I understand why it would make you uncomfortable; a lot of ace-politics spend so much time trying to debunk myths that they end up sweeping some identities under the rug.
This happened with the gay/lesbian community too, with people saying “not all gay men are girly” or “not all lesbians are bulldykes” etc. It’s to combat stereotypes, yeah, but in the end it shits on a lot of other identities that are only negative because of cishet culture.
While it’s completely true that asexuality is a huge umbrella (that ranges from those that have sex to those that don’t), social politics often try to “soften the blow” with attempts to “normalize” aces because we live in a “sex-is-normal” society. They succeed in one thing but completely ignore another.
Aces can have sex and some don’t want it whatsoever. By boxing everyone into “aces have sex and relationships too!!” it defeats the purpose of awareness by not being all-inclusive.
Ultimately, it’s a lack of intersectionality, and it’s pandering to sex-normal society.
Please know that you aren’t the problem, it’s how other people are going about spreading “awareness.”
I hope nobody minds if I add some general commentary to this. The point brought up by the anon OP and by dyemelikeasunset is very important.
Sex positivity can all too easily become sex normativity, which can be outright harmful for many asexuals, especially those of us who turned to the asexual community because we felt alienated by the sex normativity in mainstream culture. According to a community survey, 70% of those on the asexual spectrum have never had sex before (77% of asexuals, 61% of gray-As, and 59% of demisexuals) and an additional 11% have had sex before but are currently sexually inactive (9% of asexuals, 16% of gray-As, and 14% of demisexuals). Thus 81% of those on the asexual spectrum (86% of asexuals, 77% of gray-As, and 73% of demisexuals) are not sexually active. Yet, too often our outreach efforts say, “Some asexuals are sexually inactive, but others have sex,” as if these two were equivalent groups.
Moreover, the community survey also showed that 55% of those on the asexual spectrum are sex-averse or repulsed by the idea of having sex (65% of asexuals, 51% of gray-As, and 37% of demisexuals). Only 4% say they enjoy having sex (1% of asexuals, 4% of gray-As, and 11% of demisexuals). Again, saying “Some asexuals don’t like sex, and others do,” or talking a lot about, “being asexual doesn’t mean you can’t have and enjoy sex,” while true statements, may misrepresent the experiences of the majority of those on the asexual spectrum, especially of “core” asexuals (i.e., not gray-A or demisexual).
Other times, important concepts are presented in a very simplified form that ends up erasing the experiences and identities of many aces. For example, gray-asexuality is often presented as just experiencing sexual attraction rarely. In fact, there are many ways to be between.
Or take romantic orientation. This is often presented in a way that makes it seem like watered-down versions of sexual orientation categories. (This graphic, for example, just reproduces the Kinsey scale - right down to sticking aromantics off to the side as though we’re not related to all the other orientations. Kinsey’s study did the same thing to asexuals, calling us “Category X” and thus most people don’t realize that Kinsey knew about asexuality.)
This way of thinking about romantic orientation can result in dividing asexuals up and putting us with the related sexual orientations - something that erases asexuality. Moreover, heteroromantic asexuals are often treated as though they’re straight. They’re NOT. They’re asexual. People typically only identify as asexual after coming to realize that other identities don’t work for them, and that includes heterosexuality. Heteroromantic asexuals often face significant alienation in heterosexual relationships because of their asexuality, including coerced sex and rape (in fact, heteroromantic asexual women may be particularly at risk of domestic violence or sexual abuse, similar to bisexual women with male partners).
Another part of this is when non-asexuals decide that some asexuals get to be “queer” and others are excluded. Curiously, it’s not just heteroromantic asexuals who are excluded, but also aromantic asexuals. People who make these arguments often have a binary view of queerness, that is, that anyone who is not queer must therefore be straight. This leads to the nonsensical result that an aromantic asexual who is not attracted in any way to people of a different sex or gender, and who most likely has not had a relationship with them and does not want to, is called “straight” and told they don’t belong in LGBTQ spaces and need to go away. Isn’t it about time that we recognized that same-sex attraction is not the only way to be non-heteronormative?
But that’s not all! According to the same community survey quoted above, 29% of aces do not fit into the “Kinsey scale” type model of romantic orientation. That’s the largest single category in the survey! Some aces have developed the concept of wtfromantic to convey that this model leaves them out. Stop and think about this next time you say something like, “All aces have a romantic orientation, and the romantic orientations are just like the sexual orientations.” Whichever group you belong to (biromantic, heteroromantic, etc) there are more wtfromantic aces than there are of your group, and nearly third of all aces overall are wtfromantic.
If the way we present asexuality and the asexual spectrum to others does not resemble what the community actually looks like, and erases the experiences of many aces, we are doing a grave disservice to our own community and we need to stop and think about why it’s more important to be “accepted” by the mainstream than to do what’s best for our fellow aces.
I really need people to see this again