Asexuality is a rich spectrum of many different kinds of people with different preferences and experiences. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of understanding about our community and all the beautiful differences and nuances. So let’s bust some myths about the asexual community!
- Asexual people don’t experience sexual attraction to other people.
Surprise! This is false. Some asexual people experience no sexual attraction whatsoever under any circumstances. Others experience sexual attraction in limited ways or in certain situations / within certain parameters. A demisexual, for example, doesn’t experience sexual attraction based on observable physical characteristics (like allosexuals do), but they can experience sexual attraction after they get to know someone well and form a bond with them.
- Asexual people are all sex repulsed.
False. Some asexual people are sex repulsed and choose not to engage in any sexual activity. Other asexual people are sex neutral and may engage in sexual activities.
- Asexual people don’t experience sexual arousal.
False. Arousal is different from attraction. An asexual can experience arousal without that arousal being directed toward or caused by another person. Aegosexuals, who experience arousal but are disconnected from the subject of that arousal, are a good example – aegos tend to engage in sexual fantasies, may consume erotic media, and may masturbate, but aren’t interested in sexual experiences that involve other people.
- Asexual people are aromantic / don’t desire to be in romantic relationships.
False. Some asexual people are also aromantic (aroace). Some asexual people do desire romantic relationships, and may even want some level of physical affection to be part of those relationships (i.e., kissing, hugging, cuddling, etc.)
- Asexual people are asexual due to trauma.
False. There are asexuals with trauma, just like there are allosexuals with trauma. Trauma is not a determinant of asexuality. Some people are wired to experience sexual attraction, some people aren’t. While trauma can certainly hinder someone’s expression of sexuality and ability to be intimate with others, that has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
- Asexuality is just another word for celibacy.
False. Celibacy is when someone abstains from sexual experiences. Not all asexuals are celibate. Some celibates are allosexual.
- Asexuality is a disease / disorder.
- Asexuals are people who are too weird / unattractive to find partners.
LOL. Nope. Some of us are married / in relationships / have had sexual experiences. Asexuality has nothing to do with level of physical attractiveness and everything to do with if and how you experience sexual attraction.
- Asexuals just haven’t found the right sexual partner yet.
False, and also belittling. An asexual person is not just a dissatisfied or inexperienced allosexual. You can’t “cure” asexuality with the “right” sexual experience.
- Asexuals are lonely.
False. Anyone can be lonely for a variety of reasons. Being asexual doesn’t condemn you to a life of loneliness. That said, it can be challenging to date as an ace person since there are more allosexuals than asexuals in the world. Finding a partner who accepts your asexuality and what that means for you can be hard, but it’s hardly impossible. Plus we have friends, families, jobs, hobbies, and whole, full lives outside of our sexual and romantic proclivities (or lack thereof).
- Asexuals don’t make themselves sexually appealing.
False. The truth is, you can’t tell someone is asexual by looking at them, and there’s no rule stating that aces need to look as sexually neutralized or unappealing as possible. Like any other group of humans, we present ourselves in a myriad of ways. However, there are allosexual people who are hostile to the idea that asexual people can and do dress in ways that they find sexy or sexually appealing. Asexual model Yasmin Benoit speaks out about this – if you’re not familiar with her work and activism, check her out.
- Asexuals don’t belong in the LGBTQIA+ community.
*sigh* False. The ongoing internal fighting over who is queer enough to use the queer label is exhausting. There’s the idea that asexuals don’t experience the same sort of oppression, discrimination and threats that others in the LGBTQIA+ community face, and therefore don’t belong. There are people who feel that a lack of or diminished capacity for sexual attraction means that asexuality should be its own, self-contained thing that is separate from the queer allosexual community. There are queer people who think asexuality is some sort of disorder, or not a valid identity.
All of this is bullshit.
The fact is that asexuality, like other queer identities, falls outside of the heteronormative box because heterosexuality assumes allosexuality. Even a heteroromantic asexual still falls outside that box, as how they experience romantic attraction and what, if any, sexual attraction they experience is going to look different from a hetero allosexual.
If you’d like to learn more about asexuality and different sorts of non-sexual attraction that people can experience, this is a good place to start.
If you’re looking for online asexual communities, try AVEN or browse Reddit, which has multiple subs for asexual people of varying identities.