Asexuality is one of the least talked about identities in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and one of the most profoundly misunderstood. When it comes to normalizing sex, body autonomy, and non-traditional relationship structures, supporting the asexual community is essential. You cannot say people should be allowed to have as much sex as they want without also embracing the flipside; no one should need to have sex to be seen as valid either.
Let’s get into the basics of Asexuality 101.
Being ace doesn’t mean you don’t experience any other forms of attraction. Asexuality.org explains, “many asexual people may experience forms of attraction that can be romantic, aesthetic, or sensual in nature but do not lead to a need to act out on that attraction sexually.”
It is especially important to separate romantic from sexual attraction. Ace people can have a number of romantic identities while still not experiencing sexual attraction to any of these people. They can identify as: aromantic (no romantic desire at all), heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, you get the point. They can have a wide range of desires and boundaries about touch; some might love kissing and cuddling but just don’t want to go beyond the belt. Some might sometimes want sex but only in very specific circumstances.
This is the personal experience of one asexual woman, EMeraldCLovegood on Wattpad:
“That still eludes me to this day: finding a guy sexy. I've learned what specific sets of features cause a guy to be hot, but I haven't quite figured out what sexy is. To me, they just look like normal people and not really all that attractive. Abs look like lobsters in my opinions.You know how lobsters have those portions on their tails? Compare that to abs. What's so great about that?”
Ace people can also still very much have libido and masturbate, they just don’t associate their sexual feelings with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners.
More important than anything, it’s important to continue to emphasise that just like any other identity, ace people do not choose to have their minds and bodies work this way. They just do!
So before you say “that’s weird” or “that could never be me” just think about how you would sound saying that to a gay person or a trans person. You’d sound like a bitch!
Asexuality is also very much a spectrum, that is fluid and ever-changing for each person. You can experience different levels of asexuality throughout your life, and that doesn’t make you any less valid. Here is a list of some major identities within the asexual community, courtesy of All about Asexuality on Wattpad.
Demisexual: someone who is demisexual may not feel sexual attraction towards someone until they form a strong emotional connection with said person.
Gray-asexual: someone who feels sexual attraction on very rare occasions. It’s a bit of a mixture of asexual and sexual. Gray-aces may feel urges but don’t see the need to act on them.
Lithosexual: Someone who experiences sexual attraction but has no wish for their feelings to be reciprocated, or who does not want to be on the receiving end of sexual contact.
Apothisexual: someone who does not experience sexual attraction at all and is repulsed by the thought of sex. Apthoisexuals don’t wish to be in a sexual relationship.
Fraysexual: someone who feels sexual attraction towards strangers, but it eventually fades once they get to know them.
Cupiosexual: Someone who wants a sexual relationship but does not experience sexual attraction.
Autochorisexual or aegosexual is a sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum defined as someone who has a disconnect between oneself and the object of arousal. Autochorisexuals may have sexual fantasies, watch porn, or masturbate, but do not desire to have sex with another person.
When I asked one of my ace friends what she wished people would understand about asexuality, she said that while ace people do not feel sexual attraction, many still do have sex for reproductive reasons or to please their partners. Being asexual doesn’t mean you actively hate having sex, though some do, it just means you don’t actively experience the desire to seek it out.
Another ace friend told me this incredible metaphor for how he experiences having sex. It’s like going to the gym. You don’t want to go to the gym, but once you’re there it’s okay, you can even have fun, and once it’s over you’re glad you did it. But he’s not sitting around thinking about going to the gym all the time. Whereas in this metaphor a hypersexual person like me is constantly , and I mean CONSTANTLY, thinking about going to the gym. And going to the gym.
No one size fits all for asexuality - every ace person experiences their identity differently. And no matter how they experience that, they need to understand that they are seen and heard by the sex positivity community and the LGBTQIA+ community. So come on allies, you better work bitch!