Jennipher Schafer/Staff Writer
There is an unnoticed group in the queer community which is often misunderstood and even forgotten. The queer community includes everyone who is not strictly heterosexual. Often the focus is made to gay and lesbian individuals, though recently transgendered issues have been more open. Still, the asexual population is ignored in favor of the more sexually charged images of the LGBTQ community.
So what exactly does it mean to be asexual? This is a tricky thing to define because asexual people can and do have sex. What The Asexual Visibility and Education Network defines asexuality to be is “someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are.”
So if they experience no sexual attraction why do some asexual people have sex? The answers are simple enough. Sometimes it is the desire to show their significant other that they want to meet their needs as well. They still feel arousal; it is simply not necessarily directed at anyone in particular such as a romantic partner. Some identify as demi-sexual which means that once a deep connection and trust have been established they can become aroused by a partner even if they are not romantically involved. Still others are gray-asexual which means that they are between asexuality and sexuality, for example because they experience sexual attraction very rarely, only under specific circumstances, or of an extremely low intensity that is almost (or completely) ignorable.
Asexual people can also identify as hetero-romantic, homo-romantic, bi-romantic, or pan-romantic as well. This means that even though sex is not the basis for their attraction they still can feel love and a desire for companionship. Many asexual people still want close relationships and even love. Sex has never been the sole way to express love and so even if a sexual person finds love with an asexual partner there are many ways to express the emotions which do not involve sex.
Some asexual people enjoy small contacts such as hand holding or cuddling to be satisfying means of communicating their love. If you find yourself dating someone who identifies as asexual it is best not to pressure them about sex. If your partner does open up to you sexually make sure that not only was it their decision, but that you understand what this means. Make your partner comfortable. Several asexual people I know have said immediately after any sexual act they need to wash and dress. It helps to feel less uncomfortable and in some cases reminds them they are not being objectified for the act.
Asexual people can make wonderful romantic partners. There is nothing wrong with them. In fact, many of us could learn a thing or two about how to love our partners every day without sex being the ultimate goal.