Some people don’t like sex. No, they aren’t prudes or celibates, they are the asexuals.
Come 2019, slowly and steadily we are accepting sexualities. More countries are accepting queer identities legally and dating sites are offering exclusive options for the queer community. Within all the umbrella of LGBTQIA, the alphabet that gets the least attention is A. It’s A for asexuality. The term is simple yet complex. Asexuals, or ace/aro as they are popularly called, lack sexual attraction towards others. Several researchers, undertaken by big names like Alfred Kinsey, Anthony Bogaert, Simon LeVay’, and KJ Cerankowski, have shown that around one per cent of the human population identifies as asexual.
Many people seem to think that those do identify as ace only do so because they are prudes or have repressed their urges as a result of some trauma. All of these assumptions are not true. Perfectly healthy people with no psychological baggage can also naturally not feel the same sexual and romantic attractions as others. Also, unlike celibacy, asexuality is not a choice.
Within asexuality, there are many subdivisions. Demisexuals, that come under the umbrella of asexuality, do feel sexual attraction but only once when they have formed a strong emotional connection with someone. According to Asexual Visibility and Education Network, the world’s largest online asexual community, “A person who identifies as a demisexual does not experience primary sexual attraction but does experience secondary sexual attraction. In this model, primary sexual attraction is based on outward qualities such as a person’s looks or clothes, while secondary sexual attraction is attraction stemming from a connection, usually romantic, or from status or how closely the person is in relationship to the other.”
It’s also important to know that no two aces are alike. Some asexuals masturbate, as they have s sex drive which they do not want to direct this towards others.
One reason why asexuality is often absent from our conversation is due to the fact that they have almost absent representation in popular media.
In 2016, Archie comics revealed that Jughead as an asexual. However, the makers of Riverdale, a Netflix show based on Archie comics, showed him as otherwise. Many people from the ace community have called this a ruined opportunity for representation.
Cole Sprouse, the actor who plays Jughead in Riverdale has called for Jughead to be represented as asexual. While the cases of ace absence and even erasure are common, shows like BoJack Horseman have main leads as asexuals. In the shows’ fourth season Todd Chavez says, “It actually feels nice to actually say it out loud. I am an asexual person. It feels good to talk about it.”
Todd Phillips, the director of the Hangover series has mentioned in interviews that Alan Garner, one of the protagonists of the internally acclaimed franchise, is an asexual.
In traditional societies, like India, not having sexual relations doesn’t pose a problem, at least till you cross the typical marriage age. Besides, little or no honest conversations around sex and limited opportunities to form any sexual relations leave us thinking that lack of experience or inherited guilt surrounding promiscuity is causing asexuality. But an ace person can be very aware of nuances of sex, have the freedom to intercourse, even enjoy watching porn, and yet refrain from engaging any sexual activity with other people.
As weird or against the rules of evolution, it may sound, that’s how aces swing (or don’t swing). You can choose to debate on the authenticity of the label, but as of now, the label is helping several around the world explain, identify, and accept themselves.
Featured Image credits- Netflix