Q&A: An asexual student speaks about her experiences

Q&A: An asexual student speaks about her experiences

This flag is representative of people who identify as asexual.

CW / Caroline Japal

As our campus, and the nation, continue to make strides in gender and sexuality equality, there is still a lot to work on. Many people are unaware of people who identify with asexuality, the lack of sexual attraction to any gender. Due to lack of information and research, asexuality is often mistaken for lack of romantic attraction. We interviewed Veronica Hartley, a junior majoring in marine science and biology, who identifies as asexual and spoke with her about her experiences.

In your own words, what is asexuality to someone who doesn’t know?

The best way to explain it is the lack of sexual attraction to someone, which doesn’t negate having a romantic attraction to someone, but the physical [component] really isn’t there.

Many people are still learning about sexual orientations, when did you start to ask yourself questions and learn about your own?

At first I really didn’t understand. When I got into middle school and kids would joke around during sex-ed, I never thought sex jokes were funny so it’s been a while. But two years ago I learned there was a word for it and that made me feel a lot better because I wasn’t “weird.” I learned I’m not alone.

How was the transition to college? Did you begin to meet more students who also identified as asexual?

College is a lot more accepting, and you can find the groups that you need to on a college campus. But you also get into college and a lot of people have sex, so it isn’t always easy. You have to awkwardly explain to people, people who want to be in a relationship and you have to tell them “well there’s this one thing you need to know about.” So I think as far as meeting people, it’s been a lot better, because my high school was really small. In general though, it’s kind of tricky.

Have you had to encounter students or others who may have had stereotypes about asexuality?

Surprisingly, there are not a lot of people that actually know what I’m talking about. Of course there’s the joke that we produce asexually, but I do not split in half and become a new person. I read about it online, but until I got to college I hadn’t really heard it. I did not know people could make a joke like that, because it’s pretty dumb. There’s also the stereotype that we don’t have romantic attraction which is frustrating because people equate the two so much that you end up with that awkward interaction where they don’t want to separate them. They believe you don’t want to have sex with someone so you can’t love them. Which is not at all the case, but it sucks to hear.

What are some things people should keep in mind about asexuality?

Remember that it’s valid. There’s a lot of people that say it’s a phase, or that you haven’t met the right person. Those are things you hear all the time. I don’t know a single asexual that hasn’t heard that before. It’s really hard when people want to play it down, and that’s usually because they don’t understand. They don’t believe that it’s something that can be a part of who you are, which is understandable because if you are someone that has that attraction it would be hard to imagine not having it. 

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