We’re the one percent. There are six of us in my college, a hundred and eighty across the university and around six hundred and forty thousand in the country. But we’re invisible, overlooked and sometimes even ignorant of ourselves. We’re unable to forge an identity in a world that does not recognise us – recognise us for who we are.
Asexual people don’t feel any sexual attraction towards others. Our orientation is defined by our lack of sexuality. Sexual attraction and romance are two different things though and we can still be drawn romantically towards someone. It may even be sensual. And like all other people we can have genders anywhere on or off the gender spectrum. The truth is that there is very little difference between the ninety-nine percent and us. So I ask myself this important question; why am I defining our sexuality to a queer magazine?
It’s because so many people, including asexuals themselves are unaware of our existence. And out of those who are aware – many still refuse to acknowledge us.
Figuring out if you’re asexual is difficult. Everyone around you grows up into their own sexuality and often in an environment where labels define identity. Others attach labels to you as a matter of course, but when none help, you still end up feeling lost, alone, different and broken. Others shout and scream about their new sexual experiences, their fantasies and attractions while common room talk often revolves around abs, boobs, ass. The asexual 1% gets left in the dark.
Where can you look for guidance in a world fixated on sex?
How many role models are there for asexual people today? None. We live in a world where 92% of top ten billboard songs are about sex. It’s a world that dictates desire to a young child without offering an alternative. And that’s the norm. What if it’s not the norm for you? Who else do you turn to? While members of the LGB community struggle for representation in the media – their characters restricted to queer ones, caricatured or marginalised into minor roles, asexuals occupy none whatsoever. Even Sherlock, a character who shows absolutely no sexual desire, cannot be openly asexual and rather has an attraction to Dr. Watson pinned onto him. Because after all, there isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t yearn for sex, right? Think about the difference a label makes when attached to revered icons in the media. How many, old and young, would find comfort in knowing they weren’t alone. You don’t have to feel sexual attraction and it is OK to be yourself.
Visibility, and the lack thereof, cripples the growth of the asexual community. It stops us from reaching out to each other and finding ourselves. It’s a struggle that’s been overcome and perhaps forgotten by LGB people; a privilege not yet shouted about. Once you find a label that describes you so perfectly you have a chance at pride, if a little later than most. But what then? Well, that’s a whole other article waiting to be written.
Joe Jukes studies Geography at the University of Cambridge and is a contributor for, “Get Real.” He is also Girton College LGBT+ representative.