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Asexual - What Does It Mean?

Source: Thomas C. Weiss
Published: 2015-02-10
Summary: Defining the term asexual, a person who does not experience sexual attraction.

An, ‘asexual,' is a person who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which is something a person chooses, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who a person is. Asexuality does not make a person's life any better or worse, it does present a different set of challenges than most sexual people experience. There is a great amount of diversity within the asexual community – each asexual person experiences things such as relationships, attraction and arousal a bit differently. Asexuality is merely starting to be the subject of scientific research.

Relationships and Asexuality

Asexual people have the same emotional needs as any other person; they vary greatly in how they fulfill those emotional needs. Some asexual people are happier on their own, while others are happiest with a group of close friends. Other asexual people have a desire to form more intimate and romantic relationships and will date or pursue long-term partnerships. Asexual people are equally as likely to date sexual people as they are to date one-another. Sexual or non-sexual, each relationship is made of the same basic things.

All of these desired aspects of relationships occur just as much in sexual relationships as in non-sexual ones. Unlike people who are sexual, asexual people are given few expectations concerning the way their intimate relationships will work. Figuring out how to be intimate, flirt, or be monogamous in non-sexual relationships may be challenging, although free of sexual expectations asexual people can form relationships in ways that are based in their individual desires and needs.

Attraction and Asexuality

A number of asexual people do experience attraction, yet feel no need to act out that attraction sexually. Instead, asexual people feel a desire to get to know someone, to become close to them in whatever way works best for them. Asexual people who experience attraction often times will be attracted to a particular gender and will identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight.

Asexuality and Arousal

For some people, sexual arousal is a fairly consistent occurrence, although it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Some people who are asexual will masturbate on occasion, although they feel no desire for partnered sexuality. Other people who are asexual experience little to no arousal. The fact that asexual people do not care about sex means they do not see a lack of sexual arousal as being an issue in need of correction. Instead, they focus their energy on enjoying other types of arousal and pleasure.

Please understand that people do not need sexual arousal in order to be considered, ‘healthy.' In a minority of instances, a lack of arousal may be the symptom of a more serious medical condition. If you do not experience sexual arousal, or if you suddenly lose interest in sexual activity, you should most likely visit a doctor in order to be safe.

Asexual Identity

The majority of people who are asexual have been so their entire lives. Just as people rarely and unexpectedly go from being straight to identifying as gay, asexual people rarely and unexpectedly become sexual or vice-versa. A small minority think of themselves as being asexual for a short time as they explore and question their own sexual identity.

No kind of test exists to determine if a person is asexual. Asexuality is like any other form of identity. At its base, it is a word that people use to help figure themselves out. If at some point a person finds the word, ‘asexual,' useful to describe who they are, they should be encouraged to use it for as long as it makes sense for them to do so.

Asexual, or Celibate?

People who identify as being asexual do not experience sexual attraction, although it may benefit them to become an active part of the asexual community. Asexuality is about a lack of attraction to others. It is not about lack of activity. Asexuals do not get, ‘horny,' towards others and most would feel entirely satisfied if they never shared a single sexual experience during their entire lives.

If; however, you are a sexual person who chooses not to have sex it is referred to as, ‘celibacy,' or, ‘abstinence.' There are a number of reasons sexual people might opt to be celibate. The reasons may be moral or religious, the celibate person might dislike the experience of sex, or the celibate person may think that sex must only exist as a portion of a long-term relationship. The distinction between asexuality and celibacy is that asexuality is not a choice a person makes. Asexual people may choose to have sex and remain asexual.

Straight, Gay, Bisexual or Other? Or Asexual?

A number of people who identify as being asexual with romantic drives also have an orientation. Some people who are asexual identify as being, ‘panromantic,' because their romantic attraction is something that is not based on gender. Asexuals may form unconventional relationships and identify as being queer or polyamorous.

There is no reason why a person has to identify as just one thing. A person could decide to identify as a, ,'bi-asexual,' or as, ‘polyamorous,' as well as asexual. A person might also identify as an, ‘asexual polyamorous bisexual.' In fact – a person could make up their own entirely new identity.

Things People Who Are Asexual Find to be Annoying

People who are asexual live in a society where others simply assume people are inherently sexual. The media, particularly soap operas and types of advertising present everyone as being,' sexual,' and constantly tempted by sex. An asexual person may justifiably feel both ignored and marginalized. They might experience a deep frustration concerning those around them who are unable to conceive an asexual person's reality, or from others who constantly assume the person must have a sexuality. It is understandable that an asexual person might want to vent their frustration by stating how much sexual people annoy them.

Venting frustrations over the actions of others or those who are unable to understand asexuality, might not be the most reasonable reaction. It is natural for asexual people to be frustrated with a culture that assumes everyone needs sexual activity in order to be happy. Yet it is also important for asexual people to NOT take out that frustration out on individual people who were raised in this culture and know nothing else.

If people are inconsiderate to an a person who is asexual because they do not understand asexuality, attempt to explain it to them. As an asexual person's friends realize the existence of those who are asexual, maybe they will begin to be more considerate toward people who are asexual. When more people in the world know that they are friends with someone who is asexual, visibility of asexuality increases.

Asexual Relationships FAQ

ASEXUALS: Who Are They and Why Are They Important?

Asexuality: Life Without Sexual Attraction

This information is from our Sexual Diversity Education Information section - Full List Here.

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