Asexuality describes a lack of attraction to the sex. Asexual people may experience romantic appeal but they do not feel the urge to sexually act on these feelings.
Asexuality is a gay or straight-forward sexual orientation. Other than celibacy or abstinence. There is a spectrum of asexuality, with a great deal of diversity in people’s experiences and desires for relationships, attraction and excitement.
An approximate 1 percent of the population is asexual, though the figures may be higher, according to experts.
This article discusses what asexuality is, what it isn’t, and some of the spectrums with which people that identify.
What is asexuality?
As with homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality, asexuality is a sexual orientation. Asexual people are sometimes referred to as ace or aces for short.
Asexual is a parable concept that occurs on a continuum, according to The Trevor Project. This describes a variety of ways you might identify a person. Although most asexual people have little interest in sex, they may be experiencing romantic attraction. Others might not.
Asexual persons have the same emotional needs as anybody else. Most will desire and shape intimate relationships with other people, emotionally. Asexuals may be attracted to the same or related sexes.
Every asexual person will have a different experience, which may include:
- falling in love
- experiencing arousal
- having orgasms
- getting married
- having children
In the LGBTQIAP+ initialism, the A stands for spectrum asexual, or a-spec.
The asexual continuum has two orientations; the romantic orientation and the sexual orientation. Various identities fall within those groups.
Asexual people have the same emotional needs as anybody else. Everyone is special and the manner in which individuals fulfill these needs varies widely.
Many aces may want relationships which are romantic. We may feel attracted to other people romantically, which could include the same sex or other sexes.
Some aces prefer intimate relations over close friendships. Some will feel an attraction and some will masturbate despite having no interest in having sex with someone else.
Others asexual people do not want sexual contact while others may feel “sex-neutral.” Other asexual people may engage in sexual activity to establish an emotional relationship.
Other common identities falling within the aromantic or asexual spectrum include:
Aromantic is a sexual approach, distinct from a sexual orientation. Though for most couples the two are related, they’re special.
Aromantic people experience no romantic attraction or no at all. We prefer closely related partnerships and other non-romantic interactions.
Most aromantic people form platonic Queer relationships, or QPPs. QPPs are platonic yet have the same commitment level as romantic relationships. Some people choose to live together in QPPs, or have kids together.
People who are demisexual experience sexual or romantic attraction, but only after they have formed a close, emotional connection with someone.
Graysexual or grayromantic
Graysexual or grayromantic people identify somewhere between sexual and asexual. This can include but is not limited to:
- people who only experience romantic attraction sometimes
- people who only experience sexual attraction sometimes
- people who experience sexual attraction but have a very low sex drive
- people who desire and enjoy sexual or romantic relationships but only in very specific circumstances
How do you really know if you’re asexual?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation. Typically an asexual person would have always had little interest in sexual contact with other people. It’s not the same as suddenly losing interest in sex or choosing to abstain from sex while still experiencing sexual attraction.
Asexuality, celibacy, and abstinence
Asexuality is not synonymous with celibacy or abstinence. If someone is celibate or is abstaining from sex, this means they have made a conscious decision not to engage in sexual activity despite having sexual attraction.
It is also important to note that asexuality is not the same as a hypoactive condition of sexual desire or a sexual aversion. There are psychological conditions which are associated with sexual activity anxiety. Social pressure can make people who are asexual feel anxious about sex but that’s different.
- abstinence on religious grounds
- sexual repression, aversion, or dysfunction
- a fear of intimacy
- loss of libido due to age, illness, or other circumstances
Just as some people are gay or bisexual, so are some asexual people. If someone is asexual, that means they’re not interested in sex or have little interest. We may still have romantic attraction, but likewise we may not.
The asexual continuum encompasses a wide range of characteristics, from people who experience no sexual or romantic desire to people who engage in sexual contact under certain circumstances. Many asexual individuals form positive, lasting relationships and some get married or have kids.
Asexuality isn’t the same as celibacy or abstinence, meaning that somebody feels sexual attraction but decides not to act on it.