What Does it Mean to be Asexual?
on 22 Aug 2018
We’ve all had those days where you just hate the idea of having sex.
Sometimes it’s because of stress, or your period, or just because you ate an ungodly amount of spaghetti and feel ready to explode.
You may have even heard people say things like ‘I’m so asexual right now’ or ‘I think I’ve turned asexual since my breakup’.
But real asexuality isn’t just a temporary reluctance to have sex.
It’s actually more like a sexual orientation, so instead of perhaps being attracted to two genders (bisexual), you’re attracted to no genders.
Asexuality is one of the most misunderstood sexual orientations, so let’s clear up some of the myths and misconceptions about it once and for all.
First of all, let’s define asexuality
Basically, if you don’t experience sexual attraction toward any gender or are disinterested in sex, you may be asexual.
An asexual person (also known as an 'Ace') can still form romantic attachments to others because romantic orientation is different to sexual orientation, they’re just unlikely to feel sexual attraction towards them.
Asexuality can also be thought of as a spectrum.
On that spectrum fall demisexuals (people who can only experience sexual attraction after they’ve formed an emotional connection with someone), and grey-asexuals, who rarely experience sexual attraction or have a low sex drive.
Let’s bust some myths about asexuality
If you’re a ‘sexual’ person it can be kind of difficult to get your head around asexuality.
That’s why I’ve made a list of some common misconceptions about being asexual and explained why they’re misguided.
"Asexuals never have sex"
While asexuals might not feel much desire to have sex and many are happy to live their lives without it, some still like to get it on.
The 2016 Asexual Census found that 15% of asexuals surveyed had experienced consensual sex, and their main reason was to please their partner, closely followed by wanting to show affection and romantic attraction.
Many asexuals may go their whole lives without having sex and find the idea disgusting – because sometimes, sex can be messy and seem a little strange – but this isn’t the case for everyone.
"Asexuals don’t masturbate"
Michael Doré, organiser of the London asexuality conference, describes asexuality as being like a straight man stuck on a desert island with only other men – he may experience arousal and sexual pleasure, but it is not connected to the people around him.
One study by the University of British Columbia found that 56% of the 500+ asexuals surveyed masturbated at least monthly, although other research suggests that sexual arousal and orgasm function are lower for asexuals.
"Asexuality is the same as celibacy"
Celibacy is a choice – you can still be attracted to people but you choose not to have sex.
Asexuality, on the other hand, is more like a sexual orientation – you don’t choose it but are born with it.
"Asexuality is a problem"
If you’re asexual and you’re not unhappy about it, it’s not a problem at all.
However, if you’re a person who used to experience sexual desire for other people but no longer does, this could possibly be a symptom of a condition like anaemia or depression.
Asexuality isn’t a deficiency or a disorder.
Think about it this way – if most of your friends have foot fetishes and you don’t that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, it just means you have different tastes.
"Asexuals can’t date ‘sexuals’"
Asexuals can have relationships with other asexuals or ‘sexuals’ or they may choose not to have romantic relationships at all.
Everyone is different, and there’s no right or wrong way to be asexual.
So let’s stop joking about being ‘asexual’ when we’re just not in the mood for sex – it only leads to misunderstandings of asexuality.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, home of the world’s largest online asexual community and some great resources.
Cara is a student blogger for Lovehoney. She studies English and appreciates grammatically correct erotica written in the active voice.
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