Misconceptions about Asexuality #AsexualityAwarenessWeek

Asexuality generally seems to be a bit of a taboo topic, which is why it’s rarely talked about and lots of people only have a vague idea of what it is. Since this week is asexuality awareness week, I thought it’d be a good occasion to address the most important misconceptions there are about asexuality and give some answers about what being asexual really means.

Let’s get started!

 

Asexuals never have sex

This is probably the most common myth about asexuality and I admittedly believed this to be true for quite a long time as well.

It’s correct that many people who identify as asexual are repulsed by sex and don’t want to ever engage in it, but asexuals who don’t mind, or even enjoy it do exist as well.

How often someone has sex has very little to do with their sexual orientation, because all asexuals have one thing in common: They don’t experience sexual attraction to any gender, and that’s independent from their behaviour.

tumblr_static_f41pdogzfk00wskck4ww4w0wg_640_v2

Asexuals don’t have romantic partners

We’ve already established that it is in fact possible for asexuals to be in a sexual relationship despite their lack of attraction, but even sex-repulsed asexuals might still be interested in having a romantic partner.

To understand this, it’s important to be aware that we have to differentiate between sexual and romantic attraction, because not every asexual person is automatically aromantic as well. For example, someone might be asexual but still romantically attracted to one or more genders – and therefore willing to be in a romantic relationship.

Asexuality is the same as abstinence

Some people decide not to have sex for religious or other reasons, which is a choice that is unrelated to their sexual orientation.

Asexuality, however, is not a choice as asexuals don’t have any sexual attraction in the first place.

Let’s say a couple decides not to sleep together before their wedding, would this make them asexual? The answer is no, because they might still feel sexual attraction and have simply decided against acting on these impulses.

 

tumblr_mvhwnzor6x1qfdtqno3_1280

 

Being asexual is the result of a trauma

While there are asexuals who have experienced sexual abuse etc., a vast majority has actually never had to experience any kind of sexual trauma. Usually, there’s no specific event that “turned” someone asexual, most people are just born that way.

Studies have also shown that asexuality is not due to any physical imbalances, and has nothing to do with mental illness. For example, an asexual person might be suffering from an anxiety disorder, but it wouldn’t be trust issues, fear of intimacy or insecurities stopping them from having sex, but simply the lack of interest or attraction.

 

7030d294e593f9a997891abdc22c701d4136326601a3713f2d7fb61f2c96b9a5_1

 

 

“How can you know you’re asexual? You probably just haven’t met the right person yet”

Sentences like these are quite problematic, because they basically imply that asexuality is invalid and doesn’t exist.

And if you think about it, it’s a pretty stupid statement: Nobody would ask a straight person how they know they’re heterosexual if they’ve never tried being with someone of the opposite gender, right?

 

tumblr_lovu458nd01qebx3e

 

You’re either sexual or asexual

Lastly, I would like to point out that sexuality is fluid, meaning that you don’t have to be either sexual or asexual. There’s also people who only occasionally experience sexual attraction (grey-asexuals) or only start feeling sexually attracted to a person after they’ve formed a deep emotional bond with them (demisexual). However, if you find that none of these labels fit you, that’s obviously fine too.

 

chart_a-color

 

If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave me a comment, I’d be happy to help. In case there’s any wrong or imprecise information in this post at all, do let me know so I can fix it! 🙂

How Fandoms Can Positively Impact Young People’s Lives

“You should get over that fandom stuff, aren’t you too old for this? Why don’t you live your own life instead of caring so much about some stranger’s?”

This is only one of the many accusing phrases people throw at you when you’re a “fangirl” or “fanboy”, and to be fair, most of them just want the best for you, but that doesn’t change anything about the fact that it can be very tiring to have to defend yourself for enjoying something other people don’t understand on a daily basis.

Don’t get me wrong, I do see where they’re coming from and agree that fandoms can have quite fatal negative effects on young people if they get so lost in fictional worlds that they completely neglect reality, but why paint them black completely when there are also so many ways in which they can enrich people’s lives?

I can understand why the whole concept of fandoms can seem a bit disconcerting to someone who’s never engaged with them themselves, which is why, in this post, I would like to share with you what they mean to me and why they are possibly one of the best things that ever happened to me and many others.

Fandoms as a stress relief

Whenever I’m having a particularly exhausting day, I find fandoms to be the perfect way to wind down and forget the troubles of the day for a bit. Listening to my favourite band’s music, watching the newest videos of the youtubers I like or getting lost in a new book can be extremely relaxing and comforting and works brilliantly if, once in a while, you need a little escape from this world.

Fandoms encourage creativity

If you have a closer look at fan communities, one of the first things you will notice is how unbelievably creative their members are: even in the smallest fandoms, there’s people creating fan art by drawing, painting or making edits and writers who come up with often extremely well written stories, poems or even fan fictions as long as books.

By sharing their work with the community, artists can get feedback on their work, and since most fandoms are generally very supportive, be encouraged to keep doing what they’re doing and make use of the talent they have.

People are passionate about fandoms

To me, having something to be passionate about is one of the most important things in life, and I personally don’t think it matters whether that thing is sports, political activism, science, gardening or fandoms. In between school, university or work, it’s crucial to have a sort of equaliser, something you are truly excited about, and for many people, fandoms are just that.

Celebrities can be great role models

Of course, we all know that not every celebrity is a very good example for young people and that blindly believing everything your idols say and trying to imitate whatever they do is definitely not healthy. However, there are lots and lots of prominent figures who can be great role models and offer guidance to young people, especially in their teenage years when they start to move apart from their parents a bit more.

Additionally, influential celebrities like Beyonce, Emma Watson, or Tyler Oakley often spread awareness about important social issues such as poverty, racism, homophobia, sexism and misogyny and encourage their fans to educate themselves on these topics, get involved in fighting inequality and stand up for what they think is right.

Fandoms inspire

Having an idol to look up to can be a great motivation for young people to keep working on achieving their goals and not giving up on their dreams, even if things might not go as planned the first time around.

Of course, someone who wants to be an actor shouldn’t necessarily expect to become the next Leonardo DiCaprio, and it’s very important to keep your ambitions realistic, but idols can often embolden young people to do what they think is right for THEM instead of, for example, studying something they don’t really care about just because their parents tell them to do so and it seems like a safer option than doing what they’re actually interested in.

Fandoms help you make friends

This, for me, is actually the most amazing part of being part of a fandom. Thanks to the internet and platforms like tumblr and twitter, you can easily find people with the same interests as you and have the opportunity to share your love for something with people from all over the world while getting to know them and finding out more about them and their culture.

Even though internet friends can’t really replace having people to talk to in real life, being in a fan community can make teenagers feel more accepted and less insecure; and having completely unbiased people to share your problems with and ask for advice can often be of great help.

Connecting through fandoms doesn’t only work online though: Especially for people who struggle with meeting new people or often feel anxious in social situations, finding someone who is in the same fan community is probably the best thing that could possibly happen, because you immediately have a shared interest and don’t have to worry about what to talk about.

Are you part of any fan communities and if so, how have they impacted your life? Let me know in the comments! x