Coming to an ace or aro identity

2 minutes

Learning objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Identify common barriers a person might face in coming to identify as ace or aro.
  • Explain some reasons why a person might have difficulty accepting their ace or aro identity.

Access to information

Many people don’t identify as ace or aro because they aren’t familiar with asexuality or aromanticism. Aro people can have an especially difficult time discovering aromanticism because few aro resources exist outside of ace communities. In addition, most information on asexuality and aromanticism is online, which can be a detriment to those who have limited or no internet access.

Older ace and aro people are impacted by the relative youth of ace and aro communities. Because information on asexuality and aromanticism didn’t widely exist when they were young, older people often have a more difficult time discovering and coming to terms with an ace or aro identity.

Questioning

The lack of easily accessible information on asexuality and aromanticism is often the biggest hurdle to overcome when a person is questioning if they are ace or aro. Even when a person knows that ace and aro identities exist, they may not have a full understanding of those identities and their complexities. For example, a person might:

  • confuse sexual attraction with sex drive or assume they can’t be asexual because they masturbate or have sex,
  • not know that sexual and romantic attraction can be separate and assume they can’t be asexual because they experience romantic attraction, or vice versa,
  • confuse platonic feelings with romantic ones and assume they can’t be aromantic, or
  • not have a full understanding of gray-asexuality or grayromanticism and assume that they can’t be ace or aro because they occasionally experience attraction.

Self-acceptance

Because societal norms are regularly at odds with the experiences and desires of ace and aro people, asexuality and aromanticism are often stigmatized and looked down on. Ace and aro people are often brought up with these same views, and this can make it difficult for them to accept their own identity. They might wish they had a different orientation or might force themselves into situations that they are uncomfortable with just to try to feel normal.

If an ace or aro person comes from a socially conservative background, they may have difficulty accepting their identity because of biases they have against the LGBTQ+ community.

Further reading