It’s International Asexuality Day and Marshall Blount’s mom is baking him a cake. They watch How To Cake It tutorials for inspiration as she slathers frosting in the asexual Pride colors of purple, white, gray, and black. The top says “ACE,” a shortened term for asexual.
For Blount and his mom, Marcia, baking cakes has become a tradition during Pride events such as IAD and Ace Week. “Cake plays a vital role in how I express myself as an asexual person,” Blount says. He’s an activist who serves on the board of the nonprofit Asexual Outreach and on the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. “So it’s a great way to bond with my number one ally.”
The story of asexuality cannot be told without discussing cake—“that would be like talking about space without mentioning the stars,” Blount says. And sure enough, this past International Asexuality Day, I scrolled past Twitter photos of cakes in every flavor imaginable. I saw artwork of four-tier cakes in our Pride colors, and heartfelt messages wishing love and cake to all the aces of the world. For asexual folks, the connection between cake and our community is inextricable. The dessert, known for being a centerpiece of celebration and sharing, is one of our most popular and recognizable Pride symbols.
An asexual individual is most commonly defined as someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction, but when a sexual orientation is defined by what we lack rather than what makes us feel whole, we face unique challenges. False but widely held stereotypes about asexual people suggest that by not experiencing sexual attraction we also lack the ability to form meaningful social connections. That we’re prudish, stuffy, and have monotonous personalities. That we are husks, somehow devoid of simple joy or human emotion. So perhaps it is only natural that, as a community we cling to a symbol of pleasure.
We may not have much of an appetite for sex, but that does not mean we have no appetite at all.