Thursday, March 30, 2023

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6 Tips for Being There for an Asexual Friend who Just Came Out

One of my best friends suggested I see a sex therapist when I told her my boyfriend and I were having issues due to my asexuality.

“I don’t identify with any sexual orientation, Cammie. It refers to a sexual orientation. The problem isn’t exactly something you can solve-“

Her response was, “Well, I don’t think you’re trying hard enough.” “If you’re not willing to try to solve your problem, how can you expect him to?”

Cammie’s final comment was the last straw, and I lost all desire to argue. She wasn’t the only one who advised me to get help from an expert. Other friends of mine thought my “problem” was more psychological in nature and could be solved with a few sessions at a therapist’s office.

I couldn’t stand being reminded that I didn’t fit in with the norm and had grown weary of hearing that there was something wrong with me.

As a result of our conversation, I decided to stop coming out as asexual to my friends, but I still needed guidance in dealing with my allosexual boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have been having issues due to our divergent levels of sexual desire, which I mentioned to another friend without directly mentioning asexuality.

She asked, “Have you considered going to an asexual support group or meeting for advice?”

I was silent for a moment. Her openness to discussing her asexuality caught me off guard.

She shrugged off my possible asexuality and said my boyfriend just wasn’t “doing it right” when I told her a few months earlier that I was considering it. She had done research on the topic since then. (Praise be to my feminist, queer, and transgender friends!)

I was relieved to find someone with whom I could discuss my sexuality and my relationship openly.

We then proceeded to spend the next several hours discussing how to make my relationship work and selecting “Ace Pride” t-shirts for me to wear at the upcoming Pride parade and Asexual Awareness Week.

My asexuality has never been met with acceptance until that one time.

Many of my friends’ indifferent or discouraging responses to my asexuality reveal were reasonable. Many people today simply cannot imagine a world without sexual desire or attraction because of how pervasive sex is in our culture.

Friends of asexual people may (understandably) be at a loss for words when their resident ace comes out to them. This is because asexuality isn’t widely known. It’s possible they’ll make some of the same invalidating comments that aces often hear when they come out, such as “This is just a phase” or “You haven’t met the right person yet.”

If you’re not familiar with the asexual experience, it’s important to be mindful of how your words may invalidate your friend’s feelings when they come out as asexual. Here are six ways to show your asexual friend some love after they’ve come out.

  1. Pay attention and give them space to talk about how they feel.

When asexuals come to terms with their sexuality, they may experience a wide range of feelings.

Some people feel vindicated or vindicated by the discovery of a word to describe their situation. There are those who are relieved to find others who share their unique characteristics. Some people are let down because they believe they’re missing out on something important. Still others are completely apathetic.

Many people can relate to how I used to feel; namely, that there was something fundamentally wrong with me.

I wanted answers to a few things: Will I be able to find happiness if I no longer experience sexual desire and attraction? Is there any chance of finding a romantic partner who is open to my asexuality if my friends can’t accept it? When I pass away, will they bury me with my cats? (It was a legitimate worry, as I also have a cat phobia.)

Confusion surrounds asexuality.

Some top players just can’t put their minds around a yearning and emotion that everyone else seems to be experiencing and raving about.

If you find out you’re one of the 1% of the population that doesn’t get sexually attracted to other people, you’ll have to figure out how to live in a world where sex is expected, and even necessary, for happiness.

Your ace friend’s coming out to you may be a profoundly moving experience, depending on how they feel about their asexuality.

A shoulder to lean on could come in handy if they’re anything like me. They should be allowed to cry if they feel the need to do so. Give them time to explain their thought process if it’s a lengthy tale.

Make sure you give them time to talk before you jump in with your two cents. It’s crucial to affirm your friend in that moment when they’re about to reveal something about themselves.

  1. Recognize the validity of their feelings

Almost every openly asexual person has a tale of being told they can’t be asexual.

Many individuals seek aces as a means of substantiating their asexuality. They are concerned that the ace has a hormonal imbalance or that their friend was “doing it wrong” in the bedroom.

It’s quite arrogant when other people make assumptions about your sexual orientation without asking you.

You foster an oppressive dynamic when you discount an ace’s story simply because it’s different from your own.

You’ve created a setting where your friend’s feelings aren’t validated. This kind of discrimination implies that a lack of sexual attraction or desire is a defect, and that only the allosexual experience can be authentic.

Since my close friends did not accept my asexuality, it was a secret part of my life that I could not discuss with them. I had to tell myself the lie that “yes, everything is fine with us” in order to keep my relationship from collapsing. The situation, however, was not normal.

For a while, I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about how being asexual made me nervous.

Denial of a friend’s asexuality creates a safe space in which they cannot be themselves, which can strain even the strongest of friendships.

If your friend is having problems, instead of giving the typical responses, let them know you have their back and they can talk to you about it.

Reassure them that being asexual is acceptable if they are feeling down. Sharing the resources from which you’ve learned about asexuality can help to reassure others that they are not alone in their experience of being asexual.

It’s wise to reply in an upbeat, confident manner.

  1. Recognize the Specifics of Their Requirements

When a friend or loved one comes out as asexual, they may need relationship advice, comfort, an open heart, or assistance coming out to another friend or loved one.

It’s possible that asexual people don’t have any allies outside of the online community. Having even one friend who can relate to their situation is helpful.

You should also be aware that your asexual friend might not want or need your help in any way. Perhaps they feel comfortable enough with you to be open about their sexual orientation and have chosen to “come out” to you.

If that’s the case, it’s best to be wary of advice offered from a position of privilege if it wasn’t specifically requested. In some cases, it’s unnecessary to take such measures.

Equally, don’t throw yourself a pity bash. If you feel sorry for a friend, it may lead them to believe that there is something wrong with them. Being an asexual is a common occurrence. There’s no need to feel bad about your pal’s aversion to sexual activity. The asexuality of many aces is not a problem for them. It’s possible that your pal is pleased with it.

It’s more helpful to your ace friend if you find out what they need specifically.

How your friend comes out to you may give you insight into how they feel about their asexuality. Whether said dryly or with tears in their eyes, if you know this person well, you may be able to anticipate their every need.

If you don’t know how to help, ask a friend. Instead of assuming what your friend needs, you can give them the power to tell you by asking.

  1. Propose to Assist Them Explore Potential Supergroups If Interested

I was able to accept my asexuality after discovering an online ace community.

I was able to find online aces willing to talk about their experiences. I came across a fantastic blog full of affirmations (or “affirm-ace-ions”) for ace people. Videos showing aces’ emotional distress in romantic relationships have brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I have found other black aces who embrace their asexuality and black identity with equal fervor.

This group of people played an important role.

Many “punny” asexual jokes can be found in the asexual community, along with advice from those with first-hand experience with the asexual lifestyle.

Assist your friend in finding an ace community if they are interested in making new friends.

Internet forums and social media groups are popular meeting places for experts. Your first stops should be Tumblr and the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Both of these places are good starting points for learning more about the community of people of color aces, as they feature general information as well as discussion forums and blogs.

Larger cities often have asexual groups, and when they do, they host occasional meetups and publicize them on their websites, Meetup pages, and Facebook groups.

And there are LGBTQIA+ communities that welcome people who don’t identify as sexual. There may even be some ace flags flying at the Pride parade in your town.

My ally who helped me come to terms with my asexuality will walk in my first Pride parade with me. When I need someone to lean on for comfort, I can turn to her as my “security blanket” friend. Such a companion would be useful to many aces.

Many aces can benefit from having others in their community who share their orientation. Your friend’s confidence in their asexuality will grow as a result of your support in finding them a community.

  1. Keep a secret if it’s worth keeping a secret.

No one should be outed, no matter their sexuality.

Outing an ace means revealing sensitive information about their sexual orientation, even if the story you’re telling isn’t about a scandalous love affair (you’d be surprised).

A player’s sexual history, or lack thereof, is none of anyone else’s business.

While I haven’t experienced being “outed,” I have read a few accounts of it on ace message boards and advice blogs. The sexual orientation of many outed aces was denied. Some said they began to question their sexuality after hearing the denial, while others felt violated when their confidence was revealed to others without their permission.

Keep in mind that being out is not a requirement for asexuals. They might be afraid of people’s reactions, they might not want to educate the world on asexuality, or they might just not care to tell the world.

That is their choice, and it must be honored.

  1. Check Out Some Extra Books

Your asexual friend might not be as knowledgeable as you are.

The spectrum of asexuality is nuanced and broad; more research is needed.

Information on the topic can be found in abundance in AVEN. Additionally, asexual people use social networking sites like Tumblr, Reddit, and others to host blogs and form groups in which they address questions from the general public. Many aces’ experiences are recounted there from their own perspectives. The Invisible Orientation by Julie Sondra Decker is helpful if you, like me, prefer books.

I was able to move past the stages of denial and into acceptance of my asexuality with the help of these materials. They’re a great resource for learning about your friend’s asexuality. The identities covered by the ace label, such as gray asexual and demisexual, are all within their knowledge base. They may also have additional suggestions for how you can help your brilliant pal.

My encouraging friend did some online research and discovered a website selling awesome clothes that I had never heard of before. Buying ace and ace ally gear for the upcoming Pride parade brought us closer together.

If you look around, you might find some useful information that you can pass along to your ace pal.

Your ability to support your ace friend and other asexual people increases in proportion to the amount you know about asexuality.

There is an effort by asexual groups to make the world a more accepting place by increasing their profile, increasing visibility, and raising awareness. Friends of aces who learn about and accept asexuality as a valid sexual orientation lend their support to an ace-positive movement that makes our society more welcoming for all kinds of people.


Having supportive friends makes being a “out” ace easier, especially in a society that appears so hypersexual on the surface.

These friends make sure aces feel welcome even though allosexuality is widely accepted as “normal” in our culture. They make us feel like we belong, and they encourage us to be ourselves.

And every ace can use a friend or two like this.

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