- This can lecture read verbatim, however, we’d encourage you to review it, make notes, and use it as a guide rather than a script.
Goals & Learning Outcomes
- To educate participants about sexuality and to dispel myths and misunderstandings about asexuality
- 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
- 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.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation that we don’t often hear discussed or talked about. 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 necessarily mean that you are celibate. Asexuality is speaking more about the drive or the desire where as celibacy speaks to the actions or behaviors of an individual
People often make assumptions that if someone is asexualy they don’t want to date anyone or have romantic relationships. Some asexual people want/do have significant others and want/do wish/desire/are interested in forming romantic relationships with other people. Here it is important to distinguish between someone being asexual and someone being aromatic. Someone who is asexual may feel low or no desire or pull towards others regarding sexual desire/attraction while still feeling strong romantic desire. The term aromantic speaks to a lack of or low level of romantic desire or attraction, and asexual and aromantic are separate and distinct from each other.
Asexuality is often thought of on a spectrum – from those who experience absolutely no sexual interest or attraction to those who experience some or low levels of sexual attraction. There are many specific terms that you may hear associated with the asexuality community that identify folks on different parts of the spectrum.
aromantic – adj. : experiencing little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior. Aromanticism exists on a continuum from people who experience no romantic attraction or have any desire for romantic activities, to those who experience low levels, or romantic attraction only under specific conditions, and many of these different places on the continuum have their own identity labels (see demiromantic). Sometimes abbreviated to “aro” (pronounced like “arrow”).
demisexual – adj. : little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic or emotional connection is formed with another individual, often within a romantic relationship.
demiromantic – adj. : little or no capacity to experience romantic attraction until a strong sexual or emotional connection is formed with another individual, often within a sexual relationship.
You’ll also often hear people use the term “ace” which is an affirmative abbreviation of the word asexual. 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.
Some believe that asexual people, especially teenagers, 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.”
There is a lot here to unpack so we’re going to wrap up here for the moment, if anyone is interested in learning more about asexuality or the ace community there are some resources in the back of the packet that you can check out.
Make it your own
Change this lecture to work for you and include additional information you think would be helpful or educational to participants. You can also open it up for questions after the lecture.