When one listens to the fact that there might be a person that does not like having sex or maintain sexual relations, they shrug and laugh. There is a sense of discomfort or animosity involving with individuals identifying as asexual. Now you may say that, ‘it is not common’ or ‘it’s rare’. However, the fact is you do not know and it best to not assume so as to remain respectful. The title of this article includes the word ‘talk’ because of the lack of conversation around this orientation. It is valid, real and human. Human because asexual individuals are considered un-real humans due to the fact that they do not like a primal human need.
What does asexuality mean? Asexuality describes a lack of sexual attraction. Asexual people may experience romantic attraction, but they do not feel the urge to act on these feelings sexually. It exists on a spectrum, with much diversity in people’s experiences and desires for relationships, attraction, and arousal. It is evident by now that asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality. Asexual people are sometimes known as ace or aces for short. Now just because aces do not desire sexual feelings does not mean that they do not have the same emotional needs as everyone else. They have the same emotional needs and might form romantic relations with the same or opposite sex. Everyone is different, and how individuals fulfill those needs varies widely. It is to be noted that some aces experience arousal, and some masturbate while having no interest in having sex with another person.
Aromantic is a romantic orientation, which is different from sexual orientation. Although the two are interlinked for most people, they are different. Demisexual is when people form sexual relations only after having an emotional connect with the other person. It is important to understand these orientations to have a better understanding of asexuality. Gray sexual normally does not experience sexual attraction or sex drive, but sometimes they do in small or limited circumstances.
We have to understand that it is not the same as suddenly losing interest in sex or choosing to abstain from sex while still experiencing sexual attraction. Moreover, asexuality is different from celibacy and abstinence. If one chooses to be celibate or abstain from having sex, it means that they make a conscious effort to do so, however, may feel the urge of sexual contact. It may also involve religious or social practices. It is also important to note that asexuality is not the same as hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual aversion disorder. Social pressure may make asexual people feel anxious about sex, but that is different.
There is a lack of knowledge and talk surrounding asexuality. It is dismissed on the grounds that it is not real. People who identify as asexual also face a lot of discrimination, invisibility, and even violence. People view asexuality as some kind of threat to our understanding of us. It reflects our most basic assumptions about humans that sex is the most natural desire and being sexually attracted to someone is a universal experience, which leads people to assume that ace folks are somehow lacking, that they must be suffering from a disorder and ‘corrected.’ People have reported the practice of ‘corrective rape’ in which one is put against their will about intercourse to take out asexuality from them. It is the same as telling someone identifying ‘gay’ that ‘you have not found the right girl yet’.
There is a lack of representation even in the community due to the stigma and prejudices around it. When you tell a person that you do not like a particular food or activity that is popular, there is a little shock and slight judgement. The same happens with asexuality. Sai Kumar and Poornima Kumar set up an India-based resource, Asexuality India, to help people who might be ace think through their identities and some of the obstacles they might face here.
It is time that we break the glass ceiling around this orientation and be accepting towards it. Only educating individuals of all ages will help in bringing about change.