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Sam Jones Faulkner
Communications Assistant
Mon, 10/25/2021 - 14:45

October 24-30 is Ace Week! A week dedicated to the awareness and celebration of asexual folks. Asexual means feeling less or no sexual attraction, including variations such as demisexual, which is when people only feel sexual attraction after developing a strong emotional bond with another person. The Glow Centre will be hosting a handful of events to celebrate Ace Week, including having an IG Live with the ace dad of TikTok, Cody Daigle-Orians! Make sure to tune into our IG story on Monday, October 25th at 7 PM to attend this exciting next edition in the Queer Futures are Bright series.  

Unfortunately, ace people are often left out of the conversation about queer identities and may feel ostracized from the highly sexual nature of some queer events. This is why awareness weeks like this are so important and can help bring a new level of acceptance and understanding to the community.  

It is also important to understand that romantic and sexual attraction are not the same thing. Romantic attraction refers to the feeling of wanting to date someone, like experiencing crushes. Sexual attraction refers to feelings commonly associated with sexual arousal directed at a specific person.  

Ace folks can face unique challenges due to their identities. Our patriarchal, capitalist society puts a lot of value on sex and sexual attraction, as seen in movies, ads, and social media. As the saying goes “sex sells.” Some ace people may be unaffected by the barrage of sexual content as they may feel neutral on the matter. But there are other folks who are sex-averse and experience elevated levels of discomfort from certain situations that may be more sexual in nature. This can also be said for people who do experience sexual attraction, as everyone has different comfort levels. Just because someone is ace does not mean they are not sex-positive and just because someone experiences sexual attraction doesn’t mean they are not sex-averse. 

Some frequent questions/comments that ace folks get as shared by some asexual students at the University of Waterloo:  

How do you know you are asexual if you have never had sex?  

There are many different things that we know about ourselves without having tried them before. It would be inappropriate to ask a straight person if they truly know their identity or if they have ever had gay sex. The same applies here.  

You just have a hormone disorder.  

While hormones do play a factor in sexual attraction, hormones are not the sole defining factor. As such, while hormonal imbalances and medications such as antidepressants can lead to lowered libido, folks may not identify as asexual because they don’t feel like that term is right for them. It is possible to simply not experience sexual attraction regardless of your hormone levels.  

You’re just a late bloomer.  

This relates to hormone levels too. It is true, some folks realize later in their development or at a different stage in their life that the word asexual may or may not encompass their feelings around sexual attraction. That does not make the identity any less valid, nor does it mean that any identity must be fixed. We learn new things about ourselves every day, and sexuality can be an ongoing discovery.  

Your life will be so sad and lonely.  

Ace folks can and do marry. They can also live alone or with friends or raise children, just as allosexual people do. There is no set life path for any one person to follow and ace folks are included in this.  

You need therapy because you experienced trauma.  

Not all ace folks have experienced sexual trauma, they simply don’t feel sexual attraction. Often the trauma that they may have experienced is due to their asexuality, not the cause of it. Remember that consent is always crucial in any intimate situation.  

But sex is part of being human.  

Who says? There is so much more to being human and life than sex. There are many distinct aspects of living that can fulfil a person’s needs in this world, such as friends, work, exercise, community, and personal hobbies. Sex does not define one’s humanity.  

What if you meet someone and change your mind?  

Then great, you have learned something new about yourself. That doesn’t make your previous identity any less valid. Identities can fluctuate and change and that’s simply how life is. Plenty of people believe they’re straight before learning they are attracted to two genders. That doesn’t make their straight identity at the time some fake, edgy attempt at attention. That’s just what fit at the time and now something fits better.  

Why do we need a whole week dedicated to the ace identity?  

Representation matters. Having the words to describe exactly how you’re feeling can make an enormous difference in coming to terms with your own identity. Awareness weeks such as ace week act as a catalyst to start the conversation around this identity so more people know of it and can learn about common misconceptions and how to interact with folks more respectfully.  

Happy Ace Week to everyone! Don’t forget to check out @uwglow for more information on the asexual identity and for more fun 2SLGBTQ+ content!