This Is What It Means To Be Asexual

Sexuality and gender identity aren't really that hard to understand, yet we hear again and again that identities like intersex or asexual are too hard for straight, cisgender people to wrap their minds around.
In an effort to curb that excuse for the next generation, and to build a more accepting future, Lindsay Amer and her friend Teddy (who is a stuffed bear) star in videos aimed to help kids understand identities within the LGBTQIA+ community.
The series, Queer Kid Stuff, is hosted on YouTube and took on defining asexuality in the latest video.
Amer opens the video asking Teddy about the times when they (Teddy uses they/them pronouns) see their parents kiss.
"Sometimes when two adults love each other romantically, they like to express that love by kissing," Amer explains to Teddy. "They might also hold hands or hug."
While Teddy's parents also hold Teddy's hands and hug them, Amer mentions that while there are lots of different kinds of love, the video today would be "talking about romantic love between adults."
Amer then called on her friend Eliza, who is asexual, to help explain her identity.
"Explaining what asexual is is pretty simple," Eliza tells Teddy. "Being asexual is when adults love each other romantically, but they don't want to express that love through something like kissing or other ways of expressing love physically."
Asexuality is a spectrum, of course, so this one definition doesn't work for everyone.
"There are lots of different ways a person can be asexual, but it usually has to do with the ways people want to physically express their romantic love for other people," Eliza says.
She explains that kissing is one way people express their love for each other, but sometimes people express their love with words, too.
Teddy, who remembers that when their parents sometimes say "I love you" to each other, clearly understands the thought of people expressing love through words.
Still, Eliza says, some asexual people actually do enjoy kissing, like Teddy's parents do, but they don't like other physical expressions of love (like, you know, sex.) There are so many different ways for people to be asexual, she says, that we call it a spectrum.
Using phrases such as "other forms of physical expression" shows parents that they can avoid having the sex talk with their kids and still explain what it means to be asexual — which breaks down a common argument used with many sexualities. But, like most children probably would be, Teddy is curious about those "other forms." Amer shows us that it's still possible to avoid talking about sex with young kids by explaining that it's a conversation for later and sometimes we have to be patient when learning about new things.
Still, we're not shy about talking about sex here and many people — especially those who feel like they may identify within the asexual (aka ace) spectrum — have plenty of questions.
"I've only really been attracted to about three people my entire life, but when I was I wanted to have sex with them. Would I be sexual or asexual?"
This is an example of a question the Asexual Visibility and Education Network often gets, according to their FAQs. And the answer is that a person who is sometimes sexually attracted to people might identify as "gray-asexual" or "gray-a," which means they identify somewhere within the gray area between asexual and sexual. Other people who may identify this way are people who have sexual desire but their libido is very low and people who are only sexually attracted to other people under very specific circumstances.
Some people who can only feel sexual attraction after forming a close bond with another person choose to identify as demi-sexual, and some who enjoy masturbation and are turned on by the thought of their own bodies may identify as autosexual.
While a complete understanding of asexuality might not be quite as simple as the conversation between Teddy, Eliza, and Amer, it's still possible to introduce the idea and help others understand that not experiencing sexual desire is completely normal, and doesn't mean a person is broken or weird.
Videos like this, and an earlier video posted about being intersex, can help kids (and maybe even some adults) feel less isolated in their identities and we're all for that.
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