By Leah DeGraw
PRISM invited asexual activisit David Jay to campus on Thursday, Nov. 20, to describe his experience and clarify wheat asexuality really is.
Asexuality is identified as a person who does not experience sexual attraction, Jay said. Although there is an official definition, the term is used as an umbrella term and can be used to describe many different preferences.
Jay is a well-known leader and Webmaster of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), an online asexual community.
At age 14, Jay found himself writing down the word “asexual,” but there was no community where he could talk to other people about it.
“I remember being in middle school, and all of my friends were exploring their sexuality, and all the adults in my life were saying it’s a necessary part of growing up,” Jay said. “I was scared. I was scared there was something wrong with me. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to connect with people.”
During his freshman year of college in 2001, at the age of 18, Jay created the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, where people could connect with other asexual members and share their stories.
“I spent several years thinking that this was a problem that I needed to fix,” Jay said. “I slowly came to realize it didn’t’ have to be.”
In 2002, he launched the AVEN website. In June of 2013, it hit 70,000 registered members, making it the largest online asexual community in the world.
When the website was created, Jay and other members came up with an official definition of the word “asexual,” as it did not have a clear definition at that time.
“More and more of us came together and tried to figure out what this word meant,” Jay said. As a result, commonly shared experiences brought the online members together to create an official definition.
“This definition is a tool and not a label. The word asexual is a tool for you to help figure yourself out,” said Jay.
The AVEN website delves further into the proper definition.
“Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction and arousal somewhat differently,” the website states.
Throughout the event, Jay discussed and defined several terms that are used in the asexual community. One of the most popular that Jay himself invented was the word “asexy.”
This term came about because people wanted to be able to describe an experience where they were drawn to something. The word came up to explain an experience that was kind of like traditionally “sexy” experiences.
“Asexy experiences are personal aligned with you and your relationship with someone else,” Jay said.
Overall, Jay desired to set the record straight on what asexuality really is. By creating this online community, asexuality has become more a prominent sexual orientation in society.
According to the AVEN webpage, “it was created with two distinct goals: creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community.”
Jay has certainly fulfilled these two aspirations, as he is now the Webmaster of the largest asexual online community in the world and has helped asexuality become a more accepted and discussed experience in the world.