I’m Black and Asexual. Stop Being So Surprised.
What it’s like to not exactly fit into society’s stereotypes of Black women
The first time I told someone I was asexual, they thought it was a joke. I was sitting in the middle of a gay bar, surrounded by people of all sexualities, and this person still thought I was joking.
It didn’t take them long to realize I was dead serious, then disbelief set in.
“I thought asexuals didn’t like sex?”
The question wasn’t a malicious one, but it was confusing (and annoying). I’d never told this person that I liked sex. I’d never told him I didn’t like sex either. I’d never had a single conversation about sex in his presence, so why was he making assumptions about what went on between my legs?
It took him a while to find the words he needed to explain what he was trying to say. It came out in broken stutters colored by a level of embarrassment that I didn’t understand until we were walking home. He explained that he’d met Black people who were gay, bisexual, and transgender, but he’d never met a Black person who was asexual.
I’d never linked the color of my skin to my sexuality. Here’s what I’d always known:
- I didn’t like relationships, especially not the type I saw on the big screen.
- I rarely tolerated physical affection from my partners.
- Sometimes the idea of sex was abhorrent to me, but sometimes it wasn’t.
These were my truths, and I always thought they were simple. My truths had never before clashed with my culture, but on that night, I was faced with the reality that when my friend saw me and the color of my skin, he made a story in his head about the person I must be, and I didn’t fit the narrative.
There shouldn’t be any shock or anger when a Black woman doesn’t want to have sex with you. Our bodies belong to ourselves.
Walking home from the bar, I wondered if other people had similar assumptions about me and my sexuality. I spent that night examining my previous relationships. I remembered the way every single one of them seemed to believe…