It's time to be unapologetic about your needs.
Asexuality tends to paint a picture of a very specific kind of person. In reality, there is huge diversity within this small community — and a lot we can learn from them.
Expert Julie Sondra Decker, a prominent voice for the asexual community since 1998, said in her book The Invisible Orientation, that the estimated 1 percent of the population that identifies has only one thing in common: no sexual attraction to others. But beyond that, there are many different voices and identities that can help you reflect more deeply on your own sexuality and get specific about your authentic needs and desires.
Here are just a few of the insights from Julie's book:
1. Romance and sexuality are not a package deal. Asexuals experience no sexual attraction to others, but may still crave romantic connection and relationships. Aromantic people don't experience romantic attraction, but may get involved in relationships for other reasons.
Our culture tells us that sex and romance are a package deal, but the asexual community knows otherwise.
The most current research reveals that love and bonding are ruled by a different part of your brain than sexual desire. Reflect on your own life: are you sexually and romantically attracted to the same people? Or are you sexually attracted to one type of person and drawn into a relationship with another?
2. You have the right to get as specific as possible about your sexual identity. In the asexual community there is great freedom — allowing you to get specific about your sexual identity. What if we all had the same freedom? What if you could be honest about the fact that you're bisexual, but also homoromantic, meaning you experience sexual attraction to more than one gender, but only want desire a relationship with someone of the same sex?
We believe that this kind of clarity would free us all up — allowing more honesty for our desires and minimize a lot of the emotional confusion we hear from our community. Again, sexual and romantic attraction are not a package deal. When we embrace that truth, we all gain more insight about who we are as sexual beings and what we want out of a relationship.
3. A relationship shouldn't be your only source of happiness.
Many people struggle to understand how asexuals and aromantics could be happy without the experiences most of us take for granted. But, if we listen to their truths we are reminded that there are many sources of joy, love and sensuality beyond the bedroom. Asexuals may have close friendships, fulfilling hobbies and diverse sources of physical pleasure.
We hear from so many people whose happiness and self-worth are completely tied up in their romantic life.
What if we all made more of an effort to diversify our sources of joy, intimacy and pleasure? Depending on one romantic relationship for your entire sense of worth and pleasure is too much pressure on that relationship. We all can learn how to find pleasure and fulfillment in our friendships, our hobbies and the world around us.
4. We should embrace sexual diversity. Asexuals face many of the same kinds of scrutiny and social critique that gays and lesbians confront. Well meaning friends and family often try to "fix" asexuals or question the origin of the "problem" of their sexual orientation. Statements like "your orientation must be a result of sexual trauma," "get your hormones checked," or "it's just a phase" suggest that there is something broken or pathological about non-heterosexual orientations.
As a culture, we must learn to embrace the incredible diversity of sexual orientation and approach one another with respectful curiosity, rather than judgment. Only then can we overcome the shame and insecurity that can interfere with expressing and enjoying our authentic sexuality.
To learn more about asexuality, listen to our free podcast interview with Julie Sondra Decker and then grab a copy of her book, The Invisible Orientation. Ready to explore your sexual potential? Come visit us at our site, Pleasure Mechanics, and join our newsletter for a free weekly dose of sex advice!