FAQ for Family & Friends
- So what exactly is asexuality?
- Why did he/she have to tell me? I would have preferred not to know.
- Is this just some rebellious phase? Won't they grow out of it? It seems too young an age to determine a topic such as this.
- Do you think it's caused by sexual abuse/repressed homosexuality/another psychological issue? Should I send them to a psychiatrist?
- Did I do something wrong as a parent to cause this?
- Does this mean they are incapable of love?
- I just want what's best for my child. What if they turn out unhappy? I don't want them to die alone.
- Should we tell the family/neighbours/teachers/etc.? What will other people think?
- How can my child have an opinion on this if he/she has never tried it?
- Does this mean my child will hate or look down upon people who have sex?
- Sex is a natural part of existence. What is my child ashamed or afraid of?
- How can I help my child any further?
It's a lack of sexual attraction. Asexuals are generally very different from one another: some experience romantic attraction, some don't. Some experience arousal, some don't. Asexuality is not celibacy - celibacy is a choice to abstain from sexual intimacy while asexuality is an orientation which results in lack of sexual attraction.
Your child is reaching out for your support. You are their caretaker. Since birth, you have been the one on whom they have depended on for security and reassurance. That they trust you with such personal knowledge of themselves shows that they believe you are capable of understanding and supporting them. Asexuals often contend with deep levels of soul-searching and confusion due to the public's lack of information about the orientation. At such times they may need the support of you, their parent, more than ever.
Asexuality is a topic that few have common knowledge of. It's doubtful your child would choose this to rebel with. Most people become aware of their own sexuality at a young age. Recall that you had fleeting crushes as you grew up and undoubtedly experienced sexual attraction by your teen years. Only your child will know for sure if they will "grow out of it." Sexuality is fluid and can change over time, but it's highly unlikely your child will change their sexuality based solely upon "the act of growing up." Asexuality is an orientation, not a sign of immaturity.
Try not to assume one of these had to happen. If your child hasn't shown mental instability in the past, don't convince yourself that they are hiding a trauma from you. If your child's asexuality is in fact caused by an outside force then they will become aware of it at a later date. If an unfortunate occurrence like sexual abuse has happened in your child's past, it doesn't mean it "made" them asexual.
If your child requires a therapist to help them come to terms with their asexuality, that's fine. Don't seek out a psychiatrist to "cure" your child's asexuality against their will--this will be damaging to the relationship you and your child share and potentially harmful to their self-esteem.
Absolutely not. As said before, an individual's sexuality is a very complex issue. It's highly unlikely how you raised them or a single incident in their lives single-handedly caused them to become asexual.
Hardly. Many asexuals experience romantic and affectionate feelings towards others. Just because your child may be uninterested in seeking out a partner the traditional way of blind dating and the like, doesn't mean they are misanthropic. They are capable of forming very close bonds with friends, and may even enter into a non-sexual relationship one day.
On the other hand, they could be completely uninterested in a romantic relationship and focus on platonic bonds. Do not pressure your child into "finding the right person." Although they might go about looking for love a completely different way, they are capable of the same feelings of compassion and devotion as anyone else - just expressed in a different way.
Remember the old saying you may have told your children before: "If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" Just because your child is not living life the way others perceive is the way to achieve happiness, doesn't mean they are unhappy. Your child likely did a lot of soul-searching before coming to the conclusion that they are asexual. This might even be the first time they've felt secure in a while. If they seem happy, be thankful, and don't worry about what societal norms they fit. A person with a good personality and strong friendships should never have to worry about dying alone.
It is advisable not to tell anyone without your child's permission. It is fairly unnecessary to tell non-family members and acquaintances. Your child will choose which family members and friends they are comfortable with telling. What these people think is irrelevant to how your child will live his/her life.
Asexuals are not compelled to form sexual relationships. If you already lack the compulsion, it is doubtful trying it will change the issue at hand. Forcing someone to go against their nature simply to "prove themselves" is very dangerous. If your child one day experiments with sexual relationships, it will be at their own leisure.
Elitism among asexuals is thankfully very rare. While your child may be confused or alienated by their peers' talk of sexual conquest, this is to be expected from someone experiencing non-sexuality. It is only another issue they may come to you for support with. It is doubtful they will grow to hate the people they considered friends beforehand.
Nothing. Many asexuals are even quite liberal in their views towards sex. It is not that your child is afraid or ashamed of sexual intimacy; they simply have no desire for it. A person who has no interest in trying a certain food, for example, is not afraid of the food - they are merely not compelled to try the food.
Be there for them. If they need to talk, lend an ear. Be supportive. Allow them to think it over on their own if they so desire. Above all, remember that sexuality is only one aspect of life. Your child is still the same person you always knew them to be.