80 years old, have lived in 4 different countries and on several different social levels and I’ve only heard two young men say “Sex is good, but there are so many other things to do.” I know that’s not what asexual means and isn’t what we’re discussing here, but it points out how automatic and forced the need to play the ever-horny stud is all over the world and how it can never be taken at face value.

    • Donston

      I’ve always been annoyed that gay media (including here) exploits the idea of sex over love. Celebrating same-sex romance and love and its potentially stability is what’s most needed. For a lot of homosexuals it’s not until they experience same-sex love that they’re able to fully settle into who they are. The idea of the “gay lifestyle” has always been about sex and isolation from general society. And that, more than anything, is what often leads to people not being able to self-accept or spending a great portion of their lives alone. That has nothing to do with this benign non-topic however.

  • Heywood Jablowme

    Asexual jokes? Out of curiosity I looked for asexual jokes (posted by asexuals). Not exactly LOL material:

    “Asexual person: ‘Dad, I’m asexual.’ Dad: ‘Son, I’m very disappointed. You promised me an A+sexual. No xbox for a week.’”

    “’Asexual people aren’t real.’ Thank GOD, does that mean I don’t have to pay back my loans?”

    “When playing F*ck Marry Kill, can you choose kill for all three?”

    “what is a sex drive where is it going does it even have a license”

    They post a lot of photos of Ace Hardware, and other stores with the name Ace in the sign. Ha ha ha.

    There were a LOT of mysterious references to “cake,” which took me quite awhile to figure out. Apparently there is a cooking show on basic cable called “Ace of Cakes.” Ha ha ha.

  • Winter

    That’s because a lot of people that proclaim to be asexual actually.
    1. Can’t get sex, so to protect their ego they claim to be asexual.
    2. Low libido.
    3. Hormonal imbalance, low levels of testosterone can do this.

    I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but when you come at me with I was asexual last year and now I’m gay again. Bitch bye.

    • Donston

      This is the ultimate problem. Bi/asexual/fluid/queer/poly/pan/I-don’t-believe-in-labels etc identifying people are constantly coming at hetero and homo identifying people for not believing them or for thinking something is wrong with them when they should be most upset with the endless amount of people (particularly men) who mis-use these labels or use them to hide certain aspects of themselves and/or their lives.

  • Jack Meoff

    So if a person is asuxual does that mean they do not crave companionship in any form? Do they still want to hold hands and snuggle up on the couch and if so with which gender, opposite gender or same?

    • davidkohl

      I wondered the same Jack – but I think ‘companionship’ usually does not have a sexual element to it. For example – my mother has a woman whose job it is to provide companionship – nothing sexual. As for physical touch – well we all need that human contact from time to time because we are social beings. Again not necessarily sexual in nature. If I were locked up in isolation for several weeks I would certainly crave companionship – nothing to do with sex.
      In the end I just don’t see the comparison between asexuality and us. What’s to be ‘supportive’ about? I am not going to look at anyone any differently because they are asexual – there are no asexuals being beaten up on trains – there is no right wing religious hysteria about asexuality – there has never been anti-asexuality legislation in any country ever. It’s just not comparable on any level.

    • SumSay

      Asexuals are capable of romantic relationships. Asexual does not mean antisocial, they’re capable of love and being affectionate just as much as anyone, the only difference is that sex (or very little of it) is left out of the equation.

      There’s plenty to be supportive about. For one, asexuality is constantly being invalidated and mocked by society. I could only imagine how lonely that makes some asexuals feel. Asexuality also crosses all sexual and gender lines, so that makes it truly unique. Same-sex asexual couples who choose to get married, can now, when that wasn’t a possibility before, so it’s completely comparative and inclusive to the LGBT struggle.

  • NateOcean

    When I start dating them, they’re gay. When we’re finished, they’re asexual.

    • davidkohl

      Best comment :-)

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