Asexuality is real! Don’t write it off.
By Claire Nunez
Let me introduce myself. My name is Claire. I am a rising junior at Fordham studying Political Science and New Media and Digital Design. I will be studying in Amsterdam in the Fall even though I do not speak a lick of Dutch. I like whales, Lena Dunham’s Girls, painting, and Lady Gaga. Oh, and I am asexual. I seem like a normal girl, right? I mean, I am not normal – I have been called a weirdo many times, but that isn’t because of my sexuality. Have no fear though! I do not bite, I am a real person with hopes and dreams and feelings, just not sexual ones.
In case you have no idea what “asexual” even means, it is, according to The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, when a person does not experience sexual attraction. It is often a little more complicated than that. Asexuality is a spectrum. To put it simply, it ranges from asexual to sexual, with demisexual and “gray A’s” in the middle. Asexual means that someone does not have any sexual desires. Demisexuals and gray A’s lack a sexual desire, but sometimes they do have it. Demisexuals often only have a sexual desire if there is a strong emotional connection between them and their partners. To each person, the definition of asexuality changes. Sexuality in general is a spectrum and every person has their own place on it. Asexuals also have different feelings towards other people. Some have romantic feelings; others do not. Some have romantic relationships and others choose not to. It all depends on the person. It is important to remember and respect each person, because the situation is different for every individual.
For myself, I fall somewhere in gray A, area. I do not have sexual feelings ever and I rarely have romantic feelings towards others. It takes a lot of trust and connection for me to ever want to jump into bed with anyone. Many people tell me I am like this because I haven’t met the right person, or that there is something wrong with me. I mean, no. My asexuality is normal. It is just the way I am wired. I didn’t choose this, but at the same time I have no desire to change my life. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. I rarely had crushes in school, I would often just make them up to be like everyone else. I rarely hook up with people out in bars. This is how it has always been. As Lady Gaga would say, I was Born This Way.
There is often a lot of stigma around a sexuality because so many people think that we just don’t exist. We are not unicorns– one in every hundred people is asexual. That is a fair amount of people. That’s like, 70 million people. That’s kinda a lot if you ask me. There is nothing wrong with any of us. We did not choose to be asexual, it is just written in our DNA. Some of us will have sex and others will not engage. Some will have intimate relationships and others will not. No matter what, we exist and there is nothing wrong with us. We are real people with real minds and bodies. Our minds and bodies just tend to feel differently than a majority of the population.
In middle school health class, my teacher told us that asexuality often came from a traumatic event. Some choose not to engage in sexual activity after a traumatic occurrence, but asexuality doesn’t spawn from it. Growing up, this impression left me feeling like there was something wrong with me. I soon figured out that there was nothing wrong with me. It is just the way I am.
I came to love who I am and embrace it, but not everyone does the same as I do. Asexuals are often forgotten about. There was even a recent Equinox ad that said the A in LGBTQA stood for “ally.” I mean, the letters are often interchanged, but the A typically represents asexual. A lot of fellow asexuals felt left out and forgotten as we normally are. During Pride Month, this can be especially hard because we don’t always fit in with the LGBTQ community or the heterosexual community in regards to orientation. A lot of asexuals feel kinda left out. This is why we have asexual awareness week in late October. This is a time for us to really connect with fellow asexuals and remind the rest of the world that we do in fact exist, and with decent numbers too.
It’s difficult when people say your sexuality is fake, but we will continue to strive for visibility. It is important to remember that every person is different and you should treat them how you want to be treated: with respect. If someone comes out to you as asexual, don’t say it is just a phase. Be kind, and grateful that they trust you enough to tell you! Respect people and their sexualities. Love the way others love. In this pride-filled month, remember to love yourself and others because baby, we were all born the way we are.