I’m writing this list from a position of privilege. It’s the privilege of not being told I’m broken because I’m a sexual person – which means that I experience sexual attraction to other people, that I’m not asexual. What I have is called sexual privilege; it’s found in the fact that society thinks of me as more normal than people who don’t face this kind of sexual attraction towards other people. It is another occasion where society chooses to categorize some people as the default, like straight people, or like cis people, or like white people.
We live in a society that is centered around sex – everything, from the commercials on TV, to young adult films and the idea of “a happy life”. I have gradually come to see how hard this is for my asexual friends, and I recognized points in my life in which I am privileged without doing anything to deserve it. Discrimination against asexual people needs to stop, and awareness needs to be raised.
Asexual people are the people who don’t experience sexual attraction. Asexuality is a spectrum, so that means that there are also people called grey-asexuals or demisexuals somewhere in the spectrum, who experience limited sexual attraction, or who experience it only after having formed a deep emotional bond with another person. Being asexual doesn’t mean that you can’t have romantic feelings towards another person – or people -, that you can’t form a romantic relationship, that you’ve never had sex – or that you can’t choose to have sex -, that you don’t masturbate or that you don’t have a sexual drive at all. You can do all of that and still be asexual.
Of course, there are many different ways to be an asexual person, and to experience asexuality, demisexuality or grey-asexuality, and they are all valid.
As a person who wants to have sex in my relationships or out of them, I still get to hear some ugly, prejudiced things, that an asexual friend of mine could also hear often – connected to me passing as a woman, or being bisexual. Such things might be: “this is just a phase”, “you’re doing it for attention”, or the simple assumption for bi, pan, ace, and non-binary people: that we don’t exist –
-or that, you know, we’re just merely invisible.
When people know that I’m bi, or thinking of me as a woman, they can still try to police the ways in which I have sex, but they will rarely ever try to police the ways in which I don’t have sex – unless they decide that they want me to have sex with them.
Additionally, as a sexual person, I still get decent representation in most movies, books and TV series. When it comes to literally everything, society is practically always ready to say:
So here is how this is translated to what society never tells to a sexual person (but it tells asexual people all the time, and this needs to stop immediately).
- When I don’t wish to have sex for X or Y reason, I don’t get told that it’s because I’m celibate
Meanwhile, asexuality gets confused with celibacy and prudence all the time. It’s a real misconception that all asexual people are celibate, or abstaining from sex for moral or religious reasons – they just don’t want to have it!
- No one tells me that I’m abnormal for wanting to have sex
People see being sexual and experiencing sexual attraction as the norm, as something that should be happening to everyone in the same way. However, this is a socially constructed idea. People don’t have to have sex in order to be normal, and expecting everyone to feel the same way is limiting and harmful. Asexual people face a lot of stigma from a society that does not accept their experience, and this is a very big problem.
- No one tries to invalidate my identity because I’ve had sex or because I masturbate
What someone may have done or continue doing shouldn’t be enough to invalidate they way they identify. Some asexual people may not mind having sex, and do it when in a relationship to maximize the emotional connection they feel to their partner. Others may have had sex in the past but remain repulsed, or simply uninterested by sex. Some demisexual people may find sexual feelings for a person after they fall in love with them or feel comfortable in their company. The identity of all these people who find themselves somewhere on the asexual spectrum should be valid, and not dictated by anyone else.
- No one tells me that the fact that I have sex is mutually exclusive with experiencing romantic feelings for another person and forming a strong bond with them, or even that I won’t be able to form an emotional bond because I’m sexual
People often assume that asexuals don’t experience romantic feelings for others, or that they don’t want affection and tenderness in a relationship. This is a misconception, and may prove to turn into a serious issue affecting asexual people’s romantic life.
- No one tells me I’m too young to know whether I like sex or not, or that I should try not having sex and see how it goes
When it comes to asexual people though, society is way too ready to dismiss the way they feel about their life and identity, by telling them that they can’t really know how they feel, they’re confused, haven’t met the right person yet, or that they can just try. Do you see the imbalance?
- No one has linked how much sex I want to have with past experiences of abuse
While some people may indeed not wish to have sex because of past trauma or experiences of abuse, and while some asexual people may have had such experiences in the past, it doesn’t mean that all asexual people don’t want to have sex because of previous bad experiences.
Some just don’t.
- No one has told me that the fact that I want to have sex is caused by some illness
Again, while some people’s libido may be reduced as an effect or a symptom of a health issue or of old age, asexual people are not sick. They just prefer other things to sex, that’s all!
- No one has told me that I won’t be able to have a family or kids because I like sex
For some reason family, marriage, and children, are interwoven with sexual attraction, even though in many cases that’s heavily inaccurate. Asexual people may have sex just to reproduce or they may not – in any case, they can form a family, get married and have kids as much as everyone else – and thinking asexuality should stop them from that is fucked up in so many levels!
- No one has compared me to an amoeba, a cactus, or a robot.
- No one offers to “fix me” by having sex with me
Asexual people – as other members of the LGBT community do too – are often “offered” to have sex with someone who sees them as a challenge – someone who thinks of themselves as so cool and sexy that they will immediately “convert” the other person to either sexual or straight.
Especially considering the very real threat of corrective rape that asexual people – and other LGBT people – face, this is seriously fucked up, and you should never, ever say it such a thing to an asexual person.
If you are a sexual person as well, please think of those things we are lucky enough not to hear, and try your best to become an ally for the asexual community!