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Asexuality Awareness

by @AdventuRin

(Content Warning: This is an informational/educational post about a little-known sexual orientation. As such, sex-related topics will be discussed, inasmuch as they relate to asexuality)


What is asexuality?

Asexuality (abbreviated as ace) is a sexual orientation in which one experiences little or no sexual attraction to others, regardless of their gender.

To fully understand what this means, we also need to understand sexual attraction. Being a feeling, it’s difficult to give exact words as to what attraction is like, but sexual attraction is generally described as a certain pull or allure of wanting to have sex with a specific person. This is not to be confused with one’s sex drive (otherwise knows as libido), which is a targetless urge or desire to experience sexual pleasure.

Libido is independent of sexual orientation. Just like any other orientation, those along the asexual spectrum can have varying sex drives, from zero to full speed ahead. Unlike any other orientation, however, ace folk experience no sexual attraction, or very little.


Asexual Spectrum

The ace spectrum is comprised primarily of three orientations: asexuality, demisexuality, and gray-asexuality (also gray-a, grace, or with grey instead of gray). Asexuality is the simplest of the three, and means zero sexual attraction, in any case, for any reason.

Demisexuals experience sexual attraction only to those they have developed a very close emotional bond with. A demisexual person may experience sexual attraction only a few times throughout their lives, and typically identify as asexual until that first experience.

Gray-asexuals occupy the fuzzy area between asexuality and the sexual orientations. Generally, gray-a folks experience sexual attraction only in specific circumstances that even they may not understand, or feel it so faintly or fleetingly that the attraction is hardly there. They’re functionally asexual, but have may have some exceptions.

There are several other, tumblr-coined terms you may hear:

Akiosexual (also Lithsexual) - experiencing sexual attraction, but not wanting it reciprocated (attraction fades if it is reciprocated)

Recipsexual - experiencing sexual attraction only if it’s reciprocated

Uncognisexual - experiencing sexual attraction only to those you don't know well; attraction fades once you develop a strong emotional bond; the opposite of demisexual

These are generally considered subsets of gray-asexuality, and serve to further define particular feelings of attractions. More terms exist, but I’m not including them here because they describe behavior, not orientation. My next post will go more in depth with the differences there.


Asexual Awareness Week

Despite being the X in the Kinsey Scale, the findings of which were first published in 1948, asexuality is still largely invisible in the mainstream. That is why Asexual Awareness Week exists -- to shine a spotlight on something many people know little about, to help educate, and to help eliminate acephobia. This year, AAW is October 26 - November 1.

Whether you’re ace-spectrum or just want to know more, I have more posts incoming throughout the week, and will end with an AUA (Ask Us Anything) for anyone to ask questions and any ace-identifying person to answer.

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