What is Asexuality?
Asexuality is defined as not experiencing sexual attraction and/or not desiring sexual contact. There is considerable diversity within the asexual community; each asexual person experiences arousal, attraction, and relationships differently. It is impossible to draw conclusions about a person’s behavior or physiology based on their identity along the asexual spectrum. Asexual people, also known as “Ace” or “Aces” – may have little interest in having sex, even though most desire emotionally intimate relationships.
Within the ace community there are many ways for people to identify. Here are just a few common terms to explore:
Aromantic: People who experience little to no romantic attraction, and are content with close friendships and other non-romantic relationships.
Demisexual: People who only experience sexual attraction once they form a strong emotional connection with another person.
Grey-A: People who identify somewhere between sexual and asexual.
Queerplatonic: People who experience a type of non-romantic relationship where there is an intense emotional connection that goes beyond a traditional friendship.
What do I say?
- Asexuality identified people exist, and these identities are often erased or challenged as legitimate identities.
- Include asexuality when talking about sexual orientations.
- Negative stereotypes of asexual people are not acceptable – challenge yourself and others to get more education on these identities.
- Asexual identities often overlap with other queer identities.
- Both asexual people have their own ways of doing intimacy and their relationship structures are as valid and important, even if they do not include sex and/or romance.
- Asexuality is not celibacy: asexuality is a sexual orientation while celibacy is a behavior.
- Asexual people don’t want to answer invasive questions about sex or masturbation any more than you or anyone else does – be gentle with your curiosity and keep it respectful.
- The most common romantic orientation for an asexual person is either bi- or pan-romantic.
This information is brought to you by The Asexual Census (2015) a large-scale asexual community survey by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (N=8,399).
Words by The National LGBT Task Force