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14 Jun 2023 (Last updated 14 Jun 2023)

A guide to asexuality

A guide to asexuality

What is asexuality? 

Asexuality is when a person of any gender or sexual orientation experiences little, or no, sexual attraction. It’s important to note that asexual people may still experience other types of attraction, such as physical or romantic attraction. Remember that everyone’s journey through asexuality is unique, and the term serves as an umbrella encompassing various identities along a spectrum, such as demisexual, graysexual and aromantic. 

Other asexual terms to know.

  • Demisexual: Only experiencing sexual feelings and attraction after developing a close emotional relationship and not on the basis of first impressions or appearance.

  • Graysexual: Only experience sexual attraction some of the time, and sometimes not at all. This is often used to apply to the asexual spectrum.

  • Aromantic: This is an umbrella term which is used by people who don’t usually experience romantic attraction.

  • Ace: An abbreviation for asexual.

  • Aro: An abbreviation for aromantic.

Unpacking 7 myths about asexuality.

1. Asexuality isn’t a sexual orientation.

Asexuality is often misread, overlooked or viewed as a lack-of sexuality, however it is its own unique sexuality. An absence of sexual attraction does not imply a lack of emotional depth, capacity for love, or ability to form meaningful connections.

2. Asexual people never have sex.

Being asexual doesn’t mean you don’t have sex - both partnered sex and solo sex. Some asexual people do have sex, some have a little bit of sex, and some have none at all. It is important to recognise that these nuances in sex and asexuality are personal and depend on the individual. As somebody kindly shared with us on TikTok, one of the biggest myths they face is that ‘everyone who is ace spec is sexually repulsed’ - It’s a spectrum, not a binary.

3. Asexual people never have romantic relationships.

Similarly to the relationship that asexual individuals have with sex, romantic relationships vary too. Everyone is different and will have their own preferences.

4. Asexuality is always a result of sexual trauma.

Asexuality isn’t just a result of sexual trauma. Assuming that someone is asexual because of a negative experience with sex not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes but also invalidates asexuality as a legitimate sexuality. And while some asexual people may have experienced sexual trauma, it is essential to recognise that trauma does not automatically result in asexuality. 

5. Asexual people don't have families.

Asexual people can and DO have families. A common misconception is that just because asexual people don’t experience sexual attraction, they won’t want a family. But this isn’t true. Families can exist in all different kind of ways, and exist way beyond the binaries of ‘traditional family structure’ *cough* heteronormative expectations *cough*.  Asexuality doesn’t exclude you from wanting to start a family.

6. Asexual people are never into kink culture.

Asexual people can be a part of kink culture too, if they want to! Kink culture offers a space for individuals to explore their desires, emotions and fantasies beyond sexual attraction. Asexual people can find fulfilment, connection, and personal growth within the boundaries of kink play, just like any other individual.

7. Asexuality is just a new 'fad'.

Asexuality is not a new concept. There is actually evidence that asexual people have existed for centuries! Asexuality has deep historical roots, with evidence suggesting the presence of asexual individuals across various cultures and time periods. However, even if it were a newer term, its validity would not be diminished. As our society evolves and transforms, our understanding of identities evolves as well, leading to the development of new language to describe them. 

Masturbation and asexuality.

Asexual people do masturbate, if they want to! For many, masturbation often comes from physical need rather than desire or arousal. They may also choose to masturbate to elevate insomnia, boredom or to gain from the positive mental effects that masturbation can have. 

Masturbation habits will be different for everyone, so it’s important to remember that you are no less asexual if you masturbate and you are not sexually broken if you don’t. Masturbation habits and any other sexual experiences don’t define your sexuality.

Masturbation tips for asexual people with vulvas.

  • Erotica might not do it for you, so instead try to focus on the physical sensations you are experiencing.
  • Use sex toys for efficiency. Some asexual people also experience genital avoidance or repulsion. So, this will also save you from needing to touch your genitals if you have found this difficult before.
  • Invest in lube. If you struggle to feel sexually aroused, then lubrication might not come naturally. Lube will help to elevate any dryness or pain and make the experience a lot more pleasurable! 

Partnered sex and asexuality.

Asexual individuals will have various reasons for having partnered sex, such as fulfilling libido, starting a family, exploring the physical aspects of sex, or seeking a form of closeness and intimacy - although this can be found through lots of outlets other than just sex! 

It is however worth emphasising that this list is not exhaustive, as each person’s experience is unique. Some asexual people will experience what lots of people within the community call sex-replusion, while others may not, and some find themselves somewhere in between. Once again, we encounter the significance of the ever-present spectrum!

Things to remember if you are having sex with an asexual person.

Consent and communication is always the most important thing to remember during any sexual interaction. Remember that consent is not a one time-agreement; it is a continuous process. Ensure that your partner/s feel safe and that their individual needs as an asexual person are being heard and respected at all times. By doing this, you can create the best possible foundations for a fulfilling and pleasurable experience. 

Things to remember as an asexual person.

It is crucial to emphasise that you have the right to choose what you do with your body and that you engage with partnered sex on your own terms. Nobody is entitled to your consent and you hold the power to decide what feels right for you at any given moment, even if it's during a sexual interaction.

Whether it’s partnered sex or masturbation, if it doesn’t feel comfortable, then that is completely valid. Societal norms and expectations surrounding sex and intimacy should never overshadow your own needs, and it’s important to recognise that your own choices are valid and worthy of respect.

Everyone’s sexual journey is unique, so take the time to write your own sexual script. By dismantling some of the myths and preconceived ideas we have about sexuality, it allows us to unpack the shame and stigma and explore our individual sexualities without shame or judgement.
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