By Iman Ali Mounged
The 6th of April 2021 marked the first-ever International Asexual Visibility Day. It is a coordinated global effort to recognise and campaign for the visibility of the “Ace” spectrum of identities. These include demisexuality, greysexuality, asexuality and other ace identities.
#InternationalAsexualityDay focuses on Advocacy, Celebration, Education and Solidarity.
So, What is Asexuality?
Well, asexual people identify by not experiencing sexual attraction towards other people. That varies across ace people, but overall their romantic/queer experiences do not revolve around sexual attraction. Greysexual people experience sexual attraction in very specific circumstances and demisexual people experience sexual attraction once a strong emotional connection has been established. Similarly, some ace people experience aromanticism- the lack of a romantic attraction towards others.
On that note, some people only experience asexual sentiments, some aromantic and some, both.
People, especially in the queer community, often have a hard time coming to terms with asexuality/aromanticism because the queer community is exceedingly sexualised across the media and through its culture. As a result of this, the ace identity is also known as “the invisible orientation” because it does not subscribe to that. This makes it difficult for people to validate their experiences that go beyond the fixations of “traditional” sex and/or romance. It also makes it difficult for people to fluctuate in their identity and remain fluid through their self-exploration.
The important thing to realise is that there is no wrong way of expressing yourself, however, you may identify. No one is flawed in their self-expression, which may ebb and flow across different walks of life.
Source: The Trevor Project
- Asexuality is like celibacy and/or abstinence.
Asexuality is not the same as celibacy and/or abstinence. When someone chooses to abstain from sex, they refrain from the act of sex. Asexual people feel no sexual attraction to others, but that is fluid because identities exist on a spectrum. Asexual people could also have sex for various reasons, like having children.
- Asexual people can’t be in relationships.
This is not true. Ace people could still experience romantic/platonic attraction and could manifest relationships around mutual experiences. Aromantic people may be in sexual partnerships that are not defined by “romance”.
- Asexual people never have sex.
We’ve seen that this is not the case. Again, asexuality is a spectrum of various identities. Aromantic, demisexual, greysexual (and other) ace people could still have sex if they wish to.
- Asexuality is a medical concern.
Asexuality is not related to medical diagnoses. It is a personal experience with sexual attraction, sex and/or romance and does not necessarily have anything to do with libidinal tendencies.
- Asexuality is a result of a loss of libido due to age/circumstances.
No, asexuality is not related to sex but rather sexual attraction.
- Aromantic people do not experience love.
No, aromantic people may experience love in ways that differ from social constructs of “romance”. For them, love can be experienced and manifested through various relationships that are built on different levels of connection.
- Ace people are defective.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ace! Some people find solace in the boundaries of asexuality, greysexuality, aromanticism (etc..) and find comfort and relief in the community.
There is no wrong way to identify.
Ace people recognise the fluidity of their identity and are very welcoming to those exploring ace thoughts and feelings. Many people, especially in the queer community find support in ace identities through their explorations of identity and sexuality. Having space and comfort to do so is particularly valuable and very beautiful.
It is something that we must protect, advocate for and spread awareness of.
Awareness and visibility days need to exist for us to better accommodate all identities through the different facets of society. We educate ourselves, we advocate for the cause, we celebrate our identities and we stand in solidarity with those amongst us.
Sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves when we try to figure out where we stand in our identity and expression.
Be patient, be kind and be welcoming to yourself in the way you would be to others.
Remember: sexuality is fluid and exists on a spectrum.
Resources to understand asexuality better: