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"I’m in my second year of college and I identify as asexual. It seems like every time someone finds out and starts asking questions, they end up insisting that I just need to try it, or find the right person, or build up some confidence. It feels like I can never just say "No," and it makes me really anxious about the possibility of finding myself in a more dangerous situation. How can I respond to this?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kara Kratcha as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Kara Says:

Dear inquirer,

I do think that you do need to build up your confidence, but not in the way these horribly nosey people (herein referred to as GIHs—Google Impaired Humans—because they should be learning about the basics of asexuality themselves before they start asking you invasive questions) mean. The line of thinking here seems to be that your confidence should come from a comfort with your (a)sexuality*, and a comfort with your (a)sexuality means that you have found a way of having sex that makes you happy and actively pursue that happy-making sex act. I do think that it’s important to feel an ease with your (a)sexuality in order to feel confident, but I’m not on board with the wide spread assumption that feeling at ease in your (a)sexuality means having sex and letting everyone know about it.

I mean come on, this should be obvious: for an asexual person, exhibiting confidence about your (a)sexuality often doesn’t mean letting everyone know about all of the great sex you’re having because—by definition—you don’t experience sexual attraction. That’s the whole point. Thinking that expressing ace sexuality with confidence necessarily involves having sex is absurd, and it shows (along with the GIHs’ insistence that you just need to experiment or find the right person to have sex with) that these people aren’t listening to you when and if you try to educate them (since they have clearly demonstrated that they cannot educate themselves via www.google.com). Dismiss them. You don’t owe them an explanation. Disengage from these conversations and physically walk away if you need to.

Of course, ignoring the overwhelming cultural narrative that everyone wants sex is more difficult than shutting down individual conversations. Sometimes it’s impossible to do even that. I won’t lie to you and say that your “no” will always be honored. The unfortunate reality is that we live with rape culture, which says that a woman’s “no” means “maybe” or “try harder” and that a man wants sex so much that he can’t help but take it by force. Both of these ideas feed into compulsory sexuality, that overwhelming cultural narrative of “everyone wants the sex” again. I think that your fear that you can never just say no is completely grounded in these toxic narratives.

You’ve asked me how to respond. I can’t tell you how to avoid being raped (which is how I read your “more dangerous situation”) because rape is always the rapist’s fault and never the victim’s, but I can tell you how I have learned to express my (a)sexuality with confidence.** After my first year of college, I resolved to not do things I don’t want to do. Before I made the active decision to say no, my default answer to just about everything then was “yes,” regardless of how I actually felt. Will you edit my research paper? Yes. Want to go to this sketchy party with me? Yes. Can I have your phone number? Yes. Yes. Yes.

When I first made this resolution, I was in a long distance relationship. The hundreds of miles between me and my partner did a pretty good job of preventing genital bumping most of the time, so saying no wasn’t even explicitly connected to sexual activity for me. But the thing is, my mindless “yes” to everything was so insidious that saying “no” to the most innocuous requests felt impossible. That I felt unable to say “no” made my “yes” completely meaningless. I didn’t feel like I had a choice, and that disempowerment extended to my ability to say yes or no to sex. I didn’t feel confident in my (a)sexuality because I didn’t feel like I had control over myself.

So I changed my default answer to “no.” I said no to bad papers and weird parties and unwanted come-ons. I said no whenever I could. I said no over and over until it became automatic. I said no until saying yes took some serious thought, until I had to abide by my actual desires and not the desires I thought I should have. I said no until it was the answer the people around me expected to hear.

I write that in the past tense, but the truth is that learning to say no is an ongoing process, and it’s still really hard for me. Making people hear “no” takes so much more work than making people hear “yes,” and constantly fighting for your no is exhausting. Saying no takes a lot of confidence and a lot of practice. So here’s what I think you should do: practice saying no everywhere you can. Say no like you think the Google Impaired Humans are really listening to you, even if you know they aren’t. Say no right now, just for fun. Say no to ensure that when you say yes—be it to sex or something other people call sex or a favor for a friend or a big piece of cake—your yes will mean yes.

Then, when some GIH tries to tell you how to “fix” your (a)sexuality, tell them that you are perfectly confident that you do not experience sexual desire, thank you very much. Exude confidence. Radiate ease. And if the GIH fails to listen to you, offer to teach them how search engines work and flounce away with your fabulous asexual self.

Much love,


*A note about words: I will be using “asexual” to mean “the sexual orientation of a person who does not experience sexual attraction” and “ace” to mean “any orientation on the asexual spectrum.” I am addressing a person who identifies as asexual, but I think this advice applies to pretty much all aces (and probably everyone) with only a little modification.

**That said, I can give you resources for asexual survivors of sexual assault, which you can find here.


Kara Kratcha studies English literature at a university in New York City. She tells everyone that she wants to go into publishing, but really she’s always wanted to be an advice columnist. (Kara would like to thank Everyone Is Gay for making her dream come true.) If she had to pick a label, she would probably go with “genderfluid polyamorous demiromantic grey-ace,” but usually she just kind of shrugs. Right now (like, probably literally right now) Kara is working on her senior thesis on representations of asexuality and asexual relationships in Sherlock fanfiction.

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"I’ve recently realized that I’m grey-a, bordering on full ace. However right around this realization has come the beginnings of my first romantic relationship… and I don’t know how to explain things to my Person. Do you have any suggestions for how not to make a huge problematic deal out of this?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kelli Miller as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Kelli Says:

Congratulations on figuring yourself out and your new relationship! This sort of thing can be hard, because, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, you don’t quite know what kind of reaction to expect from your Person (Going to use your language. Hope that’s OK!). People don’t know a lot about asexuality, unfortunately, which can lead to some confusion. I don’t think it should be seen as a “huge problematic deal” to share yourself with them, but I get the need to ease someone into it if it feels like sensitive territory. I think your best bet is to clear up some of the details before coming out to your Person.

What I’m saying is that I think there needs to be a way to educate them without blurting out that it’s you you’re talking about. What you can do is find some articles online, videos, or blogs on tumblr (there are more than a few!) that talk about asexuality and bring them up in conversation.

I’m not going to pretend this is an easy thing to do, of course. It’s just one of the few ways I can think of dropping hints. Start off small with definitions. Talk about how there’s this part of the population that identifies with the term and say what it is. Given your identity, try to emphasize that asexuality is on a spectrum. See if you can get your Person to ask questions. I think it would help to make it sound like it’s something you’re very excited about talking about, if it isn’t already, so that they can see that it carries some weight. Don’t go overboard, but you know, show that it’s definitely something that resonates with you in some way. That way, it has less of a chance of sounding like you’re just mentioning stories. This process is very much up to you in its execution, like much of this really is.

Eventually, once you’ve briefed your Person over what asexuality is, you can take them aside and start into what it means to you. Hopefully, your Person won’t be blindsided, as you’ve been talking about this before. This is the important part. You can tell them about aspects of your identity that are important to you and why you think it is important to bring it up in the context of a relationship. Maybe you don’t want to have sex. Maybe you feel like you could eventually have sex once the attraction is there. Asexuality is diverse, so whatever it is, identify what it you need to say and communicate it. Be true to yourself, you know?

Remember to tell yourself that sharing your feelings shouldn’t be seen as a problem in a relationship as you go along, by the way. I understand not wanting to make it into an ordeal, but finally finding a time to share this about yourself can feel more complicated if you feel as though you’re causing a problem. This is you, and I’m sure you’re an amazing person who is with someone else who finds you amazing. Do what is best for you, because that should be what you and your Person want for you. Try not to fret too much. You never know, you might be surprised by their reaction. You can do this!


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“Can you give me more information on what being asexual means?”

-Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kelli Miller as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Kelli Says:

Being asexual means I don’t experience sexual attraction. As far as what that means for me, I once told my dad that I could go my entire life without having sex and be a perfectly happy human being. An awkward conversation to have with my dad, certainly, but it was telling of how a lot of people feel, as his answer was “That’s not right.” I don’t believe him, though, because there’s nothing wrong with me! Some people want sex, and some don’t. I just would have an easier time than most going without it.

This brings an interesting dynamic to relationships. Contrary to some myths, asexuals do have friends and some do get into romantic relationships, myself included. There are romantic orientations that we use to describe ourselves, and I consider myself homo-romantic. In short, I dig other girls. A lot. I get crushes all the time. Dating itself isn’t any more difficult for me than it can be for most other people who are a little on the neurotic side. I haven’t done an extensive amount of it, but I’ve had partners in the past. Admittedly, it is intimidating on the basis of being asexual, but relationships are built on trust and good communication, and I’ve managed to do well for myself. It turns out that most of the time spent with a partner doesn’t involve sex, so it works out for me, as I’m rather neutral towards sex and am willing to reach a compromise. My last romantic relationship involved some compromise, though not too much. I’m not averse to sex and consider it enjoyable and bonding. Asexuals can have sex; they just don’t experience the sexual attraction.

Some don’t paint a flattering picture of us. Being asexual, I’m invisible to a decent portion of the population. If we’re not invisible, then some will go on to say that we don’t exist or worse. That’s when the hurtful comments start coming in. We’re considered broken, sometimes inhuman. Someone I knew insisted I was an alien or a robot before he eventually told me that there was likely some Darwinian reason for why I’m asexual— I obviously have something so wrong with me that I’m not supposed to procreate. I was told by some people that I should check my hormones, and that is something that happens very often to those in the asexual community. As it stands, I have had my hormones checked and they are fine, thank you very much. People are downright rude, sometimes. I’ve been asked if I masturbate, which is something that happens frequently to other asexuals. I hate seeing some doctors, because I’ll be asked about my sexuality. A doctor once asked me if I was sure I wasn’t just gay, as I’m a male-bodied person who might have been in denial about liking men. Most accept it eventually, but continue to ask if I stillconsider myself asexual at other visits. We’re a rather marginalized group.

I do find people who accept me and my identity without question in my local LGBT+ community. There’s an asexual pride flag hanging in my school’s LGBT center, and I’ve found a community outside the initial asexual community I got into. I consider myself queer, but not all asexuals think or feel the same way. That identity might have more to do with my gender and the relationships I engage in, but it’s different for everyone. That’s a separate part of my being, though, so I’ll hold off. I will say that one of the more entertaining things to come out of a relationship, given my being asexual, was becoming cuddle buddies with a friend and telling her she was practically a “friend with benefits” as far as I was concerned. That’s a good taste of what I think it means to be asexual. Mileage may vary.


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“I'm pretty sure I'm asexual, but recently I've started, noticing girls more I guess? How do most lesbian and bi girls feel about the ace community?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

This is like asking me how white people feel about cartoons.

OKAY IT’S NOT EXACTLY LIKE THAT BUT STILL…Neither of us can tell you how an entire group of human beings feel about one thing. Everyone is different and everyone feels different feelings about different things. You’re going to encounter every single kind of person with every single kind of opinion. You’ll meet a girl who’s like ‘I NEED SEX ALL THE TIME FROM E’ERBODY!’ and you’ll meet boys who are like ‘HEY! I’m also asexual’ and you’ll meet girls who are like ‘oh, wow, i’ve never considered asexual to be a real thing, but i like you and i don’t feel like i NEED sex, so lets try this relaysh’ and you’ll meet boys who are like ‘that’s weird what does that mean’ and you’ll meet girls who are like ‘how can you be gay then?’ and you’ll meet boys who are like ‘oh, that’s cool, tell me more’

get it?

Don’t change the way you are or how you act around a group of people bc of what you think their reaction might be. If you’re comfortable and the discussion comes up, boom, SAYWHATCHANEEDASAY #johnmayer and that’s that. If you want a relaysh with a girl, attack the sexi parts when it gets to the sexi parts. I can almost guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Like anyone with any sexi-interest (be it girls, boys, FTM, no one, self-sexi, MTF, cartoons etc) you’ll encounter people who do understand and people who don’t understand.

Be prepared for the people who don’t and be excited for the people who do. aaaand be open to sharing that part of yourself. Don’t hide who you are bc you’re scared or nervous about what people will think! hooorraayyy

Kristin Says:


(I just wanted to be a part of that)

First of all, do people really call it the “ace community”?  That’s fun.  Second of all, Dannielle hit the boner on the head: no one can speak for anyone but themselves, regardless of whether or not they also like vajayjays.  There are lesbians who like to be peed on and girls who like girls who hate strap-ons and transgendered people who like to watch girl-on-girl porn but don’t get aroused by physical proximity to others.

The bottom line here, in my opinion, is that there are many people who do not understand what it means to be asexual, regardless of how they identify.  It shouldn’t fall to you to have to explain things, but often times we are put in a position where our openness and willingness to dialogue allows for a deeper understanding on the part of others.

It’s like…I love sex, you guys.  I would not be able to have a relationship that didn’t include sex.  That, however, does not mean that I do not have the ability to understand and/or support others in their desires.  It does not mean that everyone is just like me and needs to inhabit bonerville all the time.  It just means I like certain things and you like other things.  There are a hundred gabillion people on this planet (rough estimate), and we all like so many different kinds of things in so many different kinds of ways.

There are plenty of humans out there who will be nothing short of thrilled to get to know you in whatever capacity makes sense to you both.

Be honest and open about who you are, and don’t apologize or second-guess yourself.  If someone is like, “THAT IS SO WEIRD, HOW DO YOU NOT LIKE SEX,” just be like, “Well, one could argue that it is weird when people exclusively take pleasure from having things in their vaginas…sooooo.”

Right? That’ll shut ‘em right up.