Matthew’s Place features an in-depth series called “Ace Talk: Asexuality Uncovered.”
Ace Talk: Asexuality Uncovered will span several parts and cover personal stories, asexual dating and relationships, frequently asked questions, and the politics of the asexual movement. Ace is a popular nickname for an asexual person. We hope the series will benefit youth who may be questioning their sexual orientation and also help educate all readers about asexuality.
“The more experiences in coming out I had, the more I found that people simply didn’t have asexuality in their vocabulary. It doesn’t occur to most people that some others don’t experience sexual attraction. This is mainly because the possibility of asexuality has never been discussed. Ignorance limits us in unpacking our identities, and occasionally causes us to limit others in unpacking theirs. We have to combat ignorance to be our whole selves and exist in harmony with each other.”
-What is asexuality?
-Isn’t asexuality the same thing as celibacy?
-Do asexual people masturbate?
-How do you know your asexuality isn’t repression, from sexual abuse, or part of a mental illness?
-Why do asexual people choose to come out?
-Do asexual people have relationships? How does that work?
-What is romantic orientation?
-How do you know you’re asexual if you’ve never had sex? What if you just haven’t found the right person yet?
A compilation of terminology related to the asexual and aromantic community.
All coming out experiences are different, and this hold true for asexual coming out stories. Just as it can for LGBT people, race, religion and disability status can play a heavy hand in the coming out experiences of some asexuals, who also often experience discrimination within the queer community.
There are many people in this world who believe that asexual love is not real love. Others question whether or not asexual relationships can even exist. The truth is that asexual relationships do exist and come in many forms. There are even asexual dating websites. Relationships are rarely formed on sexual attraction alone. Love and communication are huge components of any relationship – platonic or romantic. While most romantic relationships involve an element of sexual attraction, asexual people simply form relationships without it.
Hannah Weyer, 22, has never had a crush or been in love, and that’s not something she’s looking to change. Weyer, of Kalamazoo, Mich., identifies as an aromantic asexual. She’s simply uninterested in any kind of relationship and never wants one. It wasn’t a bad breakup, some trauma, or the need to take a break from dating that has made her feel this way. It’s just how she’s always felt.
Aromantic people, like Weyer, don’t fall in love or have crushes. Aromanticism is a romantic orientation in which people do not experience romantic attraction. Aromanticism and other romantic orientations were developed out of the need to describe romantic attractions as separate from sexual attractions. While aromantic people may have any sexual orientation, they are frequently grouped as part of the asexual community because they have a lot of experiences in common. Aromantics often feel broken in the same way that asexuals do, and they may have problems accepting themselves because of societal views.
Spencer Ott hasn’t been involved with the LGBTQ community for long and was afraid he wouldn’t be accepted. The 21-year-old student at the University of Northern Iowa recently joined the campus queer group called UNI Proud. Ott is asexual and was afraid that the queer community would be unfriendly toward him.
“I wasn’t really sure how accepting they’d be,” he said. “I’ve heard horror stories about LGBT groups not being accepting of asexuals.”
To the outsider, being asexual seems like an escape – a way for people to get away from the world’s sexual problems. When people hear about asexuality for the first time they often assume that no one would protest it. Non-asexual people sometimes say “who cares?” when asexuality is brought up. The unfortunate reality is that people do care, and this creates a myriad of issues for the asexual community to deal with.