So I learned yesterday afternoon that this week (Oct 26th-Nov 1st) is Ace Awareness Week!
Ace is a popular nickname for “asexual.” When applied to our well-known Homo sapiens, this means someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Asexuality is a spectrum, within the larger overarching spectrum of human sexuality in general.
And as an asexual myself, I wanted to write something. I’ve been meaning to broach this subject on my blog, but never found a good opportunity. I suppose this is as good a time as any.
If not better, actually—because this week is about awareness!
Spreading awareness is very important. If a dear friend of mine hadn’t started talking about asexuality several months ago, I’d still be waiting for my sexuality to “click.”—when I would finally understand why sex was so desirable to everyone when I myself had never struggled with lust or felt any desire to engage another person that way. Why I never even got true crushes. I thought I was a late bloomer. At 21 years old, I figured I could safely assume I was sexually mature. So whatever absence of sensation or desire was probably representative of my sexual identity. And it was a relief to come to that conclusion.
The day just two months ago when all the pieces—memories, impressions, personal research—finally fell into place and I realized I could call myself asexual…I was actually extremely depressed. I couldn’t stop thinking that I’ve been different my entire life but had just now realized it. But I also felt free. Because I could finally stop waiting, stop wondering. Stop forcing myself to play along and pretend I understood the appeal of our highly sexualized culture.
Turns out I don’t connect with the world that way. It’s just another piece that makes me who I am, and it’s a beautiful thing.
And when I come into contact with other aces, I get really excited. Because we seem to be such a rare breed, there are people who don’t believe we exist. A common response is, “You just haven’t met the right person.” But that’s not it. Too many factors from my current life experience point to something different, something more fundamental.
Many people haven’t yet heard of asexuality, and they might think they’re broken or strange in a society full of more sexual individuals. Awareness combats that in showing them that their experience is valid and there’s nothing wrong or strange about it, and also by assuring them that there are other people like them.
Because it’s comforting and inspiring to know there are people who understand and share similar experiences. Not just on this topic.
But it is Ace Awareness Week!
So spread the word, familiarize yourself with terms and such, hug an ace if you know any. (But just be careful you don’t inadvertently out people who haven’t made their orientation public!)