The Gray Area: Another ignored minority

Sex is everywhere, from television, magazines, education, and the media; scrolling through Instagram or flipping through the news shows sexualized women and men all around us. There is a huge weight on people in our society to be sexually appealing. Everyday life shows people coloring their gray hairs, wearing makeup, shaving, and more in efforts to look attractive. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, there is a group of people that suffer from the sexualized society.

A study done in 2017 by the American College Health Association shows that 4-5 percent of college students identify as a nonallosexual person, or those who don’t feel the conventional sexual attraction. These people belong further left on the asexuality spectrum, the far left being asexuality, those who feel no sexual attraction to others, and the far right being allosexaulity, those who feel sexual attraction. In the middle are several other identities, which can be referred to with the umbrella term gray ace, who can only feel sexual attraction under certain conditions. For example, demisexual people fall into the gray ace category as they only are sexually attracted to individuals they have an emotional connection to. There are many different sexualities that fall into gray ace, and none of them are black and white. 

Some asexual people still engage in sex, even though they’re not sexually attracted to anyone. If a gay man slept with a woman, be it because he’s experimenting, in the closet, or some other reason, it makes him no less homosexual; it just means he slept with a woman. Enjoying sex and being sexually attracted to someone are two different things. The choice to have sex is up to them. Some may be repulsed by it and choose not to ever have relations, while others may. Either option is valid, and neither option makes them any less asexual. 

Since asexuality isn’t represented as often as other sexualities, many people are misinformed. Under representation and misinformation has detrimental outcomes, such as acephobia. Even those in the LGBTQ+ community can be acephobic. One of the most common arguments that misinformed people use is, ‘‘what if the asexual person just hasn’t met the right person yet?’’ This means the asexual person would have to meet 7.7 billion people to be sure they’re ace. 

So following that logic, all lesbians would have to meet every man in the world to be sure, all gays would have to meet every woman in the world to be sure, and all straights would have to meet everyone of the same gender to be sure. With that argument, nobody is ever truly sure of their sexuality.

If someone identifies with a label because they feel it fits them best, then their identity should be respected. Furthermore, some are convinced that these people are victims of a sexually traumatic past. That’s not always true, and when it is true, that doesn’t mean that it’s causing them to be this sexuality. Some may also say that asexuality is unnatural, however a study done shows that it is present in the animal kingdom. Doctor Charles E. Roselli, a scientist specializing in sex hormones, studied a group of 584 rams and ewes mating habits to find that 12.5 percent of them were asexual. 

The fact of the matter is asexual people exist. Those who identify as asexual are ignored as a whole. There’s very little information on asexuals and an almost nonexistent amount for those who identify as lesser known sexualities. Because of this, many asexual people suffer mental health issues. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, LGBTQ people are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition. Ignoring these people highlights the worst parts of the American narrative—the belief that minorities don’t matter.