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Asexuality – The invisible spectrum


Asexual representation is becoming more common, but it is still a widely misunderstood and under-

discussed orientation. Asexual, often known as “ace”, refers to a partial, or complete, lack of sexual

attraction or lack of interest in sexual activity with others.


The asexuality spectrum

Asexuality is standardly defined as the absence of sexual attraction towards other people. But not

everyone agrees on the definition of asexuality -- it is a spectrum. The asexuality spectrum is an

umbrella term which describes a variety of ways in which a person might identify. While most

asexual people have very little interest in sexual activity, some do engage in it. Some asexuals may

also experience romantic attraction, while others may not.


Many people dismiss asexuality entirely, or hold the notion that a person cannot be truly asexual.

Commonly held misconceptions regarding this orientation include the idea that it is a choice

(whereas it is an orientation) or that asexuality is the same as celibacy.


Celibacy, or abstinence, are not the same as being asexual. If someone is celibate, they have made

the intentional choice to avoid sexual activity, in spite of feeling attracted to others. Furthermore,

many people mistakenly think that someone is exclusively asexual only if they have never

experienced sexual attraction or engaged in sex.


The asexuality spectrum mainly has two orientations: sexual orientation and romantic orientation.

Several identities fall into these categories. Everyone has emotional needs, including asexual people.

The majority of people will desire for, and develop, emotionally intimate relationships with others.

People who are asexual may be drawn towards the same, or to different sexes. Other aces prefer

close friendships over romantic partnerships.


Knowing the following terms can help one better understand the asexual community:

  • Allosexual, the opposite of asexual: This refers to people who experience sexual attraction

  • Aromantic: This is a romantic orientation, which is different from a sexual orientation. Aromantics experience little, to no, romantic attraction. They prefer platonic friendships or other non-romantic relationships.

  • Demisexual: Demisexual individuals experience sexual, or romantic, attraction, but only after they have formed a close, emotional connection with someone.

  • Greysexual or grey romantic: This refers to a grey area between asexuality and allosexuality. People who are greysexual or grey romantic may experience sexual or romantic attraction sometimes, or only under certain circumstances.

Media depiction of asexual people

People who are asexual are often at the receiving end of misleading media representations that dehumanize, or ridicule, them. Although it's rare to see explicit asexual representation in media, when it appears, asexuality is frequently portrayed as a joke, as illegitimate, or as an obstacle that a character must overcome. Usually, this involves making an effort to the asexual character to get them interested in sex. In movies and television serials, characters that do not want to have sex are frequently portrayed as immature, shy, or insecure, rather than just being uninterested. Many asexual people may experience feelings of inferiority or pressure to engage in sex as a result of this.


Our society is increasingly hyper-sexualized, and that can make it particularly alienating for asexual

people who do not feel the need to have sex. Asexuality is not about how much sex someone has,

but the role sexuality plays in how they experience life. Conversations surrounding the wider

LGBTQIA+ community are very sex- focused. People in the community who are not ace-inclusive

think that asexual people are anti-sex whereas that is not the case.


Asexuality needs to be understood properly, and the term needs to be normalized. Moreover, the

media needs to project asexual people as normal human beings, and not as people who need to

overcome some abnormal behaviour.


By Manasvini LR

CMR University, Bangalore


Author's Profile: A psychology and English literature major, Manasvini is interested in illustrating,

painting and designing. She is an amateur writer, hoping to specialize in creative non-fictional

narratives.

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