Asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like being homosexual or heterosexual is. It is different from celibacy or abstinence. Asexuality exists on a spectrum, with great diversity in experiences, desires within a relationship, attraction and arousal of people. Moreover, it is estimated that 1% of the population is asexual, although experts believe the numbers could be higher. So let’s take stock of asexuality together to get a better understanding of it.
What is asexuality?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality. Asexual people are sometimes called “ace” for short. According to the Trevor Project, asexuality is a general term that exists on a spectrum. He further describes a variety of ways a person can express themselves within the spectrum.
Although most asexual people are not very interested in sex, they do experience romantic attraction. But most may not. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everyone else. Most of them desire and form emotionally intimate relationships with other people. Also, they may be attracted to people of the same sex or to non-binary people. Each asexual person will have a different experience, which may include:
- falling in love
- having orgasms
- having children.
The different spectra that exist
In LGBTQIAP+, the A represents the spectrum of asexuality. This famous spectrum has two orientations: sexual orientation and romantic orientation. Several identities fall into these categories.
Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everyone else. But everyone is different, and the way individuals meet these needs varies widely. Some aces may want romantic relationships. They may feel romantically attracted to other people, who may be of the same gender or of the other sex. Other aces may prefer close friendships to intimate relationships. Some will experience arousal, and others will masturbate with no interest in having sex with another person. Some asexual people do not want to have sexual contact, while others may feel sexually “neutral”. Other asexual people will have sexual contact to form an emotional connection.Other common identities that fall on the asexual or aromantic spectrum include:
Aromantic is a romantic orientation, which is different from a sexual orientation. While the two are intertwined for most people, they are different. Aromantic people feel little or no romantic attraction. They prefer close friendships and other non-romantic relationships. Many aromantic people will form queer platonic partnerships, or QPP. QPPs are platonic, but have the same level of commitment as romantic relationships. Some people in QPP choose to live together or have children together.
Demisexual people experience sexual or romantic attraction, but only after they have established a close emotional bond with someone.
Graysexual or gray-romantic
People who belong to this category identify with a point between the sexual and the asexual. This may include, but is not limited to:
- people who sometimes only feel a romantic attraction
- people who sometimes only feel a sexual attraction
- people who are sexually attracted but have very low libido
- people who desire and enjoy sexual or romantic relationships, but only under very specific circumstances
How do you know if you are asexual?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation. Often times, an asexual person has never had an interest in sexual contact with other people. But it should not be confused with suddenly losing interest in sex or choosing to abstain from sex while experiencing sexual attraction.
Asexuality is not the same as celibacy or abstinence. If a person is single or abstains from having sex, it means that they have made a conscious decision not to participate in sexual activity despite their sexual attraction.
It’s also important to note that asexuality is not the same as hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual aversion disorder. These are medical conditions associated with anxiety about sexual contact. Social pressure can make asexual people anxious about sex, but it’s different.
Just as some people are gay or bisexual, others are asexual. If a person is asexual, it means that they have little or no interest in sex. They may still feel a romantic attraction, but it is also possible that they may not. There is a wide range of identities on the asexuality spectrum, from people who experience no sexual or romantic attraction to people who have sexual touching under certain conditions. Many asexual people form meaningful and lasting relationships, and some get married or have children. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy or abstinence, both of which mean that someone experiences a sexual attraction, but chooses not to act on it.