The Asexual Handbook Pt. 6: An Ace’s Breakdown Of Sexual Attraction
Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual themes and provided examples of asexual/romantic erasure.
Hello, my wonderful readers! I am delighted to, once again, be providing you with insight on my spectacular asexual existence! The true question: is it really that spectacular? I’ll get back with you on that!
Once again, I thank each and every one of you for all the support and encouragement I’ve received. As always, I welcome all questions on the subject of asexuality (one might even spur inspiration for a new article)! If you are new around here and haven’t had the opportunity to look through my other handbook entries, you can find them on my author’s page! I enjoy conversing with my readers, so never feel too shy if you want to make contact! ♥
As a quick warning before moving on, this week’s topic is going to be a little risqué. Those of you who are unfamiliar or are just now getting acquainted with asexuality may even consider it strange for an ace to provoke in-depth conversation on this particular subject.
The subject of which I mention is none other than – you guessed it – sex. Better yet, what I intend to bring attention to is the concept of sexual attraction and the difference between it and the art of intercourse, which can be a well-debated topic of discussion. For those of you who are sex-repulsed like myself, find solace in the fact that I don’t wish to expound on nitty-gritty details. I’m not particularly hands-on with what most people consider as a “natural” part of life, anyways.
There is a noteworthy misconception of those belonging to the asexual spectrum. Many outside of the community believe that ‘asexual’ is synonymous with the term ‘celibate’…or, as some like to define it, a curse that labels you as “the next Virgin Mary” or “the 40-year-old Virgin” – unpleasant statements that provide unfair assumptions (a quick shout out to anyone who has ever said something similar to tease someone who is either celibate or ace: those comments definitely aren’t funny…I promise).
Allow me a moment to clarify the contrast: celibacy is a state based on an individual who (typically) voluntarily refrains from intercourse until prepared to engage in sex, until marriage, or abstaining from it as a whole. While these may seem to connect with an asexual lifestyle, a celibate life isn’t the entirety of what asexuality entails. Being ace simply dictates that the individual experiences no sexual attraction, regardless of whether one wishes to have sex or not.
What exactly does this entail? As I discovered myself, this question was one I, too, sought a solution for on my own. It’s somewhat open-ended, depending on the person.
Therefore, the best way I know how to describe this form of attraction is based on emotional response. I consider it comparable to what a person may exhibit when trying to comprehend romantic feelings; sexual attraction could be viewed as the individualistic desire to experience sexual sensation or conduct. For example, imagine a sexually attracted person saying, “I think you’re sexually attractive, which means I long to be physically engaged with you on a sexual level…and I get a feel-good reaction from doing it!”
As much as a good portion of this society thrives on sex (consider my article on sex-positivity, for example), not all people hold this desire. There are others who only experience it on rare occasions or after they form a deep connection (greysexual and demisexual, respectively). As I mentioned above, the ace community is rather diverse and contains individuals with a broad array of preferences. While there are those of us who don’t participate in the “bump and grind,” others may be perfectly fine with intercourse. Furthermore, sexual arousal (even self-gratification) could be a common thing for someone who is asexual!
Do I sound contradictory yet? I’m not surprised; this was where it originally confused me, too.
Here’s a good example. Being sex-repulsed and unafraid to admit it, I am still a “virgin.” How I view intimacy, as noted in my previous entry, is strictly limited to a romantic level – I am thoroughly familiar with the butterflies, the desire for emotional love, and several additional qualities that fall under the category of romantic attraction. However, not once in my life have I considered or held interest in having sex since I do not possess the desire to do so. This does not mean that I refrain from or am disgusted by all things sexual – only most, especially when it involves my own body. While often overwhelmed by physical affection (in my former relationships, partners would need to request permission to touch me), I still have surprises that express another side to me, which might exhibit my own strange state of arousal; one is that I write erotica as a hobby. That’s pretty shocking, right?!
While I feel comfortable with my classification, several people have asked why I would call myself “sex-repulsed” if I have never “done it” before, in addition to others that question the legitimacy of my romantic affiliation for the same reason.
Yes…it is an ongoing frustration. There are people near and dear to me who claim that my orientation is “inaccurate.” In other words, “I don’t know what I’m talking about when I claim to be an asexual lesbian,” as if I didn’t have enough anxiety in the process of identifying and coming to terms with my orientation to begin with.
Let’s say it loud and proud for everyone’s reading pleasure: it’s okay to know that you’re ace without ever having sex. Wearing the ace label doesn’t mean one can’t be attracted to other people. I simply find myself attracted in other ways that don’t entail romping around with my partner in bed (unless it’s a pillow fight or a good cuddle session; if so, then count me in!). I have learned with time that I’m same-sex attracted, and that revelation should be more than enough to define me.
However, that is not the case. It gets worse. This is an argument I’ve heard a few times before. Out of all the comments used to combat my asexuality, I loathe this one the most:
“You aren’t allowed to call yourself gay if you haven’t had sex with a man first!”
This is a quote, word per word, that came from the mouth of someone I know and love. Their belief has not been altered.
I mean, I could always turn the same argument around on those who make this assumption, since it is one of the most illogical arguments I’ve heard against me being ace. However, I continue to hold respect for their personal orientations and would only hope that mine, one day, receives the same after more knowledge is acquired (that’s what I’m hoping to encourage here, folks!).
Here’s a piece of advice for you, if you are experiencing similar feelings from your loved ones:
WHETHER YOU HAVE HAD SEX BEFORE OR NOT, YOUR ASEXUALITY IS 100% VALID!
I will leave you with this message, and to those of you who need it, may it provide you with encouragement. As always, my beloved readers, I hope that my send-off finds you well. Continue on your pursuit in loving yourself, and never EVER…lose sight of your beautiful colours. Cherish them with all of your soul.