What is asexuality?

The National LGBTQ Task Force defines asexuality as a sexual orientation in which a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to others. Equally, they do not experience desire for sexual contact. This means these individuals do not find others sexually appealing—regardless of their sexuality.

Asexuality also works hand-in-hand with other sexualities. For instance, an asexual individual can pursue companionship or romantic relationships. Therefore, one can be asexual and biromantic, heteroromantic, or homoromantic.

Asexual people, though void of sexual attraction, experience other forms of attraction. These include the following:

  • Aesthetic attraction — feeling an attraction to someone because of how they look.

  • Romantic attraction — having the desire to have a romantic relationship.

  • Physical or sensual attraction — needing to hold, touch or cuddle another individual.

  • Emotional attraction — craving an emotional attraction with another person.

  • Platonic attraction — wanting friendship from someone else.

Other asexual people may experience some sexual attraction under unique circumstances. For instance, demisexual (falls under asexuality) individuals only experience sexual connections after establishing a deep connection with someone else.

Asexual people may also have sexual desire despite lacking sexual attraction. There is a massive difference between libido and sexual attraction. Libido is about needing to have sex or experience a sexual release while sexual attraction is about finding someone to have sex with. Therefore, it is common for some asexual people to have sex or masturbate.

Among the many reasons why asexual individuals may want to engage in sex include the following:

  • To experience sexual pleasure

  • To satisfy libido

  • To receive or show affection

  • To have children

Asexuality should not be confused with abstinence or celibacy. Abstinence is temporary because it involves a personal decision of not having sex. For example, an individual may decide to stay away from sex until marriage. Celibacy, on the other hand, is about abstaining from sex (and even marriage) due to culture, religion, or personal reasons.

Asexuality isn't a choice while celibacy and abstinence are. Equally, asexual individuals may have sex, as earlier mentioned.

Lastly, being asexual isn't a medical concern like some people believe. It is not the same as experiencing loss of libido, fear of intimacy, or sexual dysfunction. Same as bisexuality or homosexuality, asexuality has no underlying cause — it is simply the way someone is.

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