Goals & objectives
- To educate participants about sexuality and to dispel any myths or misunderstandings about asexual people
- To highlight asexuality as a sexual orientation and as a spectrum of many different sexual orientations
- To allow for questions about asexuality and asexual individuals
Step-by-step walk through
- Introduce the topic of asexuality and give a short lecture.
- Open up the discussion to allow for any questions about what was said during the lecture and to inquire about participants’ personal understanding and experience with asexuality.
Note: This lecture should not be read verbatim the following is a guide to help you best understand and articulate asexuality during your workshop or educational program, however, the following should be explained in your own words and should simply be used as a guide or a reference before (and in very limited ways) during the activity.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation that we don’t often hear discussed or talked about in society. To start off let’s define asexuality.
Asexuality or being asexual is when someone experiences a low or lack of sexual attraction to other individuals. They may experience romantic attraction to other individuals but likely experience limited or no sexual attraction towards others.
Asexuality is different from celibacy in that asexuality is a sexual orientation, where as celibacy is choice of refraining from or not engaging in a particular action. And being asexual doesn’t mean that you are celibate. Additionally, being asexual does not mean that you do not wish to have (a) significant other as some asexual people still wish/desire/are interested in forming romantic relationships with other individuals. If someone is not attracted to others in a sexual nor a romantic manner, then this individual is an aromantic asexual.
Asexuality is on a spectrum – from those who experience absolutely no sexual interest or attraction to those who experience some or low levels of sexual attraction. Those who experience low levels of sexual attraction (often only after a prolonged period of time getting to know someone) are called demi-sexual. Those who are between demi-sexual and no sexual attraction aces are known as grey-A(s).
For those aces who experience romantic attraction, many specific whom they are attracted to romantically by using the terms homoromantic (same-sex romantic attraction), heteroromantic, biromantic, panromantic, etc. As the relationships that aces form with significant others are romantic relationships – you’ll often hear the term boyfriend, or girlfriend by asexuals to indicate this significant other.
Many people find it difficult to understand the difference between romantic attraction and sexual attraction because for so many people the two are intricately intertwined. Consider this, have you ever thought someone is a jerk, and you wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with them romantically, but you still find them sexually attracted. When you are romantically attracted to someone, you desire the relationship and the emotional/romantic connection because you value that person as an individual, but you are not interested in sex with that person.
There are many myths about the asexual community that are harmful or hurtful to Ace individuals.
Like we said before, asexuality is a sexual orientation – as legitimate as any other. It is not caused by a traumatic experience as a child or by a hormone imbalance or suppression of a different sexual orientation. It’s not “caused” by anything. It is important to be aware and sensitive to that fact and to not ask/tell asexual individuals that their orientation is a result of some other factor.
It is also important not to dismiss asexuality as a phase, or something that a person will grow out of. There tends to be a tendency to think asexual people, teenagers especially, are just going through a phase. While many people (of all sexual orientations) experience shifts in the way they understand and identify their sexual orientation many do not and it can be hurtful and feel invalidating when people question one’s sexual orientation.
Some people question whether someone can truly know if they are asexual if they’ve never had sex before. But consider that many straight, gay, queer people are aware of their sexual orientation prior to ever having sex with those they are attracted to. This can be true for aces too. Similarly, it’s important to remember not to assume an asexual individual simply has not yet “met the right person.”
Our sexual orientations are defined by ourselves in many different ways and include attractions and desires as well as actions. So, for people who are asexual, having sex does not change their sexual orientation.
Make it your own
Change this lecture to work for you and include additional information you think would be helpful or educational to participants.
This lecture should not be read verbatim the following is a guide to help you best understand and articulate asexuality during your workshop or educational program, however, the following should be explained in your own words and should simply be used as a guide or a reference before (and in very limited ways) during the activity.
Open the floor for questions after the lecture if you are interested in encouraging discussion amongst the participants about asexuality.