A Happy Post About Asexuality

Tonight I had a wonderful conversation with a friend/dormie who is also asexual and we realized that we had an unnaturally large number of people who were asexual (including those who might be, but we weren’t sure) currently living in our dorm. It’s still a small number, but if we apply the 1% rule (the rough approximation of how many asexual people are in the U.S., including those who are ace but don’t know it) to our dorm – we are WAY above 1%.

This makes me so incredibly happy. When I first learned about asexuality, I never imagined myself actually being in a situation where I was living or interacting with people who are ace in real life. And more than one person! My friend and I first realized we were both ace when the two of us went to a Paideia class on the topic. I knew pretty much all that the student presenter covered, but I kind of wanted to scope out the event and see if anyone else was ace as well, which kind of failed because a lot of people attended who I knew weren’t, so I couldn’t really assume anything. But at the end, I went up to thank the student who held it for organizing the class and being so awesome just as my friend went to do the same exact thing. We haven’t really talked much about asexuality with each other since then, but tonight we found ourselves doing exactly that.

So for a couple of hours we talked about a number of things – trashy fantasy novels, my Artaud group theatre presentation (it’s gonna be awesome), slash fic, and lots of ace stuff about relationships, understanding romance vs. sexual attraction, first realizations of the fact that you might just be asexual and, of course, Dr. Who. And cake. All of the cake. And it felt wonderful to talk and interact with someone who’s asexual, who sees and understands the world of relationships similar to you, who knows and makes the inside ace jokes, and who thinks dressing up as having a cake fetish for Fetish Ball next year is a fantastic idea. We both know we’re ace! And we both know that the other exists and is ace!

I know I am very lucky – many people who are ace mostly interact with other aces via the internet and don’t know anyone else in their area who is ace. And despite the fact that my college as a whole is a pretty queer-friendly place, I would say that most students don’t really get asexuality, or even knows that it exists. Last month, as I was waiting for the start of Tim Wise’s guest talk about whether we’re living in a post-racial America (answer: no), I heard the girl next to me complaining to her friend about how bad dating was at our school, and how a guy had asked her out, and that during the date, it turned out that he was “this asexual math person, and I was so frustrated!” I’m paraphrasing, but this is the first instance I’d actually heard, in real life, someone bandying about the word without showing any understanding or comprehension of what that word actually means.

It’s incredibly easy if you’re ace to feel as though you’re the only ace person that exists, even with the knowledge that there’s an active internet community. And because most asexual people are rendered invisible so much of the time, it’s even harder to make yourself heard and be taken seriously, particularly if you can’t point to specific people besides yourself who identify as ace. Because I’m not interested in being in a relationship at this time, it’s easy for me to fall under the radar and not make too much of an effort to be seen and recognized as ace. Although it doesn’t feel like I’m actively hiding my identity, in some ways that is exactly what I am doing by deliberately not telling people or drawing a connection between myself and asexuality in conversations. Sometimes I want to climb on top of a hill and scream out my orientation to the world (or at least my college), but I never know how to go about doing that in such a way that people will take me seriously, listen to me, and believe me.

Talking with my friend made me feel so much better about all that. I could talk about asexuality with someone in a situation where I wasn’t being the teacher attempting to educate another person. I was an ace talking to another ace about ace stuff. I was being myself in a way that I have very rarely ever gotten to be.

Eventually, I’ll figure out how to tell other people that I’m ace and own up to my sexuality as being a significant part of my identity in a public discourse. But knowing other ace people and being able to see and talk to them every day is nothing to scoff at. Like I said, I am an incredibly lucky individual, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I have friends who are ace and who know I’m ace, and I also have friends who are sexual and know I’m ace, and they believe and support me. I could be so much more alone than I am right now, but that is not the case. Right now, at this one moment, I am unbelievably happy and proud to identify as asexual.

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 12:49 AM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Things and Stuff: A Happy Post About Asexuality Tonight I had a wonderful conversation with a friend/dormie who is also asexual and we realized […]

  2. […] about asexuality. I thought about the conversation my friend and I had about asexuality, that I wrote about previously. It was the first time I had had a conversation about asexuality with another ace person. I […]

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