WHAT IS ASEXUAL?
An asexual is someone who has little or no sexual attraction to others. It’s not the same as abstaining from sexual activity or celibacy.
But, like “BDSM”, “asexual” is a big umbrella term that encompasses a range of different levels of attraction. The most common use of the term is for individuals who do not, or rarely, encounter sexual attraction to others. That can mean anything from “I can be alone, I don’t need sex or a lover” to “I like a romantic night with a candle-lit dinner, but I’m not interested in sex”.
It doesn’t mean that asexual individuals don’t masturbate or orgasm. They do, but they don’t desire physical sexual interactivity with others. Some enjoy mental or emotional bonding without sexual activities, some enjoy being alone and don’t have any interest in forming bonds with others.
It is a community that doesn’t fit into a century where sex is so thoroughly permeated throughout society. Telling someone you don’t want to have sex, or have no interest in sex, is strangely non-normative in our highly sexualised world.
Although people who identify as gay or straight tend to have a reasonably clear and fixed sexuality, asexuals can be more fluid, changing over time. If you identify as asexual, that’s definitely not to suggest that you, or anyone else, should try to change it. Fluidity is not wishy-washiness or a whim or random choice. If it’s how you feel, then it’s not a “lifestyle choice”, in the same way that no other sexuality is a “lifestyle choice”.
WHAT ABOUT DEMISEXUALITY?
The term caught on only in the last few years, and now most people who are demisexual say their desire arises rarely and only from a deep emotional connection.
Demi-sexuality is a sub-group of asexuality, some demisexuals say they have strong sexual urges that just don’t connect to anyone in particular. ‘I want to have lots of crazy, kinky sex, just not with anyone.’
The erogenous zone for demisexuals is the mind – the emotional and mental connection with their partner. Without the emotional bonding as a foundation, there is no sexual attractiveness at all. Part of the reason why demisexuals enjoy sex is because of the wonderful way it brings to life (and perhaps enhances) that bond. Knowing in that moment that it is a form of intimacy that touches both the mental and physical is what gives it meaning.
There are other ways to achieve intimacy and bonding without the burst of sexual activity – travel, a soft kiss, a note with breakfast, a nice dinner for your partner or a shared sunset – so when sex is viewed in this context it can take on less importance. It’s not seen as the “one thing” or the goal.
OTHER TERMS YOU’LL COME ACROSS
If you delve into the world of asexuality and demisexuality you’ll need to navigate a lot of terms – Aces (asexuals), Greyromantics, Grey-Aces, Grey-As, panromantics, heteroromantic demisexuals, panromantic grey asexuals, etc. There are many variations, labels are difficult and people are fluid.
If the taxonomy seems loose and even confusing, it’s because the terms were created almost wholly online, arising on gaming-site forums and a nest of interrelated Tumblrs, blogs, and subreddits. They don’t necessarily describe fixed identities but serve more as beacons for people to locate each other online. While the rest of the world was using the web to invent and gratify new pervy thrills, these people used it as a wormhole out of a relentlessly sexual culture. It might be the only corner of the Internet that is not laced with porn.
In today’s world, asexuals and demisexuals are now finding a need to “come out” and tell their story, but perhaps 100 years ago asexuality and demisexuality were the norm in society. We live in a world now that’s saturated with sex and we view everything based on that.
• Wired – Young, Attractive, And Totally Not Into Having Sex
• Youtube – Being Asexual Interview
• Asexuality.org – Home
• Wikihow – Understanding Asexual
• Wikipedia – Asexuality
• The Ace Thiest
• The Asexual Agenda