By Indu Sin Tanwar:
Is there an ideal and safe place for asexual people to meet without hiding their true identity? This was the question that led internet user ‘Radovan’ to ACEapp, a first-of-its-kind smartphone application dedicated to people who experience little to no sexual attraction.
Falling at the very end of the acronym “LGBTQIA”, asexuality is an often-erased and misunderstood identity. It is broadly defined as the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and others. It is also used as an umbrella term to categorize a broader spectrum of various asexual sub-identities, like greysexuality, demisexuality and sapiosexuality.
Asexuality is distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which are behavioral and generally motivated by factors such as an individual’s personal or religious beliefs. Sexual orientation, unlike sexual behavior, is believed to be “enduring”. Some asexual people engage in sexual activity despite lacking sexual attraction or a desire for sex, due to a variety of reasons, such as a desire to pleasure themselves or romantic partners, or a desire to have children.
Many of these differences have been perceived by heteronormative society as being ‘abnormal’ or ‘just a phase’, and this makes it very difficult for asexual people to be comfortable with their orientation, let alone connect with each other. And to change that, our team of programmers, led by Rawatt Saxena, developed ACEapp.
We wanted to provide a safe platform to asexual people, away from sex-seekers, a place where we don’t need to explain our sexuality (or should I say asexuality!) to anyone. Dipan Bhakta, one of the app’s users, says it helps him to connect with asexual people around the world, something he found difficult to do before. He says that some of the features really stood out for him, like the inbuilt message facility. Once an account is created, a detailed profile can be made, including age, gender, nationality, romantic orientation, preferences and much more. The app makes many nods towards asexual culture. For example, you can find people to talk to by clicking on the “Bake Cake” button.
We felt the need to make this app because of lack of any platform for asexual people to socialise and get to know each other. In any case, we couldn’t just make an app along the lines of Tinder or Grindr, as not all the asexual people are interested in dating. Many of them are just looking for a platonic relationship and others just need someone to talk to.
We’re planning to expand the app even more, to include a customisable gender and sex column. In addition, we’ll build in “Report”, “Block” and “Search” options will be added too. While the app is currently only available on android phones, we look forward to launching iOS, Windows and web versions.
And through all of this, we hope that more and more asexual people are able to find nice people!