As a part of Asexuality Awareness Week (26th October to 1st November 2014), this article is an effort to raise awareness about asexuality, and dispel the common myths associated with it.
Asexuality refers to the lack of an intrinsic desire to indulge in sexual intercourse with another person.This does not mean that asexuals, also known as aces, cannot seek intimate relationships and are orientation-less. It simply means that they may or may not prefer romantic relationships over sexual ones.
There is a lot of misinformation and plenty of myths attached to this concept. Therefore, aces may often end up feeling alienated and mocked in society. It is, thus, very important to increase awareness and build a vocabulary about asexuality in mainstream media.
For starters, asexuality is different from abstinence or celibacy, which basically refer to a choice by a person to avoid sex for personal reasons or religious beliefs. In fact, a lot of asexual people may choose to have sex (whether they like it or not) for many reasons – which may include a conscious desire to please their partner(s) or to have children.
Asexuals may also differ from each other by the way they define and live out their relationships. In reality, a lot of aces may fall under a spectrum called Grey A which contains a whole range of activities. For instance, there may be aces who may have sexual intercourse but very rarely or not at all. Some may even experience libido and sexual attraction, but not strong enough to act on it.
Demisexuals fall under this spectrum – they experience sexual attraction only when they establish a strong emotional relationship with a specific person. Some aces may even feel an aesthetic attraction and even desire physical intimacy in the form of hugs, kisses, etc.
Lastly, there is nothing wrong with asexuals, be it biologically, hormonally or emotionally. Asexuality is not a pathological condition, and needs no treatment. However, it is important to note that often “research” can be used to justify problematic ideas that are in fact highly socialized.
We need to consider the fact that homosexuality was once seen as a psychological ailment by many respected scientific institutions such as the APA (American Psychiatric Association) till the 1970s. In the same manner, asexuality is mistakenly regarded as a disease and something that needs to be treated or corrected. The amount of physical and psychological abuse and violence faced by aces is harmful to their self-worth and confidence.
Asexuals need to embrace themselves the way they are, but more importantly, the rest of the society needs to adopt a sensitive attitude about the unique issues faced by them.
Become an asexual ally and engage in a positive and useful conversation about the topic!
Pic credits: Comic about myths surrounding asexuality. Concept Image of love via Shutterstock.
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