Once upon a time, I was in love with a guy. And in college, I attempted to plan a Valentine Day date for us. We’d been together for years before this but it’s hard to go on a legit date in high school. So I wanted to try and make the first Valentine’s Day of our college experience special. Back then, since I was in love I found myself trying to organize the things that I personally found romantic. To start, I wanted to spend a full 24 hours together, just us and the ever-growing bond between us. I had envisioned us eating breakfast together, taking a walk around City Park, getting lunch and dinner together, ending the night with a bath. In my mind, we’d stop at the bath. But I knew that in his mind the only thing he cared about was the sex at the end of the night. So I grudgingly shuffled that into my plans as well.
The only one of the plans that ended up happening was the sex. And it happened under circumstances I’d rather not give details about.
That was the only time I’ve tried to truly celebrate the holiday. Before it wasn’t a day I took seriously and after, it’s not a day I want to bring myself to revolve around. To watch my plans fall through around me, while my boyfriend made absolutely sure that the plans he wanted to happen went through no matter what; chipped a nice big groove in my shoulder. I haven’t looked at the holiday the same since really.
Now though, I’ve been asked to look at it through a different perspective. As an Asexual, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can be stressful. The more I explore the Ace community online the more I watch my fellow Aces come to dread February 14th. And it’s not always the seemingly simple reason for not experiencing sexual attraction.
We can start there though, in society it seems the goal of Valentine’s Day has shifted from showing love to doing romantic things in the hopes of gaining sex. It doesn’t matter anymore if you spend the day with someone you love, the bigger question asked is if you spent the night having sex. And if you didn’t, it’s either because you’re single and lonely or you’re bitter and that attitude is stopping someone from wanting to be in your bed. There is no in between. At least not according to the internet.
When you’re asexual and don’t have the same feelings about sex as the majority around you, it can often be misconstrued as there being something wrong with you as a person. Which is very rarely the case at all. Even the Aces that fall in the grey area of asexuality and are okay with some sexual acts can still feel the intense pressure of Valentine’s Day. They’ll often encounter those with the mindset that if they’re willing to do some things on other days they should be willing to do all things on this special day. Which is both manipulative and abusive. But seems to be happening more and more.
On a completely different end, the last few Valentine’s Days in the online Ace community have been nothing but a day of trolls trying to bring down Asexuals in any way possible. Normally, I ignore trolls. I have a tough skin, mostly because of the fact that I’m Black and there’s nothing a troll who only cares about my Aceness can say to me that a racist hasn’t already said in a much worse way. However, I have decided to start an Asexual Advice Column and cannot simply ignore trolls anymore. Just because they don’t matter or bother me doesn’t mean that they don’t bother my fellow Aces. And I want to stand strong with Aces in all corners that I can.
The last few years I’ve watched as asexuality is mocked specifically on Valentine’s Day. If Aces are using the day to celebrate Queer Platonic Relationships, then they’re trolled for having a “special” label for their friends. If Aces are celebrating their individual relationships that mean something to them, they’re accused of faking being Asexual. After all, Aces cannot have any connection with another person. Or else we aren’t actually asexual, according to the exclusionists that roam the internet doing all they can to tear Aces down.
All of this is bullshit.
The more I study and observe Ace Discourse and those that participate in it, the more I realize that the social constructs in the world can easily be dismantled. However, the fear of not being different enough is constantly outweighing the cis peoples’ moral compass. That’s the problem with heterosexual and cisgendered people, they’re afraid that soon they’re going not going to be the norm. And to them, that’s devastating. It also means the spotlight will be on someone else. The last thing heterosexuals want is the spotlight on someone else.
Part of me wishes that I could gather my fellow Aces around and drill into their minds that holidays shouldn’t have the kind of power over society that they do. Especially not one that has been turned into a game of who’s sharing body fluids and who isn’t. However, the other part of me realizes that this will always be a fight and a struggle and I’m probably wasting my breath just bringing the subject up. As a society, we’re too deep into some constructs to ever reverse them, and I think the battle of Valentine’s Day is one that won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Thanks for reading guys, details about my Asexual Advice Column will be coming soon 🙂