What Is Asexuality?


We are here to help give you an answer. Source: Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, asexuality does not get the same kind of visibility as other topics related to sexuality. Considering that, we wanted to take a little time today to talk about what asexuality is and steer you toward some further resources that will continue to help inform you. The more informed people there are, hopefully it brings about that much-deserved visibility.

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network offers a great resource both for people who identify as asexual and individuals who are looking for more understanding. A person who is asexual means that they don’t experience feelings of sexual attraction.

In AVEN’s overview, one common source of confusion that they point out is the different between asexuality and celibacy. It boils down to that celibacy is the choice to not participate in sexual activity. Asexuality isn’t a choice, but rather just a part of that person’s identity. It’s not unhealthy nor does it mean they are incapable of relationships.

Being asexual doesn’t mean that you can’t have relationships that are only limited to friendships either. Just because someone who is asexual does not feel sexual attraction, they still can embrace the many other aspects of all sorts of relationships, including romantic ones. Someone who is asexual can be attracted to someone, but there isn’t a sexual basis for that attraction. Asexual individuals may pursue a relationship with someone who is not asexual, and they also may identify themselves as straight, gay or bisexual.

The student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh actually had an article last month about asexuality that I think is definitely worth a read. I went to a very LGBT-friendly school, but I can’t say I recall my student newspaper ever really discussing asexuality, so it is cool to see an article like this written by a student and using a fellow student as a source.

In the Pitt article, author Tracey Hickey particularly talks about how many asexual people feel “invisible.” Having more articles like hers (and hopefully this one, too!) can help to bring about some of that visibility. While we can hope to bring about that visibility every day, it’s also worth noting that October 12 is celebrated each year as Asexuality Awareness and Visibility Day.

It’s important though to not group all asexual people into one particular experience. AVEN offers the personal stories about asexuality, demonstrating the variety of experiences of asexual individuals. Some have sex, some have long-time partners, some may get crushes, some may not. It remains a good reminder of the overarching message that as humans, we’re all different, but the most important thing is that we each remain open to letting other people have their own experience free of judgment.

A recent BuzzFeed piece delves further into asexuality, including how you can support someone who is coming out as asexual. If you think you may be asexual, you can definitely see what others might be saying on our boards, as well as check out AVEN’s resources. If you are asexual, it’s important to remember you aren’t alone. Even if you don’t identify as asexual, it’s important to remember that there are people who do, and acknowledging and advocating for them is a great way to continue to promote acceptance in our society.

How much did you already know about asexuality? What are some ways you think society could improve people’s understanding of asexuality? Tell us in the comments.


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  • PandaxPower

    I’ve had no idea what was ‘wrong’ with me for years. My best friend and I spent our high school years trying to figure out if we were, gay/bi/straight and why we weren’t into sex like our other friends, who talked about it all the time. My friend came out a couple years ago that she’s A-sexual. Which makes totally sense for her, because she isn’t into romance at all and anything to do with romance. But I am. So I spent longer trying to figure out what I am. I have sex but I don’t enjoy it at all, but at the same time I have a high sex drive, but don’t find people ‘sexually’ attractive. I had no idea that, that also could make me an A-sexual. But after reading up more about it, I feel so much better, knowing that’s there’s noting ‘wrong’ with me and other people are in the same boat as me 🙂

  • trinity

    Hi I have a 1 year old and soon to have a new born since becoming pregnant with my second child I have no interest in sexual relations at all I don’t think about it or want it at all I have a partner who is a very sexual man how do I tell him about this as I’m terrified he’s gunna cheat in me because i no longer want a realationship that involves sex

  • Jade Michelle Gash

    really great article, interesting to find out about the awareness date for asexuality on October 12th… will be saving that on my calender 🙂

  • ADS

    As someone who identifies as asexual aromantic, I am SO glad to see articles like this. I only recently discovered that asexuality was a thing, and before that I thought I was a lesbian because I’d tried relationships with guys, but it never worked. After reading about asexuality and some soul-searching, I realized, “This person described me perfectly!” Now, I’m Ace, proud of it, and hopeful that more articles like this pop up.

    • Jade Michelle Gash

      not the only one who is aromantic asexual, glad to see others sharing my views on life 🙂

  • Chelsea-E

    As someone who identifies as asexual, I’m glad that there is more awareness for it. I remember when I first started to tell people my sexuality, their immediate thought was asexual reproduction, which is nowhere related.

    I’m actually a demisexual, a branch of asexuality. It means that I don’t experience primary sexual attraction. However, if I form a close relationship with someone, like a deep romantic relationship, I can form secondary sexual attraction. In short, I don’t choose to have sex with only people I love. I CAN’T have sex with someone I don’t love.

  • Indigo

    Dumbledore was asexual.

    • NorthStarSea

      Actually, he was bisexual. But whatev? Nice to meetcha, fellow Harry Potter obsessed person!

      • JKR said that Dumbledore is gay, actually.

        • PandaxPower

          It was obvious. When my friend and I read the books in high school, we suspected he was gay and then when JK Rowling announced it and we were like: ‘Well, durrr’ haha.

    • C

      He was actually gay