Ceremonial Proclamations: What They Are, Why They’re Essentially Meaningless, And Why You Should Get One Anyway

You may have seen the news that the Seattle Aces & Aros got a Ceremonial Proclamation, signed by the Governor of Washington, declaring October 20th-26th, 2019, to be Asexual Awareness Week in the State of Washington.

This was a very exciting moment for us, and as far as I’m aware, the first time that Ace Week has been recognized in this way anywhere!

Needless to say, it’s a big deal! A big deal for the Seattle group and a big deal for the ace community as a whole.

But how did we pull it off? How did we get a busy governor, a former presidential candidate, to take time out away from running a state to sign a piece of paper officially declaring it to be Asexual Awareness Week?

Simple: We asked.

The reason it had never been done before wasn’t that it was too hard, it’s that it was probably just never tried to any great extent.

So does this mean that the governor is fully on board the Ace Pride train? Does this mean we’re going to get a black tie reception in Olympia in honor of Ace Week?

Not exactly… (Not yet, anyway…)

So what does this mean?

Policy-wise, and from the perspective of the business and laws of the State of Washington: Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. This is just a fancy piece of paper with a shiny seal on it. The website to request a Ceremonial Proclamation even has a disclaimer that can be paraphrased as “RT =/= Endorsement”.

But symbolically, this is HUGE. It is officially Asexual Awareness Week in Washington. Signed, sealed, delivered. This is real, this is happening, and here’s a fancy piece of paper with a shiny seal to prove it. This matters and we matter. People see it and they are proud, and excited, and validated, and they want to tell everyone they can about it. Things like that are the essence of what Ace Week is all about.

What is a Ceremonial Proclamation, anyway?

From the page for requesting one from the State of Washington:

Ceremonial proclamations recognize a day, week or month for a specific issue or occasion. The intention of a proclamation is to honor, celebrate, or create awareness of an event or significant issue.

In other words, it’s basically a way to get the word out about something, using a superficial government document that declares it to be important. It’s not an official policy stance from the governor and it does not necessarily represent the views or beliefs of the government. It won’t even be announced or posted on a government website. Hence the word “ceremonial”.

A ceremonial proclamation typically follows this form:

WHEREAS this is a Thing;

WHEREAS this Thing is important;

WHEREAS there are people in Place who are interested in Thing;

WHEREAS this Place is totally awesome;

THEREFORE I, Important Person in Place declare it to be


When you’re requesting a ceremonial proclamation, you actually write all of that yourself! So you get to decide what’s important and how you want to present it, then you send it in. Now, the office might edit it slightly (they did with ours), but it will fundamentally be what you wrote for them.

For the most part, ceremonial proclamations will celebrate the mundane and uncontroversial. Recognizing National Teacher Day or Cowboy Poetry Week isn’t going to move the needle in an election.

At the same time, there is some level of validation here. It’s not completely a rubber stamp, sign anything that comes along procedure. There is some level of vetting that goes into it. Completely frivolous requests will probably get tossed, and governor or mayor isn’t going to want to be embarrassed by signing something that goes against what they believe in. So while this means that the governor probably won’t be marching in the Pride Parade with us next year, it does mean that he (and his staff) is enough of an ally to be willing to have his name associated with it.

Which brings me to another point… These sorts of proclamations are promotional all around. The group requesting one wants to use it to promote their pet issue, and the person signing it wants to promote themselves. You see their name next to the thing you like, supporting the thing you like, so you’re naturally inclined to like them, too. They’re counting on that positive association. Look at the mayor, she’s on our side! So that is something you should consider when requesting one. If your governor or mayor or county executive or whatever is a trash fire of a person, you might be better off not requesting one. (Not that they’d sign it anyway…)

What does it take to get one?

You fill out a form on a website, then you wait.

That’s about it. There’s no lobbying, there’s no coordination, there’s no meetings, there’s no constituent letter-writing campaigns. You find your local government’s information on requesting a ceremonial proclamation, and follow the steps. They may be called something different in your area, so you may have to dig a little bit to find it. State, county, and city may all have a program like this, and there’s no reason not to submit a request to each of them.

There are a few things you’ll need to do to have a better chance of success, though:

  1. Understand the requirements for submission. They may very slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so make sure you pay attention to each one you submit.
  2. Submit your request from the relevant jurisdiction. If you live in Florida, the Governor of Idaho won’t care about your request. Same goes for cities and counties. If you’re in a group that straddle borders, try to have someone from each location submit the relevant ones.
  3. Coordinate your requests. If you live in a state with multiple ace groups, reach out to them to decide what you’re going to submit and who will be handling the requests, as well as how you’re going to handle the announcement if you get it.
  4. It’s all about promotion. So talk up how important Ace Week is. Go all in on how proud you are to live in a place that’s leading the way on LGBTQIA+ rights. Promotion promotion promotion.
  5. Start early. Washington had a lead time of a full month before the delivery date. That means you need to be submitting the request in mid-September, and to hit that deadline, you’ll need to be working on the wording for some time prior to that. This isn’t something you can roll up half-asleep Saturday morning before Ace Week and pull out of a hat.
  6. Don’t give up. This was our second year of submitting requests. Our first year, we had a false start with one of our attempts. They said it was going to the Mayor’s desk for a signature, but we never got confirmation that it was done, so we never publicized it beyond the group. We have a 1 in 4 success rate so far.

There are two parts to your submission: The “WHEREAS”es and the supplementary information.

The “WHEREAS”es are the draft text of the proclamation. That’s what will actually go on the piece of fancy paper that you get. I have the text that we used, and you’re free to borrow it. It worked once, so it’s a good starting point! I’ll post it at the bottom of this page.

The supplementary information is a bit more personal. You’ll need to talk about why Ace Week is important to your community. Make it relevant and timely. You’ll also want to talk about who you are. They’re more likely to listen to a request from an established activist or an organized group who’s marched in the pride parade several years running than Ace Q. Public, random person. But don’t let that stop you if you are just Ace Q. Public. You’ll never win if you don’t play, so give it a shot regardless.

Also, it’s important to point out that I’m very much new at this process myself. Plus, I’m only familiar with the process in the US, I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere. I think the more of us who try this, the more tips and tricks for success we’ll figure out. So if you give it a whirl, let me know how it goes! (And if any of you have the political inside track, please spill the beans on how to have a successful submission!)

Example Proclamation Text

Here’s the WHEREAS text that we used. Note that it is templatized with the location AND the population figure, so be sure to change that before you submit, or you’ll get a very goofy looking proclamation back. I used the 1% figure because it’s the most commonly cited value, and then I added the “at least” clause for wiggle room.

WHEREAS asexuality is an often unknown and misunderstood sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS people who are asexual but have not heard of asexuality may often feel confused, discouraged, and lonely; and
WHEREAS discovering asexuality can be an affirming, positive, life-changing experience; and
WHEREAS the goal of Asexual Awareness Week is to promote education and understanding about asexuality; and
WHEREAS there are estimated to be at least [1% OF POPULATION OF PLACE] asexual people in [PLACE]; and
WHEREAS the inclusive and diverse [PLACE] is proud to be at the forefront of LGBTQIA+ recognition and acceptance;

Asexuality Activism Report Card — October 2019

[This post is a submission for the October Carnival of Aces, hosted by @asexualawarenessweek, on the theme “Reaching In, Reaching Out”, and as been crossposted here from its original location.]

Every year around Ace Week, I tend to give encouragement and suggestions about the type of outreach or activism we can do.  This year, I’m going to do things a little different and instead give a report card on where I think we are in terms of various kinds of activism/outreach/visibility.

These are solely my opinions and my categories and are based on my experiences and not any kind of exhaustive research or survey.  Please feel free to provide your own grades and suggest other areas I might have missed. I also want to note that these grades are not an indictment or attack on any particular group, person, or project.  If you’re working on any of these things, you’re part of the solution and your work will make these grades improve over time, so keep at it!

And if you’re doing any of these things, please plug your projects, so people will know about them!

Intra Community – A

We focus an awful lot of energy inward, and that’s a good thing.  Extending a helping hand, providing resources, hosting chatrooms, making podcasts, organizing meetup groups, writing lengthy blog posts, hosting conferences and unconferences, selling t-shirts…  We’re doing a pretty good job supporting each other from the inside.

Queer Community – B

There are quite a few mainstream LGBTQ groups who openly support us.  We often hold our meetups at the queer community center in town.  Many aces are involved with LGBTQ organizations.  There’s an ace group who goes to Creating Change every year.  We’re an obligatory part of many organizations’ Pride messaging.  Lots of groups now deliberately use the “LGBTQIA” variant of The Acronym, and make it clear that “A” isn’t for “Allies”.  The ace group in the NYC Pride Parade this year (likely the biggest pride parade ever) was deliberately selected to be the 10th contingent, which is a huge deal because the parade was literally 12 hours long.

There are obviously challenges.  The uninformed who don’t understand why we’re at the table.  The deliberate trolls who relentlessly hound us online.  But those people will become irrelevant over time.

Unfortunately, this year marked the first time where I saw Rainbow Capitalism set its sights on us.  (With a big name ace group complicit in the exploitation…)  So that’s not good.

Everyone Else – D

We are not doing well in this area.  There are a few people out there who have heard of asexuality, but not many.  Most people use the word wrong or as the insulting punchline to a joke.  There isn’t a single household name who has come out as asexual and put themselves out there as an advocate.  It’s better than it was 8 years ago, but we’re still mostly invisible.

I don’t really have any suggestions here (except that if you’re famous and asexual, COME OUT), because most of the suggestions I’d have are covered in the other areas.

Direct Outreach – F

By “Direct Outreach”, I’m referring to deliberately trying to find people who are asexual but who are unfamiliar with the term or that do not recognize that they’re asexual for whatever reason.  It’s sort of a subset of a lot of these other groups.  (And it could probably use a better name…)

I’m calling this out explicitly, because I think this can have the most impact, if we can figure out effective ways of doing it, and I don’t think anyone’s really doing this.  (I sort of tried, but it didn’t really work out…) Basically, it would be able getting information about asexuality in front of the people who need it.  Taking over the search results for “Why don’t I want sex?”.  Writing articles about how some guys just don’t care about that sort of thing for a men’s magazine.  Maybe even a direct person to person conversation with that friend who never seems to date.  I don’t know, exactly.  If I knew, I’d be doing it.  But I think it needs to be done.

Fiction Media – C+

There are books with ace characters now!  Pretty much entirely YA, though.  And either a love story focused on the asexual character being asexual, or where asexuality is a tangential inclusion token with no real value.

There are TV shows with positive ace characters now!  Huge step forward from lows of Better Half!  Three shows, in fact!. Two of which have been canceled, and the third of which is about to have its final season.  And none of which are anywhere close to the popularity of House.  And none of which are anywhere close to the popularity of another show which completely erased a main character’s canon asexuality.

There are movies with ace char-  Oh no, no there aren’t.  Never mind.  Same with video games.

While some strides have been made, and having productions actively consulting with groups like Ace LA is a huge step forward, we’re still largely living an area of headcanons and unverified conjecture and Word Of God retcons.  There’s so much more than can be done.

Most importantly, we shouldn’t fawn over and praise any little scrap of hope.  Demand better.

If you’re in a position to make things, make them.  If you’re in a position to influence things to be made, influence them.  If you’re in a position to boost content that is made, boost it.

Non-Fiction Media – C-

There are starting to be articles about asexuality that go beyond the typical sensational “There are some people who claim to be asexual, can you believe that, isn’t that SO STRANGE” or the blandly informational 101 interview featuring a picture of sad grey people in bed.  Not many, but they’re there.  But, at the same time, there are blazingly dismissive assholes hiding behind Ph.Ds, writing things like “’demisexual,’ an unnecessary new substitute for the word ‘human’ ” in articles that are published in 20-fucking-19.

There are a number of podcasts and YouTube videos talking about asexuality, but I don’t know how much reach they have outside of the ace community.

There’s one documentary that hasn’t aged well and I think has been removed from most streaming services, and another that hasn’t been released yet and is phenomenal and you should all see it.  So that…  Two documentaries.

Taking a quick look on Amazon, there are about seven books of substance on asexuality.  Three are academic queer theory textbooks with a very specific audience.  Two are self-published.  One is a weird collection of essays, half of which have little to do with asexuality at all, written by someone who isn’t ace and who didn’t seem to bother even talking to aces for much of the book.  That leaves one book about asexuality for a general audience written by an asexual that had a real publishing run.  Just one.

So, y’know, Cs get Degrees or whatever, but we can do soooo much better in this area.  Someone go write a book about asexual dating.  Someone go write a book about asexual history.  Go.  Do.  Now.

Education/Schools – D

Well, it seems like it’s getting at least mentioned occasionally, and groups like Asexual Outreach have put some work towards this.  But we’re still left out of sex ed in most places, and when we are included, the information can be confused, inaccurate, or even ridiculed by the instructor.  Tackling this area will, over time, help out every other area on this list, because the next generations will all know and understand what asexuality is, and we won’t have to start from zero in order to get anything done.

Political/Legal – F

Earlier this year, I did a cursory review of anti-discrimination laws as they pertain to asexuality.  Where asexuality was protected, it was often by accident.  Only one state explicitly mentioned asexual people.  Many states which did have strong LGBT anti-discrimination protections have defined “sexual orientation” in such a way to exclude asexuality.  Even the “Equality Act” that the Democrats have made a lot of noise about this year has that narrow definition.

We need to start making connections with politicians and political groups, and we need to start leveraging our connections with queer organizations to get them to push for better language in these laws.  (Many of the non-discrimination laws were deficient or bizarre in multiple ways, so we’d all be better off with improvements.)

The Seattle group did manage to get a Ceremonial Proclamation from the Governor of Washington in recognition of Ace Week this year! But, uh, those things have zero political or legal weight to them, so it doesn’t change the grade. (I’m going to write another post about how ceremonial proclamations are pointless and why you should get one anyway…)

And I should note that it’s an F— as far as protections for aromantics…

Health Care – D+

Well, we managed to get parts of the DSM-V rewritten.  But even those parts are less than ideal.  There are some therapists and doctors who are well versed in asexuality, and others who, as I mentioned above, hide behind their Ph.Ds writing horrible things and going unchecked.  There’s a raft of sex pills with marketing that explicitly targets people who are probably asexual but don’t know it yet, trying to sell them worthless junk that will make them suddenly black out randomly or permanently change the color of their skin.  We’re still not an option on the clipboard the doctor hands you to fill out.  We’re still forced to take unnecessary and invasive tests for no practical reason.

I think we need to be showing up at health care conferences.  We need to be reaching out to local providers.  We need to be telling people how they should be treating us, instead of letting them fumble around and hopefully get it right on their own.

Overall GPA: 1.59

A 1.59 out of 4.

Now, like I said at the beginning, that doesn’t mean people who are working on these things are doing a bad job, or that we’re failing as a whole. It means we have work to do. And all of the activists out there know we have work to do, and that’s why they’re out there doing it! The point of this report card is to inspire people to get involved, to stand up and say, “I think I can help make this better”. That’s all activism is.

We have a lot of work to do. Time to get busy.

Ace/Aro Con NYC 2019: Session 4: Queer Group Outreach

(Note: Session 3 was a working meeting and there’s no summary for it.)

  • People were worried about negative reactions when reaching out to queer groups, but negative reactions are rare.
  • Being ignored is common, but don’t assume intent behind being ignored. It’s possible the email was lost, the coordinator was busy, etc. If you’re ignored, try again.
  • When looking for strategies for dealing with anti-ace people, look for strategies for dealing with TERFs, because they’re usually the same people, same tactics.
  • Remember that you often can’t change the minds of entrenched assholes, so focus on those who haven’t been corrupted by hate yet.
  • Block liberally. You don’t owe assholes your time or energy.
  • Online, people are horrible. Off-line, people are usually accepting and welcoming.
  • Be visible if you can be. Many ways to be visible, stickers, shirts, marching in a parade, casually mentioning it to people. Having an ace presence matters, it shows people we exist and shows other aces that we exist.
  • You’re not responsible for completely educating others, but guiding them can help. Have a set of websites, videos, etc., personally curated content that’s relevant to you, and pass that along to people who are interested. Don’t have them do their own research or just drop them at the AVEN forums and wish them luck, because that won’t help.
  • Sometimes the upper levels of a group may be bureaucratic and resist inclusion, but lower levels are often supportive and recognize the need.
  • Hosting a brown bag at a local queer org can be helpful for reaching out.
  • Many queer groups want to be more ace inclusive but don’t know how.
  • Don’t assume that if a group leaves out the “A” that they’re being deliberately exclusive. Sometimes they think the Q or the + is enough. Sometimes they haven’t updated their website in years. Sometimes they just don’t understand but are willing to.
  • Sometimes just being there matters. “We’re here and that’s all there is to it.”
  • Sexual liberation means nothing if it doesn’t include the freedom to say “no”.

Things You Should Know About Asexuality Video

A short video, covering the basic things anyone should know about asexuality.

Video Transcription:

Things you should know about asexuality:

Asexuality is a sexual orientation.  Asexual people don’t feel sexual attraction.

There are at least 75 million asexual people in the world.  That’s more than the population of France.

Asexual people are called “aces”.

Aces are part of the LGBTQ Community.

Asexuality is a spectrum.  The ace spectrum includes demisexuality and gray-asexuality.  Demisexual people require a strong emotional bond before feeling sexual attraction.  Gray-asexual people rarely or situationally feel sexual attraction.

There are ace spectrum pride flags:

Asexual: [Black, gray, white, purple horizontal stripes.]
Gray-asexual:  [Purple, gray, white, gray, purple horizontal stripes.]
Demisexual:  [Horizontal white and gray rectangles with a thinner purple stripe between them, and a black triangle on the left side, pointing to the right.]

You can have sex and be asexual.
You can be in a relationship and be asexual.
You can want kids and be asexual.
You can be a man and be asexual.
[The words begin to flip faster and faster, becoming unreadable and giving the impression there are far, far too many things to list.]
[The flipping suddenly stops on a frame that reads:]
It’s about attraction, not action.

The asexual experience is individual and personal.

Asexuality is natural.
Asexuality is normal.
Asexuality is valid.

The most important thing you should know about asexuality:

Asexuality exists.

[The text lingers, then fades to white and the credits appear.]

For more information, visit whatisasexuality.com or asexualityarchive.com


How I Discovered I Am Asexual

This is how I discovered that I’m asexual.

This.  This one second of a TV-14 sex scene.

It wasn’t that I was repulsed or disgusted or bored or didn’t think the actors were “hot”.  It wasn’t anything like that.

It’s a standard TV sex scene:  Two characters fall into bed, exhausted from their simultaneous orgasm or whatever, but still with enough presence of mind to make sure their naughty bits are covered.

But watch it again.  See if you pick up what bothered me.

The guy falls straight back, to the lower right of the frame.  The woman falls straight back, to the upper right of the frame.

I was utterly baffled by the physical orientation of the two characters.

If they’re both falling straight back and they had just finished immediately prior to the cut to the scene (which is what’s strongly implied), then they should be falling straight back, in parallel, with her directly back on top of him.  Or maybe side by side, with one of them rolling or sliding off.

But they’re not parallel.  They’re at a roughly 45 degree angle to each other, with an intersection point around the center of her chest.  That would mean their genitals are not even remotely close to one another, it’s clear that there was no mouth contact, and from a position like that, even hand contact would be awkward. I suppose they could have been masturbating together, but why would they do that in a position where neither one could see anything?

So just what in the hell were they supposed to be doing there?

I have drawn this diagram to illustrate my confusion:


As you can plainly see, there’s something strange here.

No, not with the clip from the TV show.  There’s something strange in that I launched a Zapruder Film style analysis of the clip from the TV show.  I didn’t once, in all of this, think “Look at those hot people having hot sex, that’s so hot”.

And then it clicked.  That’s pretty much the way I’d always looked at sex.  A puzzle to be solved.  A curiosity.  Not a desire.  Not a need.  Not a good time.  I looked at sex differently than everyone I’d ever heard talk about the subject.  There had to be a reason for that.  That’s what led to the investigation where I discovered asexuality.

This is how that one second of TV sex scene changed my life.

The Comment Section: It’s All Too Complicated!

[Return to Overview]

These cries ring out virtually any time asexuality is mentioned.

“I don’t understand!”

“It’s too complicated!”

Translated, what they really mean is:

“I don’t want to bother to understand!”

“It’s all new to me, so I’m just going to call it complicated!”

Comments like these approach asexuality not as a rich and complex part of the human experience.  Instead, they approach asexuality as a whiny teenager approaches a trigonometry exam.  They don’t want to put in the effort required to learn anything new, so instead, they just start complaining.

Now, certainly, if you ever find yourself in the middle of a deck of aces, there will be words used that you’ve never heard before.  You don’t have to understand all of them, and honestly, that’s fine.  But there’s a big difference between admitting that you don’t understand what a queerplatonic squish on a panromantic non-libidoist is and dismissively complaining that asexuality as a whole is too complicated to bother to try to understand.

Specific Subclasses:

There are too many labels!  Not another community! [#]


  • I just think that too many labels are not such a good thing and people should not judge others on “their label” (well, that’s my point of view).
  • oh for gods sake, enough with the labels. good grief,
  • geezuz..another community? why all the labels..i can’t get enuff sex from my wife, i’m male and wife’s a female. I know you find that strange , but what label does that give me
  • Oh great. Another community to not be a part of.
  • Or great, another group of innocent people for the GOP and Fundies to victimize.

Why these comments are a problem:

In general, people who complain about labels and communities are not a part of the communities and are not described by the labels that they are complaining about.   Often, they’ll complain that there are “too many labels”, as if there’s one of those plastic punch label makers that we’re all sharing, and it’s running short of tape.  The reality is that for many of these people, the only label they ever want to see is “straight”.

These are not people having a label applied to them against their will.  They have absolutely no right to complain.

Labels are not a way to be “unique” or “special”.  Labels are a way to communicate.  They’re a way to describe our experiences and feelings.  They’re not a strict cage that limits who we are to a word, they’re freeing.  They let us say “Here is who I am” without having to spend an hour and a half trying to come up with the right analogies and descriptions.

The label “asexual” and the community of asexuals has had a profound positive impact on my life.  They’re trying to deny me that.

How to respond:

  • Explain that just because a label does not apply to them, that doesn’t mean that other people don’t find it valuable.
  • Inform them that the number of labels or communities is not limited, and that there can be as many groupings and descriptions as people feel are necessary.
  • Explain that words are useful, self-contained descriptions of complicated concepts.  Bonus points for offering a snarky, over the top example of how a complex thing can be compressed into a single word (like “localized or regional temporary occurrence of water drops falling from clouds in the atmosphere” can also be called “rain”).

Do we need another word for this? [#]


  • That’s ridiculous. Another word for it is a eunich who have been around since biblical times.
  • I am genuinely perplexed by this. Why is there a need to label someone asexual? If you are just not interested in sex, how does this even come up?
  • why make a group out of it. why not just say i prefer not to have sex, don’t need a reason, it’s your choice. isn’t just saying your celibate mean the same thing?
  • So, is being asexual now the official way to explain that you’re ok with being single? Do we really need another label for people?
  • We don’t need a new category for people who can’t get dates or who are too shy to close the deal on sex.
  • If people are happy being celibate then more power to them.

Why these comments are a problem:

These sorts of comments are made by people who fundamentally do not understand what asexuality is and generally have no interest in learning.

How to respond:

  • Just point out that they’re wrong.

It’s too complicated.  You can’t even agree on a definition! [#]


  • My first thought was that there is something wrong when specifying your sexual identity is more complex than ordering at Starbucks.
  • How can a group of people identify as themselves under a certain name, if they all have different interpretations of its definition?
  • Here is an idea. Let’s get in a big discussion without first agreeing on the meaning of the key word.

Why these comments are a problem:

“Asexuality:  A sexual orientation characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction toward any gender.”

Hey, that was easy, right?

That’s what it boils down to.  That’s the definition pretty much everyone uses, although we all say it in different ways.  Some people will specifically add an extra clause for “or does not experience a desire for partnered sexual activity”, while others include that as part of “sexual attraction”.  We may have different ways of describing it and different points we emphasize, but we’re not fundamentally disagreeing with each other.

It’s like the color blue.  I know what blue is.  You probably know what blue is.  The shade of blue I’m thinking of right now is almost certainly different than the shade of blue you’re thinking of.  But we’re both thinking about blue.  We agree about the concept of blue.  We’ll include sky blue and Dodger Blue and navy blue and generally will even take cyan.  People don’t go around saying “Well, what about red?  Is that blue?”  They don’t force people to decide on a very specific wavelength range that can be considered “blue” to the exclusion of all others.  No one is ever going to say “This is too complicated.  You all can’t agree what blue is, so I don’t believe in blue.”

People who say we can’t agree on a definition just aren’t listening to us.

And yeah, it can be complicated.  Human sexuality kinda is like that.  But asexuality is no more complicated than any other sexual orientation.  That definition we use is essentially the same definition structure used for any other sexual orientation.  And every other sexual orientation is really freaking complicated when you start looking at them, too.  Let’s try it out, shall we?

“Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by exclusive sexual attraction toward members of the opposite sex.”

Sure, okay, people will take that as an accurate definition of heterosexuality.  But wait a minute…  What about frequency and number of occurrences here?  Are we talking just one case ever and that’s enough?  Or does it require a pattern, like at least two a year for three years in a row, just to be sure?  Does someone have to be at least 30 or something to make sure there’s no same sex attraction hiding somewhere, before they can say “It’s only been guys, so yeah, I’m heterosexual”?  And then there’s “Exclusive”.  What about people who tried out for the other team that one time after getting drunk in college?  So, not exclusively, but maybe “primarily toward members of the opposite sex”?  But then how far does “primarily” extend, before it ventures into bisexual territory?  And about the phrase “opposite sex” there…  Is it really sex?  Or is it gender?  Or gender presentation?  And “opposite”?  Well, what about intersex people that happen to look “male” or “female”?  Are they “opposite”?  If a man is attracted to a CAIS intersex person, do you go by chromosomes or external features to determine that man’s sexual orientation?  And while we’re at it, just what in the hell is “sexual attraction”, anyway?  Unless you can define it all precisely and unambiguously, then I refuse to believe that heterosexuality exists, because it’s too complicated for me and you can’t agree on a definition.

How to respond:

  • Plainly state the definition.    Bonus points for using condescending dictionary style part of speech and pronunciation guides.
  • Point out that the commonly accepted definition of asexuality is identical in structure to the commonly accepted definitions of other sexual orientations.

[Return to Overview]

The Comment Section: Everything’s Political

[Return to Overview]

When the trolls aren’t busy trying to use flawed science to discredit asexuality, they often take a political tone.  Usually, this ends up in some crackpot shouting the same tired nonsense that’s been thrown at gay people for decades, but once in a while, they’ll come up with something specific for asexuals.

Specific Subclasses:


They just want special rights! [#]


  • People who choose to do or not to something in a specific sexual manner, all think they are a “special” group that deserves special Rights.
  • The next thing you know they will be seeking special rights because they feel they were born this way. This society is in mass confusion.
  • Everybody wants special rights/ attention for some off the wall made condition.
  • Does this mean someone over 40 single and never married can claim they are an “Ace” and be given hiring preferences to get a job?
  • next civil rights cause – asexuals should be able to not marry another axesual and get all the federal benefits as heterosexuals and homosexuals —— and you KNOW we’ll see that lawsuit soon

Why these comments are a problem:

These comments are nothing more than an old, tired fear that The Other is going to come along and take from People Like Me, or worse, will get something that People Like Me don’t have, simply because they’re The Other.  It’s always framed as a theft of some kind or somehow unfair to the group in power.

It’s been thrown around for ages.  Transgender people are stealing our bathrooms!  Gay people are stealing our marriage!  Foreigners are stealing our country!  Black people are stealing our jobs!  The Irish are stealing our neighborhoods!  Suffragettes are stealing our democracy!  People who don’t own land are stealing our power!  It is now and has always been complete nonsense!

Acknowledgement and recognition are not “Special Rights”.

How to respond:

  •  Point and laugh, because really, anyone using the “special rights” line these days just needs to be publically ridiculed.

Asexuals are piloting the black helicopters!  (and other crackpot conspiracy theories) [#]


  • “Asexuality” has to be another American phenomenon. I bet is started in inventive California.
  • “Is Asexuality A Disorder?” That will depend on how much the pharmaceutical industry stands to profit from treating it.
  • Congratulations Liberalism more damage to society
  • Or great, another group of innocent people for the GOP and Fundies to victimize.
  • I blame sex education in schools for some of this asexuality, starting children to thinking and talking about sex too soon and experimenting with their same sex friends.
  • oh no……….now we are going to have asexual boy and girl scouts and transponders and gays……….my head hurts…
  • I’m a little worried about where we’re taking civilization – to an early extinction?
  • As Rameses for example had over 100 children. However, such a display, would make him more of a Goat than a God? Goats are beneath Oxen.

Why these comments are a problem:

We have enough trouble dealing with people who are still within our plane of reality.

How to respond:

  • Back away slowly.  Don’t make any sudden movements.   Don’t make eye contact.  Speak slowly and calmly in a low monotone voice to let them know that you are human and not a threat.

It’s a pure and righteous gift from God! [#]


  • Perhaps being asexual is a gift..as it keeps you away from sexual temptation such as fornication, adultery, and homosexuality as long as you don’t give into peer pressure to act from gay or straight communities.
  • They are eternally Asexual. That is their eternal Gift. That is their victory. That is the kingdom of Heaven. They are forever saved!
  • My words here, but Christ said somewhere in the Bible that some don’t burn with lust, and they can be of more service to God.
  • The straight moral majority will take them if the gays won’t…Nonsexual attraction is not a sin..so we don’t have a problem with it.
  • Seems your asexuality would make you pure and holy.
  • Asexuality, that’s a new one…Sounds like the Bible is okay with it so, so am I. Now that sexually self-questioning teen now has a third option..asexuality. “Maybe the reason you don’t like girls is because you are asexual”. Gay doesn’t always have to be the alternative.

Why these comments are a problem:

People who head down this line of thinking only want to use us as shining examples of sexual “purity” to attack others with.

Oh, look at those asexuals.  They’re not tempted by the flesh.  They don’t fornicate. Why don’t you be like them instead of being gay?

Comments like these were actually some of the most dangerous ones I encountered.  Most of the people who make objectionable comments on articles are just garden variety trolls who’ll forget all about asexuality the moment they click away from the page.  These people are not like that.  They see asexuality as a weapon in their own personal holy war.  I can imagine them calling up one of their church group friends, all excited about this new thing they learned, and how they should start preaching that people should become asexual instead of choosing to turn gay.

Asexuality is not a rebellion against a world of sin.  It’s not an expression of morality.  It’s not a stand against fornication or adultery or abortion or homosexuality.  It’s a sexual orientation.  And I won’t let anyone try to use it as a weapon in their misguided fight against reality.

How to respond:

  • Explain that asexuality is not a morality position.  It’s not abstinence or purity or righteousness or anything else like that.
  • If they try to make any claims that asexuality is somehow superior to other orientations, if they try to say that people should “choose” to be asexual instead of being gay, or if they make similarly offensive statements, forcefully reject what they are saying.  You do not have to be nice or even polite.
  • If applicable, detail any incidents of fornication, sexual immorality, or homoerotic thoughts or actions that you have taken part in.

Have fun in Hell! [#]


  • go for what is pure and righteous jesus is there to help you he loves u he died for u find out why he died he did not do this for nothing we are something to him
  • Depraved mind and soul leads to much evil, resist the devil and he will flee from you, promised the Lord
  • You can give it a name and a definition but it’s all a fallacy. Sexuality, like any other aspect of being human is really prone to flaw and brokenness. It’s a brokenness of the fallen state of man. That’s why people need God and it’s what the human heart longs after, not really the physical pleasures (or not) of sex.
  • Society needs to fear God and get back to the bible again. Judgment day is coming.

Why these comments are a problem:

The flip side of the “Asexuality is God’s gift in the war against sexual immorality” are the people who believe that asexuality itself is a sin.  They never really explain why, they just shout condemnations and head on their way.

I often wonder what would happen if one of these hyper-religious “Asexuality is a sin” people got stuck in an elevator with one of those hyper-religious “Asexuality is pure and righteous” people.

How to respond:

  • Matthew 19:12

[Return to Overview]

The Comment Section: Nothing Bad Happens

[Return to Overview]

One claim you’ll see over and over in comments on articles about asexuality is the belief that nothing bad ever happens to asexual people.  Life is easy and free of troubles for us.  We never have problems with relationships, and nobody has ever treated someone differently because they were asexual.  The commenters can’t fathom why anyone would have a problem due to being asexual, so therefore no such problems can possibly exist.

So, apparently…

No asexual has ever felt broken or alienated or alone.

No asexual has ever been rejected by friends and family.

No asexual has ever had an endless stream of relationships fail because of sex.

No asexual has ever been ridiculed or mocked or been told they’re broken or inhuman.

No asexual has ever has had someone offer to “fix the problem” through sex.

No asexual has ever been raped by the person who offered to “fix the problem”.

No asexual has ever been beaten or killed because they wouldn’t “put out”.

The commenter, despite just having learned of the existence of asexuality, has never seen any of these things happen and they don’t know anyone that these things have happened to, therefore they refuse to believe that such things happen, even after being presented with first hand accounts of them actually happening to actual asexuals.

In many cases, the commenter will dismiss the problems that asexual people might face because they’re not perceived to be as severe as the problems faced by other people.  Rarely are these more severe problems ever encountered by the commenter themselves, but that fact does not deter the commenter from using these issues to attempt to silence asexuals.

Specific Subclasses:

Asexuals aren’t persecuted or oppressed or discriminated against! [#]


  • People will continue being Special Snowflakes and claim to be an oppressed minority because it’s better than just being different, and continue to offend actual oppressed minorities.
  • Even if asexual is a sexual orientation, those who have it are not legally oppressed in any way.
  • and last time I checked asexuality is not actively being persecuted by society
  • There are no laws barring asexual people from marriage nor are churches blaming asexuals for hurricanes, shootings, etc.
  • Unless you go around wearing a sign saying you’re asexual, society doesn’t know and doesn’t care so you couldn’t possibly be discriminated against in any intentional way.
  • I see what you are saying, but nobody has ever killed someone for being asexual.

Why these comments are a problem:

Ohhh…  Where to begin with this…

First of all, it is exceedingly rare that someone who is asexual makes a claim of oppression or discrimination or persecution or whatever over some trivial matter.  If an asexual says that they were oppressed or discriminated against or persecuted because they were asexual, listen to them.  Because they probably were.

Next, in the vast majority of cases, the thing the person is commenting on never even remotely mentions oppression or persecution.  The commenter is pulling oppression out of thin air to use it as an attack.  It’s a strawman.  Simply saying “I am asexual and I exist” is not a claim of oppression.  Talking about your sexual orientation does not indicate that you think you’ve been persecuted for it.  Discussing a problem you’ve encountered in your life does not mean that you’re saying that you have it worse than everyone else.

Oddly, these people seem to believe that facing oppression and persecution is a necessary condition for having a minority sexual identity.  You apparently don’t get to join the club unless you, personally, experience daily oppression for who you are.  And they’ll often be very specific about what qualifies.  Often, being denied the right to marry comes up as the criteria.  Asexuals can’t be possibly be included because no one is preventing them from being married.  Right, so, what that means is that where I live, in the State of Washington, gays and lesbians also can’t be included, because we passed R74 a few years back, and the Winsdor case made the Feds recognize these marriages.  And does that mean that someone would be considered queer in some other states, but not queer in Washington, at least not after December 9th, 2012?  Over time, as laws change and as people become enlightened, such a definition will cover fewer and fewer people.

A number of these kinds of comments suggest that keeping quiet will let you pass and prevent oppression.  Are you asexual?  Just keep it to yourself and nothing will ever happen!  Well hey, that’s a great idea!  Let’s have everyone do that!  Hey, Sally, got a homophobic boss?  Well, just show up at the office party with a beard to throw him off the scent!  Hey, Joe, nervous about what people might think of your religion?  What’s the big deal, hide that prayer rug and no one will ever know!  Hey, Phil, live in a town full of racists?  That’s what thick white cake makeup is for!  …  Never mind that forcing someone to hide who they are out of fear is a form of oppression.

These comments usually ignore intersectionality of any kind.  It’s a blanket “Asexuals are not oppressed!  Asexuals have no relevant problems!”.  That means that if you’re a homoromantic ace or a trans ace or an asexual person of color, congratulations!  You will never experience any kind of oppression or discrimination or persecution of any kind, because your asexuality acts as an immunity idol.

It’s also just outright dismissive.  What these people are saying is, “I can’t think of any problems you might face off the top of my head, and you probably don’t have my problems, so I’m just going to yell at you for implying that you might have problems.”  Just because someone hasn’t heard of it happening, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

And when an asexual does try to bring up a problem that they actually have personally faced?  Well then, that doesn’t matter, because someone else has it worse.  You can’t talk about erasure, because there aren’t any laws against asexuality.  You can’t talk about having trouble with relationships, because you can’t get fired for being asexual.  You can’t talk about corrective rape, because you’ve never been killed for being asexual after walking out of a bar.  What they’re saying is that your problems aren’t important enough to talk about, because there are other, bigger problems out there.  Absolutely, all of those other issues are horrible, and it would be fantastic if we could find a way to solve them.  However, the fact that there are other problems out there, does not completely prohibit discussion and resolution of smaller problems.

“I’m sorry, you can’t deal with the leaky pipe that’s flooding your basement, because there’s a coal ash spill in North Carolina.” 

“I’m sorry, you can’t change your flat tire, because there’s a civil war in Syria.”

“I’m sorry, you can’t deal with that pebble in your shoe, because the inevitable heat death of the universe will eventually extinguish all possibility of life.”

That kind of thinking is ridiculous.  We’re not a one problem at a time kind of species.  There are enough of us to work on multiple problems at once, and it’s even possible for the same person to be working on more than one problem at the same time.  You have a right to talk about problems that you face, whatever they are, however big or small, simply because you face them, and you don’t have to go before some kind of Grand Unified Problem Importance Committee to justify it.

How to respond:

  • Detail the issues you’ve encountered, if you feel comfortable doing so.  First hand accounts can be very powerful.
  • Explain that your problems may not be the same problems as others, but that does not somehow make them less worthy of discussion.
  • Explain that something that may seem trivial to someone else is actually very important to you.
  • If you have encountered the exact scenario that they’re claiming “Never Happens To Asexuals”, call them on it.  Tell them exactly what happened to you.
  • First hand accounts or verifiable claims are better than hazy third person hearsay or gut feelings.  “This happened to me” or “Here’s a news story about this” are better than “I heard someone on AVEN once say” or “People on Tumblr think this”.
  • Avoid claims of oppression or “Having it worse”, even if you are oppressed or really do have it worse.  Nobody gets a medal in the Oppression Olympics.  Simply tell your story and let others hear what you have to say.
  • Remember that these claims are often made by trolls who’ll never concede.  You’re not in it to convince them.  You’re in it to show everyone else that what they’re saying is wrong.

No one has a problem with it. [#]


  • Tell me, besides being looked at strangely when you announce your asexuality, what is the big deal about it? Are you going to risk being kicked out of your home for coming out as asexual? The biggest hurdle for the asexual community to possibly have to overcome seems to be, “to finally not be thought of as slightly weird/closet gay in denial/hormonally challenged until the doctor dispels that idea.”
  • And by the way, most people don’t care one way or the other if you are asexual.
  • No one is persecuting asexuals.
  • No one has a problem with it!
  • NO ONE is denying asexuals any attention, respect, or rights.

Why these comments are a problem:

First of all, this class of comments is an attempt to trivialize who we are.  They’re saying “What you are isn’t important enough to have a problem with.  Asexuality is a nothing.  You’re a nobody.”  Attempts to sideline us are unfortunately common.

More importantly, most of the time, the people making these claims don’t bother to look at the problems that asexuals do face.  They’ll mock serious problems that some of us do face and they’ll throw out and shoot down strawman problems that we don’t even claim to face.  They simply shut us down and tune us out before we can even talk about the issues facing us.

What problems do we tend to encounter because of our asexuality?

  • Pathologizing of asexuality as a disorder.
  • A lack of societal awareness of asexuality, which frequently leads to ignorance and insults.
  • Relationship issues, particularly family relationships and romantic relationships.
  • Difficulty navigating a sex-driven world, in particular, the social expectations regarding sex.
  • Threats, coercion, sexual assault, rape (in particular “corrective” rape), and potentially even murder.

These are just some of the problems that some asexual people face.  There are countless others.  They are real.  They do happen.  Do not let anyone deny this.

How to respond:

  • Detail a number of cases where people definitely do have a problem with it.  (SwankIVY’s “Letters to an Asexual” series, Anagnori’s invalidation tree, “Ace Bingo Cards”, and the parade scene in (A)sexuality are good resources for this.)
  • Point out that there are a large number of negative or hurtful comments being posted to the article.
  • Talk about situations where people you’ve encountered have had a problem with asexuality, if you feel comfortable doing so.

There are no laws against it.  What rights are they fighting for? [#]


  • It is NOT part of the LGBT community. No one is denying any rights to people who choose not to have sex.
  • If being gay is about political rights, then they don’t fit in because they are not fighting for any kinds of rights because they are not being denied any thing.
  • What right is denied to an Asexual person? Just name one, please.

Why these comments are a problem:

It implies that “fighting for rights” is the only reason people ever identify as gay or transgender or what have you.  That’s a preposterous assertion.  It’s my understanding that people tend to identify as gay because they’re gay, not because they enjoy political organization.  Beyond that, the this claim implies that once those rights are granted, there will no longer be a need for the LGBT community.  “Cancel the parade, everyone!  Say goodbye to the Castro and the Village!  Board up the gay bars! Tear down those rainbow flags!  We’ve got our rights now, so it’s all unnecessary!”

Fighting for legal rights isn’t the only reason to form a community.  Being around other people who understand how you feel so you don’t have to constantly explain yourself is one of the primary reasons.  We also are drawn to find a community because so many of us felt alone, like we were the only person who felt this way.  The larger our community is, the more visible we are, and the more visible we are, the more likely someone else will be able to grow up knowing that they’re asexual, instead of feeling lost and broken for years until they stumble across the word.

Also, despite the claim, there actually are legal issues that concern asexuality.  Discrimination is one of them.  There are people who will discriminate against anyone who is not heterosexual.  While there are laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation in many places, in some cases, those laws are written in such a way that they do not include asexuality.  For instance, RCW 49.60.040 in the State of Washington (where I live) defines “sexual orientation” as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity.”  Asexuality is not included.  Under the letter of the law, asexuals could legally be fired for being asexual.  There’s a report of an asexual couple who could not adopt a child because they were asexual.  Asexuals with homoromantic leanings may run into the same prohibitions against marriage that homosexual people fight against.  And if asexuals do get married, there are sometimes “consummation laws” that require sexual intercourse for a marriage to be considered “valid”, and that may not be something an asexual person is willing to do.

How to respond:

  • Inform the person that the LGBT community is about more than just “fighting for rights”, or it would disappear after those rights were obtained.
  • Explain that “fighting for rights” is not the only reason people seek community, recognition, and acceptance.
  • Discuss legal issues that have or potentially could impact you as an asexual.

They just want attention! [#]


  • WHY do people find it necessary to display their orientation to the public? Is it low self esteem or a desire to get attention?
  • [A prominent asexuality activist] may not be attracted to men (or women), but she sure is attracted to attention.
  • If it isn’t bad enough that we have Gays and the like, now some DA Wants to play the Asexual Card for attention?
  • We need mroe attention seekers in the world (sarc)
  • Having a crusade to announce to the world that you are asexual is just a desperate plea for attention over LITERALLY nothing.
  • Yes, it is disgusting that one would lie about “sexual assault” for attention.

Why These Comments Are A Problem:

I always find it fascinating that these remarks are often thrown at asexuality activists who were interviewed for an article.  What?  You mean that awareness and visibility activists are just talking about asexuality for attention?  WHAT A SHOCK!

Of course they’re doing it for attention.  That’s kinda the whole point.  Trying to insult and discredit an asexuality activist by saying they want attention is like trying to insult and discredit a NASCAR driver by saying they just want to show off how fast their car is.

On a more serious note, however, these comments are not strictly directed toward an activist who’s out there as a face for the cause.  They often imply that the only reason any asexuals want to talk about asexuality is for the “Look at me, look at me” factor.  They’re suggesting that we’re making it up, that we’re just pretending to be like this, that we’re lying about it all.  Most of the time, they never explain why we’d do something like this “for attention”, particularly when the attention we do get is so often negative.

In some cases, they make disgusting assertions that we talk about asexuality specifically because we want to be victims.  This type of remark is a corollary to the claim that keeping asexuality to ourselves will solve all our problems.  It flips that thinking around, and states that because we’re talking about it, we want to have problems, because problems will make us victims, and being victims will make us…  something?  I don’t really know where they’re going with that argument.  In any case, it’s not an argument that is limited in use to people attacking asexuality.  It gets thrown at just about anyone who doesn’t conform to the narrow norms of the close minded.  And it doesn’t make any sense whenever it gets used.

I want attention.  I want people to know that asexuality exists.  I want people to understand what asexuality is.  I want people who are asexual to be able to understand and embrace who they are.  I want to talk with others like me.  I want them to know they’re not alone.  I want to know that I’m not alone.  I want attention.  That is why I talk about asexuality.

How To Respond:

  • Disarm the comment by embracing it.  Come right out and say that you are talking about asexuality for attention, because asexuality needs attention.  Tell them why it’s important that people pay attention to asexuality.
  • The “They just want to be victims” crowd are typically trolls that are best ignored.

[Return to Overview]

The Comment Section: I’m Not A Doctor, But I Play One On The Internet

[Return to Overview]

The Internet is chock full of people who will freely give medical and psychiatric advice to anyone who comes along, whether they want it or not, and without any regard to silly concepts such as “accuracy”.

When this type of person meets asexuality, they have a field day.  “Why, there are so many things it could be!  Let me diagnose you, who needs a degree?”

Sometimes, the Fake Internet Doctor isn’t a fake doctor of medicine at all.  Occasionally, they’re fake experts in biology or evolution or even environmental science.  I’ve even seen fake doctors of political science exposing the truth behind asexuality!

Regardless of discipline, Fake Internet Doctors all have one thing in common:  A fatal allergy to actual, legitimate research.  They avoid it at all costs, and when you expose them to it, they will simply pretend that it does not exist.

Specific Subclasses:

It’s a psychological problem.  Have you gone to therapy? [#]


  • Asexualism seems more like the sexual manifestation of a personality disorder than anything else. I’d say probably schizoid.
  • Usually when someone is disinterested in sex (and does not identify as asexual) it is because of some kind of emotionally/psychologically distressing or traumatic experience(s) with sex.
  • but I also think that a person of reproductive age with absolutely no interest in sex probably has an underlying psychological, emotional or indeed physiological problem to examine.
  • Human beings sometimes have psychological, emotional, or social issues that make them celibate.
  • A good round of therapy would help most of these delusionals.

Why these comments are a problem:

Because asexuality is not a psychological problem or personality disorder.  It is a sexual orientation.

These comments are what’s called “pathologizing”.  Basically, they take something perfectly normal and legitimate, and try to turn it into a disease or disorder of some sort.  If it’s a disorder, there’s something wrong.  If it’s a disease, it’s something curable.

This kind of thinking is highly damaging.  It makes people feel like they’re broken or defective somehow, that they need fixing, even though nothing is actually wrong with them at all.  Often, that feeling of brokenness will gnaw at someone’s thoughts, and can even cause anxiety or depression itself.

Additionally, people try to use various psychological conditions to explain away and invalidate asexuality in people with those conditions.  “Oh, she’s not asexual, she’s just autistic.”  “Oh, he’s not asexual, he’s just schizoid.”  Here’s the thing, though.  If someone is asexual and something else, they’re still asexual.  Even if they’re asexual because of something else, they’re still asexual.

Beyond all of that, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes asexuality and does not consider it a problem or a disorder.  In the DSM-V, it mentions asexuality, and says that if a person is asexual, then they should not be diagnosed with a sexual interest or desire disorder.  In other words, it’s not a problem, nothing’s wrong.

How to respond:

  • Point out that asexuality is not a disease or a disorder.
  • Explain how hurtful and damaging pathologizing asexuality can be.
  • Explain how asexuality can coexist with psychological or physical conditions.
  • If you have a copy of the DSM-V handy, quote it to them.

Go see a doctor and get your hormones checked! [#]


  • I wonder if any asexual people have their hormones checked. It could be due to a hormone imbalance rather than just a personality trait.
  • These people need to get their hormones levels checked.
  • I think hormones, especially in women have a lot to do with it.
  • As a physician, my first question is what are their hormone levels? I have found in practice, that people who have low sex hormones obviously have low sex drives.
  • a medical work-up might could help some of them

Why these comments are a problem:

Again, these comments are pathologizing an orientation, making it look like we have a problem that needs to be fixed.

This brand of comment, in particular, is often uttered by “well-meaning” people who are “concerned for our health”.  They tend to get upset when we point out that what they’re doing doesn’t help us at all.  They don’t understand what they’re saying is “You’re not real, you’re a hormone deficiency”.

It’s worth pointing out that while hormones affect sex drive or level of sexual desire or sexual functionality, they don’t really affect who someone is attracted to.  There are numerous reports of asexuals who have started taking testosterone for one reason or another, and while they mention a boost in libido, they say it’s still not pointed at anyone.

In many cases, after someone who is asexual points out that asexuality is not a hormone issue and that their hormones have laboratory tested and shown to be within expected ranges, the conversation changes slightly.  “Well, I wasn’t talking about YOU!  I was talking in general.  Someone else out there might have a hormone problem and think they’re asexual and need to be checked out.  It could be a sign of a brain tumor or something serious.”

Now, certainly, I don’t want someone to die of an undiscovered brain tumor that’s affecting their hormone levels in some way.  Thing is, low hormones or brain tumors generally do not manifest themselves solely as a lack of sexual attraction.  To that end, here are some of the symptoms of things people typically use to discredit asexuality:

Low Hormone Levels:

  • Loss of energy/feeling tired
  • Hair loss, including possibly body/pubic hair
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression or other changes in mood
  • Drop in sex drive
  • Lower strength/lower muscle mass
  • Weight gain/increase in body fat
  • Forgetfulness/memory problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insomnia/difficulty sleeping
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast growth/tenderness in men
  • Menstrual irregularity

Brain Tumors:

  • Headache
  • Vision problems
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Symptoms of low hormone levels (some listed above), if the tumor affects hormone production
  • Personality changes
  • Memory problems
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness or tingling

If you’re experiencing some of the symptoms listed above or if your level of interest in sex has suddenly changed, then by all means, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about it.  But if you’ve just never really felt sexually attracted to anyone, then you’re probably just asexual and probably don’t need to consult a physician.

How to respond:

  • Explain that asexuality is a sexual orientation, not a “hormone problem”.
  • Provide your hormone test results, if you have them.
  • Provide a list of other symptoms of hormone deficiencies, etc.
  • Explain that the TV show House is not a source of accurate medical advice.
  • Explain how hurtful and damaging pathologizing asexuality can be.

It’s the result of evolution and overpopulation! [#]


  • What we see is a divergence of sexual proclivity suggestive of evolution
  • Asexuals are probably not less human. They are less animal. Which must mean they are MORE human. They may be more highly evolved.
  • I’ve always thought that humans would become asexual as we evolved in the next 1,000 or so years.
  • Asexualitly might just be a more advanced state of being.
  • I find myself wondering if this could be a biological reaction to overpopulation.

Why these comments are a problem:

Because they’re pseudoscience junk that makes me weep for the state of science education.

Let me take a step back here…  I don’t want to claim that there is no evolutionary basis whatsoever for asexuality.  There very well might be.  I mean, every living thing is the product of evolutionary selection.  (Although that does not mean that every trait of every living thing is necessarily selected for and optimized by evolution.)  My problem is that the comments I’m describing here don’t actually involve anything remotely approaching science or evolutionary biology.

There are two frequent strains of this nonsense.  In the first strain, the claim is made that asexuals are “more highly evolved” than everyone else.  In the second strain, the claim is made that asexuality is the result of some evolutionary defense against overpopulation.  Let’s dive in, shall we?

The phrase “more highly evolved” is a tip off that something ain’t right.  There’s no hierarchy of evolution levels, where something is more or less evolved.  Evolution doesn’t really care about rankings or supremacy.  It’s about the right adaptations for the environment.  So, while humans might be awesome with our upright walking and opposable thumbs and all that good stuff, we really really suck at surviving off a fumarole at the bottom of the ocean.  Does that make thermophilic giant tube worms more highly evolved than us?  It strikes me that the thinking that asexuality is “more highly evolved” probably comes from a combination of science fiction stories about emotionless aliens and a “sex is bad” brand of religious dogma, and not from, you know, actual scientists.

The overpopulation thing is also ridiculous.  It relies on two false premises:  That the planet is overpopulated and that evolution is instant.  While there are certainly concerns about long-term sustainability, the Earth is not overpopulated at this time.  People generally have enough space to live and enough food to eat.  If overpopulation were the cause of asexuality, you would expect to see high rates of asexuality in areas that are crowded or have recurring famines (Which, BTW, are often the result of greed or wars, not of an actual lack of food), and virtually no asexuality in areas where living area and food are plentiful.  Given the number of asexuals present in places like North America and Europe, I think that claim can be safely refuted.  There’s no widespread shortage of resources for asexuality to be a response to.  Of course, even if the world were over-populated, it would have only reached that point very recently, like within the last generation.  Evolution doesn’t work that fast.  It takes generations for traits to become prominent or get weeded out.  Evolution probably wouldn’t lead to asexuality, it would be more likely to simply favor smaller people who require less food and are less likely to starve to death.  More than likely, though, overpopulation would simply lead to a mass-extinction event that evolution simply won’t have time to account for in any way.

How to respond:

  • Explain that asexuality is not somehow “more evolved”.
  • Explain that asexuality is not the result of overpopulation.
  • Point them at a science textbook.

But…  SCIENCE! [#]


  • If you’re asexual, it means you have sex with yourself. It’s in science. Something about bacteria. Or a cell splits itself, into two cells…because it doesn’t need a partner, to produce offspring. So it has sex WITH ITSELF. I learned that in 6th grade science class.
  • Also take a biological anthropology class, try Sex and Gender studies, so you can actually have a clue what the scientist really have to say on the matter.
  • To me, it is interesting because being asexual goes against biology and our innate need to survive through reproduction.
  • Biology 101. Learn it.
  • Unless I forgot my Biology, sex is a necessity to perpetuate a species…..How can you embrace a lifestyle, if embraced by all, would doom the species??????
  • What you’re really at odds with is the FACT that all human behavior is driven by biology derived through millions of years of evolution.

Why these comments are a problem:

Again, weeping for the state of science education.

Here’s the thing you need to understand about science before you ever talk about science:

It describes the world.  It does not dictate how the world must be.

If there’s some accepted scientific theory, and along comes some clear evidence that the theory is incomplete or is wrong, then that theory must be discarded or revised in favor of something better.  Reality always wins in science.

So, let’s say you’re doing research on sexuality.  You’re probably thinking that there’s a lot of people who like people with different parts than their own, there’s a few people who like people with the same parts, and a handful that like both.  So, you interview tons of people.  As you go, you start to notice something.  Here and there, you find people who don’t seem to like any parts at all.  That’s probably not what you expected.

Do you:

a) Ignore them completely.

b) Say that they can’t exist because science doesn’t mention them.

c) Revise your hypothesis to include this unexpected result.

The correct answer is C.  And guess what?  This actually happened!  As Alfred Kinsey was doing his famous study on sexual behavior, he found that a number of people just weren’t into sex at all.  So, when he was devising his famous Kinsey scale that describes sexual orientation, he used the numbers 0 through 6, which covered a range between “Exclusively Heterosexual” (0) and “Exclusively Homosexual” (6), but since he recognized that such a scale didn’t recognize the existence of that group that didn’t really care either way, he added another group for them: “X”.

That “X” represents asexuality.


How to respond:

  • Mention the actual, real scientists who do actual, real sciencey things and believe that asexuality is real.  Kinsey’s “X” from the 40’s, Storms’ two dimensional scale from the 80’s, and more modern research by Bogaert, Brotto, and others, all point at the existence of asexuality as a real sexual orientation.  Backed by science.

Asexuality will cause the extinction of the human race! [#]


  • Unless I forgot my Biology, sex is a necessity to perpetuate a species…..How can you embrace a lifestyle, if embraced by all, would doom the species??????
  • Since we are supposed to be sexual beings with the purpose of multiplying the species, I submit that anyone who has no sexual attractions is defective.
  • You realize that we are animals and we do procreate?
  • To me, it is interesting because being asexual goes against biology and our innate need to survive through reproduction.

Why these comments are a problem:

Apparently, EVERYONE has to have sex that results in children or WE’RE ALL DOOMED!!  Into the baby factories, everyone!

The world population growth is doing just fine without us, thanks.  Just turn on your favorite Jack & Karen Plus 800 reality show, if you don’t believe me.

By the way, you’re also ignoring the fact that some asexual people do actually have kids.  (Fun fact:  So do some gay people, who you’re also attacking with this line of nonsense.)

How to respond:

  • Using demographic research and population trends, point out that they’re being a total dumbass.
  • Inform them that some asexuals may decide to have biological children.
  • Point out that their logic also condemns anyone who is gay, infertile, sterilized, childfree, or just reliably uses some form of birth control.

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