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‘A’ is Not Sexuality’s Scarlet Letter

Dear Yana,

I was recently discussing your column with some new friends I met through Pioneer Valley Aces, a local group of individuals who identify as aromantic and/or asexual. I wasn’t the only one of us who appreciated your witty way of reassuring those who write in that their sexuality is OK.

However, as a 39-year-old woman who has never had all that much interest in having romantic relationships or being sexually active, I don’t generally find affirmation of my identity in The V-Spot. To be honest, it can often reinforce my self-consciousness about my asexuality. Could you please offer some advice on how to feel OK about being aromantic/asexual in a highly sexualized society?

You’re so good at advising people on how to communicate about sex – could you offer some advice on how to communicate about one’s asexuality, especially with people whose worldview does not include an awareness of the wide range of “normal” when it comes to sexual desire (or lack of sexual desire)?

— A Pioneer Valley Ace

Hi PVA!

Thanks for writing in and giving me this opportunity to write about asexuality. You’re right— not many people write into a sex column asking me questions that are not sexual in nature!

Asexuality (a sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction) isn’t new. Sexual practices and identities rarely are — rather, we find the words to describe them. David Jay

Read this week's Intern Investigation! Asexuality & Allosexuality.

Read this week’s Intern Investigation! Asexuality & Allosexuality.

launched the Asexuality and Visibility Education Network (AVEN) in 2001, which today boasts more than 82,000 members. There are far more than 50 shades of sexuality, and sexual orientation doesn’t dictate one set of feelings and actions. An asexual person may experience zero sexual attraction, or maybe every now and then they do (known sometimes as graysexual). The asexual (and sexual) possibilities are endless.

So how do you exist in a world that is so terrified of difference that it simply cannot resist a good categorizing? Find and create community. You can do this internationally with online resources like AVEN or locally via Pioneer Valley Aces (on Facebook at facebook.com/pvaces).

Find cracks in the norm and widen them. I think about this as a non-monogamous queer person in a heterosexist world who has spent time editing doctor’s forms to change my “husband’s” name to my “spouse’s” name or asking for a “couple’s” massage for more than two people. If the world isn’t designed to handle you in all your authenticity, then tailor it to fit. Make the system uncomfortable with its own assumptions. There’s no need to keep a foundation stable if it doesn’t hold you up.

In my utopian world, there are no assumptions made about sex. The new normal is to co-create your interactions with people from scratch. There are no baseball metaphors, no bases to run, and no relationship escalator to stand on…continue reading…