Hello Lovelies, today we’re going to be talking about asexuality and other terms which fall under the A-spec/Ace-spec umbrella. We’re going to be looking more closely at definitions, but I’d love to talk more about this in another blog post. Let’s jump right in!
Asexuality is characterized by lack of sexual attraction to other people and/or low or absent desire for sexual activity. It’s important to recognize that ‘and/or’ part of the definition. You do not require both a lack of sexual attraction and a decreased desire for sexual activity, only one or the other in order to be considered asexual. There are some asexual people who enjoy having sex but don’t feel sexual attraction, and there are some asexual people who do feel sexual attraction but have no desire for sex; both are equally valid under the umbrella term. (The image here is the asexual pride flag!)
Some misconceptions can arise from not knowing this definition or having little experience with asexuality. These misconceptions can be harmful, so let’s quickly dismantle two of the biggest ones here.
First, there’s a lot of people who believe that in order to be asexual you must be sex-repulsed. Sex-repulsion means exactly what you might think, that someone is disgusted by or hates having sex, and while there are some asexual people who are sex-repulsed, this is not required to be asexual. In fact, there are some asexual people who have high libidos who enjoy having sex or masturbating and actively seek these things out, but they still don’t feel sexual attraction to others.
Another misconception is that asexual people in some way choose to be asexual or have confused being celibate with being asexual. Again, while there are some asexual people who may choose not to have sex at all, being celibate is not required to be asexual. These people have not confused one with the other, and being asexual can take years of self-reflection and discovery to uncover about one’s self. And these people have not chosen to be asexual—just as how a homosexual person has not chosen to homosexual or a trans person has not chosen to be trans.
Asexuality is something you cannot control, just like any other sexuality or identity.
The last misconception I want to discuss is whether or not Asexual people belong in the LGBTQ+. Many people who think that asexuals shouldn’t be a part of the community are the same people who hold the misconceptions I stated above, and they tend to view asexuality as some way invalid or not real. But asexuality has been around for a very long time, and these people are marginalized just as much as the rest of the community. Even if the asexual person may be otherwise cisgender and heteroromantic, they still have a sexuality which doesn’t fit the societal norm, making them perfectly set to enter the LGBTQ+ community.
Moving into some other aspects of asexuality, let’s talk about other labels that fall under the label of asexuality.
Gray-asexual/Gray-ace/Grace: Someone who is Gray-asexual lies in a space in between asexuality and allosexuality (allosexual simply means someone who does experience sexual attraction). Gray-asexuality is sometimes described as someone who experiences sexual attraction or desire every once and a while, and sometimes it is described as someone who experiences very little sexual attraction or desire. The name simply comes from the perceived ‘gray-area’ between asexual and allosexual.
Demisexual: Someone who is demisexual does not develop sexual attraction towards others until a strong bond (either romantic or platonic) has been formed with that person. The level of their sexual attraction might be equal to an allosexual person or lower.
Sex-Repulsed Asexual: As mentioned before, there are some asexuals who are repulsed by sex. These people may choose to identify as a sex-repulsed asexual specifically, or just use the umbrella term asexual. A sex-repulsed asexual may still masturbate.
Sex-Positive Asexual: Some asexual people identify as sex-positive, meaning that they are comfortable with and might seek out sex acts with others even if they do not feel sexual attraction.
Another term we should discuss when speaking about asexuality is the umbrella term ‘aromantic’. Aromantic means someone who doesn’t feel romantic attraction and/or has little or no desire for romantic activity. A lot of the same modifiers for asexuality apply to aromantic individuals as well—gray-romantic (someone who falls between aromantic and romantic), demi-romantic (someone who doesn’t feel romantic attraction until a strong platonic bond has been formed), and so on. (The image is the aromantic pride flag!)
The reason I bring up aromanticism is because there is often a lot of cross over between the two identities and the experiences of both asexual and aromantic people often overlap. People who are both asexual and aromantic are under the term aro-ace, but there are many people who only identify as one or the other.
This has been a very brief introduction to the term asexual! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or shoot a message on Instagram: @sex_ed_allgrownup I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you next week!