Asexual individuals lack sexual attraction to other people. But like with all things, asexuality is felt on a spectrum. Some asexuals enjoy other forms of physical intimacy like holding hands or cuddling, and can hold healthy and meaningful romantic relationships. Some asexuals have a gender preference on partners, while others do not.
Unlike abstinence or celibacy which are life choices, asexuality is a not a choice, just like hetero and homosexuality.
Asexuality is a sexual minority that is even less represented and advocated for than the gay and lesbian community.
The week of October 26th is Asexual Awareness Week, though most would not have known. Advocacy for asexuality was a whisper in comparison to the roar of advocacy and excitement surrounding Gay and Lesbian events like Pride and National Coming Out Day.
Advocacy for asexuality is vital.
Asexuality is hardly ever talked about, even within the LGBT community.
When people first hear the word asexuality they often will think back to biology class. Unfortunately that is often the first thing to come out of their mouth.
“What, like a plant or a clam or something?”
This is the usual response to asexuals speaking about their orientation to someone for the first time. This is why education and awareness is important.
Some individuals have lived a significant amount of their lives not knowing there was a valid orientation for what they are, causing them to feel like there must be something wrong with them. They feel that there must be something broken in them for not feeling the way about sex and relationships like one is “supposed” to feel.
In a society where sex and relationships are everywhere and are treated as a norm, it can become easy for those without a sexual desire to feel isolated.
Not knowing that there is a word and orientation for what asexual individuals are feeling can make every day life lonely and distressing.
Asexuals often find it even harder to find acceptance from friends and family. Most are told that in time they will change their mind, or it would just take meeting “the one” for them to become interested in intimacy.
Asexual individuals are not sick. Time and finding “the one” will not make them feel differently.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V states that an absent sexual desire is only a disorder if it causes distress to the individual. It is not a disorder if a person identifies with the asexual orientation, just like it is not wrong to be sexually active.
Asexuality is not caused by a traumatic experience either. Although, as with all communities, traumatic experiences have happened to individuals inside the community, a vast majority has not had these experiences.
More advocacies for asexuals can make life for them easier. The more society is aware of asexuals, the easier it will be for asexuals to reach out to friends, family and most importantly together.
It takes little for individuals to educate themselves on any subject. While the concept of asexuality may be difficult for some to grasp, it is important to remember that humans are complicated creatures. Asexuality is a broad term for what some individuals are feeling. However complicated the idea, it is important to respect what individuals choose to identify themselves as.
Just as it is important for gay and lesbian individuals to know that what they feel is not wrong and they are not alone, it is equally if not more important for asexuals to have a chance at feeling normal and accepted.