Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an asexual person?
An asexual person is also called an Ace. Ace is a phonetic abbreviation of asexual. An asexual person does not feel or he/she lacks any sexual attraction or sexual interest towards the same or opposite sex.
Asexuality is different from sexual abstinence or celibacy. Sexual abstinence can be voluntary or involuntary behavior, motivated by social, personal, or religious reasons. You choose to abstain from indulging in any kind of sexual activity. While Asexuality is not a choice, it is an inborn orientation, just like heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.
Asexuality is a wide spectrum. Different people who identify themselves as asexual may have different meanings to their Asexuality. Few of them never experience sexual attraction or sexual desire. While a few others feel romantic attraction but desire only platonic/non-sexual relationship. Few others don't feel any romantic attraction as well.
Some asexuals may rarely experience sexual attraction but do not feel the urge to indulge in any sexual activity. Others may be open to non-sexual physical intimacy like cuddling and holding hands but detest sexual intercourse. And some exhibit no sexual desire and sexual behavior.
Sometimes Aces indulge in mating either out of curiosity or to please their partners or have kids. At times, asexuals even masturbate, but it's purely as a physical form of release rather than a sexual act.
To conclude, each asexual is different and may identify themselves at different places on the Asexuality spectrum. Each of them has a different level of libido or sexual desire, may experience a varied form of attraction, have unique or unusual fantasies, and seek a different kind of relationship. There is no test to determine the Asexuality of a person as there are substantial variations among people who identify as Aces.
How to tell if someone is asexual?
Sexuality is a complicated subject, and Asexuality is very perplexing. There is no litmus test to identify the sexual orientation of a person. It is neither a medical condition nor a disease that can be diagnosed. Labeling someone as an asexual depends a lot on how one feels and identifies on the asexuality spectrum. Still, there are some signs which indicate if someone is asexual.
- Sex, in general, disinterests you. You find sex to be dull and boring.
- You understand the physical appeal and pinpoint if someone is attractive, but you don't feel attracted to them. The physical beauty of a person doesn't sexually turn you on.
- You enjoy a non-sexual form of physical intimacy like massages, cuddling, hugging, and holding hands. But you detest anything beyond the touch and are averse to any kind of sexual conduct.
- You don't feel infatuated with anyone unless you share an emotional bond with that person. Even though you may crush on someone, you don't intend to pursue it on any level other than platonic.
- You cannot relate to your friends having sexual feelings. You don't understand their desperation for sex because for you going sexless for days and months is normal and relieving.
- You don't get sexually aroused on watching steamy sex scenes or even porn.
- You are okay with being alone. And you don't understand why every marriage and relationship has to deal with sex.
It is easy to identify an asexual because of the obvious signs, but it is difficult to tell if someone is asexual if they try to mask their feelings.
What makes someone asexual?
Asexuality is not a problem that can be fixed or a disease which can be cured. It's an identity or part of who you are. Few things which make someone asexual are:
- If you are not interested in sexual intimacy or sexual attraction of any kind.
- You don't fit into any other orientation because they are based on sexual/physical attraction to particular or multiple genders.
- You don't understand or feel sexual pleasure.
- You want a relationship but don't want to participate in any sexual activity with your partner.
- You feel mental/emotional/aesthetic attraction is greater than sexual attraction.
- You don't mind going sexless for your whole life.
Asexuals don't think of sex as a gross concept or religiously or socially immoral act or a painful experience. Despite this, they have no interest in any kind of sexual activity. Sometimes they are just born to be repulsive to sex or turn asexual for some reason.
Is Asexuality a medical condition?
No, Asexuality is not a medical condition. Various research and studies on Asexuality prove that Asexuality is not a mental disorder (psychological condition) or sexual dysfunction (physiological condition). It is but a sexual orientation.
Studies reveal that Asexuality is not a mental disorder or a symptom of another disease. But it shows the psychological distress experienced by asexual. It is because they are often ostracised and don't receive approval or support from society.
The research also indicates that Asexuality is not a sexual dysfunction. These people have different sex drive levels, but they lack any desire or urge to act upon it. Even if they try to satiate their libido, it's more of a physical act than a sexual act.
Thus, the evidence from various researches and studies suggests that Asexuality is a unique sexual orientation just like heterosexuality or homosexuality and not a medical condition.
What are the psychological causes of Asexuality?
Asexuality is an extremely misunderstood and stigmatized sexual identity. Asexuality is not a disease, neither psychological nor physiological. It is a biological orientation of an individual. And just like other sexual orientations, Asexuality doesn't have any fundamental psychological causes to it. You are just born that way.
However, to understand Asexuality from all dimensions, one must know that some researches and studies view Asexuality with a different lens. They try to attach reasons and causes to a person's Asexuality. Some studies show that characteristics like low self-esteem, religious inclination, social anxiety, frustration, depression, sexual inability, denial, and deprivation of sexual conduct, sexual displeasure, or resentment can turn one negative about sexuality, thus embracing Asexuality.
There are contradicting views about Asexuality as an orientation. While it is evident through many research and studies that some people are born asexual, there are also enough proofs that validate some individuals' sexual fluidity and conditioning them to be asexual.
How are asexual individuals diverse?
Asexual and Asexuality is one of the most confusing concepts amongst the general population. Asexuality is a broad spectrum, and different individuals may fall under a different category. Some may misinterpret Asexuality as celibacy. But the two are fundamentally different. Asexuality is a sexual orientation wherein an individual feels none or very low sexual attraction or desire. While celibacy is a willful decision to refrain from any sexual conduct
Asexual encompasses broad definitions and various ways in which a person might identify oneself on the asexuality spectrum. Asexual people may or may not experience romantic or sexual attraction. Still, they have emotional needs like everyone else, and they have a different way of fulfilling those needs. We can broadly classify the umbrella term asexual as:
- Aromantic Asexual: Individuals who do not experience romantic or sexual attraction towards any gender(s). (also called Ace of spades)
- Biromantic Asexual: Individual who is romantically attracted to both the genders. (also called Ace of hearts)
- Heteroromantic Asexual: Individual who is romantically attracted to the opposite gender.
- Homoromantic Asexual: Individual who is romantically attracted to the same gender.
- Panromantic Asexual: Individuals who feel romantic attraction towards every gender(s).
- Polyromantic Asexual: Individuals who experience romantic attraction toward multiple but not all genders.
- Gray-romantic Asexual: Individuals who experience only limited romantic attraction, but rarely experience sexual attraction. These people fall in the grey area between sexuality and Asexuality and are thus called graces.
- Demiromantic Asexual: An individual who experiences romantic and sexual attraction only after a close emotional bond is formed with either gender. Demi romantic can be identified as demi-homoromantic or demi-heteroromantic or demi-biromantic.
- Squishes: Non-romantic crushes (friend focused, non-romantic relationship)
- Zucchini: Queer platonic relationship.
Some individuals may identify themselves as completely or almost asexual or asexual with an exception depending on how sexually and romantically attracted they are to others. There are also instances when asexual people become sexual later in life, while sexual individuals turn into asexual. Asexuality is a broad term, including different types of people under the same label.
Can asexuals fall in love?
Yes, asexuals can fall in love. Though they don't feel any sexual attraction, they are emotionally attracted to people. They do feel romantic emotions and crave for intimacy. But intimacy for aces is not necessarily intercourse. For asexuals, love does not lead to lovemaking. Thus, asexuals fall in love without any sexual interest in the person. It's more like falling in love with the soul and not with the body.
Can asexuals have a crush?
Different people experience different kinds of attraction that are not necessarily sexual. Yes, Asexual people can have a crush. But they are not captivated by the physical traits of a person. What attracts an asexual to another person is their personality and conduct. Unless an asexual has an emotional bond with the other person, they hardly feel affectionate or romantic attraction to them.
Do asexuals date?
Yes, asexual people do date. There are various mainstream and niche dating sites that acknowledge Asexuality as an orientation and facilitate friendship or romantic relationships between asexual individuals. In a world where sexual intimacy is a norm when you date a person, asexuals strive to pursue a platonic relationship with their partners. Asexuals do all the usual dating things, but for them, the road between physical/romantic attraction and sexual attraction does not exist.