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Things that Exist: Posters, Big Sean, Peanut Butter, and Asexuality

I’m pretty sure every school in the country has those lame PSA posters all over the place. You know the ones I’m talking about. It’ll be about not texting and driving, but the entire poster is written in “txt tlk,” the language adults think teenagers communicate in, but really no one understands. I’d say that each and every one of these darn posters are completely useless and a waste of paper, but there’s just one exception.

 

 

pls dnt txt lke ths

Throughout my life, I never had any sort of sexual attraction towards anyone, nor have I ever had any desire to have sex at all. I also never thought it was a big deal. When I’d tell my friends this, they’d just shrug it off and tell me I’d mature one day, or that I just needed to find the “right person.” The scary part is, I thought they were right. I just assumed, that like everyone else, I would date or marry someone and then have sex with them to prove my love for them. It didn’t matter that I didn’t want to have sex, I’d have to do it, otherwise my partner would think I didn’t love them. For some reason, people didn’t think a lack of sexual attraction could exist. And for most of my life I didn’t either.

UNTIL I SAW THE FUCKING POSTER.

I was ditching class one day when I spotted a large triangle on a poster near the guidance office. I always knew my high school was a branch of the Illuminati so I thought I’d take a closer look. I learned two things that day:

a. I still need more conclusive evidence my school is part of a secret cult.

b. There is, in fact, another sexuality, one many people do not know exists.

Asexuality. It’s a lack of sexual attraction towards any gender. It’s not celibacy, because people who take vows of celibacy can still feel sexual attraction or have a desire to have sex. Asexuals just don’t feel any of that sexual attraction in the first place. They can feel romantic attractions towards people though (unless they’re also aromantic). They aren’t some sort of stone cold, heartless robots. Asexuals are real people too.

For the first time, I found a description that matched me and my feelings. I was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I was the A. There was an actual word that described me. Now I could go ahead and tell people exactly who I was. I wasn’t some sort of a vague mess of words and ideas that I made up in my head, I was an actual person, with an identity to be reckoned with. I finally felt like my sexuality was real.

For the first time, I found a description that matched me and my feelings. I was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I was the A. There was an actual word that described me. Now I could go ahead and tell people exactly who I was. I wasn’t some sort of a vague mess of words and ideas that I made up in my head, I was an actual person, with an identity to be reckoned with. I finally felt like my sexuality was real.

That feeling lasted for twelve whole seconds before someone ruined my moment.

 

Me: Hey check out this poster about asexuality, I think I might be asexual!

Friend: LOL that’s not real.

Me: *slowly backs away*

Friend: Where are you going?

Me: According to you I do not exist and therefore do not have to put up with your bullshit.

 

Did that bitch just say it’s not real? I pointed out a goddamn poster (albeit a lame one) to her face; how can she say it’s not real? I find this problem arises almost every time I mention asexuality as a valid sexual orientation. Some people just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a lack of sexual attraction can exist. Statistically, about 1% of our population identifies as asexual – and although that might not seem like a lot, that’s 70 million people. That’s more than the entire population of the United Kingdom. Just think about that for a second. When people tell me asexuality isn’t real, it doesn’t just undermine my personal feelings, but those of 70 million people, if not more.

So why are people so reluctant to identify as asexual? Or even admit that it can be a real thing? I attribute it to the over-sexualization of literally everything in the media. People get the idea that someone not liking/wanting sex is either not real or unnatural. Most TV shows, movies, songs, and books feature heteronormative couples i.e. straight, sexual couples. Even in the rare chance a non-straight couple is present, the characters are almost always sexual, especially if they’re female. The least common thing to see is an asexual person that is perfectly healthy and normal, and not labeled as “mentally ill” or “socially awkward.”

 

Some Loser: But wanting sex is just what makes us human!

Me: You right.

Me: You got me.

Me: I’m actually a god.

Some Loser: ….

Me: Bow down mortal.

 

Still, sometimes media does portray asexual characters, but not in the way you might think at first. For example, Data from Star Trek: Next Generation. Data does not feel sexual attraction or sexual urges towards people, although he does participate in sexual activities if requested, as many asexuals might choose to do. At first, I’m like, yeah! Finally some nice asexual representation! But then I realized Data is an android, a robot. Not a human. Many times a character in science fiction or fantasy that is asexual is also not a human, which makes it seem like you’ve got to experience sexual attraction to be human. This isn’t true at all, but the way media works, it can seem that way.

Main-stream media is worse however, because even the robots are sexual. Asexualilty just isn’t a concept in popular movies, TV, and songs. Hell, the closest thing to asexuality in main-stream media is the song “I Don’t Fuck with You” by Big Sean, and trust me, it’s not that close at all. This kind of under-representation in the media not only makes asexuals feel left out, broken, and confused about their identities, but also gives people false ideas about love and sex.

 

literally me right now

Thank you, mainstream media, because now everyone thinks they know more about my sexuality than I do. You won’t even believe the crap I’ve had to hear about this.

 

Ignorant Asshole 1: It’s not love if you don’t have sex with the person.

Me: Do you love your mom?

            Ignorant Asshole 1: Yes.

            Me: Either you see the problem with your argument or I have to call the police.

 

Media has made it so that people have a hard time separating the ideas of love and sex, even though both are completely different things. And the most confusing thing to me is that when people do separate these two ideas, they can only comprehend sex without love, but not love without sex. What kind of twisted logic is that? I tell people I am more than capable of loving a person, but they rarely believe me. After not being taken seriously all the time, you can start to become an angry person. It’s come to the point where the muscles in my face have arranged themselves in a perpetual ‘resting bitch face’. I hate it when people try to “convince” me to not be asexual. My sexuality is not up for debate. That’s a part of who I am. I can’t change that even if I tried.

 

Me: I’m asexual, so I don’t want to have sex with anyone.

            Ignorant Asshole 2: Oh, you’re probably just waiting for the right person then 😉

            Me: But I just said-

            Ignorant Asshole 2: Don’t worry sweetie, they’ll come by one day!

            Me: Okay, do you people not even pay attention?

            Ignorant Asshole 2: You just gotta be patient! 

 

Believe it or not, I actually have better things to do than lie to stupid people about my sexuality. If I say I don’t ever want to have sex, that’s not fucking code for ‘lol nah I’m just waiting for the right bae winky-face.’ I’m telling the truth I promise! Asexuality is very real!

In the rare case that a person acknowledges my asexuality as a real thing, they seem to already have stereotypes about me in their minds. Apparently, asexuals can’t wear makeup or short dresses, because that’s too sexy. Here’s a thought, maybe I enjoy looking hot, but don’t feel sexual attraction and don’t want to have sex? I’m still confused about how me putting a black line on my eyelid makes people think I like sex. Because what a person wears isn’t supposed to indicate whether or not they want sex? Because that mentality perpetuates rape culture? Right? C’mon people it’s 2016 already.

Since this very straight forward idea can still be very confusing to ignorant people, I’ve taken the liberty to go ahead and create some charts to explain how ridiculous this idea is. After extensive research and inner speculation, I’ve put together the greatest graphs of all time, just for your benefit. You’re welcome.

What people THINK about my sexuality vs. appearance depicted in a highly accurate and scientific diagram

Graph of TRUE relationship between my sexuality and appearance PLUS direct evidence that I should not be a statistician or graphic designer (like I made this on paint, yo)

It’s hard being asexual sometimes. Imagine yourself in the following situation. You find out one day you’re allergic to peanuts. It’s no big deal; lots of people are allergic to peanuts. At lunch the next day, the cafeteria menu is either PB&J sandwich or Brussel sprouts. It’s a good thing you love Brussel sprouts!

 

Cafeteria Lady: What would you like today, dear?

You: Brussel sprouts please!

Cafeteria Lady: Oh you poor baby, you can’t have that.

You: But it’s on the menu…

Cafeteria Lady: But everyone is having PB&J don’t you want that?

You: No, I’m actually allergic to peanuts so if you could give me the Brussel sprouts that’d be great.

Cafeteria Lady Who is Starting to Get on Your Nerves: Here’s the PB&J, enjoy your meal!

You: What.

 

See! Despite the fact you didn’t want PB&J for lunch, that bitch straight up handed you a sandwich you can’t even eat. So now you have sit there at the lunch table with your friends and watch them eat stupid fucking PB&J sandwiches while you twiddle your thumbs. I’m sorry but this is your life now.

Just kidding. I sincerely hope you’re allowed to eat whatever you want. But this is how I feel when people ask me my sexuality and then immediately dismiss it when I tell them. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything no matter how many times I try. As much as I want to argue my point and fight for my identity, I just can’t if people don’t even take me seriously. Why does no one take me seriously? Why do people assume I’m just being naïve and immature? It’s frustrating when people force their personal beliefs or lifestyles on me. They feel bad for me because they think there’s something wrong with me. They give me alternate ‘options’. As if this is a choice for me.

I don’t need to change.

I don’t need your pity.

I don’t need your ‘advice.’

I need your acceptance.

Anushka Shrivastava

Writer

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