How can I support asexuals?
Understanding an asexual person better is by far easiest way to start helping them. If you read everything on this website you may end up knowing more about asexuality than even they do, so you have the tools to start supporting them right now.
In particular, to learn more about what asexuality is, you can have a read of What is asexuality and The a-spectra. For a better idea of the unique struggles that come with being asexual you may also want to read Anti-asexual bias.
The role of supportive friends, family, or partners cannot be understated. If you are a parent you may find A Parent’s Guide To Asexuality to be useful resource.
For those in a hurry here are some examples of simple does and donts where it comes to asexuality.
- The most important rule when it comes to supporting someone is to recognise that they are the expert on whatever is going on in their own head. Sexuality is confusing and each person relates to it differently, so don't expect to be able to put others into a neat box.
- Educating yourself on asexuality is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do.
- Often, just listening to someone is really helpful, even if it doesn't seem that way. Remember that we are all human, and we're all just trying to get by in this world in whatever way we know how. We may not understand exactly how other people feel, but things like happiness, sadness, fear, etc. are universal.
- Be as sensitive when talking about sexual habits as you would when talking to anyone else. Curiosity is good, but try to remember that it's a human being you're talking to.
- Don't pressure or feel entitled to sex, even if you've had sex with an asexual in the past.
- Don't ask "Do you masturbate?" – You wouldn't ask a gay person about their masturbation habits.
- Don't say "You'll find 'the one' and change your mind." / "Have sex with me, it'll be different." – This is denying that sexuality is real.
- Don't say "I wish I were asexual as well." / "How can I become asexual?" – This is insensitive to the struggles that many asexuals suffer through in silence.
- Don't say "It's probably just because you have been abused, I don't think you’re asexual." – You don't know how someone feels better than they do. Suggesting otherwise is toxic.
- Don't say "You have no idea what you’re missing out on." – This is very insensitive.
- Don't say "That’s a real shame because you’re so hot." – This subtly frames asexuals as being inferior or somehow defective.