When I went to my first self-defense class (shout-out to Silvano and his merciless pushup regime), I knew I had to take off my ring. Deliberately taking it off, putting it on my nightstand, and walking out the door to go to a public place was one of the strangest things I have done in the past three years. In fact, I felt so weird about the whole ordeal that I grabbed a black marker and drew a band around my finger, ignoring the voice of my mom going “drawing on your skin is bad for you!!!” in the back of my mind.
If you’ve seen me walking around UCR and paid attention to my “look”, you may have noticed that my ring is a constant. No matter what I’m wearing, no matter what I’m doing, and no matter what time of day it is, I am wearing a black ring of hematite on the middle finger of my right hand. You may or may not have realized this, which is totally fine. Though by now you probably suspect that there is in fact something more behind it (Spoiler alert: there is). My ring, if you are aware of the symbolism behind it, tells you that I, Sasha, am asexual.
Being asexual means that you don’t feel sexual attraction, it’s as simple as that. People identifying as asexual don’t recognize the feeling of seeing a person and finding them hot, and wanting to take this sexy person into bed to engage in certain non-sleeping activities. However, being asexual does not mean that you cannot have sex! It very much depends on the ace (aka asexual person). Some aces are sex-repulsed: they don’t even like the idea of sex, while some are totally okay with the idea, and may enjoy the physical activity of the whole ordeal. And then there’s the people like me, who don’t really see themselves having sex, but would be okay with trying if their partner really really REALLY wanted it.
People generally don’t realize asexuality exists, or that they may be asexual themselves, until they hear about it from someone else. I personally only found out three years ago, and I remember the day very clearly. I had just gotten home from school, where I had a conversation that – in hindsight – was probably a relatively normal conversation for an allosexual (non-asexual person). But in my case, it sent me into a mild panic attack. The gist of it was that a group of my friends had suggested to me that my lesbian friend and I would be a cute couple. I did not know what to do with myself, I kept thinking: what did my friends mean with “a cute couple”? I had never liked anyone in that way? Was I a broken person? What was I supposed to do with this information???
I sent an anonymous message to a blog very similar to our UCR Confessions page. My little panic-blurb was posted, and within 5 minutes someone replied with: “you could be aro/ace”. I raced to Google and started searching for what the hell this aro/ace thing was. I found the AVEN website, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, and as I read through it my panic faded away. Not liking someone sexually was a normal thing. There were actually people like me. Some showed they were like me by wearing black rings on their right middle fingers, as a symbol of who they were.
I bought my own not even a week later, and I’ve never been without one since.
Sasha Talmon, Class of 2019, is an arts & humanities major from Zierikzee, the Netherlands.
Featured Photo Source: The Asexuality Blog