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Trauma & Asexuality: Does sexual abuse make you asexual?
By Tas Kronby, TasThoughts LLC
*TRIGGER WARNING in this brief: content about sexual abuse*
No. Abuse can cause confusion but it is not a direct cause of being ace or any other sexual orientation.
Definitions of sexuality
Let us first start off by defining ace. The term ace is used to describe someone on the asexuality spectrum. asexuality falls on a spectrum and ace is an umbrella term used for many identities that fall under it.
According to the Victims Service Center of Central Florida, “there is no direct causation when it comes to being Asexual. There is no gene or trait to determine if you are ace.” Sometimes when a person has suffered sexual abuse, their sexual orientation is questioned.
This type of thinking is due to society’s idea of the norm of being heterosexual; no one seems to question someone who says they are.
An article in Good Therapy discusses how many asexual people face discrimination.
“Many people have never even heard of asexuality. Others believe that only those with a history of sexual abuse could possibly be uninterested in sex.”
People can sometimes question an asexuality orientation, believing it is due to a person’s trauma or a negative experience around something related to sex.
“Many sexual abuse survivors who are Ace or who are curious about Asexuality have trauma that confuses them from identifying.”
Therapists and Advocates of the Victims Service Center of Central Florida help, provide support and a safe space for sexual abuse survivors and the LGBTQ+ community.
There are certain myths about asexuality. There is limited awareness and the idea that everyone wants sex. Some of the common myths include:
Asexuals have just had bad sexual experiences
Asexuals fear intimacy or relationships and the right person can change an asexual’s orientation.
The truth is asexuality is an orientation, not an avoidance.
“Avoiding romantic relationships is a personal and valid choice, not a psychological problem.”
Abuse and sexuality
With that being said, there are some forms of abuse that are unique to asexual victims.
According to an article in WomensLaw.org, in addition to “traditional” forms of abuse, asexual people are vulnerable to abuse based on their lack of sexual attraction or desire. Some behaviors the abuser will display to “help” gain power could include; telling the victim they are “broke” or something is “wrong” with them, threatening to tell the victim’s friends and family and touching the victim’s body without permission; and this is just naming a few.
Ace is valid
Asexuality is not a mental health condition. Although therapy can be helpful due to the lack of acceptance and discrimination, which can cause asexuals to feel anxiety and depression.
Being Ace is valid and should not be invalidated by societies stereotypes and assumptions. Abuse can form an identity and how you see life. However, it doesn’t mean everything about is birthed from trauma.
Trauma should never be used as means of gaslight or invalidation. For more information on domestic abuse and sexual violence toward asexual people, please see Resources for Ace Survivors.
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