What is asexuality?
Asexuality is the simple absence of sexual attraction, regardless of the gender of either person. Like other sexualities, asexuality exists on a spectrum (more on this later). Many asexuals experience other forms of attraction, such as romantic attraction, and often engage in intimate personal relationships. Asexuality relates only to sexual attraction, not sexual behavior or sexual desire (libido) *; in other words, Some asexuals have sex for any number of reasons, and others do not; some asexuals masturbate, and others do not. Some asexuals have an active libido; some have a reduced or weak libido; others experience no sexual desire at all. The sexual behavior of asexuals is as varied as that of any other group.
- sexual attraction – directed towards a specific person (“I want to have sex with you.”)
- sexual desire/libido – generalized without a specific target (“I want to do sexual things in general”)
- sexual behavior – the sexual acts someone engages in (“here are the sexual things I’ve done / do”)
The “ace” spectrum is as wide and varied as the rest of the sexuality spectrum. Here are a few of the more common / well-known identities.
- asexual - someone who does not experience sexual attraction
- demisexual - someone who does not generally experience sexual attraction, but may sometimes feel sexually attracted to someone with whom they already have a close personal connection
- gray-asexual - someone who falls between the two poles of the asexuality spectrum. A gray- asexual person may experience sexual attraction very rarely, only in specific circumstances, or not strongly enough to be acted on.
Myths & Misconceptions!
Asexuals are not…
- celibate / abstinent. A celibate/abstinent person feels sexual attraction but chooses to avoid acting upon it. An
asexual person simply does not feel sexual attraction at all, so
there is nothing to suppress; however, they may have sex for a variety of
reasons, including the physical pleasure of sex, or the pleasure of their partner(s).
- victims of trauma. While there is a higher proportion of sexual violence victims in the asexual community, not every asexual has experienced sexual violence.
- incapable of love. Sex isn’t the only aspect of love. Just because an asexual person doesn’t experience sexual attraction doesn’t mean they don’t feel love.
- in denial/repressed. This hopefully doesn’t need too much explaining.
- physically or mentally unwell. Asexuality is neither a psychological disorder nor a physical dysfunction, any more than other sexual orientations.
Resources & More Info!
AVEN asexuality.org – the largest online asexual community & resource nexus
www.asexualityarchive.com - an online archive / of ace resources, info, and happenings
Want to learn more? Join us for an upcoming ACE 101 Training