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Asexuality - Facts and Myths

by @AdventuRin

(Content Warning: This is an informational/educational post about a little-known sexual orientation. As such, sex-related topics will be discussed, inasmuch as they relate to asexuality. This post also contains references to, but not details of, abuse.)

 

Asexual Awareness

So far this week, we’ve gone over what the asexual spectrum is and what an ace relationship can look like. For some, these posts have been a repeat of information they already knew, but for many others, this was partially or entirely new information.

Asexuality is quiet orientation, in which many people don’t realize they identify with it until they hear about it through some corner of the internet. This leads to feelings of brokenness and isolation, all because we don’t feel a type of attraction that society in general says we must feel.

When we do come out to others, we’re often subjected to invalidating remarks, which Iara summarized many of in her comment here. Most of these comments are based more on ignorance, rather than malice, but that doesn’t diminish the pain they cause when those we care about aid in the erasure of our identities. Often, they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

This is why awareness is so important. The more people know about it, the less people will feel broken, alone, or invalidated, and the fewer people will inadvertently hurt the ones they love. More awareness means more acceptance on all sides. Which is why I’d like to use this post to debunk several asexual myths. This is hardly a comprehensive list, so you’re welcome to add to it:

 

Asexuality is…

    ...a valid orientation, sometimes referred to as the orientation of ‘no.’

    ...characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction.

    ...fluid. Just like with any sexuality, it’s possible (not guaranteed) how you feel has changed and will change.

 

Asexuality is not…

    ...a choice. Just like how being homosexual isn’t a choice.

    ...celibacy. Celibacy is intentionally abstaining from sex despite how much you want it. Asexuals may be celibate, but they also may still have sex. See this metaphor.

    ...something that can be fixed. It isn’t that we haven’t found “the right person.” It isn’t that we just haven’t had good sex. We aren’t broken.

    ...a shame. Nobody owes their body to anyone. We aren’t wasted people because we don’t/rarely experience sexual attraction. We aren’t somehow missing out on the wonders of the world.

    ...always the result of abuse. Some people may have gone through traumatic experiences that impact or change their sexuality. Some asexuals may have had such experiences, but not all have.

    ...invalidated by the past. Even if you have had a traumatic experience that may have resulted in your asexuality, you are still asexual. Even if you identified as a different sexual orientation before, you can still be asexual. If you feel it, it is valid.

    ...invalidated by behavior. Behavior is not orientation. If you have had sex, continue to have sex, want sex, enjoy sex, flirt all the time, have kids, are married, etc. etc., you can still be asexual. If you feel it, it is valid.

    ...invalidated by potential futures. Maybe you’ll feel sexual attraction in the future. Maybe you’ll find gray-a or demi is a better label for you. Doesn’t matter. What matters is how you feel now, and if right now you feel asexual, you are.

    ...a hormone issue. Hormone issues, regardless of why they exist, result in problems with libido. If you give someone on the ace spectrum hormone treatment, their libido will go up, but they will still not experience sexual attraction.

    ...easier. As mentioned, ace-spectrum folk can have relationship problems just like anyone else, on top of the invalidating remarks, erasure, and feelings of brokenness.


You can see further explanation of negative comments toward asexuals over at the Asexuality Archive, or if you’d rather more bite-sized pieces, over at redbeardace’s tumblr.

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