- 1. General
- 2. Family & Friends
- 3. Relationship
- 1. How do I know if I'm asexual?More
To make things easier, asexuality was given a standard definition. The current definition of asexuality is ‘someone who does not experience sexual attraction’. This is the official definition given be AVEN. However asexuality is a wide spectrum and differs from person to person in terms of attraction, arousal and relationships. Thus it is only you who can decide what label fits you best. We hope that with the help of this website as well as other resources like AVEN will help you decide whether you are asexual or not.
- 2. I've never been sexually attracted to anyone. Am I an asexual?More
Again, it is completely up to you if you want to identify as asexual. However, according to the definition, yes you are an Ace. . Note that it is lack of sexual attraction and not lack of sexual activity that defines asexuality.
- 3. I find people attractive, but have no sexual feelings towards them. What am I?More
It is absolutely normal for an asexual to admire someone who is aesthetically attractive. It's the same with sexual people. People sometimes form a platonic relationship and that's absolutely normal. If you are romantically connected to someone and still don't have sexual feelings, you might be an asexual.
- 4. I am very rarely sexually attracted to people. I have only been sexually attracted to two people in my entire life. Where do I stand?More
As mentioned above, asexuality is a wide spectrum and cannot be reduced to a black and white definition. In this vast spectrum, at one end is the sexual and the other end is the asexual. The area in between is the grey area. People who normally do not experience sexual attraction but sometimes do experience it, experience sexual attraction but have a low sex drive, enjoy and desire sex only under limited and specific circumstances, all come within this grey area. Furthermore, an asexual person can want or choose to engage in sex for several reasons. Some asexual people in relationships might choose or even want to have sex with their partner as a way of showing affection, and they might even enjoy it. Others may want to have sex in order to have children, or to satisfy a curiosity, or for other reasons.It is also important to keep in mind that sexuality can be fluid. Sexual inclination and identity may, but does not always, change over a period of time. In the end, privately or publicly identifying as asexual or sexual is your choice. No one can force a label on you that you are not sure of or comfortable with yourself.
- 5. I get attracted to people only after a get to know them. What does this mean?More
There are different forms of attraction. Many sexual people find that they need to get to know someone in order to feel romantically and/or sexually attracted to them. In fact, some people identify as demi-sexual, which is a label used by people in the gray area when they can only feel sexual attraction after having a strong emotional bond with someone.Many asexual people as well need to get to know someone before feeling romantically attracted to them. Some use the label demi-romantic if they need a strong emotional bond (like friendship for example) before feeling romantic attraction. It is common for Asexuals to be intellectually attracted to someone after getting to know them as a friend (although 'love at first conversation' is perfectly possible).
- 6. Certain things turn me on, but have nothing to do with people. What does that mean?More
Experiencing sexual arousal does not mean that you are not an Asexual. Several Asexuals have fetishes that does not involve attraction towards other people. Such Asexuals do not find the need to share their sexuality with anyone else.
People form identities around stuff that they need to figure out. People who identify as asexual tend to be trying to figure out how to live full emotionally complete lives without necessarily having to engage in sexual relationships with other people, how to live in a world that places a high premium on sexuality and sexual relationships. If this is something that you are struggling with in some way, then the asexual community is worth investigating.
Some asexuals have no sexual feelings at all (theyre called non-libidoists), but they eventually have a lot in common with those asexuals who have sexual feelings that do not involve people in any way. Both groups may feel alienated in a society that expects everyone to be sexually interested in other people.
Eventually, whether or not you choose to identify as asexual is up to you, if you find the label useful.
- 7. My sexuality comes in phases. Sometimes I'm sexual, other times I'm completely asexual. Do I have a place in your asexual community?More
Yes you do! This would put you in the grey area between sexuality and asexuality. The gray area also includes people who rarely experience sexual attraction. If you think this is a phase and could experience sexual attraction in the future, you still have a lot to relate to in the asexual community. AVEN has quite a few gray-a member with whom you might have a lot in common, particularly during your asexual moments.
- 8. Am I Asexual if I masturbate or have sexual fantasies?More
Most asexuals are physically capable of sex. Some masturbate and some do not. Since masturbation produces a pleasurable sensation, many asexuals choose to use it to take pleasure from their bodies. Some asexuals can only arouse themselves manually (by applying friction to sexual organs), while others can turn themselves on with thought or even outside stimulus, such as pornography or erotic literature.
There is an important distinction between sexual and asexual people when it comes to masturbation: while some asexuals don't think about anything specifically sexual during masturbation, if they do think about other people or view pornography, these interpersonal interactions are only fantasy. If an asexual were actually given the opportunity to be sexual with the fantasized person(s), there would be no sexual attraction, or the attraction would be so low as to be completely ignorable.
Some masturbating asexuals do not have a sex drive motivating them; they just do it because it's nice or to relieve stress. Other asexuals masturbate because they have a personal sex drive (libido) that they wish to take care of privately; they may experience arousal as a biological response to outside stimulus and wish to relieve themselves of it without a desire for partnered sex. Still more, some asexuals may be considered autosexual; they are sexually attracted to themselves and as such take sexual pleasure from their own bodies. The common factor is that all asexuals, masturbating or not, have little or no sexual attraction to other people.
- 9. I have had crushes on people and sometimes I've even fallen in love. Am I still asexual?More
Most of the time, people mix up emotional and romantic attractions with sexual attraction. For some people they go hand in hand, but that doesn't mean they are one and the same and cannot be separated. Many Asexuals do have crushes on others and have a romantic drive, making them very capable of falling in love. Such people would like to be intimate with another special person, its just that this intimacy isn't sexual.
Just as sexual attraction can be directed at one (or more) gender(s) creating patterns of sexual orientations, romantic attraction can be considered the base of romantic orientations: some people call themselves hetero-romantic, homo-romantic, bi-romantic or pan-romantic, according to the gender(s) they're attracted to. There are also people who do not experience romantic attraction, and they're called aromantic. Lastly, just as there's a gray-area between sexuality and asexuality, there is one also between romanticism and aromanticism.
- 10. Can I be Asexual even though I enjoy having sex with my loving partner and have never really felt driven to have sex with anybody else?More
Most asexual people are physically capable of having sex. As with masturbation, some asexuals find the experience of sex pleasurable, even if they do not desire it in the way that someone who feels sexual attraction does. If you use sex in an effort to connect emotionally with your sexual partner, or to compromise their sexuality and your asexuality, rather than because of an innate desire to have sex with your partner, then that need not contradict an asexual identity.
Just as sexual people can form asexual relationships, asexual people can participate in sexual relationships for a variety of reasons. So long as you're comfortable and happy with that then it's cause for celebration rather than a reason to doubt your 'asexual purity.' Celibacy and asexuality need not go hand-in-hand.
Besides wishing to connect with a sexual partner, there are other reasons why some asexuals choose to participate in sexual activity. The motivation might be curiosity or experimentation (a good proportion of asexuals have tried sex at some point in the past). Certain aspects of sex might be sensual and enjoyable enough to be motivation for some people even without sexual attraction or drive. Even if it is not immediately desired, sexual release can certainly be pleasurable for an asexual; think of it as not being hungry but still enjoying an ice cream cone. In a loving relationship, some asexuals may enjoy giving sexual pleasure to their partner without the need for any sexual gratification in return. If sex makes their partner feel loved, then some asexuals may wish to take part in consensual sex acts if only because they desire their partner's happiness.
That being said, many asexual people have fantastic relationships with sexual partners that don't involve sex. When sex does happen in an asexual/sexual relationship it requires extensive communication. Consent without sexual attraction is complicated, and is not something that sexual partners are entitled to.
There are also asexual people who would like to meet their partners on their sexual needs but can't because they are repulsed by some or all sexual activities. There is nothing wrong with being repulsed as long as it's not causing you personal distress. Visiting our community may help you find people you can relate to and see how they approach relationships and/or sex in their life.
- 11. Am I more Asexual than the rest if i don't have any crushes and am perfectly happy with having close friends?More
There are asexual people who experience romantic attraction (have crushes, desire having romantic relationships, etc), and there are asexual people who don't. While the former are "romantic", the latter are "aromantic" and generally speaking they prefer having close friends. This, however, doesn't make them 'more asexual' than those who desire a romantic relationship. Furthermore, aromanticism is not only something asexual people identify with: there are, in fact, also people of any sexual orientation who are aromantic.
The idea of being 'very asexual' is questionable. There is no hierarchy of asexuality. Asexuals with romance drives are not 'less asexual' than those without. Asexuals who are in sexual relationships with loving partners have as much value in the community as those who have never had a single sexual experience. This community is not about elitism; it's about people who share the common factor of having very little or absolutely no sexual attraction to other people.
Diversity is a good thing in any community. Everyone in this community has as much value as everyone else. If your experience differs from that which you see others expressing, please feel free to share it.
- 12. If I consider myself to be a sexual person, but am incapable of having sex, does that make me Asexual?More
No, it does not. If you identify as a sexual person, then that’s what you are. Asexual people are fine not having sex; if you think that your lack of interest in sex is a problem then you should consult a doctor or therapist. There is no guarantee that they will be able to help you, but there is a good chance. If you can’t decide if you think it’s a problem then you owe it to yourself to gather as much information as possible to figure out what fits you best.
Asexual people may also be incapable of having sex, the distinction is that they are unlikely to feel particularly uncomfortable about this as long as they are otherwise healthy. If you want to have sex but can't then this may not be the community for you.
- 13. Why would asexuals want or need to 'come out' anyway?More
For some asexuals it really is the case that their asexuality is a complete non-issue, they never have any reason to mention sex and feel perfectly comfortable interacting with others.
Other asexuals find themselves in situations where they are expected to be sexual. They might feel pressured to fake sexual attractions in order to fit in and have an easy life. Many people find that those around them constantly bring up sexual attraction in conversations, be it sex talk in the office or "look at the legs on her". It might be easier to play along and pretend you have sexual thoughts and feelings, but in doing so you are effectively 'in the closet', whether to avoid shame or simply to make life easier for yourself.
Some asexuals have found it refreshing to come out as having no sexual attraction. They no longer have to fade into the background when sex comes into the conversation or fake sexual interest in order to fit in. They can be completely honest about who they are and what they feel.
Another reason to consider coming out is to increase visibility and acceptance of asexuals in our society. While you may feel perfectly comfortable with who you are, other asexuals feel broken or less than human. As more and more asexuals are visible in our society, the idea of asexuality as a valid part of human experience will become more widespread. Just one more openly asexual person increases the likelihood that other asexuals won't have to grow up feeling broken and ashamed.
Coming out is, of course, your own personal choice and no one will think less of you if you decide that it's not for you.
- 14. Why do we need an asexual community?More
You might decide that an asexual community has no value to you, but other asexuals receive a great deal from sharing their experiences with each other.
There are many different things you could take from an asexual community. Some members wish to talk to others with similar experiences, some wish to explore the diversity of experience within the community. Some want to talk about finding romance, some enjoy discussing the vast possibilities for asexual relationships. Some people would like to learn how to be more comfortable with their asexuality, others are eager to celebrate what they are. Some want to make things better for future asexuals, some want to spread the word that asexuality exists and it's OK to be that way. Some asexuals want to discuss the theory of asexuality and sexuality, some just want to tell jokes or share poems and stories.
The asexual community might be for you, or it might not. If you think you might benefit from hearing the experiences of people with little or no sexual attraction to other people, then you should give it a try.
- 15. Does being an Asexual mean that I will always be lonely?More
No, not at all! Asexuals can and do form many kinds of relationships, from close friendships to romantic couplings to other kinds of bonds which our society doesn't have words for.
It may be more difficult to find someone who is willing to enter into a conventional relationship with the knowledge that sex will not be involved, but remember, there are other people with low or no sex drive out there and many people who care more about love and companionship than they do about sex.
Don't give up hope!
- 16. What if its a phase?More
What if it is? That doesn't stop you being asexual right now.
It may be tempting to hold back on accepting your asexuality in the hope that eventually you'll 'bloom' into a sexual person. I'm not saying that might not eventually happen, but consider this: do you want to spend your life thinking of yourself as an undeveloped person, living for the dreamed of day when you'll become whole? Might you feel more comfortable accepting who you are now as a whole complete valid person? Maybe one day you will “bloom”, and if and when you do, you won't have lost anything by being comfortable in the mean time.
There's no shame in identifying as one thing and then later identifying as another. Your identity isn't meant to limit you. If you've moved on or changed, then by all means describe yourself differently. If you fear you might be different in the future, that doesn't change which label is most useful to you in the present. There's nothing wrong with change.
- 17. I'm worried that I'm sexually repressed or just using this to distance myself from or hide from the real world. How can I be sure I'm really asexual?More
Only you can know if you're asexual or not. Do you experience sexual attraction toward other people? Are you making choices to not act upon urges or do you lack them entirely? If you are genuinely unsure of the answers, then the asexual community may be a good place to explore how you feel.
There are people who, consciously or otherwise, avoid sexuality because they wish to avoid things like intimacy. These people are, of course, welcome in the asexual community, though they generally find that whatever emotional issue they were trying to avoid is present here as well. Many issues cannot be effectively avoided by avoiding sexuality. Asexual people deal with all of the same complex challenges in relationships as everyone else.
- 18. I am afraid people will laugh at me if I tell them I am asexual. What to do?More
It is common for others to not understand a particular thing that is new to them. Many asexuals don't understand what's wrong with them and think they are broken. Hence it is only natural to think that others might laugh at you. Accepting the fact that you are asexual would have taken some time, so be patient with others. After all it might not be a big deal.
- 1. What exactly is Asexuality?More
It's a lack of sexual attraction. Asexuals are generally very different from one another: some experience romantic attraction, some don't. Some experience arousal, some don't. Asexuality is not celibacy - celibacy is a choice to abstain from sexual intimacy while asexuality is an orientation which results in lack of sexual attraction.
- 2. Was it necessary for him/her to tell me about this? I would have preferred not to know.More
By telling you, your child is only reaching out for your support. The very fact that they chose to tell you means they believe that you will understand and support them. Asexuals often contend with deep levels of soul-searching and confusion due to the public's lack of information about the orientation. At such times they may need the support of you, their parent, more than ever.
You may not understand the orientation immediately, but take time to hear your child out. Give them a chance to explain things and most of all, don't deny them your support.
- 3. Asexuality seems to be unusual. Could it be because of sexual abuse, repressed homosexuality or any other psychological issue?More
Try not to assume one of these had to happen. If your child hasn't shown mental instability in the past, don't convince yourself that they are hiding a trauma from you. If your child's asexuality is in fact caused by an outside force then they will become aware of it at a later date. If an unfortunate occurrence like sexual abuse has happened in your child's past, it doesn't mean it "made" them asexual.
If your child requires a therapist to help them come to terms with their asexuality, that's fine. Don't seek out a psychiatrist to "cure" your child's asexuality against their will--this will be damaging to the relationship you and your child share and potentially harmful to their self-esteem.
- 4. Did I do something wrong as a parent to cause this?More
Absolutely not. As said before, an individual's sexuality is a very complex issue. It's highly unlikely how you raised them or a single incident in their lives single-handedly caused them to become asexual.
- 5. Does that mean they are incapable of love?More
Hardly. Many asexuals experience romantic and affectionate feelings towards others. Just because your child may be uninterested in seeking out a partner the traditional way of blind dating and the like, doesn't mean they are misanthropic. They are capable of forming very close bonds with friends, and may even enter into a non-sexual relationship one day.
On the other hand, they could be completely uninterested in a romantic relationship and focus on platonic bonds. Do not pressure your child into "finding the right person." Although they might go about looking for love a completely different way, they are capable of the same feelings of compassion and devotion as anyone else - just expressed in a different way.
- 6. I just want what's best for my child. What if they turn out unhappy? I don't want them to die alone.More
Remember the old saying you may have told your children before: "If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" Just because your child is not living life the way others perceive is the way to achieve happiness, doesn't mean they are unhappy. Your child likely did a lot of soul-searching before coming to the conclusion that they are asexual. This might even be the first time they've felt secure in a while. If they seem happy, be thankful, and don't worry about what societal norms they fit. A person with a good personality and strong friendships should never have to worry about dying alone.
- 7. Should we tell the family/neighbours/teachers/etc.? What will other people think?More
It is advisable not to tell anyone without your child's permission. It is fairly unnecessary to tell non-family members and acquaintances. Your child will choose which family members and friends they are comfortable with telling. What these people think is irrelevant to how your child will live his/her life.
- 1. Can Asexuals have successful romantic relationships?More
Yes! There are several asexual couples, where both the partners identify as asexual. But the hard part is finding an asexual person that you are compatible with. However we hope that as the visibility of asexuality increases and is accepted, it would become easier to meet more asexuals.
There are also some asexuals who are in a relationship with sexual people. The tension between the sexual partners expectation and the asexual partners needs can be difficult to work with in these relationships. Many asexuals consider success so unlikely that they prefer not to date sexuals at all, but successful mixed relationships do exist. Some of these relationships are completely sexless; in others, the asexual partner "compromises" by having sex occasionally under certain circumstances; in others, both partners experiment with pseudosexual behavior and find things that work for both of them. Like with any other compatibility issue in a relationship, the key is to establish excellent communication, so that both partners can know and respect the other's situation.
- 2. I just don't see how asexuals can be close to anyone. How can you have a relationship without sex?More
There are myriad ways for asexuals to form close bonds and relationships with others. Some asexuals keep close friendships, some enjoy 'traditional' (but not sexual) romantic couplings. Others form completely different, perhaps unique, relationships.
Asexuals can be 'more than friends' or even consider their relationships 'closer than lovers'. Asexuals can be part of traditional couplings, be a non-sexual loving partner of a polyamorous (loving many) person or perhaps part of a group marriage or some other non-conventional relationship.
Asexual relationships are a 'blank slate'. There are no rules dictating how non-sexual love is expressed. Many asexuals consider their relationships to be outside the experience of our culture. It’s up to us to make up words to describe our bonds with other people.
The possibilities for non-sexual intimacy are vast. Some asexuals enjoy physical closeness, perhaps cuddling or stroking, with their partner. Some asexuals express intimacy through talking, maybe sharing their innermost fears and secrets or by making each other laugh. Some asexuals feel intimacy with their partners by sharing common interests and activities or by working together toward common goals. Others experience intimacy in other deeply personal ways or by a combination of some, all or none of the above.
Some asexuals, instead of establishing one-on-one romantic relationships, prefer to connect with the people around them in a community-based intimacy framework, establishing emotional intimacy with other people (including sexuals) without forming expectations of sexual or emotional exclusivity. For asexuals who are comfortable with this setup, it can alleviate the biggest source of tension in a standard mixed relationship (because the sexual person can have their sexual needs met elsewhere).
- 3. Is it possible to be asexual as well as lesbian, gay, or bi?More
Yes, it is. Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, but some experience romantic attraction, which can be directed towards either or both sexes. Some asexuals therefore identify as gay or lesbian asexuals, while others identify as straight asexuals; others don't much care about the sex of their prospective partners, and still others don't want romantic relationships with anybody at all.
- 4. I would like to date a certain person, but I'm fairly sure that they're sexual. How can I approach them without giving them the wrong impression?More
First and foremost, be honest with them about how you feel and what you're capable of sharing as part of the relationship. It's important to talk about how both of you feel about each other, the relationship, and the possibility of sex.
Many people have low or no interest in sex. Don't assume that everyone else is sexual, even if it sometimes feels that way. Some sexual people will be willing to commit to a non-sexual person if they feel really strongly about them. It's worth taking the chance.
- 5. Do I owe my partner sex because of things I've been doing with them, like flirting or kissing or letting them take me to fancy restaurants?More
Absolutely not! Nobody ever owes sex to anybody else. People should always have control over what other people can do with their bodies, and you always have the right to say "no" to sex.
That said, sometimes there are situations that can lead a sexual person to expect sex, resulting in frustration for both parties later on when sex is denied. To avoid these situations, it is best to inform the other person about asexuality and your own boundaries before the opportunity for misinterpretation arises.
Even if you forget to do this, you still have the right to say "no"! It is better to frustrate your partner a little than to let yourself be pressured into a sexual decision you may regret for the rest of your life.
- 6. My partner is pressuring me to do sexual things that I don't want to do. How do I resolve this tension?More
Pressure of this sort is often a bad sign in a relationship and can be a problem for sexuals as well. However, different people have different comfort zones and your partner may not be aware that their comments or actions are being interpreted as unwelcome pressure. Make sure that you and your partner have both communicated clearly about your expectations and boundaries within your relationship. With good enough communication, you and your partner may find ways for your partner's sexual needs to be met without making you uncomfortable.
If your partner does not attempt to listen to you reasonably or take "no" for an answer, but continues pressuring you, this is a very bad sign indeed. It may be best to find a better partner who can respect your choices regarding your body.
- 7. I am sexual, but I think my partner is asexual. What should I do?More
Introduce the topic to them gently. Some closeted asexuals may be afraid to discuss asexuality because they don't know what it means. They may think you are accusing them of being broken or sick. Some people prefer to bring up the fact that asexuality exists without necessarily making any implications regarding their partner, and see where the conversation goes from there. AVEN or a similar resource can be very helpful in such discussions.
In the meantime, whether your partner is really asexual or not, there are some general guidelines that you may find helpful. The importance of communication cannot be overstressed. Take nothing for granted about your partner's sexuality. Do not assume that they necessarily want to participate in any particular act with you. Respect their body and choices, even if you have trouble understanding them. Avoid creating an atmosphere where sexual acts seem like a duty or an obligation.
- 8. If my partner isn't sexually attracted to me, does this mean that they don't really love me?More
No! Asexuals feel love as strongly as anyone else does; it simply isn't connected to sex for them. However, your partner may feel confused and alienated from you because they do not understand how important sex is for you and why you desire it. Good communication can help bridge this gap.
- 9. I'm sure my partner is asexual but they won't talk about it with me. What can I do?More
It is hard to know what to do in these situations. It is possible that your partner is asexual but is afraid to admit it, because they think it will make them broken or sick, invalidate their masculinity, cause you to reject them, or otherwise have negative consequences. It is also possible that something completely different is going on that they refuse to talk about for some other reason. Make sure that your partner feels they can talk to you without being judged. (The assignment of the "asexual" label may in itself feel like a judgment - in such cases, it may be better simply to bring up the fact of asexuality's existence and introduce your partner to AVEN or a similar resource.)
If you have a really unsolvable communication problem with your partner and are suffering as a result, it may be time to seek other avenues such as couples therapy. You may need to take stock of all aspects of your relationship and see if it is worth continuing.
- 10. We had great sex at first but now it is totally gone. I don't understand. Is it possible that my partner has suddenly turned asexual?More
There are many reasons why sex may die off in a relationship. Asexuality is one possible reason. Sometimes an asexual person will allow themselves to have sex for a while, but bad feelings about sex will build up in their minds and they will find themselves unable to do it anymore. Or they may at first have sex because they see no other options, but then cease to do it as they learn more about themselves.
There are a lot of other reasons why a person could at first have sex with their partner but then stop. To some extent, a reduction in sexual behavior is normal once the novelty of a sexual relationship wears off. Further reductions can happen because of anything from stress to illness to a problem in the relationship. All of these things (including asexuality) should be worked through together.
- 11. My partner masturbates and/or watches pornography, but doesn't want to have sex with me. How is this possible?More
Some asexuals (though not all) have sex drives, but see them as a private thing that should be taken care of alone, like going to the bathroom. Some of these asexuals find it helpful to use pornography to speed the process along. While not sexually attracted to the people in their erotic materials, asexuals with sex drives can sometimes pick up a general feeling of sexuality from such materials. Some asexuals even have sexual fantasies, although they do not wish to carry out these fantasies with real people in real life. However, it is also possible that your partner is sexual, but wants to avoid having sex with you for some other reason. The best way to know is to talk to them openly.
- 12. What exactly is it that asexuals will and won't do? Do they enjoy kissing and cuddling? How about second base?More
This depends entirely on the asexual in question. Some asexuals dislike any physical contact at all. Some like to cuddle, but nothing more. Some enjoy any number of activities that most people see as sexual, and some are all right with having sex provided that they trust the other person enough. The only way to tell what your partner enjoys, what they are comfortable with, and what's unacceptable for them, is to ask.
- 13. I want to stay with my partner and support them but the lack of mutual sexual feelings is killing me. What can I do?More
Communication is essential, but it does not always solve everything. Sometimes, despite everyone's best efforts, a mutually satisfying compromise cannot be reached. Sometimes, people stay in such a relationship and put up with mutual frustration for the sake of their love and commitment to each other. Other times, the relationship must end.
You should know that there are places where a person in your position can get support. The Friends, Allies and Sexual Partners section in the Forum of this website will help you interact with other who are just like you. There are also many unaffiliated support groups for people in sexless relationships. You are not alone.