Unfortunately, asexuality does not get the same kind of visibility as other topics related to sexuality. Considering that, we wanted to take a little time today to talk about what asexuality is and steer you toward some further resources that will continue to help inform you. The more informed people there are, hopefully it brings about that much-deserved visibility.
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network offers a great resource both for people who identify as asexual and individuals who are looking for more understanding. A person who is asexual means that they don’t experience feelings of sexual attraction.
In AVEN’s overview, one common source of confusion that they point out is the different between asexuality and celibacy. It boils down to that celibacy is the choice to not participate in sexual activity. Asexuality isn’t a choice, but rather just a part of that person’s identity. It’s not unhealthy nor does it mean they are incapable of relationships.
Being asexual doesn’t mean that you can’t have relationships that are only limited to friendships either. Just because someone who is asexual does not feel sexual attraction, they still can embrace the many other aspects of all sorts of relationships, including romantic ones. Someone who is asexual can be attracted to someone, but there isn’t a sexual basis for that attraction. Asexual individuals may pursue a relationship with someone who is not asexual, and they also may identify themselves as straight, gay or bisexual.
The student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh actually had an article last month about asexuality that I think is definitely worth a read. I went to a very LGBT-friendly school, but I can’t say I recall my student newspaper ever really discussing asexuality, so it is cool to see an article like this written by a student and using a fellow student as a source.
In the Pitt article, author Tracey Hickey particularly talks about how many asexual people feel “invisible.” Having more articles like hers (and hopefully this one, too!) can help to bring about some of that visibility. While we can hope to bring about that visibility every day, it’s also worth noting that October 12 is celebrated each year as Asexuality Awareness and Visibility Day.
It’s important though to not group all asexual people into one particular experience. AVEN offers the personal stories about asexuality, demonstrating the variety of experiences of asexual individuals. Some have sex, some have long-time partners, some may get crushes, some may not. It remains a good reminder of the overarching message that as humans, we’re all different, but the most important thing is that we each remain open to letting other people have their own experience free of judgment.
A recent BuzzFeed piece delves further into asexuality, including how you can support someone who is coming out as asexual. If you think you may be asexual, you can definitely see what others might be saying on our boards, as well as check out AVEN’s resources. If you are asexual, it’s important to remember you aren’t alone. Even if you don’t identify as asexual, it’s important to remember that there are people who do, and acknowledging and advocating for them is a great way to continue to promote acceptance in our society.
How much did you already know about asexuality? What are some ways you think society could improve people’s understanding of asexuality? Tell us in the comments.