In the early days, there was just G for gay. It generally referred to homosexuality. As the years marched on, a need for more nuanced labels (this need was obvious to reasonable people, at least) became evident. The most comprehensive I could find is LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP+. I’m going to attempt to define each one. And then I will hopefully be able to classify myself. I like taxonomy a lot so I’d like to know where I stand.
L: lesbian: Me? nope, I’m not a lady but I certainly empathize with the preference for women over men.
G: Gay: Me? nope. I find men gross.
G: genderqueer: Me? nope, I’m just a boring biological and self-identifying male. I think that’s called a cisgender heterosexual male. But I’m not sure. And I’m not Gonna heck cause it’s not terribly relevant to this post.
B: Bisexual: Me? nope. Guys are gross (to me).
D: Demisexual: only attracted to people after a strong emotional bond has been formed. Me? Nope. I’ve been attracted to plenty of ladies and I’ve never even had a weak emotional bond with them.
T: Transgender: Me? nope I’m just a cisgender heterosexual male. I know, boring.
T: Transsexual: Me? nope – see previous
T: Twospirit: Me? nope – I just have one gender identity … yawn.
I: Intersex: Me? nope. My biological parts are just garden variety dude parts.
Q: Queer: a possible umbrella term for all the letters in the acronym. Me? Maybe – see “A”.
Q: Questioning: exploring one’s own sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Me? Yeah, probably. See “A”.
(I’m about to go out of order because I’m focusing on “A”)
A: allies: one who supports any member of the large acronym at the top of this post. Me? Yes, definitely. I support most marginalized populations.
P: pansexual: attracted to all genders, including those who are some non-binary combination of the two traditional genders. Me? Nope, guys are gross.
P: polyamorous: one who is involved in more than 1 serious sexual or romantic relationship with the consent and knowledge of all parties. Me? No fucking way. I’m nowhere near secure enough.
+: all categories not previously described because sexuality is a spectrum that cannot be delineated precisely. Me? Well, maybe. Again, see “A”.
So now for the main event.
It stands for asexual. But what does that mean? Here’s one small definition: A person who generally does not feel sexual attraction or desire to any group of people. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy
Here’s a fuller explanation which I prefer:
Per Wikipedia: (my comments interspersed in parentheses)
Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others (ok, that’s not me: my libido has certainly plummeted in the last few years but I still notice some people) or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity (this is more complicated. I haven’t had many good experiences in this realm but I suppose I would say it’s accurate to say I have a desire for a good experience. But if it was a situation where I wasn’t guaranteed a good experience sexually, I’d have to say I have no desire for that. Some people say there’s no such thing as bad sex. For me, I’ve rarely had good sex. It may be considered the lack of sexual orientation, (Nah, I like ladies) or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality (Nah, I’m quite secure that his one is my orientation), homosexuality and bisexuality. It may also be an umbrella term used to categorize a broader spectrum of various asexual sub-identities.
(I feel like I shouldn’t leave any stone unturned here so I’ll give you my understanding of the asexual sub-identities: (1) gray-a OR gray ace: these folks exist somewhere between asexuals who have ZERO desire for sex and sexuals who have “normal” desire for sex. Even within this desexualized zone, there exists a spectrum. Let’s say pure asexual is 0 and Ron Jeremy is 100. I would say pretty comfortably that I am a gray ace and that I’d put myself at around 33.)
Asexuality is distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which is behavioral and generally motivated by factors such as an individual’s personal or religious beliefs. Sexual orientation, unlike sexual behavior, is believed to be “enduring”.[Some asexual people engage in sexual activity despite lacking sexual attraction or a desire for sex, due to a variety of reasons, such as a desire to pleasure themselves or romantic partners, or a desire to have children.”
Yeah, this feels very right. I’ve certainly had sex for plenty of reasons that did not include my expectation that the act would be pleasurable. Some great reasons included “I was super horny” OR she cried when I wanted to end the dating interaction OR I wanted to lose the “stigma” of the Virgin label. I really didn’t expect any of those and other similar situations to be a good time. But I chose to move forward anyway.
Yet another aside: I think asexuals got a bum deal when it comes to our pride flag. The colors are pretty somber. It’s purple , black and grey, which happens to be very close to the Baltimore Ravens’ colors. That is odd. The Ravens don’t seem like an asexual collective. I’m not saying it should be a rainbow but I don’t think there’s anything somber about being on the asexual spectrum. I think they should look into a brighter color pattern. I like green if they’re looking for suggestions.
So I guess I was “Q” (questioning) until I read up on asexuality more while writing this post (real-time sexual identification!) and I guess I am “Q” (queer) because “A” falls under the umbrella “Q” spectrum. So I’m “A” or “Q”? Or “AQ”? Or “aq”? Or the phonetic “ack”? Not sure which I like better aesthetically. But I think I like the phonetic nick best because it’s what Bill the Cat (who was NOT asexual) from Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County comic strip (my most favorite comic strip ever; Opus is my spirit animal) used to say all the time.
But it’s nice to know where I stand. And even though sexuality and all things sexual, like orientation, are a fluid spectrum, there’s comfort for me in knowing I’m not completely alone and bizarre and that there are other “Aqs” wandering the world out there, grappling with familial and societal expectations as they try to figure out what’s right for them and not what others want to be right for them.
And to finish on a vulgar note (because frankly this post has been far too mature for my personal brand): if you’re two consenting human adults, name yourself and fuck each other however you want or stand on your own and tell people to fuck off because you simply aren’t into fucking, fuckers.
Happy Pride! Love yourself!