To that end, Williams said she often tells people she’s bisexual (she actually identifies as biromantic), because “it’s a lot easier for them to understand. ” Adam Winney, who wrote an informational song about asexuality in 2016, agreed, explaining that he’s far more vocal about being interested in other men than saying he’s demisexual. “Growing up, I truly believed the importance of the stakes involved in each American Pie movie I absorbed,” said Winney. “With a majority of the population being sexual, it makes sense to market towards them.
One demi, Dustin Fowler, told Mashable that people have assumed that being on the asexual spectrum means he never wants physical contact, even with friends, or that he doesn’t want a relationship. “We’re people just like members of any other community with individual wants and needs,” he said.
Cerankowski, editor of Asexuality, Feminist, and Queer Perspective and author of the paper “Spectacular Asexuals: Media Visibility and Cultural Fetish". “Some people want to have sex completely divested from any emotional attachment,” Cerankowski said, citing one-night stands and hookup culture. “And then you have people maybe on the other end of that spectrum who only have sex within committed relationships or committed monogamous relationships, and then you have anything in between.
Because of the neutral nature of asexuality, though, it can be challenging for some to place it within the same movement of sex positivity that includes classifications like homosexual or bisexual — identities literally named for sexual attraction. “Historically, we thought about sexual diversity in terms of the gender to which you’re attracted to,” said Hammack. “It really kind of framed how both the culture and the science evolved, and the problem with that is that it didn’t capture the full range of people’s experience of intimacy.
This bolsters Hammack’s assertion that it’s difficult for asexual people to find space in the queer community, which tends to be sex positive and sometimes hypersexual (again, that’s OK). “There’s been a rejection of asexual people on the grounds of like ‘Hey, you’re talking about something different.
Hammack, professor of psychology and director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Variations in the levels of sexual attraction or the conditions under which people experience sexual desire is a normal form of human diversity, and it’s not one that’s been represented historically,” he said.
The asexual community, named for its lack of interest in sex, struggles to navigate a movement defined by sexual attraction. “On the one hand we have this sex-positive culture which is wonderful and liberating, but there is a story that’s missing, and what’s missing is not everyone is sexual,” said Phillip L.
But Todd’s asexuality was a critical step in diverse sexual representation, one which Vox’s Sara Ghaleb (who identifies as asexual and aromantic), described as “huge. “[When] you never see anyone like yourself reflected in media, it can feel like you don’t exist,” Ghaleb wrote in 2018.
To me, sex positivity means celebrating with someone when they want to have sex and celebrating when they know themselves well enough that they’re comfortable not. “To truly have a sex positive moment is to be able to address that whole range of human sexuality and sexual desire and experience,” Cerankowski added. “When you have a sex positivity that says yes, sex is great, no slut-shaming, but also if you don’t want to have sex that’s OK, too.
Some people identify as demisexual (interested in sex but only when there’s a strong emotional connection) or as graysexual (moving fluidly between asexual and sexual depending on the circumstances).
Yet as a sexual minority by definition, asexual people fit into the larger queer community.
Just as heterosexual people can be allies for Pride and the queer community, people on the asexual spectrum can, and regularly do, support others’ enthusiasm for sex.
Hammack explained that simply having words like asexual, graysexual, and demisexual is crucial for people to navigate the complex climate of modern relationships.
Regardless of where they stand on the asexual spectrum, individuals who see themselves in this community aren’t represented in a media and culture that’s striving to embrace and destigmatize sex.