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Does Cupid Not Have Aimbot?

Updated: Jun 12

Exploring The A in LGBTQIA2+

By Anonymous Contributor

via @Shiro-no-Okami on DeviantArt

By my third year of secondary school, love permeated every aspect of existence; it filled the pages of books, animated conversations, bloomed in flower fields, lingered in exchanged glances, danced in fantasies, and nestled in beds. My friends had ceased their collective "ew" whenever the topic of sex arose. Instead, those of us who shunned physical intimacy were children — late bloomers. Despite my lovesick peers, I had somehow mastered the art of sidestepping Cupid’s arrows with pride. Yet, neglectful to my identity, society persists in its belief that Cupid has Aimbot, in that “love will come to all.”

Year after year, there is a more considerable emphasis on safe sex in educational institutions. While advocating for protected intimacy is commendable, the inescapable message seems to proclaim that sex is bound to happen to everyone — as if it were a defining characteristic of the human experience. For individuals like myself who lack the inclination to participate in sexual activity, this societal insistence can evoke feelings of shame and exclusion, as if we stand outside the bounds of not just a community, but of biology itself. Shorronda J. Brown coins the societal agreement that sexuality is obligatory as “compulsory sexuality.” Encapsulating a cultural norm, this phrase acknowledges the existence of a sexual identity that only 1% of Canadians identify with: asexuality.

AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, defines asexuality as an umbrella term encompassing a spectrum ranging from little to no sexual attraction. It is vital to recognize that this is part of someone’s identity, not to be confused with celibacy — a conscious choice to remain single — or Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), a condition characterized by low sexual desire. Interestingly, many asexual individuals still form significant romantic relationships throughout their lives. This phenomenon underscores the distinction between sexual attraction and romantic attraction, which operate as two spectrums, independent of one another. In fact, research conducted by Amy N Antonsen reveals that 26% of the asexual population also identifies as aromantic, which means that they do not experience romantic attraction either. This illustrates that individuals may have romantic feelings for one another and never engage in physical intimacy, and vice versa.

Despite its significance, asexuality passes by as an invisible identity, its definition rooted in the lack of conventional sexual attraction. When I confided in a friend about my lack of attraction to the guys in our year, their immediate assumption was that I must be a lesbian. While not entirely implausible given my statement, it was far from the target. It appears that society often finds it easier to understand homosexuality than to comprehend the absence of attraction altogether – to love someone is more relatable than to not love at all.

Motivated by these observations, I embarked on an investigation of why ace identities remain unfamiliar to many. A Dawson student, opting to remain anonymous, expressed, “I respect ace people, I just find it hard to juggle between both sexual and romantic labels; it’s a lot more to keep up with than just.. gay.” For alloromantic asexuals — those who experience romantic attraction — love inherently entails a careful dissection into both the sexual and romantic spectra, challenging traditional understandings of romantic relationships.

Furthermore, it’s essential to recognize that sexuality represents merely a fraction of one’s overall identity. Sexuality intersects with various other aspects of identity, each suffusing it with distinct meanings and implications. Take, for instance, the societal constructs of gender, which carry different expectations for asexual individuals presenting as masculine or feminine. Traditionally, women are expected to adhere to abstinence, while men are pressured into hypersexual activity. As a Muslim woman, I have been counseled to steer away from men and preserve my virginity until marriage. Despite societal complaints about this restrictiveness, I have personally found compliance to be rather simple — perhaps far too simple. There is an ease for abstinence for females within the gender binary, and it is evident to see how societal expectations would change if mine were the case for a man.

This dynamic also extends to considerations of ethnicity. An anonymous interviewee who identifies as ace shared insights from their upbringing, revealing: “Femininity itself was a taboo topic in my south asian household, and sexual education was simply inaccessible — I had no resources to explore my sexuality within my community.” They further lamented the lack of representation in ace literature, noting that “most ace literature is based around white people, and I just don’t find myself relating to them that much.”  Intersectional representation is important to facilitate a more inclusive understanding of the asexual experience.

Despite society’s insistence that love is an inevitable force, the reality is quite different for many of us. As an asexual, pursuing love feels like chasing a mirage that dissipates upon approach as if it were a self-imposed illusion. While Cupid’s arrow is revered as a symbol of love’s certainty, it fails to acknowledge those of us who reside comfortably outside its trajectory.



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