My first brush with asexuality was a few years ago when my good friend, A, called me to discuss a “problem” she had. “Chari,” she said, “there’s something we need to talk about.” At the end of the one-hour phone call, putting together everything she told me, I knew that my friend was asexual, and I told her as much.
I then proceeded to get onto Google and send her any and all information I could find about asexuality. While I was happy to listen to my friend and help her get through her self-doubt and “issues” at the time, there’s so much more I didn’t think of. For one, we both grew up with the idea that everyone enjoys and wants to have sex. Secondly, she was married.
Naturally, we expect those in a relationship to have sex with each other and enjoy it. While it was a relief for my friend to know that there was nothing wrong with her, she was filled with dread about how to tell her then-husband that she never enjoyed or wanted to have sex with him anymore, despite them having children together. How could she explain to this person she loved that she was romantically attracted to him but wasn’t interested in pursuing the sexual part of their relationship?
What is asexuality?
For those who don’t know what asexuality is, WebMD describes it as a lack of sexual attraction to other people. Asexuality can also refer to a low interest in any kind of sexual activity. While some describe it as a lack of sexual orientation, others embrace it as their sexual orientation.
The word “asexual” can also be used as an umbrella term for a range of asexual sub-identities, including gray-A, demisexual, and others. Asexuals may identify as transgender, nonbinary, cisgender (like my friend, A), or other genders. Some asexual people experience romantic attraction to others, while aromantics have no romantic attraction at all.
You are asexual? There’s Nothing Wrong With You!
When A began telling me about her lack of sexual attraction to her husband and previously with other people, she also told me she thought there was something off with her. According to her, there was something wrong, and the only way to find out was to see a doctor and have a medical evaluation. Like A, many people think being asexual or “ace” is something you must fix.
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with you if you identify as asexual. As I mentioned before, we’re socialized to think that we should all experience sexual attraction. Since asexuals don’t feel sexual attraction, they think there’s something wrong with them; however, there’s nothing to be cured.
Unfortunately, some people think that asexual people haven’t found the right person and that once they do, sexual attraction will magically appear. That’s not true. Asexuality has nothing to do with romance and love. Many asexuals, like A, want to have romantic relationships, and they can enjoy happy, healthy relationships like anyone else.
Just because you’re a tiny part of the population doesn’t mean your experiences aren’t valid. Some of the struggles you may face include people thinking you’re sexually attracted to others or unwarranted questions that result in your discomfort. Apart from ignorance about what it means to be asexual, your sexuality is real, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you!
Nothing Caused Your Asexuality
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like bisexuality, heterosexuality, or homosexuality. Nothing causes these sexual orientations. Don’t think that your asexuality is the result of childhood trauma or that it’s genetic. It isn’t.
With that being said, if you’ve got a partner and have just come to terms with your sexuality, it’s essential to talk to him/her about your boundaries where sex is concerned. Just because you’re asexual doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a happy, healthy long-term relationship. If your partner has a higher sex drive, you can explore open relationships or ethical nonmonogamy.
Your partner can have the freedom to pursue sexual relationships with other people and maintain an emotional commitment to you. The most important thing to do is to communicate your needs openly and honestly.
Explain to your partner what it means for you to be asexual. Not everyone is compatible, so if you’re asexual and aren’t willing to have an open relationship, your feelings are valid too.
Lastly, the next time you start to think about whether there’s something wrong with you, remember that you are perfect, just as you are.
Note: you will probably want to take a look at our blog section about sexuality and contraception.
About the author: Chari Bong’osa is a freelance content writer, editor, and digital marketer. Chari is passionate about changing the world through the relationships around her. When she’s not writing about ways to improve your relationship with yourself and others she’s writing about LGBTQ issues or raising awareness for various community-based efforts. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.
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