I want to talk about a sexuality that’s largely forgotten about and glossed over – hell, it’s not even in LGBT. Sometimes, it’s written as LGBTIA+.
And I know humans are complex beings that have evolved for millions of years – there is far too many sexualities on the spectrum to include them all in the acronym – that’s why we have the plus, after all.
But I’d argue that asexuality is a main one.
If sexuality is a broad line, asexuality is a dot off the line. I suppose it could be explained as the absence of a sexuality.
And as an answer to the commonly asked question, no, I don’t reproduce like a plant. God, I wish.
So what exactly is asexuality? You never hear of celebrities coming out as ace – in fact, the only reference to asexuality in the media that comes to mind is the statement Spongebob’s creator said, stating him as “almost asexual. “ It’s not as simple as “I like girls,” “I like boys,” “I just like people.” There’s almost nothing to come out as, but we definitely don’t come under the straight norm.
Take you and your friends chatting at a table. You’ve just been to Macdonald’s and someone’s telling a story about a cashier. Which one? They say “the hot one.” Everyone nods in response – they know. You don’t have an inkling of a clue.
Asexuals don’t experience sexual attraction. This doesn’t mean we can’t/won’t have sex, since it is physical stimulation of the body, but personally I have no desire to sleep with anyone.
The consensus of “sexual attractiveness” flies right over my head. Of course, I know the conventional standards – nice features, symmetrical face – but it takes me at least a minute of talking to someone whom the majority of people would describe as “hot” to realise it. And when I do, there’s no reaction.
My thought process goes like “Oh, they’re good looking.” End. My heart doesn’t flutter (is that romantic or sexual attraction?) my body doesn’t heat up, or my breath doesn’t get short. It’s an objective fact – they have a nice face. My reaction to them stops there.
And maybe I’m missing what sexual attraction is completely.
I don’t know how to explain what’s missing because I don’t know what sexual attraction feels like. It’s as if the link between noticing someone’s hot or attractive or my type and being actually attracted enough to them to want sex with them is gone. I once had a friend point out that the bouncers at a club were much more attractive than any guy there, and I don’t know how she noticed it. Was I supposed to? Do most people look about unconsciously or consciously for the gender they’re attracted to?
“But,” you may be thinking, “Everyone has their own type of person they’re attracted to. Everyone’s different in their preferences. We all don’t agree on what makes a person sexy.”
That’s true. Our definition of sexy varies person to person – despite the general look of “big breasts, small waist, big ass” popularised by Kim Kardashian, and “tall, good bone structure, muscular,” being sexy, all of us like different things.
Maybe I just haven’t seen what I prefer yet in my nineteen short years of life?
Asexuality is different from being extremely picky about how we sleep with. It’s the complete absence of wanting sex with this person because their body is attractive.
Obviously, in many cases if you get to know the person they become more attractive, but visual attraction comes first?
There’s a question mark there because this is information I’ve picked up from my friends talking, romance films, media, perfume and car advertisements. I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense to you but I am struggling to know what’s not there because it’s something I don’t know how to define. I’ve never felt it.
I don’t remember when I first read about asexuality, but I remember being drawn to it, as if it fit. The more I read about it and the different sub-sections, the more it fit me. I was lucky enough to know someone who identified as asexual to answer all my questions about it in-depth, and I am forever grateful to them for it. I have only encountered one confirmed asexual character in media, and that is Rafael from Shadowhunters. In general, any character that could possibly be coded as asexual at the start of a show or film usually finds that ‘special someone’ that makes them believe in love and sex again – it’s as if everyone on earth needs to be paired off and reproduce.
I think the experience of realising you’re asexual is different from realising you’re gay – you don’t have conflicting feelings to wrestle with, or to fight against what you’ve been taught is right or bullied for it – it’s just the vast, vague sense that the world all around you knows something you don’t. Like it operates on a desire absent in you. It’s not traumatising, just… confusing. The emphasis on sex in advertisements, in films, books, tv series, is so massive, and yet I still don’t understand it.
If you are questioning, feel like unknown things seen by all fly right by you, maybe you’re asexual.
Or maybe you know about it now, and that’s enough.