Understanding Asexuality

By Julia Diaz (she/her), 16 years old, editor

October 26, 2023

Asexuality has a long history of being overlooked and misunderstood. Asexuality Awareness Week, also known as “Ace Week,” runs from October 22 to 28 this year. This week, created by Sara Beth Brooks in 2010, aims to teach people about asexuality, what it is, and why it is a valid sexual orientation.

Many people don’t know much about what asexuality is or what it means to identify as asexual (or “ace”). Here you have basic information!

What is asexuality?

Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction towards others. It exists on a spectrum, with sublabels such as “graysexual” (sexual attraction to a small degree or in certain situations) and “demisexual” (no sexual attraction unless a strong emotional connection has been established). These categories can help those who identify as ace better understand themselves. Unfortunately, because asexuality is rooted in a lack of sexual attraction, ace people have often been labeled as “broken” or “abnormal.” But aces are none of those things!

Some asexual people may also identify as aromantic, which is due to a lack of romantic feelings towards others. However, they are two different identities, and you can identify as ace without being aromantic, or aromantic without being ace.

Why hadn’t I heard of him before?

I identify as asexual and I only found out because it was the word of the day on a dictionary app! It’s common for people on the ace spectrum to feel confused. “For a long time I didn’t know how to describe my feelings,” says Michael, 16, from Metuchen, New Jersey. “But once I discovered asexuality, I knew I was ace, and that cleared up a lot of confusion and uncertainty for me.”

Why don’t more people know about asexuality? For one thing, there isn’t much asexual representation in TV shows and movies. However, representation has increased in recent years. For example, Todd from Bojack Horseman is one of the most famous and well-written asexual characters, and has served as an introduction to asexuality for many.

Other characters who have been discussed as asexual or aromantic include Jughead from the Archie comics (not the riodale version), Sherlock Holmes, Peridot in steven universe and Lilith Clawthorne The owl house. However, this has typically been clarified behind the scenes by writers, actors, producers and directors, rather than a clear description on screen.

Clearly, we need a more consistent and accurate representation!

What you can do

Whether you identify as ace or not, by reading this article you are already more aware of asexuality! Be sure to visit and support asexual writers, artists, and actors. You can do this by interacting with their work: reading a book by an asexual writer, watching a show with an asexual character, watching a movie starring an asexual actor, etc.

And support your best friends too! For featured events this week, check out Ace Weekand for more information on asexuality, check out the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Remember: it’s important to know about asexuality no matter the week.

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