“She wore her ferocity like armor, and it was purely asexual armor. Liraz was untouchable and untouched.” ― Laini Taylor, Days of Blood & Starlight
Under the umbrella of the most common sexualities, most of us lack any knowledge of the minorities. It isn’t because we’re prejudiced or against them, but because there is significantly less awareness about that percentage of the population. Anthony F. Bogaert, in his studies, revealed that about 1% of the population is asexual, which, considering our population of 7 billion, is a lot of people.
Suggested read: 12 struggles of being an asexual person
While we run political campaigns for the rights of cultural minorities, or geographic minorities, we have always overlooked minorities in terms of gender or sexuality. Asexuality is one such division which has been misunderstood, disregarded, and ridiculed, to a point, where it is considered a myth. But it, in fact, is ground reality.
Here are the things you need to keep in mind while dating an asexual, instead of misunderstanding, disregarding & ridiculing them.
What Is Asexuality
An asexual person (shortened form being ‘ace’) is not sexually attracted to anything. They do not understand the concept of a ‘turn-on’ as their minds function very differently, and physical contact in the idea of romance, makes them uncomfortable. They can belong to any gender, ethnic background, class of society, et cetera.
Clearing Common Misconceptions
Since it’s not widely heard of in our circles, certain ‘myths’ have come to surround it over time.
1. Asexuality is not a pledge to celibacy
They do not refrain from sex because they think it would offend God. (Amidst plagues, famines, people dying, and humanity just basically disintegrating, I like to believe God has greater issues than your sex-life to be bothered about.) They are not aspiring for priesthood either. The urge to fornicate just doesn’t occur to them. (Yes, it’s possible.)
2. It’s not a gender identity
An ace may belong to any gender- male, female, trans, non-binary, etc. But, asexuality is not a gender identity in its own authority.
3. It isn’t a choice
Aces don’t switch their sexuality on and off, according to their mood. As interesting as it would have been, they aren’t your regular light switch. Much like you didn’t choose to be human (unless you’re a high-key Himalayan ascetic), they didn’t choose to give up sex.
4. Gray areas exist
An ace may have exceptions, even though the chances of that happening are really low. They may strongly identify with this category, excepting a few infrequent instances when they are sexually attracted.
Problems faced by aces
1. “Merely players” in bed
Aces often feel like actors. Due to the prejudiced beliefs, or lack of understanding, the partner often fails to fathom their lack of a sex drive. In order to maintain peace in the relationship, aces sometimes have to partake in the activities, where they’re merely method-acting. It arouses no feelings.
2. The possibility of being cheated on
Sex is an important part of a romantic relationship. I am not a saint, and it doesn’t embarrass me to say that it’s hard to do without. However, what is more important is transparency. A lot of people look elsewhere for sexual gratification when they realize that their partner is uninterested. Now, because society would facepalm themselves to kingdom come, the allegedly ‘cheating’ partner keeps it a secret. That is unhealthy. It’s natural to have problems in a relationship, and even more natural to have disagreements. Do not resign yourself and your partner to a lifetime of misery because your neighbor would find you unlikable.
Suggested read: Heteroflexible: All you need to know about a rare sexuality
3. They’re considered abnormal
Now, the old-school reaction would go something like this: “It’s unnatural. The process of reproduction is God-given (again, God is truly busy) and one must partake in it.” When even Virgin Mary conceived Jesus, what excuse do you have? The absence of a sex drive is often looked upon as a result of trauma, or depression, or any other disability, which it is not.
4. They’re easily misunderstood
Not wanting to ‘get down and dirty’ (yes, I used a teen-phrase, get over it) is often misconstrued by the partner as lack of interest in them. Let me get this clear, once and for all. You could be tall and lanky, or short and stout (I am not calling you a teapot. Rest it.), fair or dark-skinned, curvy or skinny, muscular or flabby, it does not make a difference to an ace’s libido. Unlike Global warming, it’s never going up. It isn’t your lingerie, your size, the way you look, walk, or eat. It will never be.
5. Aces find it equally hard to understand you
It’s mighty difficult for them to understand the kind of importance we attach to skin and intimacy. They find it baffling that a common body part could arouse our senses; that sexual intimacy could possibly make one ‘happy’. There are several articles explaining the minority sexualities to the general population, but there’s hardly any unexaggerated, accurate explanation as to why we do what we do. They are as lost as you.
We pass judgement on the lives of others like their ancestral line belongs to us. After “it’s a phase”, and “you’ve misunderstood”, or “are you okay?”, the next best thing aces hear is: “You’re lying!” I don’t know why people would rather hear: “You’re right. I am not interested in you. And, that is why I have been postponing sex.” This seems like a fair deal in comparison. This also sounds like the general reaction after a case of molestation. No, they aren’t lying about their sexuality. No, your opinion definitely does not count.
7. No Tinder for the asexual
Most aces complain that normally, their friends hit the club when they’re looking to “pick up”, or trying to meet people. For aces, it isn’t that easy. Their fairy tale cannot begin by hooking up behind the bar counter, and finding love in each other’s eyes as they wake up the next morning. I’m not sure that’s how it rolls in real life, let alone with aces. There are chat forums and pub-hours for the bi-sexual and the homosexual, but people have very conveniently forgotten about aces. So, while you break your head over ‘Right-swipe’ and ‘Super-like’, aces will have secretly thrown your phone out of the window.
8.Coming out is a huge deal
That isn’t exclusive to homosexuality. It’s hard enough bearing the pressure of parents asking you to “settle down”, “find somebody”, and “get married”. In addition, now, you have to tell them they’re never getting grandchildren, not because you are sick/incapable, but because you don’t want to, as you see no point in the activity. Several households have disintegrated on this.
Aces also have to ‘come out’ to people they wish to date/ are dating, and they have to frame it as though it were a minefield: “Look, I don’t want to have sex… no, you’re absolutely beautiful, it’s not that… but… no, I don’t like anybody else… so yeah… no there’s definitely nothing wrong with me, thank you.”
9. Loneliness with no cure
Aces feel lonely for the lack of a partner who shares their mentality; a partner who’d be comfortable being loved, non-physically. It’s such a small percentage, and with no media to unite the community, most have lost hope of ever finding a soul mate. It isn’t their choice, and it’s not a disease. Sad part is, if it was, it’d have had a cure.
10. Corrective rape
Did somebody say “cure”? Oh, of course, there’s a cure for everything. Society’s version of “curing” the “deviants” (educated people call them homosexual/bisexual/asexual, etc. Sane humans call them, well, “humans”) is ‘corrective rape’. Here they ‘experiment’ on you, trying to bring you out of the “phase”, you call your sexuality. They attempt to “correct” your misconceived notions of “choice”. Even people dating an asexual do this. They take it up as a “challenge” to get you sexually aroused. I’m not sure if education is taking a serious hit now, or people are just genuinely stupid. I don’t know. If you don’t hold up an apple and say, “Oh I’ll stare at you nicely until you turn into an orange”, then I don’t see how they apply that policy here.
Suggested read: 8 chilling realities about date rape that ALL women should know
Life isn’t easy. And, when you’re an apple in a sea full of oranges, it’s harder still (okay fine, I’ll stop). While researching on this division, I came across an ace saying they wanted somebody who would be satisfied with just being loved in all its glory, being cared for, supported- everything you look for in Prince Charming. While growing up, all the characters that we fell head-over-heels in love with, mostly did not involve sex. We wanted to be loved, respected, cared for, and that’s exactly what dating an asexual also brings to the table. It surprised me that a whole percentage of our population is crippled with the fear of dying alone because being a stellar human being, and loving somebody unconditionally, are no longer trump-cards in the game.
Scoot over on the bandwagon, and judge less.
“Give a little bit of love and you get it back,
Give a little bit of pain, you call it a track.
For every little thing that you say or do,
Give a little bit of love and it’ll come back to you.”
Featured image source: Pinterest/ Penn State