Being Seen by Others as Ace is a Gift

Or why other people having sex shouldn’t bug me but it does.

Mika AM
The Ace Space
7 min readApr 10, 2024


Am I supposed to want sex but not have it but also definitely have it once I’m married so that everything can be alright with God?

The word “nope” spelled out in all caps, each letter matching one of the four colors of the asexual flag.
Image by author

Representation is both a tool and a feeling, its grasp only as far as our own lives can reach out to touch it. I think we’ve all experienced a sense of overwhelming relief whenever we come across a label, an anecdote, even a piece of fiction that coincides with our own life experiences and makes us feel seen, even more so as minorities.

But despite the rise in inclusivity throughout different aspects of life (the presence and acknowledgment of women and their contributions, POC history, mental/physical illness awareness, gender orientation amongst others), our need for representation isn’t always fulfilled. A single human being is a multitude of universes and inner thoughts, of incoherence and contrasting behaviors; therefore, it’s hard to find a single example that can represent the totality our lives so neatly.

Instead, we find bits and pieces of ourselves outside in the media we consume, and by placing them together as a collage we often find a sort of patchwork picture of ourselves.

But what happens when there’s a gaping hole in the middle of that picture, and no matter where we look, we can’t find the perfect photograph to make it whole?

I’ve often wondered if something I lack in my life is proper Catholic representation. Not that Christians in general need representation; the values taught by different Christian denominations share the same building blocks and can be found throughout several aspects of our lives: our holidays, our expressions (bless you or God save the current monarch), and wedding traditions. And, well, let’s not talk about the way in which several countries tout politics under the guise of morality when, more often than not, they mean to weaponize Christian religion in order to subjugate the peoples they consider “different”.

However, I think what annoys me the most when it comes to Catholicism in the media is the relationships religious characters have with sex.

Reminder: the Catholic Church’s stance on sex, specifically premarital, is that it is sinful. Considered fornication, we’re taught that sex outside of marriage can be immoral and impure, and those who commit this act “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” No, you won’t burst into flames, especially now that Pope Francis has advocated for softening the rigidity of the Church’s views, stating that pleasure can be divine and there are worse sins than having sex outside of marriage.

Even so, sex remains unspoken about unless within the marriage bed.

However, no one is perfect and it’s not fair to judge the actions and behaviors of others within the Church when I am also guilty of breaking their rules and laws. But when it comes to sex… it’s very frustrating to see fictional characters who are supposed to be like me, who are supposed to follow the same guidelines as I am, break it without a second thought.

I’ll never forget being around fourteen years old and watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Izzie Stevens walks into the locker room, rosary in hand, muttering the “Our Father” under breath to the bafflement of her fellow coworkers. Though beloved, Izzie is a conflicting character: she’s a jealous and possessive friend, commits serious malpractice under the protection of plot armor, and yes, even has casual sex outside of marriage. But it’s until she sleeps with her best friend, George O’Malley, that she shows some remorse over her actions.

Something similar happens with the overtly religious April Kepner in later seasons, where having sex is seen as a flaw she must overcome, despite promising to save herself, rather than her committing a sin in the eyes of the church she believes in.

And let’s not even talk about the “Hot Priest” from Fleabag.

While they may only be fictional characters, Catholic only in the trivia section of their wiki page, I still couldn’t understand why I was so upset and bothered by their having sex.

At this point in my life, I’ve questioned many of the Church’s teachings undergone a couple of religious crises. In the end, it’s not a belief that I’m ready to let go of; however, I’ve often had to make peace with the knowledge that my ideals don’t seem to go hand in hand with my belief system.

And that can be very discouraging.

To know that while God is forgiving, the members of the Church are ruthless and persecutory; it’s appalling that the deity who only asks to love one another is upheld by a judgmental community, always quick to cast the first stone and gaze at the speck of sawdust in their brothers’ eye. Remaining Catholic is my choice, and no one gets to dictate how any one person practices their own belief system or where their moral compass points to.

But it finally hit me, the why of that deep sense of betrayal, frustration, and loneliness: In an overly sexual world, they were supposed to be the one people, the one community, who could understand my asexuality.

After reading “My Aceness is a lonely Existence” by Vena Moore, I’m realizing asexuality is a very lonely state of being.

The need for labels, in any community, stems from a want of belonging; knowing your lifestyle, your feelings, even your mental or physical illness has a name and, therefore, a focal point from which to approach it. It goes without saying that a label cannot encompass the complexity of human lives (my anxiety attacks may fall within a common symptomatology but the palpitations, the catastrophic thoughts, and the fallout are entirely my own).

So why is asexuality so lonely?

I grew up in Mexico, where Catholicism is the main religion, and the topic of sex is taught and experienced differently from that of the United States.

Hookup culture is more prevalent these days but there remains a judgement and stigma against sex and pleasure. There’s still an old-school mindset where “boys will be boys” or the sexist “a man will go as far as a woman lets them“ or something to that affect (el hombre llega hasta donde la mujer cede), essentially placing the onus on women for men’s actions. And although there’s been a greater effort to increase sex education — and everything that entails — the rallying cry against it can be very aggressive.

In my case, it was easy to not have sex because many people were also not having it. My close friends waited until marriage to have sex, and other agnostic friends didn’t really seem to care about it. Once we were all older and able to talk about sex whilst overcoming the damage from purity culture, a new element came into play. a dissonance born from the fact that while they had had sex, I hadn’t.

Still haven’t.

It wasn’t so much being left out of a crucial aspect of young adulthood, but more the sensation that I was permanently stuck in one circle of a Venn diagram while everyone else was in the other, knowing we would never fully overlap. It would seem the only thing standing between other Catholics and sex is celibacy, and they continue to live without understanding those of us who genuinely don’t want it.

In this video, where the Rev. Chris Lee (considered the irl “hot priest”) reacts to Fleabag, he shows his frustration at the Priest breaking his vows when Fleabag goes to confession. She approaches him in a vulnerable state yet the Priest he oversteps his calling in a moment of strong, sexual attraction. Though years ahead and wildly different from the 2002 film El crimen del padre Amaro (The Crime of Padre Amaro), these examples showcase that not even celibacy vows can stop a holy man from having steamy encounters.

Because it’s human to want sex. And it’s lonely to not want something, that your feelings and state of being are considered a monumental sacrifice to be overcome.

But what does the Catholic Church think?

A person lying in a bed, covered head to toe with a white duvet. They are raising their arms, holding a black cat sleep mask in one hand, and a white ceramic mug in the other.
Photo by Taisiia Stupak on Unsplash

I recall reading once that the Church doesn’t accept asexuality because sexuality is a gift from God, the ultimate connection between two people, and by refusing this gift, you’re refusing Him.

…Even amongst prudes we can’t win.

These days, however, the perspective has shifted. Some people argue that marriage cannot be boiled down to sexual encounters, a marriage is built from more than that, and it depends on the couple what kind of relationship they want to have. Others follow the words of the apostle Paul and his gift of singleness, the closest thing to asexuality within the Bible.

When I first heard the term asexual as a gender orientation, I scoffed and thought to myself, “They don’t know what to come up with next.” Though I always felt repulsed by sex, it took me a long while to merge my feelings with the label. In a sense, sex, much like motherhood, was something I still considered an inevitability and not something I could ever opt out of.

Since then the closest I’ve ever come to some form of kinship has been exactly one high-school friend and one family member, both simultaneously expressing an interest in asexuality as something they can get behind as it seems more in tune with their feelings (though they both viewed it as what should be normal from a Christian standpoint, harping on the rest of the letters of the LGBTQ+ movement).

Yet it’s this “gift of singleness” that makes me feel like breaking down into tears.

For the first time, I’m being seen by my community. The wonderful validation in someone understanding that exact distinction between celibacy and asexuality, the increasing acceptance that it doesn’t stem from trauma, and the lack of pressure to choose either marriage or priesthood (or nun-hood) as permanent lifestyles.

Can asexuals have and enjoy sex? Yes, but it’s my God-given right not to, thank you very much.

Mika is a Mexican writer and translator, pretender, pet-lover, and a mess at 1 in the morning.



Mika AM
The Ace Space

Writer, daydreamer, procrastinator. Always late to the party but loves platypus(es)