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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Editorial Board encourages you to be more inclusive of the aromantic and asexual communities 

Become a better ally by educating yourself and including ace and aro people in your conversations

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Asexual Awareness Week, or “Ace Week,” started on Oct. 23 and ended on Oct. 29. Ace Week aimed to educate the public on the many different asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) identities that exist. While Ace Week has come to an end, The Editorial Board recognizes the continued importance of understanding this diverse spectrum on college campuses. 

While living in a college town like Davis, it’s not uncommon to hear your friends talk about hookup culture, discuss their sex lives or even ask you about your own. It is important for people to have healthy discussions about sex and sexuality, and the progress here should not be undermined, but it can be a very isolating experience for those on the ace spectrum, also known as the acespec. 

According to the Asexual Visibility and Education network, approximately only 1% of the population identifies as asexual, but this number is generally debated by the ace community. While it is possible that only 1% of the population is ace, this low percentage could also be explained by a lack of common knowledge about the ace spectrum. 

In recent years, education about the LGBTQIA+ community has improved. However, society still has a long way to go, including increasing representation of the ace and aro communities, as some people hold false stereotypes such as assuming that being asexual just means “not liking sex.” 

However, in the same way sexuality is a spectrum, asexuality is also a spectrum. The generally accepted definition for asexuality is “little to no sexual attraction.” Ace people can chose to have or not to have sex. Identities like demisexuality include people who only feel sexual attraction to someone they have a deep personal relationship with. Other identities such as gray-asexuality, graysexuality or gray-ace are ace people who feel little sexual attraction. As the label suggests, there is a gray area between asexuality and sexuality. 

Ace people generally fall into one of three categories regarding their attitudes towards sex. They can be sex-repulsed, meaning they are disinterested in sex, sex-neutral or sex-indifferent, meaning not minding sex but not desiring it, or sex-positive or sex-favorable, meaning they can enjoy sex without feeling sexual attraction to others. This might come off as confusing to those who aren’t acespec, but it’s important to understand that someone’s libido is different from sexual attraction.

While asexuality describes an identity on the spectrum of sexual attraction, aromantic is an identity on the spectrum of romantic attraction, and these identities are not mutually exclusive. Some aro people are gray-romantic, which means that they rarely experience romantic attraction, while others feel little to none at all.

We encourage you to be aware that there are people who may feel differently about sexual and romantic relationships and to use more inclusive language in your conversations about these topics. Understanding these definitions is a good first step in doing so. 

 

Students who are questioning their identity, looking for community or who have questions can visit or contact the UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center on the first floor of the Student Community Center. UC Davis also has plenty of LGBTQIA+ clubs and ace clubs available for students.

 

Written by: The Editorial Board