Hello, my name is Adri, and I am asexual. What does this mean?
Asexual: One who does not experience or rarely experiences sexual attraction to any gender, or who otherwise have very little interest in sexual activity, if at all.
Compared to other orientations, asexuality is still a relatively new thing to most people.
Assuming they’ve actually heard of it, that is.
While it is slowly gaining more publicity and recognition as an orientation, it is still widely underrepresented and misunderstood.
For Asexuality Awareness Week, I wanted to create this comic in hopes of dispelling some misconceptions about asexuals and asexuality.
Let’s shed some color on asexuality!
Myth: Asexuality = Celibacy.
Asexuality and celibacy are two entirely different things.
One is the willful choice to abstain from sexual activity due to either religious or personal beliefs…
…while the other is an orientation, and is not a choice.
Additionally, asexuals do not abstain out of some false sense of moral superiority, despite what a lot of people seem to believe.
They’re simply either not interested, or do not experience sexual attraction. That’s it.
It’s important to note that not everything has the exact same lifestyle.
Be respectful of other people’s sexual habits, whether they abstain from them or not.
Myth: Asexuals are cold, loveless & they hate sex.
Quite the contrary! Asexuals have the capacity to form healthy and loving relationships, based upon romantic orientation. Romantic orientation is what determines the kind of person you’re attracted to emotionally or romantically, rather than sexually.
Heteroromantic, Homoromantic, Biromantic, Panromantic.
Some also identify as aromantic, meaning they have no interest in forming romantic relationships with anyone of any gender.
Not to say that aromantic people are unable to love anyone at all! Their interest lies in love that is more familial than romantic.
Not all asexuals hate sex or are sex-repulsed; in fact, many asexuals still form sexual relationships and engage in sexual activity, for a variety of reasons…
… whether it’s out of desire to please a sexual partner or to reproduce.
There is no split dichotomy between sexuality and asexuality.
Asexuality, like any other orientation, exists on a spectrum.
It is, of course, up to the individual to determine exactly where they fall on the spectrum.
Myth: Asexuals don’t experience oppression or discrimination.
White it is true that, as a group, asexuals are not societally oppressed for their asexuality, individuals can be and often are oppressed for their respective romantic orientations or their gender identity.
Asexuals are also at high risk for sexual harassment and violence, including what’s known as “corrective rape” — a rape that’s committed with the intent of “fixing” the victim’s orientation.
Due to lack of proper information and representation, many who are open about their asexuality are often the target of hostility and prejudice, from both heterosexual people and from those in the LGBTQIA community.
A study conducted in 2012 revealed that there were high levels of in-community discrimination towards asexuals, who were described by many as “cold” and “animalistic”.
This, combined with the attitude that all healthy and happy people love and want sex that our society adopts and continually perpetuated, often leads many who aren’t yet aware of their asexuality to believe they are alone or are “broken” in some way.
Even some who are already open about being asexual often have a hard time accepting themselves because of this.
Though asexuals do not often experience the same sorts of problems as gay or trans* people do, this does not mean that they don’t experience any problems at all.
Myth: Asexuals are just whiny virgins who can’t “get laid”.
Not taking into account that the concept of virginity itself is a grossly archaic and damaging social construct that’s used to shame and commodify people, particularly women…
people who identify as asexual are not always virgins. In fact, many asexuals do not know that they are asexual until after they’ve already has intercourse.
And even for those who are virgins, the reason they’re asexual is not due to the fact that they can’t “get laid”; it’s because they have no interest in doing so.
Myth: Asexuals have a history or mental illness or sexual abuse
This is, unfortunately, a very common — and very untrue — belief about asexuality. That the lack of sexual attraction is the result of sexual abuse or a mental illness or disorder, such as autism.
Not only is this wildly ignorant and offensive to asexuals, but also to those who have experienced sexual abuse or who have a mental illness or disorder.
Sexual orientation is not exclusively determined by a person’s history, and this is just as true for asexuals. It is never appropriate to assume what anyone’s “reasons” are for their respective orientations.
Indeed, the amount of ignorance in regards to asexuality, even when it’s non-hostile, can lead to very problematic and isolating behavior.
When someone comes out as an asexual, it is not an open invitation to begin asking invasive, personal questions and micro-managing their sexual habits, even if your intentions are innocent.
Asexuals do not come out the seek “help” for their asexuality, nor do they do it to be self-serving or to somehow “take away” recognition and awareness from those of differing orientations.
(examples of what people say:
“You just haven’t found the right person yet…”
“Don’t be such a prude”
“Did someone rape you?”
“Get over yourself”
“But you’re so attractive!”
“Have you tried…”
“Maybe you’re depressed”)
Asexuals already experience staggering amounts of erasure and silencing
(example: “A is for Ally! Ally pride.” [not for asexuality])
They only wish for solidarity, to be accepted and understood. This is why things like asexuality awareness week are so important.
(example of what asexuals would like to see from allies: “A is for asexual. Allies for awareness.”)
Only by raising awareness through thoughtful and concise information, and not cake analogies…
…can asexuals hope to, one day, be able to express themselves and be open about their feelings without fear of alienation.
Thanks for reading!