Asexuality: What It Really Means to Be Ace
© Asexuality, Illustration by INJECTION - Alicia Lupieri
Debunking society’s misconceptions about asexual people in an interview.
In honour of Pride Month, we are tackling the asexual identity today. There is a lot of misconception around the ace spectrum, because of a lack of understanding and misinformation. It is important to understand that sexuality is not a choice, it is part of a person's identity. Being asexual is a whole spectrum and everyone is different. To further open up the conversation about asexuality, we had the exciting opportunity to speak with 17-year-old Grofu from the UK, who identifies as asexual. They are the owner of the Instagram page @amazingasexuals and have built a wonderful online ace community. Grofu talks about their asexual journey including challenges and misunderstandings and offers great advice for anyone still questioning their asexuality.
What label do you use to identify yourself and your sexuality?
I am a non-binary (they/them) asexual.
What does being asexual mean?
An asexual is someone who feels little to no sexual attraction. The asexual spectrum is a spectrum of the different amounts of sexual attraction that is felt and includes many labels such as demisexual and graysexual.
© Asexual and Aromantic Spectrum, Infographic by INJECTION (Inspired by femstella, definitions from asexuality.org)
When and how did you figure out that you are asexual? What was your journey like?
My journey first started when my friend was telling me about feelings they had felt for something, and it had occurred to me that I had never felt anything like that. So, I did some research online and the term asexual kept on appearing, so I eventually looked it up and looked into it and it just really clicked with me.
What challenges do asexual people face in their everyday lives?
Asexuals face many challenges in life ranging in severity. In day to day life, there is a severe lack of understanding and recognition of the community and a damagingly low amount of representation and education about it in schools and the media.
What is something society gets wrong about people on the ace spectrum?
Many people expect ace people to never dress attractively or aesthetically pleasing, and it is often assumed that asexual people are also aromantic when the two orientations are very different. It is also often assumed that all ace people are sex-repulsed, this I definitely not true as there are many who are indifferent, or sex inclined and enjoy it.
How has dating been for you?
I have never dated before.
You have built up an Ace community of 10K people on Instagram! What is the impact of having an online community?
My page is a very small part of a very big, and welcoming community. The impact of the online ace community is unmeasurable as it is an easily accessible way to learn about asexuality, engage with other aces, and feel less alone. In an all normative world where there is so little representation of us, it is vital to have these online spaces in which we can be a community. The goals of my page are to educate people on asexuality, create a welcome and friendly environment for everyone, and to raise the profile of the asexual community.
Now, what’s up with garlic bread, cakes and swords? Can you explain the memes to us? ;)
These are some of the classic ace symbols, the cake comes from an old asexual joke that “cake is better than sex” and was made into an unofficial symbol by AVEN. Garlic bread is on a similar basis. The swords are less commonly associated with asexuality, but again probably come from the meme that while other people were busy with sex we mastered the blade.
Do you have advice for people who are questioning asexuality?
Just talk to the ace online community, they’re really friendly and give first-hand advice on their own experiences, my DMS are always open on my account to questioning aces and so are many others. We know it can be difficult because it was for us, but we built this community so it wouldn’t be difficult for you.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Being asexual is a spectrum and everyone is different. Not all aces are sex-repulsed and some of us even like and enjoy sex. The aromantic and asexual communities are different, not all aros are ace as well, and not all aces are aro as well. Every asexual is valid.