Sexuality is a complicated topic, and in recent years with the embracing and greater understanding of gender, sexuality is no longer black and white. While a full spectrum that comes with sexuality in the modern world - from heterosexual and homosexual to bicurious to demisexual, there is one sexual identity that many remain confused by - asexuality.
What does it mean to be asexual?
Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity. It may be considered a sexual orientation.
Put simply, a person who is asexual does not experience sexual desire or attraction, according to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). “Whereas heterosexuals are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex, and homosexuals are attracted to folks of the same sex, asexuals are [sexually] attracted to nobody,” sex therapist Stefani Goerlich told Health.
Asexual people can often be confused with those who are celibate or those with low libido. The difference, however, is that asexuality is an orientation rather than an active choice toward their sexual feelings.
Do asexual people form romantic relationships?
Sexuality and love are two distinct things, and someone who is asexual may still form a romantic attraction or emotional connection with another person but not feel the need to express their emotions or feelings through sexual relationships or other sexual expressions.
“Navigating the dating world can be one of the most challenging components of being asexual, because it may involve educating friends, family, and potential partners and dispelling common myths related to asexuality,” Jessica O'Reilly, sex therapist and host of podcast Sex With Jess, told Health.
RELATED: What Does It Mean To Be Pansexual?
How do you know if you're asexual?
If you have no desire to engage in any type of sexual activity and have never felt sexually attracted to another person, you might be. Still, it's a hard thing to know for sure, since even people who are asexual describe it differently. According to AVEN, people typically realise they are asexual when they and those around them are exploring or questioning their sexuality as adolescents.
What is the asexual spectrum?
Asexuality is a spectrum. Some asexuals neither experience sexual attraction nor have a sex drive. Some have romantic or emotional attraction, but not a sex drive. Some have a sex drive, but they do not experience an attraction. Finally, some experience both attraction and drive, but do not find that those two things are linked. For example, an asexual person who is considered 'gray' on the scale, may only experience sexual attraction on occasion.