As the last week of October comes to an end, something special is going on. No, I don’t mean that Halloween is fast approaching. This is a week — not a day, a week — to celebrate asexuality and its growing awareness.
However, before I explain why asexuality is so important, let’s first describe what it is not.
No, we don’t reproduce like plants. No, we don’t impregnate or have sex with ourselves. Yes, we can feel love for other people.
Are you confused yet? Not to worry. Asexuality is a fairly simple concept when you get down to it.
For the most part, asexuals don’t feel sexual attraction, but they do feel romantic attraction. That is, we can love someone else without ever feeling the need or desire to have sex with them.
Love without desiring sex — it’s as simple as that. After all, if there can be sex without love, surely there can be love without sex.
I realize that’s a strange thought for people who are sexual — not in what they do but simply in the fact that they experience sexual attraction. They may think we’re strange, broken, freaks or what have you. The list goes on.
That’s the problem. The fear or uncertainty towards asexuals is hurting them.
Imagine knowing you’re different from everyone else. I knew. I knew I didn’t want the things society told me I was supposed to want at this age. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t have a word for it until my first semester of college.
At first the word scared me. It was a sign that I was different. But once I looked into it, that word saved me. I found out there were other people like me. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t broken or strange.
For the first time in a long time, I found peace with myself. I even began to be proud of my sexuality — or, rather, my lack thereof— as time went by.
That’s what I want for other asexuals. I know it’s hard to feel this way in a world where sex is considered normal. It can be isolating. It can create anxiety and depression. It’s hard, especially when you don’t even know what to call yourself.
I may be just one face in a crowd of hundreds of thousands. People may not know my name when they see me. They may not even see me.
But I know what it’s like to feel different and hate myself for it. I know what it’s like to feel guilty for it. And I know what it’s like to finally feel peace when I realize that I’m not alone. There are others out there who know what I’ve felt.
That’s what I want for anyone who might read this. I want them to know they’re not alone. Things get better if you just give them a chance. There’s no shame in being different.
This is asexuality awareness week, even if it’s almost over. Whether you’re asexual or not, it doesn’t hurt to be aware. You might even be able to bring peace to someone who might otherwise feel like a lost cause.