LGBTQA+, Gender & Identity, Love + Sex, Life

21 things you’ll only understand if you’re asexual

The moon has phases, not my sexuality.

Being different in a heteronormative society is not easy. What makes being different even more difficult is being part of a smaller minority than one can think possible: people who identify as asexual. Making up only about 1% of the world’s population, it is easy to feel alone and misunderstood.

But fear not! While we are a minute percentage of the human population, we do exist! In fact, since we are such a small population, I think it’s possible that we have shared many experiences as we try to navigate the large world around us, while also trying to figure out our sexuality and how to express that.

1. So many people ask: “What does that mean?”

Gif of Dean Winchester, a white man with short light brown hair and green eyes, from the tv show, Supernatural, raising his eyebrows, nodding, and saying "Good question."
Gif of Dean Winchester, a white man with short light brown hair and green eyes, from the tv show, Supernatural, raising his eyebrows, nodding, and saying “Good question.”

To be fair, that is a good question, which I’ll happily answer. Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) aptly states that asexuality is an orientation where a person doesn’t experience sexual attraction. In other words, they are not sexually drawn to people, nor do they desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way.

2. How annoying it gets when people say “Oh you can’t be asexual. You just haven’t met the right person yet!”

Gif of Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes holding up a white sign that says "STOP IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY" and wiggling his fingers on his other hand
Gif of Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes holding up a white sign that says “STOP IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY” and wiggling his fingers on his other hand

This is the equivalent of telling an atheist that they haven’t found God, or telling a lesbian that they haven’t found “the right man.” It is rude and it certainly isn’t anyone’s place to tell them such things. Therefore, it is nobody’s place to tell an asexual that their sexuality is invalid, a lie, or what they “should” be feeling.

3. Or how inappropriate it is for people to say “You can’t be asexual! That’s impossible! Asexuality doesn’t exist!”

Gif of Louise Belcher, a white girl with black hair and a pink rabbit ears hat, from animated show Bob's Burgers saying "Please stop, please stop, please stop."
Gif of Louise Belcher, a white girl with black hair and a pink rabbit ears hat, from animated show Bob’s Burgers saying “Please stop, please stop, please stop.”

Please see the above point. Invalidating someone’s sexual orientation and the existence of it is beyond inappropriate.

4. How annoying it gets when people assume that, just because you are asexual, you must be aromantic.

Gif of Oprah, a black woman with straight, black hair, greenish yellow top, and hoop earrings, shaking her head in No.
Gif of Oprah, a black woman with straight, black hair, greenish yellow top, and hoop earrings, shaking her head in No.

Asexual does not mean aromantic. They are two different definitions. Is it possible to be both asexual and aromantic? Yes. Is it possible to be one but not the other? Also yes.

5. And even if you are aromantic, people act like you are weird, or broken.

Gif of black and white kitten from Disney film, Pinocchio, shaking head and frowning
Gif of black and white kitten from Disney film, Pinocchio, shaking head and frowning

We are often bombarded by this idea that we cannot live fulfilling lives without a romantic partner. But it is possible to be an aromantic and an interesting, complex person. People have no place to make aromantic people feel otherwise.

6. Having to constantly explain that celibacy and asexuality are not the same things.

Gif of a black female with curly, black hair shaking her head and saying "So remind yourself that those are two different things."
Gif of a blue cat and orange cat embracing each other as red hearts rise up, in a pink background

Taking a vow of celibacy is voluntary. Being asexual is not. Not to mention: not all asexual people are celibate, and not all celibate people are asexual.

7. Having to explain that asexuality is a legitimate sexuality, and it is a spectrum.

Gif of Homer Simpson, a yellow balding man with a white shirt, putting his arm around his wife Marge, a yellow woman with blue curly hair, a red necklace, a green dress, and a pink sweater, and telling her "Let me walk you through it." from the show, The Simpsons
Gif of Homer Simpson, a yellow balding man with a white shirt, putting his arm around his wife Marge, a yellow woman with blue curly hair, a red necklace, a green dress, and a pink sweater, and telling her “Let me walk you through it.” from the show, The Simpsons

And what a broad spectrum it is! I highly recommend reading AVEN’s website and this Huffington Post article and infographic for more information about that spectrum.

8. Feeling out of place in a world that puts so much emphasis on sex.

Gif of Maleficent, a thin, white woman with black horns and clothing, blue eyes and red lips, looking downcast, from the movie, Maleficent
Gif of Maleficent, a thin, white woman with black horns and clothing, blue eyes and red lips, looking downcast, from the movie, Maleficent

9. Seriously… you wonder how sexual attraction even works.

Gif of Winona Ryder, a white woman with a black dress, a necklace, and dark brown hair, looking around confused as white math equations appear around her, as she stands between two tall white men in black suits and bow-ties and white shirts
Gif of Winona Ryder, a white woman with a black dress, a necklace, and dark brown hair, looking around confused as white math equations appear around her, as she stands between two tall white men in black suits and bow-ties and white shirts

10. Before you learned about asexuality, not having a name for your orientation was… challenging.

Gif of a white blonde woman licking her lips, taking a deep breath, and straightening her posture, from the show Homeland
Gif of a white blonde woman licking her lips, taking a deep breath, and straightening her posture, from the show Homeland

11. Yet finding out that there’s a name for your orientation, and there are people out there just like you…

Gif of Jake, a yellow dog with wide, lit up eyes, saying "It's so beautiful!", from the show Adventure Time
Gif of Jake, a yellow dog with wide, lit up eyes, saying “It’s so beautiful!”

It’s just amazing.

12. AND learning about the complexity of asexuality…mind blown.

Gif of Barney Stinson, a white, blonde man in a white shirt, light gray suit, and a dark striped tie, imitating a motion of brain exploding as he extends his hands away from his face, from the show How I Met Your Mother
Gif of Barney Stinson, a white, blonde man in a white shirt, light gray suit, and a dark striped tie, imitating a motion of brain exploding as he extends his hands away from his face.

Seriously, did I mention that asexuality is a spectrum?

13. Since asexuals fill about 1% of the world’s population, you often worry about whether or not you’ll find a suitable romantic partner (that is, if you are not aromantic).

Gif of Roger, a white, blond man, smoking a pipe and wide-eyed with worry, from Disney movie 101 Dalmatians
Gif of Roger, a white, blond man, smoking a pipe and wide-eyed with worry, from Disney movie 101 Dalmatians

14. Lack of asexual representation hardly helps either.

Gif of woman of color, in front of red and white stripes of US flag, speaking into a microphone and saying: "Representation is so critical, especially now."
Gif of a woman of color, in front of red and white stripes of US flag, speaking into a microphone and saying: “Representation is so critical, especially now.”

Hello? Is anybody asexual out there? You wouldn’t know it from pop culture sometimes.

15. Yet when you DO find asexual representation in pop culture…

Gif of Todd, a white man with stubble, blue hair, a yellow beanie, a red hoodie and gray jogger trousers with white stripes, telling Bojack, a brown, anthropomorphic horseman, in pajamas, "I am asexual." as he holds out his arms, from the show Bojack Horseman
Gif of Todd, a white man with stubble, blue hair, a yellow beanie, a red hoodie and gray jogger trousers with white stripes, telling Bojack, a brown, anthropomorphic horseman, in pajamas, “I am asexual.” as he holds out his arms.

16. …as well as possibly asexual historical role models…

Gif of a black man with black hair and mustache, dressed in a blue suit, a light blue shirt, and a dark blue tie with a yellow paisley pattern, nodding his head
Gif of a black man with black hair and mustache, dressed in a blue suit, a light blue shirt, and a dark blue tie with a yellow paisley pattern, nodding his head

Though, keep in mind: the asexuality label was not around for these people to claim, but it is still nice to know that they possibly were asexual (though the inclusion of Adolf Hitler in the list does make me sad).

17. …and well-written articles on asexuality…

Gif of Ian Somerhalder, a white man with brown hair, blue eyes, a black jacket, and white shirt, making a sign of triumph with his arm, as he sits on a periwinkle blue couch
Gif of Ian Somerhalder, a white man with brown hair, blue eyes, a black jacket, and white shirt, making a sign of triumph with his arm, as he sits on a periwinkle blue couch

I particularly love this analysis of Jessica Rabbit being asexual, and this interesting one from the BBC.

18. …and an ace friend who understands…

Gif of Daria, a white girl with brown hair, a green jacket, a skirt, and black boots, walking to her best friend, Jane, a white girl with short black hair, blue eyes, red lips, a red jacket, black clothing and boots, and hugging her, from the show Daria
Gif of Daria, a white girl with brown hair, a green jacket, a skirt, and black boots, walking to her best friend, Jane, a white girl with short black hair, blue eyes, red lips, a red jacket, black clothing and boots, and hugging her.

19. …or even a group of ace friends in the same boat…

Gif of the Genie, a big, blue figure wearing a yellow Hawaiian style shirt, hugging Aladdin, Jasmine, the Sultan, the Magic Carpet, and Rajah, a big tiger, close together, from the Disney film Aladdin
Gif of the Genie, a big, blue figure wearing a yellow Hawaiian style shirt, hugging Aladdin, Jasmine, the Sultan, the Magic Carpet, and Rajah, a big tiger, close together, from the Disney film Aladdin

20. …you know you couldn’t be happier or more content to be you.

Gif of Todd, a white man with stubble, blue hair, a yellow beanie, a red hoodie and gray jogger trousers with white stripes, looking over a different people near a sign that says "ASEXUAL MEET-UP ALL ACES WELCOME!" in purple lettering. Also, a woman of color with turquoise hair, a black top and blue trousers, waves Todd over, from the show Bojack Horseman
Gif of Todd, a white man with stubble, blue hair, a yellow beanie, a red hoodie and gray jogger trousers with white stripes, looking over a different people near a sign that says “ASEXUAL MEET-UP ALL ACES WELCOME!” in purple lettering. Also, a woman of color with turquoise hair, a black top and blue trousers, waves Todd over, from the show Bojack Horseman

21. And even if a friend of yours isn’t ace… it’s still great to know they’ve got your back because they love you for you.

Gif of a blue cat and orange cat embracing each other as red hearts rise up, in a pink background
Gif of a blue cat and orange cat embracing each other as red hearts rise up, in a pink background