Every Valentine's Day, thousands of people are encouraged to buy flowers, chocolates, and jewelry for their partners. If you're single, then you're encouraged to experience romance and sex through singles events or watching rom-com shows and movies. While this is awesome for people who are interested in romance and sex, as a non-binary, queer, grey asexual, Valentine's Day can feel somewhat isolating.
The reason that Valentine's Day bothers me as a grey ace is that the holiday implies that the only way you can be truly be happy is if you experience romance and sex. Not to mention the idea that romantic love is the only type of love worth celebrating, especially when you can also love a friend, a family member, a hobby, or yourself.
Ironically, it is thanks to the annual promotions for Valentine's Day that I recently realized that I was a grey ace. As I was being constantly bombarded with Valentine's Day ads and sales and articles related to romance and sex, I decided to have a conversation with myself about how strange I felt about sex, sexual attraction, and attraction in general.
Once I began to be honest with myself, I realized that while I've had crushes on feminine women and have sometimes found them sexually attractive, I usually don't want to have sex with them. Even though I wouldn't mind being in a romantic relationship with a woman, I would rather just kiss and cuddle her most of the time.
After doing a lot of online research about asexuality, I finally pegged myself as a grey ace that had a queer, romantic orientation. Moreover, I looked up the different types of attraction and realized that my attraction usually begins aesthetically, involving an appreciation of physical appearance. Depending on the person, the aesthetic attraction could turn into a crush, and maybe even sexual attraction.
Given that asexual identities exist on an entire spectrum, I don't speak for everyone. There are ace people who don't experience sexual or romantic attraction, demisexual aces that don't experience sexual attraction until an emotional bond is formed, and other types of ace people.
In order for people to acknowledge the existence of ace people on Valentine's Day and beyond, we need to reconsider how we think about love and attraction. Even though there are Valentine's Day cards for friends and family, romance and sex are still the things most heavily promoted for the holiday.
Since I experience aesthetic attraction more than romantic or sexual attraction, it would be interesting to see Valentine's Day products inspired by appreciating someone's looks in a non-romantic, non-sexual way. When it comes to love in terms of a personal hobby or interest, there should be more niche-focused products like the comic book anthology The Secret Loves of Geeks, which focuses on different geeky loves and is ace inclusive.
Those on the ace spectrum don't want to ruin Valentine's Day for everyone else. Ace people just want to be able to celebrate Valentine's Day without being pressured into romance and sex. Ace people don't need to be fixed. Even though ace people don't experience romance and/or sex, we are still capable of loving and being loved.