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.
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.
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.
“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?
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.
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! 🙂