My name is Becki and I am a person-centred therapist who is asexual, queer and disabled. You can find more about me, and therapy I offer throughout my website.
This week has been all about discussing Asexuality for Ace Week, and I’ve been sharing information and graphics on my social media. These images can be seen at the bottom of this article.
“Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone and/or does not experience desire for sexual contact. Like any other sexual orientation, asexuality isn’t a choice. Unlike abstinence and celibacy, which are both choices to avoid sex, asexuality is an innate part of who someone is.“Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone and/or does not experience desire for sexual contact. Like any other sexual orientation, asexuality isn’t a choice. Unlike abstinence and celibacy, which are both choices to avoid sex, asexuality is an innate part of who someone is.“Aces & Aros
In my experience, asexuality is a spectrum, and individuals can have a static identity or a fluid one. Using myself as an example, I’d say that I am solidly asexual and have been for a long time, however, at some point in my earlier life I’d have been defined as a demisexual and/or aegosexual.
It is commonly assumed that everyone should and will engage in sexual activity, and young people especially experience peer pressure to lose their virginity. I remember growing up in the early 2000’s, where it was assumed that if you had a boyfriend/girlfriend, you had had sex and were regularly engaging in it. As a teenage girl I was sexualised repeatedly, but had no real idea that asexuality existed, and that I could say “no” to sex. Whilst I chose when to lose my virginity, I would say that I mainly did so for my then partner (experiencing joy in my partners happiness) instead of for me.
Aces & Aros describe some of the damaging aspects about social norms around sexuality and relationships – from expectations on people to have sex/relationships, to the sexualisation and desexualisation of specific people. For example, as a teenage girl (aged 14-16) it was assumed by my peers that I was sexually experienced because I had an older boyfriend – I was not. When I came out as bisexual, it was assumed that it was because I was “sexually deviant” – I was not. When I became disabled, it was assumed that THAT was why I was asexual (desexualised) – that was not the reason either.
Assumptions About Asexuality
When I think back on my journey of coming out as asexual, I think about the assumptions that have been made. A key one has been about my attitude towards sex. Let’s be clear, I’m definitely asexual. But that does not mean that I am “conservative” when it comes to my view about sex. In fact, I am very sex positive for everyone who legally consents – I want people to do what they want to do.
There are also many asexual people who don’t engage in sex unless they are in very specific situations (such as dungeons and other kink settings). If you wonder about the intersection between the Ace community and those who engage in sexual activity, the wonderful peer educator on all things related to BDSM, kink and alternative lifestyles, Evie Lupine can be found on youtube, and she has posted several videos about her own identity.
Sexual Violence, Assault and Coercion
Additionally, Aces and Aros state that:
“when someone doesn’t know they’re ace, they might go along with sexual activity because they feel they have no valid reason not to or because they think that it’s common for people to have sex despite being uninterested in it.”
This has definitely been a part of my experience as an Ace person. Like I stated above, for a long time, I did not have the langauge for “asexuality”, so I didn’t feel like I had a valid reason to say no to sex. The 2019 Ace Community Survey found that less than 5% of Ace people felt that Asexuality was covered in their education. This is an unfortunately common experience for asexual people. Social expectations lead to people assuming that sex is part of romantic relationships, and to not engage in sex, it devalues the relationship. As an Ace person, I’ve found it’s really common to feel guilty for saying no to their partners, It was easier to close your eyes and go along with things.
Let’s be clear, that is coercion of some sort. It is not active consent, and it’s one reason I am so passionate about LGBTQIA+ education for young people. Teenagers must learn about consent and that no is a full sentence. You don’t need to give reasons. You can just say “no”. If we teach more teenagers, hopefully we will have young adults that grow up truly understanding informed consent. That consent can be withdrawn at any time.
Why do I share my own experiences with sexuality? Because being queer can be an isolating experience. It’s very common for people to come out and be met with ignorance by professionals, and this can be deeply damaging. My role as a therapist is to provide unconditional understanding and empathy. Where someone can disclose their sexuality and I, as a therapist with real understanding, can offer an environment that affirms your experiences. Asexuality is not ‘wrong’. Like all sexual identities, it is perfectly normal. It might be the reason that you are attending therapy, or it may just be a part of you and your life experiences.