Written by Rebecca Nash
In a hypersexualized world, it’s crazy to imagine a lack of sexual attraction. We see marketing strategies that rely on the sexualization of products and people for revenue and attention. Yet for some, this doesn’t work. Despite all of the disbelief, asexuality and aromanticism is real.
While many don’t know what asexuality is, part of the confusion may stem from the fact that, as with many words, asexual can take on different meanings for different people. By definition, asexual means no sexual attraction. However, as Alex points out “asexual has become an umbrella term. There’s gray-sexuality underneath it– varying degrees of sexuality” and more. Alexandria Rehman- Grosser, pictured nearby, has identified as asexual and aromantic since her sophomore year. As one of the only people I know that identifies this way, I wanted her perspective.
Alex talked about how, in making asexual an umbrella term, the different branches prove how much one identity can vary in meaning from person-to-person. As Alex puts it, “the dictionary definition (of asexual and aromantic) is no sexual attraction, no romantic attraction. But, it varies depending.” Part of the variability and confusion can come from the different branches of asexuality.
The two branches of asexuality that I want to cover are demi-sexuality and grey-sexuality. Demi-sexuality is defined by sexual attraction only after an emotional bond is formed first. Gray-sexuality is defined by sexual attraction that occurs infrequently. These terms and others can vary in meaning based on the person. These branches can also take shape in the aromantic identity too, despite the similarities in the name, they are vastly different experiences.
The parallels that occur between aromantic and asexual can definitely add to the confusion, so it’s important the understanding the difference. Someone can experience sexual attraction, but not romantic attraction and vice-a-versa. Someone can identify as demi-romantic or grey-romantic. People who identify as aromantic can specify their attraction by calling themselves heteromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, and anything in between.
Now that we have the definitions out of the way, I want to talk about the misconceptions. As I’ve looked into asexuality, the amount of misunderstanding towards those in the community is high. Finding out that someone doesn’t want to have sex is shocking to the general public. Out of that, asexuals are considered cold and robot-like. They are accused of being broken, having something wrong with them, just being in a phase, and much more. However, the discrimination gets worse from there.
In some countries, asexuals and people in the LGBT+ community face corrective rape. Asexuals can face rape in the attempt of “fixing” the lack of sexual attraction, verbal abuse, and unwanted sexual touching. All of the discrimination can make coming out as an asexual very difficult and stressful. A lot of the hate comes from a place of confusion. In order to help people understand and accept this identity, we need to get the word out.
Despite what the world may say, there’s nothing wrong with identifying this way. While many will not understand, I promise that you’re not alone.