All or Nothing
What are asexuality and aromanticism?
A big part of coming to adulthood is the unavoidable introduction of sex into our daily lives. But for 1% of the population, the reaction to this is just kind of…well, “eh”. With the way our culture works, all things intercourse are thrust
(see what I did there?) into the media, and we’re expected to react. For adolescents who realize that they don’t feel the same way, the world suddenly gets a little scarier. They ask themselves questions like “am I broken?”, “what’s wrong with me?” and “what am I supposed to do to fix it?”. My goal here today is to help dispel some myths about asexuality and aromanticism, with the help of this website and a few of its FAQ’s right here. The most important myths that need to be dispelled are usually centered around “what the heck is asexuality?”. For the most part, what people know about asexuality comes from Biology 101. Asexual beings reproduce without intercourse, like sea sponges. But in humans, it’s a little bit different. Asexuality means just that. No sexuality. Asexual individuals simply do not experience sexual attraction. Much like a heterosexual individual does not feel attraction to their own gender, or the opposite for homosexual individuals. Everybody falls under the umbrella for “do not want” when it comes to asexual individuals. This does not necessarily make them celibate. According to the website, “Many asexuals do not consider themselves celibate, as they are giving up no more in abstaining from sex than a gay person is by abstaining from sex with someone of a different gender or a straight person is by abstaining from sex with the same gender.”
Now does this mean that asexual people never have sex? It depends on the individual. Asexuality does not necessarily mean “anti-sex”, it just means no sexual feelings. Many asexual people still experience arousal or romantic attraction towards certain individuals, they just do not necessarily have any desire to act on those feelings. “An asexual person can find someone visually attractive (aesthetic attraction), or be interested in someone romantically (romantic attraction)”What this means is that yes, asexual people can be a part of a normal, healthy, functioning relationship just like anyone of any other sexuality. Many get married and can even have children, but it is usually for the benefit of their partner, rather than themselves. This also brings to question, is asexuality a result of trauma or illness? And the answer is in most cases, no. Some people do become sex-repulsed as a result of trauma or may have hormone imbalances that lessen any feelings of desire or arousal, but for the vast majority of asexual individuals, it’s simply an orientation, no different than any other.
Now, I also mentioned aromanticism. This slightly less-known identity takes a little more explanation from the beginning, but it is just as simple and valid as asexuality or any identity.
Most people know about the different sexual orientations, but what about romantic ones? Were you aware somebody could be heterosexual, but biromantic? What this simply means is that they feel sexual attraction for a different gender, but romantic feelings for either gender. For instance, an asexual person may be panromantic. They could feel no sexual attraction at all, but be comfortable in a romantic relationship with someone of any gender. Aromanticism is essentially the opposite of bi or panromanticism. Aro individuals do not experience any sort of romantic feelings towards partners, but can still feel aesthetic or sexual attraction to them. The biggest myth about Aro individuals is that they can be cold or seem heartless, or be “sexual deviants” because they do not equate love with sex.
While the occasional person can be a little on the rude side, most Aro individuals are excellent people who simply do not have a desire for a romantic relationship. They are still very capable of making friends, being polite to co-workers, and being functioning members of society. To reiterate, neither Ace nor Aro individuals are “broken”. There is nothing “wrong with them”. If you feel that you yourself or a loved one may identify as these and are having trouble finding the words, suggest and try to explain which one seems to fit best, and perhaps even link them to this post or the website I have linked.