Inclusive Communication: 7 Things You Should Never Say to An Asexual Person
Pride yourself in knowing what to say all the time? Think your communication skills are on fleek? Good communication skills are also about being appropriate, sensitive and knowing when and where to say the right thing. It’s the 2020s, and it is of utmost importance to be inclusive in your speech and writing. While millions of people fight for a variety of rights to equality, billions of others struggle with a basic understand of inclusive culture and terms that go with it. So why is it important to make your communication inclusive? Simply put, diversity cannot exist without inclusion, and if it doesn’t reflect in your speech, then high chances are it isn’t going to show in your actions as well. In this article, we’re going to cover asexuality, but more importantly, 7 Things You Should Never Say To An Asexual Person
On a basic level, asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to other people — asexual people are of many types, with varying degrees of asexuality, but that’s mostly the broad definition. Asexual people can be romantic, and have fulfilling relationships, but on a general basis, the need for sexual encounters in either low or absent.
For centuries, the asexual community has not been recognised or validated, which has led to a wide variety of misconceptions about them and their lives. If someone you know is asexual, or comes out to you as asexual, it is important to respect this and avoid saying a few cliched things that can actually be offensive. Here are 7 Things You Should Never Say To An Asexual Person
1. That’s not a real thing!
This is one of the most common and most offensive things a person can say to an asexual person. Just because you haven’t heard about it or don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or it isn’t real! By saying this you are invalidating the person’s feelings and treating it like some sort of joke.
2. Wait till you meet the right person.
Asexual people’s sexual preferences don’t change just because they “meet someone”. At best they will get involved romantically if they meet the right person, but that won’t change the fact that they are asexual! Besides, the “right person” will accept an asexual as they are and allow them to exist in a space that is most comfortable for them!
3. It’s just a phase!
Asexual people are honestly tired of hearing this one. Calling asexuality a phase is honestly very offensive. Would you tell a gay/lesbian person that their sexual preferences are a phase? (If you answered yes to that question, you’re wrong!). By saying it is a phase you are insinuating that an asexual person’s preferences and experiences are not real and valid. Don’t say that!
4. Don’t you mean “celibate”?
People regularly confuse celibacy with asexuality because very often the end result is the same. People who are celibate may WANT to have sex but refrain from doing so for personal or religious reasons, but people who are asexual, in most cases, lack the drive to even feel sexually attracted to another person. Asexual people aren’t abstaining even though they want to, they are most likely staying away from sex because they prefer not to have any.
5. I’m sure I can change your mind!
Please, don’t be the person who says that, especially with a wink to go with it. It’s very rude, and laden with rape culture. Worst of all it assumes that asexuality is a problem that will go away after a good lay. Most people who say it mean it as a joke, but let us remind you, this kind of humour is in bad taste, and is absolutely unnecessary. Most asexual people will be shocked by such a comment and won’t know how to respond to this.
6. You’re just doing this for attention!
For the longest time, asexual people have been oppressed and told that their asexuality is something “curable”; they’ve even been locked up and corrective raped to help them get over this “condition”. All this because people who weren’t asexual couldn’t understand and grasp the concept of asexuality. It has taken centuries for asexual people to speak up and admit their asexuality openly, and even then they face a lot of trouble and judgement for it. No one does it for attention.
7. So, you’ve never had sex?
While asexuality is a broad spectrum, there are many different kids of asexual people — sex-repulsed, sex-neutral and sex-positive. However, none of them owe you an answer to this question. Whether someone has ever had sex or not is an extremely personal affair and private information, regardless of whether they are asexual or not, and you shouldn’t be asking such questions!
Are there other things you think you shouldn’t say to an asexual person? Leave a comment and let us know!