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What is Being Asexual?

Updated: Mar 18


Woman standing on a pier on a cold day
You may have preconceived ideas about what is being asexual.

 

When you think of someone who identifies as asexual, what comes to mind? What kind of life does that person have, and what are his/her/their connections like to other people? If you wonder “what is being asexual like,” you might want to become acquainted with this sexual orientation and drop some of the misconceptions that the general population has about them. This blog post is a step in that direction, as well as brief advice for navigating the world if you were asexual.


Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction or a low or absent interest in sexual activity. Asexual people may experience romantic attraction and form emotionally intimate relationships, but they do not experience sexual attraction toward any gender. Asexuality is a legitimate and valid sexual orientation, just like heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. Some people who identify as asexual call themselves “Ase” for short.


Is asexuality a new form of sexuality?

There have always been people who are not interested in being sexual, but there wasn’t always a name for it. Public recognition of asexuality as a distinct sexual orientation has evolved over time. Earlier in the 21st century, it gained more visibility and acceptance. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), founded by David Jay in 2001, played a significant role in raising awareness and providing a platform for asexual individuals to connect and share their experiences.


Asexuality has been gradually included in discussions of sexual diversity. Now it is recognized and accepted as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum or community. Please note that asexuality has always existed, but societal awareness and acceptance have improved in recent years. It is now acknowledged as a valid and important aspect of human sexuality.

Nonetheless, as part of the LGBTQ+ community, there are still people who have a problem with it because it is not heterosexual. Unfortunately, some narrow-minded folks see heterosexuality as the only “normal” possible sexual orientation.


How do you cope with identifying as asexual?

Coping with being asexual, or experiencing little to no sexual attraction, can be a unique and sometimes challenging journey. This is especially true in a society that often places a strong emphasis on sexual relationships. There’s an expectation that if you are happy, you must be in a sexual relationship. That is not necessarily the case for everyone. Here are some strategies to help you cope with and embrace your asexuality:


Accept Yourself as you are

Understand that asexuality is a valid and legitimate sexual orientation. Accept and embrace your own feelings and experiences without judgment. If you have difficulty with that, think about areas of your life where you feel good about yourself, and see if you can use that to make yourself feel a little more confident. Recognize that you have a right to feel sexual or not, or express yourself romantically and sexually in a way that feels comfortable to you.


Support and education

Seek out online or local communities of asexual individuals. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging and support. In these groups, you can learn more about asexuality and the diverse range of asexual experiences. You can also feel less alone and different, which can be healing. Knowledge can empower you and help you explain your orientation to others if needed.


Communicate about your sexual orientation

If you're in a romantic relationship and you are asexual, open and honest communication with your partner is crucial. Discuss your asexuality, your boundaries, and your partner's needs and feelings. Understanding and compromise are essential.


Part of what you need to communicate with your partners concerns boundaries. If you're in a romantic relationship, open and honest communication with your partner is crucial. Discuss your asexuality, your boundaries, and your partner's needs and feelings. Understanding and compromise are possible if both partners are open to being honest and flexible.



African-American couple smiling and the woman is leaning in to share a secret with the man
It's important to communicate about your boundaries and how you identify with the people closest to you.

Communicating with your friends and family members is important too. Having to hide part of your identity creates stress and isolation, which can make your life more difficult.


Educating others about what is being asexual

If you feel comfortable, educate your friends and family about asexuality. Dispelling misconceptions and raising awareness can lead to greater understanding and acceptance. Education can sometimes help people be less close minded and bigoted against those they don’t understand. Ideally, once people have the education, they can become more accepting and less frightened of diversity.


Unfortunately, not everyone is open to gender and sexual diversity. Thankfully, you can seek out people who are more open-minded and interested in knowing you as a whole person.

Understand that not everyone will immediately grasp or accept your asexuality. Be patient with those who may need time to learn about and understand your orientation. Nonetheless, you don’t need to tolerate abusive behavior from others, like intentionally making slurs or rude comments about your sexuality.


Practice self-care around your sexuality

Practice self-care to maintain your mental and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Part of self-care involves boundaries, which we discussed above. In that spirit, refrain from feeling pressured to conform to societal norms or engage in sexual activities. Your self-worth is not determined by your sexual activity or attraction.

 

Celebrate your asexual identity!

Take pride in your asexuality. It's an essential part of who you are. Celebrate your identity and find joy in the freedom of being true to yourself. Living authentically is important for all of us, but especially for sexual minorities.


Advocate for yourself and other asexual people

Part of celebration of your identity might involve advocacy. Consider getting involved in asexuality advocacy and awareness initiatives. Your voice and experiences can help others going through similar challenges. Bigotry and violence against sexual minorities thrives in silence and isolation. This is especially true when not much is known about a group of people and their lived experience.


Sometimes, confronting the problem can feel empowering and establish your identity despite others’ ignorance and hatred. Exercise care in doing this, however. Not everyone is a safe, and sometimes people feel so threatened that they enact violence on others. Use your judgment about what is safe and what is not.


Being asexual is a natural and valid aspect of human diversity. It's about discovering and embracing who you are and finding happiness and fulfillment in your own way. You deserve respect and support in navigating your expression of who you are. If you would like professional support from a knowledgeable and compassionate psychotherapist, please give me a call at 661-233-6771.

 

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