Asexuality has always been the forgotten stepchild of the greater LGBT community. After all, in a community about attractions, how is someone without attraction meant to fit in? This becomes more apparent in the zoo community, which is already such a sexual minority. So being a zoo who’s also asexual is just practically unheard of.
But, we exist. Whether or not we’re visible, we exist.
So for starters, I want to make sure everyone is on the same page with our terms. So, what is asexuality? At its simplest, asexuality is an umbrella term for people who lack sexual attraction towards other people. That doesn’t mean asexual people lack attraction entirely (though some do!), it’s just that they will develop romantic attractions to people, but not necessarily sexual ones. For most people, sexual and romantic attraction go hand in hand. The distinction never really needs to be made. So for asexual people, having those attractions be distinct can be a very foreign concept. The simplest way I can describe it, is perhaps in this scenario. Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Wow, that person is so hot. But I’d never date them!” If you have, congrats! You’ve already felt a separated sexual and romantic attraction. The attraction where you’d desire to have sex with someone, and the attraction to date them and be partners with them, are very very different feelings. And for asexual people, we just don’t feel the sexual part.
Keep in mind, this is just a very broad and simplified definition. Asexuality is very complex, and there’s a lot more subterminology for individual sexualities within it. Like people who are aromantic, who don’t feel romantic attraction either. Or demisexual, who don’t feel any sexual attraction without being very heavily romantically attracted first, but then may later feel sexual attraction towards that individual. Some asexuals even do have sex; not all are repulsed by it, we just don’t feel the attraction. But if our partners want to have sex, it’s no different than playing a board game with them as a bonding experience. All in all, there are a lot of ways to be asexual.
Now, onwards to what it means to be an asexual zoo. In this community, I have been silenced by other zoos and antis alike for being asexual. The most common argument is “Being a zoo is always sexual. You CAN’T be asexual and a zoo.” That’s a very shortsighted way of looking at it. After all, sexuality and attractions are incredibly complex. Telling someone they “can’t” have an attraction is just factually incorrect.
In addition, note how I’ve called myself a “zoo” this entire time. I have not specifically said “zoosexual.” In the asexual community, we prefer to put distinctions on the terms to express our romantic attractions, as opposed to just sexual ones. For an example, someone who is gay but asexual would use homoromantic instead of homosexual. So for an asexual zoo, the more specific terminology would be zooromantic asexual. But considering what a mouthful that is, I prefer to just say zoo.
“But if you’re asexual, then your animal attraction is just like any other pet owner.” This line is one I get a lot, and it’s VERY concerning. Because if this is true, then you’re admitting that the only reason you have a partner at all is to have sex with them. And other than that, any partner feelings you have toward them are no different than what you would have towards any pet you’ve ever had. The only thing stopping you from marrying your goldfish is your lack of desire to have sex with them. If love to you is as black and white as “have sex with” and “not have sex with,” then I very very much hope you do not have any romantic partners who would be subjected to that awful relationship.
Attraction does not need to be sexual. Asexuals do not need to desire sex with someone else to feel a connection. All they need is a desire to be together, and they can have a romance that’d top all others. It’s the same with asexual zoos. I love my pets, but the love I’ve felt towards specific animals during my lifetime is a different kind of love. A different kind of attraction. The same kind of love I’ve felt towards past partners, current partners, etc. And it does not need to involve sex to feel that way.
You can think of this the same way that you might feel differently between your best friend and your romantic partner. Both connections are love, and neither is necessarily better than the other, but most people still make a clear distinction between those two kinds of relationships. It’s hard to put exactly what the difference is into words since love is an emotion that’s very different for each individual person, but regardless most people would agree there is a distinction, whether you’re a monogamous person in a hetero relationship or someone in a polycule!
Ultimately, I hope you can understand that asexuality does not mean a loving, romantic connection cannot be made. Regardless of species.
Article written by CitrusShroom (September 2022)
Find him here at https://twitter.com/CitrusShroom!
Questions, comments or concerns? Check out the article thread on ZooCommunity, or hop into our Discord!