What is Asexuality and what does it mean to be Asexual? For starters, it has nothing to do with reproduction. FFS, stop flashing back to the only term you remember from 8th grade science class and step into the 21st century.
According to the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network:
An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction – they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are, just like other sexual orientations. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or better; we just face a different set of needs and challenges than most sexual people do. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community in the needs and experiences often associated with sexuality including relationships, attraction, and arousal.https://www.asexuality.org/?q=overview.html
Asexuality, most most sexual identities, exists on a spectrum. My particular “flavor” is heteroromantic asexual, which means I romantically/aesthetically prefer women, while still having no desire to act upon that attraction. This is why I work almost exclusively with women: something in my wiring just prefers the look.
As a photographer, this little quirk of <waves hand vaguely> can have several benefits, the biggest being that the likelihood of being touched during a shoot, even accidentally, is nearly zero. “Not being creepy” is a huge bonus in the photography world. Hell, I tend to avert my eyes when not taking photos and I have a habit of reviewing images with my subjects by holding my camera with my arm as outstretched as possible.
It does have some downsides, though, which I’ll discuss in greater detail in later posts. The biggest one being that I often do not have a clue as to what looks desirable, aesthetically. This is why I keep a lookbook or trade images with a subject before a session: I need to have a solid gameplan going in, because I’m a bit of an idiot otherwise.
It is also why I prefer to work with the burlesque community and performers in general: I don’t have to direct them. They can bring their A-game and I can capture it. I acknowledge it’s a bit of a crutch and I’m working at getting better at directing.
Overall, I like who I am. It was a long, painful struggle to figure things out, but I’m in a good place.
If you’re looking for additional resources (asexuality.org is a fabulous resource, but can be a dense read), hit up:
The LGBT Center, UNC-Chapel Hill
And if you’re ever wondering what asexuality looks like, watch Good Omens on Amazon. Asexual representation in media is few and far between, but intentionally or not that series nailed it!