Everything You Need To Know About Asexuality

Newsflash: Asexual girls aren't freaks. Check out everything you need to know about asexuality! | Illustration by Sarah Wintner

Newsflash: Asexual girls aren’t freaks. Check out everything you need to know about asexuality! | Illustration by Sarah 

Your friends are absolutely losing their minds over their crush, over whether or not to lose their v-cards, over the weirdness of oral sex. Meanwhile, you’re just sitting around, twiddling your thumbs and giving absolutely zero damns about any of that. You’re just not sexually attracted to anyone and don’t remember ever being sexually attracted anyone. Congrats, girl, you might be asexual!

Don’t worry, you’re not a freak, even if your friends and family might treat you like one and the media pretends as if you don’t exist. Asexuality is an incredibly misunderstood identity and has its fair share of wacky misconceptions and myths. Well, we’re going to squash those myths right here right now. Whether you know you’re asexual, think you might be asexual, know someone who is asexual or you just want your curiosity piqued, here’s absolutely everything you need to know about asexuality.

 

What is asexuality?

An asexual is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. You know that swooping sensation when you’re near your crush? That desire to slide your hands up and down Avan Jogia’s body? That urge to make out with Beyonce? That fantasy you have involving Zayn Malik and whipped cream? Yeah, asexual people aren’t really on that level of thirst. In fact, they don’t feel that kind of thirst whatsoever.

Isn’t that just celibacy?

Nah, celibacy is the active choice that a sexual person makes to abstain from sexual contact. Asexual people aren’t deciding when to be sexual and when to not be. They just don’t feel sexual attraction, period.

So, they’re never attracted to anyone…ever?

Not so fast. It’s possible for asexual people to experience attraction. Asexuals just don’t experience sexual attraction. Some asexual people, however, experience romantic attraction to others. Of course, for sexual people, sexual attraction and romantic attraction can go hand in hand…but not always, right? People are sexually attracted to and have sex with people they don’t want to be romantically involved with all the time. So it shouldn’t be too hard to understand that it can work the other way around too: Someone wanting a romantic connection but not necessarily a sexual one. 

Some asexual people identify as asexual as well as hetero-romantic, homo-romantic, bi-romantic, etc. Asexuals who don’t experience romantic attraction, however, identify as aromantic.

What about relationships?

Just because you’re asexual doesn’t mean that you can’t have relationships with people! You’re probably friends with someone who is asexual and your friendship definitely counts as a relationship. Folks who are asexual aren’t these weird beings that emerged from the sludge of the earth and have zero people skills. They can and do value friendships, familial relations and other interactions. And like I said above, some asexuals do participate in romantic relationships with others. Some even participate in sexual relations even if they don’t get much out of it. But in general, relationships are just as important to asexual people as they are to sexual people.

 

clueless hug

 

Is this a sexual defect or something?

Nope, this isn’t a sexual dysfunction. This isn’t about the body’s physical ability to get turned on. It might be hard to understand, but some people just don’t experience sexual attraction to people. That’s it.

Do asexual people experience arousal?

Sure they can. Those tingly feelings in the genitals feels good for just about everyone, asexual people included. Some asexuals even masturbate. If you’re confused think of it this way: It’s possible to be sexually aroused without a desire to find a sexual partner. That’s the case for asexual folks.

Can you have sex if you’re asexual?

Physically, sure. But it’s just not something that asexual people find all that alluring or arousing. But there are plenty of asexual people who have had sex for whatever reason.

Okay, so are asexual people just sexually repressed or victims of sexual abuse?

There are surely asexual people who have been victims of sexual abuse, but to assume that that has had any impact in their sexual identity is a stretch. In fact, it’s a stretch–and pretty offensive–to assume that of any kind of sexual identity.

If I’ve never been sexually attracted to someone or if I’m very rarely sexually attracted to people, does that mean that I’m asexual?

Source: Giphy

 

Potentially, but it all comes down to how you personally wish to identify. Some people feel as if they exist in a realm between sexuality and asexuality; they usually identify as gray-asexual (or a gray-a). Others can only feel sexual attraction to someone that they have a strong emotional bond with. Some like to call this demisexuality, but the point is that sexuality works differently for everyone. There are no hard set guidelines to these things, but if you generally just don’t feel sexual attraction to others, you may very well be asexual.

How do I know if I’m asexual or not?

There’s no test for this kind of thing. Sexuality is weird and random, y’all. But if you’ve read the above descriptions of asexuality and believe that this identity reflects your life and personal experiences, they you’re totally free to identify as asexual. But only you can make that decision, nobody else.

What if asexuals just haven’t met the right person yet?

It’s certainly possible that that is the case for some people who identify as asexual, but it’s condescending to assume that the majority of asexual people just haven’t boned the right person yet.

 

Most people who are comfortable in their asexuality are comfortable with their lack of sexual relations with others. They have plenty of other important relationships in their life that they prioritize.

Are asexual people considered queer under the LGBTQ umbrella?

That’s a pretty controversial subject in the LGBTQ community. Some asexuals identify as queer. Others in the LGBTQ community only consider folks who asexual but not hetero-romantic to be queer. There are also plenty of people who believe that it is problematic to include asexuality in general under the LGBTQ umbrella due to a lack of shared prejudices and discrimination. So really, it depends on who you ask.

So, I think I’m asexual. What do I do?

Live your life, girl! You might feel a little left out from your friends’ sexual escapades, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re a freak just because you’re asexual.

For more information, you should definitely check out the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network.

Are you asexual? When did you start identifying asexual? Do you think you’re asexual but aren’t sure? Tell us in the comments!

 

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  • Max Isenberg

    yes. romance and sex are two separate forms of attraction and orientation that operate independently of one another. you can be into one person/gender purely sexually while simultaneously be into a different person/gender purely romantically. sex and romance have nothing to do with each other

  • JennyDahlBakken

    To answer your last question: Yes and no. To some asexual people, yes, that could be how they feel attraction – more an urge to spend time with someone, and an admiration for their personality. But, for most (romantic) asexuals, it goes way beyond elementary school. They can have those grand, romantic dreams a lot of romantic people have: White wedding, travelling the world together, spending their lives together, maybe even having chidlren. It’s just that they don’t think about/include having sex in this fantasy. They might imagine themselves hugging or even cuddling but it feels alien to imagine themselves having love with someone, even someone they love.

  • EvaMarie Adame

    Hello! I am a student in middle school who is asexual and homoromantic. I have read other articles about asexuality, but none of them mentioned romantic types. It is true that a person can be a different sexuality type than romantic type. And, if you’re wondering what homoromantic means, I am basically into other girls, and not guys. But please everyone note that your gender preference is just a starting point in finding a relationship. It is possible for a homo to like a person of the opposite gender, for a straight to like a gay of the same gender, and lots more combinations. So, if he’s closely attached to me enough, I can love a guy, but guys are gross and I already have a crush on an amazing girl.

  • Jess

    Honestly I keep looking up articles on asexuality to try and find one that’ll tell me there’s a cure, or treatment. People tell you to love yourself and yeah, you should, but there’s this emptiness in asexuality that just really really sucks. I waited for years and years for puberty to hit so I could have a relationship with someone, so that I could meet someone and disappear for a week- come out sated and in love.
    Asexual and Aromatic and hating it dearly. To me a relationship without sex is the same as a really close friendship and being asexual is like a death sentence to by happily ever after.

  • Chesk

    I first learned I was ace at about 16. It has always sucked for me because I hate it. I hate not being normal. Not even in the LGBTQ community. I feel like every time someone asks if I have a boyfriend or girlfriend, I have to come up with some clever euphemism or metaphor to explain what exactly that means. And no matter how I put it I get the same reaction every time. A laughing face, a pat on the shoulder and a ‘reassurance’ that I will find the right person. Or they demand immediately to know if I have ever had sex or masturbate and basically treat it like ‘you have to prove that this is really what you are like, and even then I’m going to tell you you are wrong. ‘
    And after that, generally if it was a thirsty guy trying to find out why I continuously reject his advances, he will usually say something along the lines of ‘I can fix that for you’ I have hear it so much that I have honestly begun to think that this IS something wrong with ME, and that I just need to cure it. Which is so fucked up because I KNOW IM REAL. WHAT I FEEL IS REAL AND VALID. We are REAL. I just hate it. If there was a cure, I would take it and that is so fucked up. That I can’t be comfortable in my own skin. I am not broken or damaged, I wasn’t sexually abused, and I don’t want to touch your junk.

  • N

    I’m 25 and identify as Hetero-romantic Asexual. It’s pretty annoying that everyone I “come out” to just tells me “you just haven’t met “Mr. Right” yet.” No. Shut up. I’m not interested in sex, but I still am attracted to guys and have even been in love before. It’s very frustrating to me, to the point where I’m almost convinced to just keep my mouth shut and keep it secret.

  • anon

    I’ve read a lot about asexuality and I’m pretty convinced that I am asexual, although I’m feeling quite confused at the same time. I’m worried that I’ve just convinced myself that I am asexual after reading so much about it, but I’m also wondering if my lack of sexual desire is due to the fact that I’m only 16.
    I’ve had a few crushes on guys over the years but then it seemed that I would quickly lose interest, I suddenly realised that I found it very difficult to harbour strong feeling for people. I then came to realise that as my friends began to feel more curious about sex (some becoming active) I noticed my incredible lack of interest in it compared to others, I just can’t understand why people desire it so much, I tried to think about it and imagine actually doing it but I just couldn’t, it either felt wrong or I simply could not see myself ever doing/ wanting to do it. Does this mean I’m asexual or just not ready for sex?

  • Erica

    From an asexual myself, if you feel any confusion on this topic try looking up AVEN. AVEN is an asexual online forum that was made for asexuals for as support, topics on sexuality in life and in the media, etc. It’s a group for people who find solace in each other for the fact that we are asexual. We are here, we are real and we are people; proud, scared or otherwise

  • Pingback: Linkspam: July 25th, 2014 | The Asexual Agenda()

  • Just Another Ace

    Jamie: You can definitely be aromantic and not asexual. Aromantic people just don’t feel romantically attracted to other people, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t *sexually* attracted to anyone. Romantic orientation and sexual orientation are independent dimensions of attraction for a lot of people. For some people, they’re the same (like aromantic asexuals) and for some people they are different! I think the distinction is a really interesting concept to come out of the asexual community that others might also find helpful!

  • Shannon

    Major props to Gurl for having a factual, informative, unbiased article about asexuality. Asexuality is very misunderstood, that is, if you’ve even heard of it. I began identifying as asexual a little over a year ago. Most people I’ve rold are cool with it but I still get comments about it being a “phase.” Not that I need affirmation from others to know that my identity is valid but I would like to see a more knowledgeable and accepting society. Thanks, Gurl, for helping with asexual visibility.

  • ashia

    I stilll fell confused about asexuality.I think i’d need to talk to someone that was actually asexual. I’ve known three girls who thought they were but were not sure. I’m bicurious and there is plenty a time where i am attracted to someone in a non sexual way even though they’re good looking.I have moments when i daydream of what sex is like and pretend that its something pleasurable,but often it doesn’t seem stimulating.I guess the human form just isn’t attractive to asexual people like that,but then i think about how elementary school kids might be attracted to each other even though their too young to have truly sexual thoughts about another kid.So is that how asexual people feel attraction?

  • anonymous

    this is a good article.
    it was very confusing for me growing up because I definitely got crushes on boys! Then I started to get crushes on girls too and so I thought I was bi. But I never really understood the whole “man he’s so hot I want to ride him like a pony” kind of thing, I always thought more along the lines of “man he’s so hot I hope he likes me then maybe we could cuddle”. Or something. I’m now 98% sure I am asexual but bi-romantic, although I do masterbate I don’t really want to have sex with a person.

  • Jamie

    Amazing article, tbh. I had never had the chance to read an article on asexuality with clear and well-organized information. Thanks a lot. I’ve got a question, though: is it possible to be aromantic but not asexual?

  • Amina

    this post is relieving, i though i was weird for not wanting to have sex, it disgusted me my whole life ad i think will for the rest of it.