When I was asked to write this article, I froze. A personal perspective about disability and sexuality? 'They’ve got the wrong girl,' I thought. Sure, I passionately believe that people with disabilities should have the right to express their sexuality. Beyond that, I have no reference point.
My sexuality and my relationship to it is a fluid, complex thing. It's something I have never felt able to properly articulate, much less define - even to myself or the people I am close with. Anyone could tell you that sexuality is not my strong suit; I have no idea how it feels to be “turned on”, and discussion of anything sexual in nature often leaves me feeling exceedingly uncomfortable. I don’t know if this last point has anything to do with my orientation, but it has been known to cause deep, irreparable damage in my intimate relationships.
For a long time, my lack of interest in anything sexual made me feel somewhat defective, until I realised I wasn’t alone - there was a whole spectrum of people who felt the same! I discovered that it was, in fact, possible to be romantically attracted to people without sexual attraction, which resonated so strongly with my experience. I’m still working things out, but at least it’s a place to start.
For now, I consider myself asexual - a person who does not experience sexual attraction. That may change, or it may not, but for all the answers it has provided me with, it presents still more questions. I am asexual, and sometimes I wish I wasn’t. As a disabled person I am part of a community that is constantly fighting to be seen as sexual beings, to throw off the shackles of the very same loaded label with which I choose to identify. Where does that leave me? Why do I feel like it makes my opinion on the matter that much less valid?
Maybe I’m not as comfortable with my [a]sexuality as I’d like to be. But I do know one thing for sure: I’m allowed to be exactly who I am, so please don’t judge me for it. My asexuality does not necessarily have anything to do with my disability, or my life experiences. There’s nothing wrong with me, and I certainly don’t have to explain myself to you. I’m not a tease, or looking for attention. It isn’t just a phase, or even just because I haven’t found the right person yet. And if one day I do experience sexual attraction, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t asexual before. You don’t get to make a judgment on that any more than I have a right to judge you for being straight, gay, bi, or whatever label you identify with.
Most importantly, my asexuality isn’t perpetuating a stereotype, or detracting from anyone else’s cause. So I refuse to be ashamed of it.