In recent years, discussions around LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues have expanded. Media coverage primarily revolves around the homosexual (L and G) population. However, the acronym can be expanded to include queer, intersex, and asexual individuals (LGBTQIA), who see even less representation in the media. So let’s talk about asexuals!
WTF does asexual mean?
About 1% of the population is asexual. An asexual (sometimes referred to as an “ace”) does not experience sexual attraction. Like heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, asexuality is intrinsic and an orientation. Celibacy, on the other hand, is a lifestyle choice. Some asexuals still have sex for a variety of reasons, which means they are not celibate.
Love is expressed in many ways, and sex is just one facet of love.
Wait, asexuals can have sex? I thought asexuals don’t do that s***?!
Asexuality is a spectrum.
Let’s start with the extremes since those are easiest. “Sexual” people experience sexual attraction. “Asexual” people do not experience sexual attraction. EASY, right?!
Someone in-between the extremes is gray-A. According to AVENwiki, here are some examples of what gray-A might look like (this list is not exhaustive!):
- do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes
- experience sexual attraction, but a low sex drive
- experience sexual attraction and drive, but not strongly enough to want to act on them
- people who can enjoy and desire sex, but only under very limited and specific circumstances
What do you mean some asexuals can enjoy sex under specific circumstances?
Let’s introduce a new term. Demisexuals do not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. This is a specific sexuality in the asexuality spectrum. Everyone else along the spectrum identifies as gray-A.
Life for asexuals can be lonely since they may still crave intimacy and romance.
How do asexuals date? Why don’t they just date other asexuals and leave us sexual people alone!
Asexuals are absolutely capable of dating both sexual and asexual people. Of course it’s easier for two asexuals to date, but people can’t control who they fall for. It is more common for mixed relationships to exist between an asexual and sexual person. These relationships are not easy, but possible with good communication, mutual respect, and understanding.
Why the hell does all of this matter?
We live in a world that highly values sex and relationships. Life for asexuals can be lonely since they may still crave intimacy and romance. Love is expressed in many ways, and sex is just one facet of love.
Asexuals are often outcasts – even invisible – in this sexually charged world. Many asexuals can feel broken because of the value our society places on sex. If more people understand asexuality, we can promote understanding and inclusiveness.
Banner image credit to https://www.redbubble.com/people/asexualityblog/works/12911575-the-asexuality-blog-four-aces-logo
Asexual: someone who does not experience sexual attraction
Demisexual: a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone
Gray-A: someone who identifies somewhere between asexual and sexual
Mixed-orientation relationship: a relationship between partners of differing sexual orientations