Asexuality is an extremely misunderstood sexual identity. Sexual intimacy is important for many of us. Because most of society deems sexual attraction important, asexuals are often ostracized – even pitied – for their sexual orientation. Asexual people often feel out of place because of the lack of knowledge concerning asexuality. Well, we’ve got news for you. Asexual people don’t need your pity; they need your understanding! Confused about what it means to be asexual? Psych2Go has a list of some of the basics that the ace community would like you to know.
Asexuality is broadly defined as a lack of sexual attraction. People who identify as asexual – or ace – are not typically sexually attracted to anyone. According to current statistics, 1% of the North American population identifies as asexual, though many sexual psychology experts believe this number is higher.
It’s a Sexual Orientation
Asexuality is a sexual orientation that falls in line with heterosexuality, or bisexuality or homosexuality. Asexuality can sometimes work in tandem with another orientation. An individual can identify as asexual but can be romantically attracted to other people.
Some Asexuals Don’t Date
Some asexual people are aromantic – they do not feel romantic attraction to people, and so they don’t feel the need to seek dates or relationships.
But Others Do
Asexuality is not a fear of intimacy!
Many asexual people do have romantic attractions to other people, and actively seek relationships. Asexual people can seek connections with people of the opposite sex – heteromantic – or people of the same or either sex – homoromantic and biromantic, respectively.
It’s Not Celibacy
Celibacy a decision that an individual makes – it is the choice to refrain from sexual conduct. Asexuality is an orientation – an attitude and feeling toward sexuality.
It’s Not a Disorder
There is nothing wrong with being asexual! Asexuality is not something that needs to be fixed. Many people confuse asexuality with disorders like Sexual Aversion Disorder (SAD), which is a persistent and fear-based avoidance of sexual contact. People with SAD often experience distress or panic during sex. SAD is a mental condition.
Asexual people may feel anxious about societal pressure to be sexually active, but sex itself is not an anxiety. An asexual person just doesn’t view sex as an interest.
Asexuals Can Enjoy Sexual Intimacy
Asexuality is a spectrum, and not everyone lies on the same notch on the scale! There are in fact asexuals who enjoy sexual experiences. While many don’t feel the need to, some asexual people do masturbate and explore sexuality on their own. Others can enjoy sexual intimacy with others while not being sexually attracted to anyone. Just as with other sexualities (homo/bi/heterosexuality, etc.) asexuality is different for every individual.
We hope you enjoyed this article! Do you identify as ace, and have something you’d like to share with the Psych2Go community? Tell us in the comments section down below!
Would you like to know more about asexuality and asexual visibility? Visit the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) at asexuality.org!
Edited by Viveca Shearin