My main issue with using a label like asexual to define myself is that I object to having to define myself by what I am not or by what I don’t do. For example, I’m neither a plumber, not a millionaire, nor a fan of rugby, nor a whole host of other things that I don’t have to define, explain or justify. So why should I even bother with a label that defines me as not sexual? Surely by doing so I am simply reinforcing a perceived norm that sexuality is something that everyone has to have?
Well, in an ideal world I wouldn’t feel the need to use such a label; but unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world. Being sexual is a perceived norm and so those of us who are not sexual often find ourselves faced with questions from those who want to understand why something that they thought was a given, was not in fact given to everyone.
My other issue with using the asexual label is that there are always people out there who will scrutinise whatever definition of the word they can find in order to try to invalidate those who choose to use it. This is not just the case with sexuality but also applies to a whole host of other terms that people use to try to explain their identity in terms of sexuality, gender, ethnicity or even what types of food they eat.
So why am I even bothering to join in with Asexual Awareness Week? Well, the answer is simple. Asexual Awareness Week is about acceptance and understanding. There are people out there who want to understand and one of the best ways to contribute to that understanding is that those of us who are willing to define ourselves as asexual take some time to talk about the issues and share our own stories. Then, perhaps one day, not being sexual will be accepted, not as an alternative to the perceived norm, but as just part of being human.
I’m no expert on these types of issues, and I realise that by writing this post and taking part in Asexual Awareness Week I run the risk of contradicting myself. However, that’s life I’m afraid. So, for the next week, I will be happy to call myself asexual and share my stories with you in the spirit of raising awareness, acceptance and understanding. I hope that you will share your stories too.
Asexual Awareness Week: October 20 – 26 2013