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What does it mean to be asexual?

Posted on 15th November 2017

Image credit: https://www.accredited-times.com/2017/05/10/an-apology-to-the-ace-community/

When you hear the term “asexual”, there are normally a few places that your mind can flit to. Of course, you have the normal, general “plant reproduction” or maybe even “people with no dating options”, or the more derogatory “frigid” or “prude”.

Having experienced all of these terms to describe my sexuality, along with a few other, slightly more colourful terms of endearment, it’s left me feeling like people need education on the subject of what “asexuality” really means.

Asexuality means that an individual does not experience sexual attraction. In a society which prizes the idea of sex and consistently attempts to see men and women as sex objects, being asexual is an oddity. Only 1% of the UK’s population are asexual, and some of them have no idea that the term even exists. There is next to no media coverage, although this has recently begun to improve, and the label is generally misinterpreted as meaning something wholly negative.

In fact, the term “asexual” covers a massive spectrum of different identities. Some asexual spectrum people might experience no romantic attraction towards others, some might have multiple romantic partners in their lifetime. Some may never have sex, some might have sex and enjoy it too. Gradual sexual attraction is a proper thing, as well. Sexuality is fluid - some asexual people may decide that they identify more with a different label later in life, or ditch a label all together.

2017 is an age of mental growth, society is becoming more accepting of different genders and sexualities every single day. It’s stupid to think that even some members of the LGBT+ community still try to exclude asexual spectrum people. The sex education that people receive in high school is only barely beginning to include anything other than straight sex, so when can we expect to see the term “asexual” crop up on the whiteboard?

 

Ellie Crowson-Jeffery (Studying A Levels in Archaeology, English Literature, Medieval History and AS General Studies)