With pride month upon us, it’s about the time of year that different sexuality terms will start showing up in your life.
Some of these terms may be new to you, some maybe not. Many have heard about bisexuality, gay sexuality, but what about asexuality?
Asexuality often gets overlooked, which is a shame seeing as it’s actually widely popular. So, what is asexuality? How does one know if they are asexual?
What is asexuality
So, what does it mean to be asexual? Asexuality is defined as the sexuality of someone who has no sexual feelings or desires towards another person.
This means that regardless of their interest level in a person, someone who is asexual will not feel sexual desires towards them. This does not mean that asexual people do not have a sex life or cannot be sexually aroused.
In fact, many asexual people often have completely satisfying sex lives because their bodies can still experience sexual arousal even if their mind doesn’t necessarily see people in that light. It all depends on where their sexuality lies on the asexual spectrum.
Are there different kinds of asexuality
In short, yes. Asexuality lies on quite a vast spectrum, with the one end being a complete lack of sexual attraction and the other one being the ability to feel sexual attraction but not necessarily have the desire to experience sex. The core types of asexuality include:
Someone who does not feel sexual attraction or romantic attraction to another individual
Someone who does not feel sexual attraction but can experience romantic attraction (also known as romantic asexuality)
Someone who feels sexual attraction but only if they are romantically interested in someone else (demisexual)
Someone who feels both sexual attraction and romantic attraction, but the two are not linked together.
The stereotypical side of asexuality is also the extreme side (also known as grey-sexuality), which is when a person does not feel sexual attraction to another person regardless of their sexual preference, physical attraction, or romantic/emotional attraction.
On the other end of asexuality is someone who experiences traditional sexual or romantic attraction but does not have a desire to experience sexual acts.
There is also a mix between those two ends that includes a variety of additional sexualities, including demisexual, which is the sexual attraction that only occurs when someone has an emotional or romantic attraction to another person.
Asexuality has a wide variety of facets and is often thought to be something that can be turned on and off by the individual, but that’s not the case.
This is actually a common misconception about asexual people. Like any other sexuality on the spectrum, no. Asexuality is just as much a chemical and hormonal-based response to an individual as any other sexuality.
Asexuality is determined by an individual’s physical response to another human being, which is not something that can be chosen. It is neurological, just like bisexuality, pansexuality, gay/lesbian, etc.
Is asexuality a disorder
Another misconception about asexuality is the notion that asexuality is a mental disorder and can be treated or cured. This is just as false as saying bisexuality or gay or lesbianism is a mental disorder that can be changed or cured. It cannot. Asexuality is not a mental or neurological disorder.
There is a significant difference between someone who is asexual and someone who experiences:
An inability to experience physical, sexual desire symptoms
A sudden change in libido/sex drive
Whereas experiencing some or all of the above symptoms could mean there is something physical or neurological going on such as a hormonal imbalance or reaction to a new medication, asexuality is something completely separate.
It is a pre-established sexuality that you are born with. It is not something that simply “happens to you.”
Can someone become asexual
Someone who is not already asexual cannot suddenly become asexual or take steps to become asexual. Asexuality is not something that someone can choose to be. It is a pre-existing physical response to somebody that does not stem from trauma, medication, physical experience, etc.
There are numerous sites out there that will try and tell you about the steps on how to become asexual. This is unfortunate propaganda and is absolutely false. Nobody canbecome asexual, they either are, or they are not. There is no middle there!
Like any other sexuality, there are no underlying psychological causes of asexuality or conditions that lead to asexuality.
Asexuality is not something that happens to you. It’s something that you are born with.
How do you know if you are asexual
Am I asexual?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of how to determine if you are asexual or asexual characteristics, let’s preface this topic by ensuring you know that there is nothing wrong with being asexual. This form of sexuality is often hard to determine as it can be misleading and lies on a wide spectrum.
However, there are some key signs and symptoms of asexuality that can help you determine if you are indeed asexual to some extent.
You do not know and have never experienced sexual attraction
Unlike many of us, asexual people do not look at someone and experience sexual attraction.
They may not even find someone attractive at all. This is not to say that asexual people do not experience physical attraction, but rather that they do not experience the desire to engage in physical activities with that person.
Asexual people may find someone else physically attractive or think that another person is good-looking, but that doesn’t mean they want to engage in sexual acts with them.
You do not find any pleasure in pleasing yourself
Understanding asexuality also means that you have to understand that some asexual people not only find themselves having no sexual desire towards someone else, but they also have no sexual desire to please themselves (masturbation).
You don’t relate to any other sexuality
Whereas sexuality is fluid and asexuality runs on a spectrum, most people who are asexual find themselves not fully relating to any other sexuality (bisexuality, gay, pan, lesbian, etc.).
One of the signs you’re asexual is that you may experience some attraction or interest that relates to another sexuality. They often do not relate enough to consider themselves anything else.
Bisexuality, for example, is the physical and emotional attraction to someone with gender preference.
This means that someone who is bisexual feels sexual attraction, romantic interest, and desire.
Whereas someone who is asexual could find any gender attractive, they will not feel that sexual desire that the other sexualities feel.
You only experience other kinds of attraction
Something many people fail to remember is that attraction is not only sexual but also emotional and romantic. Here’s the deal, essentially, if you experience any other kind of attraction besides sexual attraction, you are likely part of the asexual community!
For the longest time, I even thought that having a crush on someone meant you were sexually interested in them, but it in fact isn’t! Having a “crush” on someone simply means you find that person physically appealing.
It doesn’t mean you experience the desire to be sexual with them. This is the hardest pill for people who are not asexual to swallow because, for people who are not asexual, physical attraction and sexual desire go hand in hand, but for asexual people, they don’t!
Also, contrary to popular belief, yes! Asexual people can engage in sexual activity and enjoy it. Whereas some asexual people do not engage in sexual activity at all, this doesn’t span across every asexual person.
Many asexual people experience perfectly healthy sex lives and are sexually active with their partners.
Whereas asexual people may not feel a sexual desire or sexual attraction towards somebody, this does not mean they do not have active sex lives. Asexual people are physically capable of experiencing all of the symptoms of engaging in sexual activities.
The physical body is not directly related to the mental state or sexuality. It means that someone who is asexual can experience the same signs and symptoms as someone who experiences sexual attraction.
Do asexual people fall in love
Asexuality is loosely defined as the lack of sexual attraction to someone. This means that someone who is asexual can still feel emotional and romantic attraction.
Whereas the common thought pattern is that sexual and romantic attraction have to both be there in order to fall in love, this is not the case.
Asexual people can experience long-lasting healthy relationships just like any other sexuality. The key to living such a beautiful relationship, though, is by being honest with your partner.
Asexual people tend to have this block up and feel that they will not be understood by their partner, which of course can be the case, but often is not.
In order to have a healthy and happy relationship, an asexual person must be honest with their partner about their sexuality and be prepared to explain it to them since their partner may not completely understand asexuality.
Asexual people can even get married!
Fortunately for them, asexuality is kind of a grey area in the eyes of the law and society.
People won’t discriminate against asexual marriages because there are no outward signs of asexuality in comparison to sexualities like bisexuality, pansexuality, gay/lesbian, etc. Asexual people can absolutely get married and experience a wonderfully happy and fulfilling, life-long relationship!
Check out this video to know how to handle your partner if they are coming out as asexual. One of the important steps is to not delegitimize their feelings. Know more:
Before we close out this article, there are a few extra details and frequently asked questions we want to answer for you!
Can asexual people be attracted to more than one gender?
Absolutely. Asexual people can be attracted to any gender and even identify as pansexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian, along with being asexual.
Do asexual people have to be attracted to all genders?
A common misconception, but no. Just because someone does not feel sexual attraction doesn’t mean they don’t experience physical attraction or appearance attraction. This physical attraction is the basis of someone’s sexuality, meaning asexual people can be bi, pan, straight, gay, lesbian, etc., on top of being asexual.
Is it hard to come out as asexual?
Like any other sexuality that deviates from what society deems as “normal.” Yes, it can be difficult and uncomfortable to come out as asexual. The reason for this, though, is a little different than the other sexualities. Asexuality is often easier to come out as, but for the wrong reason.
Asexuality is often more accepted because there are no physical, outward signs of it. It’s a sexual response that has no obvious physical signs to the average onlooker. So yes, it’s difficult, but it’s often difficult because it’s misunderstood.
How do I stop being asexual?
If your asexuality is, in fact, your sexuality and not mimicking a symptom caused by an underlying condition, you cannot stop being asexual. It is simply your sexuality and is something that should be celebrated and embraced! There is nothing wrong with being an asexual person.
Now that you’ve learned all about asexuality, the hope is that you feel a little bit closer to understanding your own sexuality, whether asexual or not. Asexuality is not simply about being sexually attracted to someone.
It’s about knowing the difference between not experiencing sexual attraction as sexuality vs. a psychological disorder. Remember that there is nothing wrong with being asexual and it, in fact, should be appreciated and celebrated!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.