Asexual Awareness Week: A Brief Overview & Resources
Right on the heels of International Fisting Day comes Asexual Awareness Week! This entire week (October 23rd through the 29th) is devoted to celebrating asexuality, raising awareness, and educating the community!
I find, in the Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) community, that asexuality is one of the least-acknowledged and celebrated minority orientations, next to intersexuality. In fact, the I and A in LGBTQIA+ get left off of the acronym on a fairly regular basis, which irks me to no end. (#BloggersWhoBitchAboutSeeminglyUnimportantThingsThatAreReallyImportant)
You’ve probably got a vague understanding of the word “asexual” from lessons about asexual reproduction in biology… and then you probably also have some ridiculous assumptions, imagining all asexual people as antisexual, anti-breeder prudes who choose to die alone. Nothing could be further from the truth.
An asexual person simply doesn’t experience sexual attraction toward other people. Asexual people may still have sex drives, may choose to masturbate, are not inherently sex-negative at all, and may choose to engage in sex with another person, although their reasons for it may not be the same as your own. They aren’t “broken,” and they don’t need to “find the right person.” Telling an asexual person they haven’t found the right person is about the equivalent of telling your “gold star” lesbian friend (the “gold star” rant is reserved for another day) that she “just hasn’t found the right man.” Asexual individuals are capable of leading perfectly happy lives and engaging in enjoyable and functional romantic relationships, though it can be difficult to navigate the issue of sexual relationships with a partner.
This is the point where I differentiate between sexuality and romanticism. While many people just assume that your sexual orientation means that you only fall in love with the corresponding gender (or lack thereof), technically, sexual orientation is only meant to categorize sexual attraction to people. Asexuals still may experience sexual arousal, but simply generally are not inclined to have sex with someone. Romanticism, on the other hand, indicates your romantic attraction to certain individuals. Aromanticism, homoromanticism, heteroromanticism, biromanticism, and panromanticism are all very real things. One of my closest friends often uses the umbrella term of “queer” to identify himself in the community, but is, technically, a homoromantic asexual.
It is also worth noting that there are varying shades of grey among the spectrum of sexuality, with asexuality on one side, and sexuality on the other. Some people are generally asexual, but that many not always be the rule. Demisexuality, a term that I identify with, indicates that an individual does not experience a sexual attraction to other people until they have formed a strong emotional connection with them. The term “grey-A” is used to indicate a variety of lifestyles between sexuality and asexuality.
I encourage you to go out and learn more about it!
Have some resources:
AVEN (The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network)
The Asexual Awareness Week Website has a fantastic FAQ about asexuality listed under the “What Is Asexuality?” link.
Asexual Awareness Week on Facebook
Once you’ve read all these links, you should go hug your asexual friends. They deserve the show of support, affection, and respect.