Awareness around asexuality has come a long way. This year marked the first to recognise International Asexuality Day on 6th April, co-founded by activist and model Yasmin Benoit, and more people are identifying with the orientation than ever before. Having said that, there’s still a considerable amount of confusion and some pretty rogue assumptions about asexuality that need to be put to rights.
So, what is asexuality?
Slightly different from other sexual orientations, which are are used to convey sexual preference, asexuality is a sexual orientation that is defined by someone who has no sexual desire for their preferred sex.
This doesn’t mean that someone who identifies as asexual doesn’t experience romantic feelings or have a desire for physical closeness and many asexual people enjoy loving relationships, but they’re just not sexually attracted to their partners.
But isn’t that just low sex drive?
Asexuality may sound similar to a low libido or low sex drive, but there are a few key differences that set it apart. A low sex drive can have a number of causes from hormonal changes to different medications. Asexuality, on the other hand, is a valid sexual orientation that someone might identify with. It is not caused by any one thing and it doesn’t need to be treated – it’s simply how someone was born.
Why are so many people suddenly becoming asexual?
It might seem like lots of people are suddenly saying that they identify as asexual, but asexuality is nothing new. It’s just that society has evolved to be more open towards different orientations and people feel more empowered and comfortable to be open about who they are.
Sometimes I want to have sex and sometimes I don’t – am I asexual?
As with all matters or sexuality and orientation, there is a grey area and you don’t have to label yourself with any particular term if it doesn’t feel right to you. It’s very possible that you can feel differently about your sexuality throughout your life, and you still have the right to identify with whichever orientation you want.
Are asexual people celibate?
Some asexual people choose not to participate in sexual acts at all, simply because they don’t experience a desire to do so. However, many asexual people don’t mind taking part in consensual sexual experiences as part of a bonding experiencing, they may enjoy making their partner feel pleasure or they may want to try for a baby.
Some asexual people also masturbate to relieve stress or just because they enjoy the feeling of having an orgasm, but there won’t be any sexual arousal motivating them to do so.
I think my partner is asexual. What should I do?
Talk to them! Communication is key to any healthy relationship so long as you approach the discussion from a place of love and with an open mind. And remember, if they do identify as asexual, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you or that you’ll have to break up and it doesn’t mean you’ll have to stop having sex. But it may help you to understand one another better so it’s always a good idea to talk it through.
Autor: Lottie Winter