Here at the University of Evansville, we call ourselves the Purple Aces. It’s an identity that we will carry with useven after we have graduated. For me, I have two “ace” identities: one as a UE Purple Ace and the other as an asexual, or ace, person.
Asexuality is one of the lesser-known sexualities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. The basic definition is thatpeople who are asexual, or ace for short, experience little to no sexual attraction toward people of any gender. We are capable of feeling other types of attraction, such as romantic and aesthetic attraction, but we do not have any feelings of sexual attraction.
One common misconception about asexuality is that it can be used as a synonym for being celibate. However,celibacy is a personal choice to abstain from sex, whereas asexuality is a sexual orientation that is part of the LGBTQ+ community and is, therefore, not a choice. It is just like any other sexuality, except instead of feeling sexual attraction to one or more genders, an ace person doesn’t feel sexual attraction toward any gender.
Another misconception is that asexual people cannot enjoy or engage in sex. Asexuality is a spectrum, meaning that ace people can have a variety of opinions and feelings toward sex. For instance, some ace people are sex-positive, meaning they participate in intercourse despite not experiencing sexual attraction. On the other end of the spectrum are sex-negative people, who have no desire to have sex and do not experience any sort of sexual attraction.
Because asexuality is a spectrum and is fluid, there are some identities under the general asexual umbrella that are important to know and understand. For example, a demisexual person is someone who does not experience sexual attraction toward a person until they have formed an emotional bond with that person. A graysexual person is someonewhose asexuality lies in a gray area between being asexual and sexual.
When I was in elementary and middle school, I would often hear my friends talking about their crushes on classmates and celebrities and I always wondered why I had never developed a crush on anyone. For a long time, I justassumed I was a late bloomer and that eventually I would
develop a crush on someone. But as I grew older and started high school, I started to realize that it was never going to happen for me. I knew there was something different about me, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was.
For the most part, I didn’t mind that other people had crushes and I didn’t. However, it did make meuncomfortable when the topic of crushes would come up and I would have to admit to not having one. I vividlyremember being asked who my celebrity crush was once and I got so panicked that I would be judged for not having one that I told them I had a crush on Zac Efron.
This was not true, but I knew they wouldn’t accept the idea of me not having a crush, so I blurted out the first conventionally attractive male celebrity I could think of to avoid embarrassment.
The idea that everyone has the ability to form a crush or has to have a certain type of attraction toward a personwas so ingrained in me that I often wondered if there was something wrong with me. How come everyone else had crushes and had desires for sexual and romantic relationships when I didn’t?
I first learned about asexuality in 2020 when I was 16 years old. Reading about people who never had crushes growing up, never desired a relationship, and who had never felt sexual attraction toward anyone gave me an epiphany.This is who I am. All my life I had felt out of the loop and like I was missing something, and learning about asexualitygave me clarity. There was nothing wrong with me; I was asexual. I had a unique, whole sexual orientation that is just as valid as any other sexuality.
I am now 19 years old and I am happy and comfortable with my sexuality. I have an identity that sums up myfeelings in a concise word (“ace”) and I have had the privilege of telling my friends and family about my asexuality, who have for the most part accepted who I am.
I don’t want any ace person to ever feel isolated and alone because of their sexuality, which is why my goal now is to share my experiences as an ace person and raise awareness about asexuality. Educating people on this lesser-known identity is a passion of mine and I hope it helps to bring together more knowledgeable and accepting ace allies and ace people like me who finally have a word to describe how they are feeling.