What is asexuality? Let’s discuss.
Hello! Today I want to talk a little bit about asexuality. Because it’s a term that a lot of people tend to get confused about, which makes sense, as it’s a label and community that’s only just started to become more widely discussed and understood in the past 15 years or so. But I’m here to help, so let’s break it down.
Where bisexuality uses the Latin prefix bi-, meaning “two”, to denote sexual attraction to multiple genders, asexuality uses the Greek prefix a-, meaning “not” or “without”, to denote no sexual attraction at all, to any gender. Apolitical: no political identity. Atheist: no religion. Asexual: no sexual attraction. Simple enough, right? An asexual person is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. (Not to be confused with asexual reproduction, in which a plant or animal can reproduce without the need for a second parent. Words can mean multiple things.)
Now keep in mind that as a sexuality label, it only describes a person’s sexual attraction. It doesn’t necessarily describe their sex drive, desire, behavior, or anything else. All of that varies from person-to-person. Some asexuals have an interest in or enjoy sex. Many don’t. Some are actively repulsed by it. Some choose to have sex despite not being interested in or enjoying it because there’s a lot of cultural pressure to be sexual and engage in sex, which sucks.
Every asexual person’s relationship with and feelings about sex are going to be unique to them, and sometimes it varies day-to-day. And no sexual attraction doesn’t mean that an asexual person can’t find someone physically attractive or aesthetically appealing. It’s just not a sexual attraction.
Sexuality also doesn’t necessarily say anything about romantic attraction, which for asexuals can be anywhere on the spectrum from straight to gay to bi to pan, etc. (though some asexuals also identify with the romantically-equivalent term aromantic, meaning no romantic attraction). That’s not to say that those people don’t experience love. It just could be a different kind, like familial or platonic. There’s actually a word for a platonic crush, which is a squish.
Aside from full-on asexuality there is also a spectrum of umbrella identities all involving low, rare, or conditional sexual attraction. Gray-A or gray ace is the catch-all term for anyone in the “gray area” between asexual and sexual, with various more specific terms out there (like demisexual) for some experiences that can be adequately defined.
Asexuals are thought to make up around 1% of the population, which may sound like a small number, but in a global population of over 7 billion, that’s over 70 million asexual people worldwide. If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, I’m going to point you to AVEN, the Asexual Visibility & Education Network. They’re at asexuality.org and have a ton of great information and an amazing asexual community forum.
Are you asexual? Feel free to leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Or if you’re not, what questions or thoughts do you have on the subject? Let me know.
Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time!