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What Does Asexual Mean? Asexual Meaning, Explained

Asexual pride sign that says "The A is for asexual."

As we approach this year’s Valentine’s Day, you might hear more and more sex talk, which makes me think this is a good time to include some Ace representation on our site. You’ve probably heard the term “asexual” used quite a bit by now, but if you find yourself wondering more keenly about the ins and outs of asexuality, we’ve got you covered.

Asexuality is, as the name details, a term for people who generally don’t feel sexual attraction. Or, at the very least, they don’t feel it in the ways that mainstream culture dictates as typical (we live in a culture that’s obsessed with the aesthetics of sexiness, after all). Some people try to argue that asexuality is just a “lifestyle choice,” but don’t let those people fool you: Human beings are varied to the umpteenth degree, and the ways in which people are sexually wired vary drastically from person to person. There have always been asexual people!

Similarly, asexuality is something that can’t always be strictly pinned down. It operates on a spectrum, with some people showing varying degrees of interest in sexual acts, and others having absolutely no interest in sex whatsoever. There are also various sub-labels under the general “Ace Umbrella.” One such label is Demisexual, in which a person feels little to no sexual interest in another person unless there’s a keen emotional attachment present. There’s also Graysexual, which is something of a more general term that describes a kind of sexual experience in which people do feel sexual attraction or impulses, yet it’s relatively rare and only occurs under specific circumstances.

Now, it’s important here to make a distinction between asexuality and aromanticism. Aromantics are people who don’t generally feel romantic attraction, and while sometimes the two go hand in hand, they are ultimately two different modes of being. Some aromantic people might be very sexually active, while others might have no interest in sex. Again, it’s a spectrum, with the key definer being a general lack of those romantic feels.

It’s important to talk about these things because, at the end of the day, we want to feel secure in our bodies and the ways our bodies might engage in the world, and having the right terms to apply to ourselves can be so helpful in building that security. For a long time, I’ve flirted with the Demisexual label, and while I still sometimes find myself wondering whether or not it really suits me, it’s ultimately helpful to have a frame of reference to fall back on when I’m feeling pressured to do things that I don’t naturally seek out.

Asexuality and aromanticism are real and beautiful things, and the more we talk about them, the less people will feel at odds with themselves. So to all our aro-ace readers, enjoy the 14th however you damn please, and then some!

(Featured Image: Robert Perry/Getty Images)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.