I want to start by saying that I’m not an expert on almost anything, just a person who’s done my best to become less ignorant on the important stuff. One of these has been sexual orientation and how it connects with who we are as individuals.
A few years ago, I came out as asexual (ace for short). It was a challenge for me because the expectation in our society, no matter where you stand politically or religiously or socially, is that everyone has this sexual drive inside of them. For me, that sexual drive is absent, completely and truly missing. I’ve never felt that pull towards another person that is so present in media and in the lives of almost everyone else I’ve ever spoken to.
I’m not aromantic in any capacity- I feel myself drawn to people on a romantic level probably more often than I should. Recognizing that in myself was a challenge to my understanding of sexuality because I had thought people were automatically romantically and sexually attracted to the same group of people. That’s not the case with me, and it’s not the case with many other people as well.
Asexuality is not often spoken of, and many times when I’ve talked to people about it, they tell me it’s not possible or that those who identify as asexual just haven’t met the right person yet. This always frustrates me, but I realize that many people have simply never been exposed to the idea that asexuality even exists, so I try not to get too bothered.
One such conversation happened today and it got me thinking about something I’ve realized and said many times recently: sexual orientation and sexual behavior do not always match. We were talking about the character Jughead from the Archie comics and the TV show Riverdale. I’ve heard that it became canon last year that Jughead was ace, and I’ve just started watching the show. The lack of openly asexual characters in media is evident to me, as an asexual person. I was really hoping he would be openly ace in the TV show too.
One of my classmates made the comment that she didn’t think he could be ace because he apparently has a sex scene in the show (SPOILERS- WHY?!). I told her that asexual people can still have sex, like any person of any sexual orientation can have sex with people they’re not attracted to. She didn’t get it, which is something I’ve gotten used to, but for me the lack of education regarding asexuality is growing increasingly frustrating.
I guess my point is that asexuality exists and ace people are real and they can have sex for many reasons: maybe they want children or have a non-ace partner or any other reason they’ve decided is sufficient. Your knowledge of a person’s sexual behavior does not give you a license to put a label on their sexual orientation or any other part of who they are. Just some food for thought.