A-sexuality: the 101
The scene starts.
The eyes of two individuals lock intensely. They move closer together and, stroking each other’s skin as a light primer, begin to engage in an intimate dance of passion and pure sexual tension.
Yet as you look on at the intertwined flesh on display you see simply that; two bodies engaging in sexual activity.
Yes, you understand what it’s meant to be (and the feelings it’s meant to elicit inside of you) yet you feel pretty neutral to the entire situation and you’re okay with that.
Such is the life of the asexual.
What Is Asexuality?
Put very simply, asexuality describes an individual who does not experience any sexual attraction or desire, or only experiences it to a very minimal degree.
For those unfamiliar with sexualities think of it this way: Being heterosexual is defined by having a sexual attraction to the opposite sex (literally from the Greek ‘heteros’ meaning ‘other party’ and the latin word for sex). Being homosexual is defined by being attracted to the same sex (from the Greek ‘homos’ meaning ‘same’).
By the same use of language and focus on sexual attraction, asexual is defined by the lack of sexual attraction to any individual of any kind (using the term ‘a-’ which, in language, indicates ‘not’). The word literally means ‘not sexual’. Isn’t language fun?
Isn’t That Just Celibacy/Abstinence?
Abstinence is a practice (often with a lot of troubling connotations in the US) which encourages people to deliberately suppress their existing sexual desires until the reach a certain age or other condition (such as marriage) in order to act on the feelings they have.
Celibacy is a self-motivated, often spiritual, decision to abstain from sex in order to achieve a sense of personal clarity or explore one’s feelings and connections in a deeper and more meaningful way. It can also be a temporary state (such as fetish-based celibacy brought on by a Dominant’s commands or a chastity belt).
In both of these instances sexual attraction and desire are still very much present, the person in question is just choosing not to act upon their desires.
For an asexual the desire is not there to start with, thus there is no need or struggle to suppress a sexual urge or attraction. They are without it.
Equally, asexuality does not refer to a specific gender, race, age group or anything else. It is simply the lack of sexual urges. Nothing more, nothing less.
Does That Mean Asexuals Cannot Have A Relationship?
Refer back to the ‘nothing more or less’ of above when it comes to an asexual’s prospects or desire when it comes to having a love life.
‘Love,’ or we might say, romantic attraction is separate from sexual attraction, thus an asexual can still feel strong romantic desire towards someone even if there is no urge to add a sexual element to the situation.
Yes, there are those who do not wish for such relationships, but they’re called aromantics – literally ‘not romantic’ – and are distinct from asexuals.
After all, the warm fuzzy feeling you get from cosying up with someone you love as you both watch a movie isn’t exactly a ‘I must have sex right now’ feeling, so there’s no reason why asexuals can’t or won’t value it too.
Doesn’t That Complicate Things?
It very well can do, especially if one or more people in the relationship have clashing sexualities or sexual desire levels.
The best way for asexuals to navigate this is to speak with their potential partner in advance, to make the distinction between sexual and romantic relationships clear, and to be specific with what they are hoping for.
As for a partner with a sexually active sexuality, it’s important to consider whether or not you are happy with such an arrangement. Having an asexual partner does not mean no sexual activity at all, but it does mean that a lot of (if not all) of your sexual pursuits will be a solo affair. For some this will work fine, for others…not so much.
The most important thing to do is to try not to change the person you’re with.
Asexuality is not a trend, fad or phase – no sexuality is – and if you think you’re going to get in to a relationship with an Ace (slang for asexual) and expect that you can ‘fix them’ then imagine how that would sound in your circumstances.
Imagine being heterosexual, for example, and knowing that your partner is with you hoping to change your ‘clearly confused and misguided’ attempts at being heterosexual.
Yeah. Not a nice thought, is it?
Granted, some asexuals do have fleeting or minimal moments of sexual attraction or desire. These individuals often use the term Gray-A (gray asexual) in order to identify themselves.
But, again, it’s important to know if this is the case before getting in to a relationship rather than finding out or trying to change things after.
Respecting each other and communicating is important above all things.
So There You Have It!
Asexuality explained in one not-at-all-sexually-desirable nutshell.
What do you think about asexuality? Is it something you’ve struggled with (either personally or when it comes to understanding it)? Do let us know!
Here at Dusk we obviously strive to promote a certain amount of desire but only in those who wish to receive it. Asexuality is a valid, important, and sometimes life-changing sexual definition for some and we welcome its use in modern sexual language.
Keep on rockin’ Aces!