10 Things You Should Never Say When Your Friend Comes Out As Asexual

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Jéssica Oliveira / Unsplash

Let’s get this out of the way now: it’s 2018. People have the right to self-determination. That includes changing their mind or even them being confused as to where their experiences fall. It’s hard, it’s confusing, but it is how it is. So, in case you don’t have time to read the whole of this article, here are the cliff notes: Your friend is not being asexual AT you. Don’t be an asshole.

1. Asexuals don’t exist

Clearly, they do, if your friend is coming out to you.

Asexuals didn’t used to be visible; and we still aren’t, comparatively. But we are finding language for our experiences, and we’re trying to use it to get our friends and family to understand where we’re coming from.

2. Maybe you just had a bad experience (+99 other interrogations on our sex lives)

If someone wants to improve their sex lives, they’ll say so to you. If they’re just trying to help you understand how they feel about love and sex, stop playing armchair psychologist and LISTEN. You’ll be a lot more help than you think.

3. Oh, that’s such a…MODERN thing, isn’t it?

Not necessarily. I’m sure there were SOME members of the clergy once upon a time who were pretty cool about the whole ‘celibacy’ thing. And whether you believe it or not, we have had some really iconic characters in pop culture who are probably very much asexual (Luke Skywalker, maybe? Or better yet, Granny Weatherwax!) Do your friend a favor, though, and don’t ask them for a history lesson when they’re not in the mood to give you one.

4. But you never told me that before

There’s a whole host of reasons why someone might not tell you their sexual orientation right out of the gate. Maybe they think this is private. Maybe they didn’t know how to describe it. Maybe they had a bad experience in the past and want to make sure you won’t start policing their experiences. Maybe they weren’t sure. (I, for example, still am not.)

Whatever their reason, it’s irrelevant. They’re telling you now. You can respect that, or you can be an asshole about it. The choice is yours.

5. But you’re sexy! 

Physical appearance has nothing to do with it. Also, “sexy” is a term that is as relative as “beautiful,” it means different things to different people. You can’t apply it as some sort of measure for value across the entirety of the human species because it is not.

6. But you present yourself as sexy! (See also: Why’d you wear this shirt then? Why are you bothering to style your hair?)

Self-expression also has nothing to do with it. Clothing or hairstyles or piercings are not permission to hurt a person.

7. So what? You’re giving up on dating?

Asexual people crave human connection as much as anybody. There are people who are aromantic who form attachments differently, and those people are sometimes also asexual, but it is not one or the other. Saying that love and sex are inseparable would be like saying the affection you feel for your family and friends is somehow inferior to that you have toward your partner. (That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on someone, dude.)

8. But you NEED sex

Do they? How do you know? Can you get inside their heads? Can you read their bodies better than they do? Are their cells telling you ‘Implosion imminent, must mate immediately to avoid annihilation!’

I’m gonna guess…no? So…maybe don’t say that in the first place?

9. You just haven’t found the right person yet

Some asexuals have sex. Some on the spectrum (like demisexuals) experience attraction within the context of a romantic relationship. But that’s because they know and trust the other person and are confident that their boundaries won’t be pushed or violated. It’s not because somewhere out there exists a person who, through condescending and charisma, will ‘turn us normal.’

10. So is that your way of friend-zoning me?

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a dating situation where two people are trying to figure out whether or not they’re compatible. I would argue that any romantic unit would have to have a conversation about sex at some point, and what their respective needs are on the topic.

But if you think your friend is coming out to you as asexual just to thwart any romantic advancements on your part…I mean, I don’t know what to tell you.

First of all, being someone’s friend isn’t some kind of downgrade. The only people who view friendship as inferior to a romantic relationship are those who think they’re entitled to having sex with you. Second, being honest about your feelings with someone isn’t an attack. They’re not coming out AT you, they’re trying to communicate. If you take that and turn it around as some sort of criticism toward you, or an attack on your life or your desires…that’s not fair, or helpful.

That’s just you being an asshole. TC mark

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