The Lakeland Mirror

T.R. Hildebrandt: I’m OK, You’re A(sexual)-OK

T.R.+Hildebrandt
T.R. Hildebrandt

T.R. Hildebrandt

T.R. Hildebrandt

T.R. Hildebrandt, Staff Reporter

It’s accepted as a given among reasonable folk that humans are born straight, gay, or somewhere in between. As an example, I might be a “1” on the famous Kinsey scale if not for the existence of Ewan McGregor, which bumps it up to almost a “2.” Furthermore, society is becoming increasingly tolerant of how individuals choose to express that inborn sexuality. As long as everyone’s consenting, who’s to say you shouldn’t rut with your chosen partner while wearing a reindeer costume, snowbells and all? Or be clamped, confined, cut, crushed, or candied? Or maybe you’re just into boring, vanilla, sexy grannies. Why should it bother me? How unfortunate then that while the rest of us get down with whatever freaky stuff we’re into, the asexual among us are viewed with suspicion and pity.

I’m not talking about people choosing to remain celibate for reasons like faith or fear, or people who lose their sex drive with the onset of age, physical illness or depression. I mean people who naturally fall on a different scale of sexuality, between “indifferent” and “repulsed.” Like the dude who pretends to be as thirsty as his bros to fit in. The woman who is told she is “frigid.” Like homosexuals, asexuals have to contend with a whole slew of myths: that they cannot find true love, that they cannot lead fulfilling lives, that they are sick. No wonder many remain closeted. They make up at least 1 percent of the population (as evidenced by self-reporting, the actual number is likely much greater). They deserve to be acknowledged, accepted and celebrated.

Some asexuals pursue romance, some don’t. While there’s not much data, the ones who do attempt relationships couldn’t possibly be any worse at it than, say, me. When has sex ever uncomplicated things? Then there’s that old canard, familiar to gays, that plagues non-(biological)breeders: that they are not good or natural parents. To which I respond: just how much sex do you need to hear your parents having, in the bedroom next to yours, to turn out well-adjusted? As for fulfillment, anyone who’s having sex while playing basketball isn’t playing by NCAA regulations. (Scoring but not scoring points, as it were.) And when I think of all the hours I’ve spent trying to get laid, well…that’s a lot of books I could have read.

While it’s apparent to me that our asexual friends can be just as happy and healthy as the rest of us, the truth remains that they are stigmatized and marginalized. The medical community pathologizes them. The media won’t acknowledge their existence. Even my beloved Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, longtime icons of asexuality, have been given sexy love interests for ‘kissy times’ in recent incarnations. In response, the asexual (or “ace”) community has developed a presence online and IRL to support one another and educate the rest of us. David Jay of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network is the most prominent voice seeking social justice and visibility for all aces. He came out while in college; in fact, college-aged activists are the primary force powering the movement for asexual acceptance.

The week of Oct. 19-25 is Asexual Awareness Week. So take the time to hug an ace. If you are one, be proud that you could be reading a masterpiece like Moby Dick while the rest of us are thinking about d**k. If we’re being honest, most of the d**ks out there aren’t masterpieces.

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