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ACE 101 – INTRODUCTION TO ASEXUALITY LET’S START WITH WHAT ASEXUALITY IS! Asexuality is a sexual orientation in which one does not experience sexual attraction and/or desire.
Celibacy or abstinence. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction, but they may or may not have sex. ASEXUALITY IS NOT: A lack of sexuality. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t have sex. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t masturbate. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t wear make-up or nice clothes. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t be interested in sex. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone is infertile or impotent. Virginity. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t have a libido. Asexuality A choice. A hormone imbalance. means that someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction, and that’s all. A disease. A fear of sex. Sexual immaturity. A lack of libido, a “sex drive”. A physical condition. There are no physical signs of asexuality. Just like you can’t tell if someone is straight or gay or pan or bi just by looking at them, you can’t tell someone is asexual just by looking at them. Being asexual doesn’t mean that something downstairs doesn’t work right. Being A gender identity. Asexuality has nothing to do with someone’s gender. asexual doesn’t mean that someone has no genitals. There asexual men, asexual women, asexuals who are transgender, and asexuals of no gender. Asexuality does not mean someone is unhappy or uncomfortable with their gender or the parts they were born with. Asexuality does not mean that a person is genderless. A relationship status. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, it doesn’t mean that you’re avoiding sex because of a bad relationship experience. If someone is avoiding sex, that’s called celibacy or abstinence, not asexuality. You can’t be temporarily asexual because of a bad break up,
SO, WHAT IS SEXUAL ATTRACTION? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEXUAL ATTRACTION AND SEXUAL DESIRE/AROUSAL? It’s the sexual urge toward a specific person without any sexual situations or contexts present. Sexual attraction is an urge directed at a specific person. Sexual desire/arousal can happen randomly or in response to sexual stimuli.
AH, TRICK QUESTION. NOT ALL ACES ARE HOW DO I KNOW IF THE SAME, BUT THERE ARE SOME THINGS I’M ASEXUAL? THAT ARE SIMILAR, IF NOT THE SAME You don’t think about sex. FOR ALL OF US! SUCH AS; You realize that everyone else thinks about sex in a completely different manner than you do. You think of sex in anthropological or scientific terms, rather than romantic or erotic terms. You don’t understand what the big deal is. You haven’t had sex for [insert significant amount of time here], so why You think that “sexy” clothes just look uncomfortable or are other people so worked up about going without for two weeks? cold and can’t understand why anyone would wear them. When you think about sex, you realize that there are You don’t really fantasize. dozens of things you’d much rather do. You don’t like sex. The “ick factor” isn’t the only reason people don’t like sex. Some asexuals don’t like sex because they find it uncomfortable or boring. There are thousands of reasons that someone might not like sex. You like sex, but it doesn’t feel “right”. Perhaps you physically enjoy sex. Maybe you like making your partner feel good. There are things you might really like about sex, but at the same time, there’s something missing. When you watch Sex is totally alien to you. And you just don’t get it at all. You’ve thought, “I’m straight (/gay/bi/etc. ), but not very good at it”. You’ve thought, “I must be straight by default”. You had sex because that’s what you were “supposed to do”. “If I try it, maybe I’ll like it. ” You had sex and thought “Is that it? ” You just pretended to be interested in sex. You pretended to like sex so your partner wouldn’t think you didn’t love them. When you encountered the naked body of someone for the first time in a sexual situation, you looked at it like a real-life anatomy lesson, rather than an object of desire. You focus on the motions, not emotions. You don’t like masturbating. You masturbate, what would you need anyone else for? You think arousal is annoying. You’ve never wanted to “jump someone’s bones”. You’ve never thought “I’d hit that”. You don’t feel that anyone is “hot”. “Cute”, maybe, “pretty”, maybe, but not “hot”. You thought that everyone else was just pretending to be interested in sex.
THERE A LOT OF ASEXUALS AND NON-ASEXUALS WHO ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT MAKES A PERSON Can I be asexual and still find people good-looking? Yes. ASEXUAL OR NOT. SO LET ME ELABORATE! That’s aesthetic attraction, and it’s completely separate from sexual attraction so it has no bearing on your sexual orientation. Can I be asexual and still want to date people? Yes. That could be romantic attraction and that’s completely separate from sexual attraction so it has no bearing on sexual orientation. Can I be asexual if I have a libido/masturbate/have sex? Yes. Sexual orientation is based on sexual attraction, not actions or biological drives. Can I identify as asexual even if I’m a victim of sexual violence? Absolutely. Your orientation is about attraction, and having a reason why you don’t experience sexual attraction does not negate the fact that you genuinely don’t experience it. What is sex-repulsed/averse/indifferent/favorable? Sex-repulsed/averse refers to being repulsed by sex or not If you have/enjoy sex, doesn’t that mean you’re experiencing wanting sex for yourself. Sex indifferent means you don’t care one way or the other if sex happens for you sexual attraction? No. A person can enjoy sexual contact for the personally. Sex favorable means you want sex for yourself. intimacy or the physical pleasure of it without being sexually What is sex positive/neutral/negative? Sex positive is the opinion that safe consensual sex is good in-general for attracted to their partner. everyone. Sex neutral is having no opinion on sex in general, in regard to everyone. Sex negative is the opinion/belief that sex is inherently bad or wrong in general, for everyone. How old do you have to be before you can identify as asexual? If you’re old enough to wonder what sexual orientation you are, you’re old enough to decide on a label that fits you right now.
AND LASTLY, WHAT IS THE It’s the group of orientations that ASEXUAL SPECTRUM? exist between asexuality and orientations that actively experience sexual attraction. There’s a gray area between asexuality and non-asexuality. Some people say that they occasionally experience sexual attraction, yet still What is Demisexuality? It’s a sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum in which one can only relate to asexuality. The ace umbrella experience sexual attraction if a strong emotional bond is present. When someone says that encompasses asexuals, as well as they’re demi, they mean that they can’t experience sexual attraction unless they’re close to people in this gray area. someone. They’re not choosing to repress sexual feelings for others because they don’t have anything to repress. The close emotional bond does not have to be love. It could be friendship, it could be a work relationship, or any number of other strong emotional What is Grey-Asexuality? A sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum in which one experiences connections. Something purely platonic might still be capable of triggering sexual attraction rarely, only under specific circumstances, without libido, or not strongly enough to act on. The definition of “gray-asexual” is intentionally vague. It’s meant to be a catch-all for anyone who feels they fall somewhere near asexual on the spectrum between “sexual” and “asexual”. There’s no strict criteria for what makes someone “gray”, there’s no shining
Gray-asexuals and demisexuals can be Many graces and demis tend to feel alienated by or disconnected from the even aromantic and not be romantically attracted to anyone. Additionally, a sex-charged culture that they see person can be demiromantic or grayaround them. Most of the time, they romantic, which are similar to being do not experience sexual When they do, the manner or demisexual or gray-asexual, but around attraction, same as asexual people. frequency with which they do does not romantic attraction, rather than sexual. align with how “everyone else” describes their experience with sexual If an asexual has sex, they’re an asexual attraction. In this way, their who has sex, not a gray-asexual. If an experiences are often very similar to Many times, demisexuals and gray-asexuals The difference between “asexual” and asexual masturbates, they’re an asexual the experiences of asexuals. will even identify as asexual or something “gray-asexual” is one of attraction, not who masturbates, not a gray-asexual. behavior. It’s not about enjoying sex, like “asexual with an exception”. For a either. If an asexual likes sex, they’re an gray-asexual or a demisexual, there may asexual who likes sex, not a gray-asexual. be years between episodes of sexual attraction or there may have been only one It’s possible to enjoy sex and sexual activities and not experience sexual person that’s ever caught their eye. attraction. Like asexuals, graces and demis come
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