Round about March this year, I realised I was asexual.
Now this was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. I was, after all, well into my forties, and as far as I’d always been aware, I had a sexual orientation and it was straight. It was just that – well – I had never been particularly interested in using it. I had briefly wondered a few years earlier, but concluded that I couldn’t be asexual because I am capable of falling in love. This turned out to be a fairly basic error. Many – probably most – asexual people are perfectly capable of falling in love and sustaining romantic relationships; those who can’t are called aromantic asexuals, and I am not one of them.
There is a mine of information about asexuality on the AVEN (Asexual Visibility and Education Network) website, and if you are interested in this area and haven’t already seen it, I can warmly recommend it – in particular the FAQ section, which is one of the best I have ever seen online. I’m not going to quote them at length, but I will give their definition of an asexual person. An asexual person is one who does not feel sexual attraction towards others.
Now that’s a pretty clear definition, but it also covers an awful lot of possibilities. Asexual people are pretty much as varied as sexual people, and that is one thing I would like any readers to keep in mind, if they will; I am going to write from my own experience here, but that doesn’t make me in any way a “typical asexual”. There is no such thing, any more than there is a “typical sexual”. For instance:
- Some asexuals find the whole idea of sex disgusting. Others don’t, and will have sex (and even enjoy it) in certain circumstances, for instance to please a partner.
- Some asexuals enjoy various forms of porn, as long as they don’t have to have any sex themselves. Others – and I’m one – simply don’t get the point of porn.
- Some asexuals have a low or non-existent sex drive, as most other people would probably expect. Others don’t. They have a high sex drive, but it doesn’t involve attraction. It’s perfectly possible to be asexual and still be a regular client of prostitutes.
- Some asexuals can form romantic relationships. Others can’t.
- Of the asexuals who can form romantic relationships, some prefer the opposite gender (heteroromantic), some the same gender (homoromantic), and some don’t mind (biromantic). There are also other, less common, variations, all of which are detailed on AVEN.
- Finally, not all asexuals are absolutely 100% asexual; some can experience sexual attraction in certain limited circumstances. People who feel sexual attraction only rarely and without any apparent pattern normally identify as “grey-A”, whereas those who feel sexual attraction only in the context of an existing romantic relationship are called “demisexual”. (That’s actually me, if we’re going to split hairs. However, I also don’t form romantic relationships easily, though they tend to be strong when I do. This makes me technically a demiromantic demisexual, but I prefer to identify as asexual because I basically am for practical purposes.)
Another thing: asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy. Many sexual people are celibate, and many asexual people aren’t. Celibacy is a chosen lifestyle rather than an inbuilt orientation (or lack of one).
So… what does all this have to do with cake? The simple answer is that cake has become something of a symbol in the asexual community. There are various ideas about exactly how that came about, but what they all seem to boil down to is “cake or sex? We’d like cake, please!” And since I was rather well known for my cakes even before I realised I was asexual, it seemed to be particularly appropriate here.
I’m going to use this blog to talk about my own thoughts and experiences regarding asexuality, and I may also at times refer to other people’s experiences, suitably anonymised. Please don’t be shy about commenting; you don’t have to be asexual to join in the fun. All I ask is that you are respectful not only towards me, but also towards other commenters, even if you feel they are being less than respectful themselves. I’ll keep order here and ensure as far as possible that this is a space where everyone can feel safe.
Virtual cake all round, folks!