Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
Welcome to the other AA - Asexuals Anonymous
The life of an asexual can be exhausting. Why? Because no one knows what asexuals are and then as soon as you give them one line, "I'm not interested in sex" they suddenly come up with a whole assortment of profoundly aggravating ideas about what that means. They make snap judgements and speculations and before you know it you're staring on a stage involving a completely ignorant public trying out their new shiniest bit of pop psychology on you. So let's go back to the beginning and start over, shall we? Before anyone has a chance to utter a word just listen, or rather read, and I will dispel some of these bat-shit crazy ideas some of you have.
1. Asexuality is the same as celibacy. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, it has no more to do with celibacy than heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. Celibacy is when a person with a normal sex drive decides for whatever reason that they are not going to engage in sex. Asexuality may include celibacy but it's not synonymous, or a choice. Asexuals just don't feel that desire to have sex. In simple terms it is a complete lack of a libido.
2. Asexuality isn't real, or something seen in humans. Only space aliens in weird avante guard sci-fi can be asexual. Actually in recent studies asexuals are believed to make up at least 2% of the population of humans. Some researchers even guess we could even be as high as 10% of the population and we've been here for as long as anyone else. In fact the first time we were mentioned in a scientific study was when we showed up to answer questionnaires for the infamous Kinsey report. Kinsey believed two basic things 1) People were having a lot more sex in far more varieties than was socially acceptable for the time and 2) Everyone was either homosexual, bi-sexual, or heterosexual. He used a scale of 1-6 to determine if his subjects tilted more towards homosexuality or heterosexuality but frustratingly there were some that didn't tilt anywhere. They were listed as simply as "X" and weren't studied any further until recently. Current studies learned the same way as this entire article, believing as the public did, that there was something wrong with asexuals - mental disorders or hormone imbalances but after looking into this they found there as no more or less disorders among asexuals as there was in the general population with one possible exception - there was a larger number of people with Asperger's than the general population. Curiously this might be why asexuality has found its way into sci-fi as this is a genre very comfortable for a disproportionate of Autistics and "aspies." Any Doctor Who or Ursela K Le Guin fans here? Got to love em'.
3. Asexuality is a great way to cop out if you don't want to fess up to your own homosexuality. I admit, this one hits a nerve in me that makes me pretty hostile. I guess because I am a very open person who loves people for who they are, including gay people, so it not only makes no sense but also makes me out to be some sort of closeted homophobe which is not cool. Still, this is the most favored theory of a lot of people and it's so annoying. Just to be clear asexuality does NOT mean that a person has no interest in having a romantic relationship, some of us absolutely do, it just means we're not into the whole sex thing. However if you include a romantic relationship as being a sexuality in and of itself then asexuals are all over the board just like the rest of the population. Some of us prefer to be alone, some of us like to bond with members of the opposite sex, some of us like to be in a relationship of someone of the same sex. So this whole closeted homosexual is complete bunk.
4. Repression: That's what asexuality is. In my life I have come across a great many people from a great many backgrounds, some of which repression might make sense. However repression can only be employed by an individual if they have something to repress. A gay man living in the 1920s would probably find it beneficial to repress his homosexual desires but that just means he's not acting out on something that's going on in his mind. There's nothing going on in an asexual's mind that relates to sex. We don't see attractive people and automatically categorize them in our hot or not files. We see an attractive person and we may or may not even recognize they're attractive. If we do we can see them attractive in the same way a fine piece of art would be. It's just different. Besides in the end if we were repressing something it'd be way easier to pretend to be whatever is socially "normal" than to pull this asexuality out of the air. I mean just think of the time we have to spend explaining it! Fwew!
5. Asexuality is the end result of abuse or tragedy. I have the upmost respect and sympathy for anyone who has been a victim of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse at any time during their life. With that being said I had a happy abuse-free childhood and didn't fall for any bad men. Life for me, at least in this regard, has been uncomplicated. Now I can only speak for myself but I know there are a lot of others out there who identify as asexual who also claim no history of abuse, as well as some that do. In any event we can't all be lumped together and given a one size fits all sort of attitude.
6. You'll change your mind when you find the right man/woman. This isn't any less crass or ignorant when you say it to an asexual than when you say it to a gay person. There are a great many of us who aspire to or are in a relationship. Sometimes these relationships are with other asexual individuals, sometimes they're with sexual individuals. Things can get somewhat tricky when you involve yourself with a sexual as an asexual yourself. Do you still have sex for the sake of your partner? Do you demand celibacy of them? Or are you OK letting them have lovers to fill that need? There's no right or wrong answer - it's just a questions of individual and circumstance. Either way the "right man" or "right woman" could fill all needs of an asexual but an asexual might not fill all of theirs. At least now we live in a day and age we can talk about it. That's always good.
7. There's something deeply off about Asexuals. Let me stress there is nothing "wrong" with identifying as an asexual. There hasn't been any human studies but studies in sheep have found that hormone levels of asexual rams match those of sexually active ones. So there's rarely something physically "wrong" and most times there's not anything emotionally or mentally "wrong" either. I do hear, "but you're limiting yourself if you deny all sex forever!" Look, asexuality is a very fluid thing. I think most individuals experience what its like at some point in their life - libidos plummet when a normal person is stressed, not sleeping enough, in a bad relationship, or what-have-you. Some people go in and out of asexual phases, some of us grow out of it, and some of us grow into it. We're not limiting ourselves by expressing our genuine feelings about it. Limiting ourselves would only happen if we started feeling sexual and then decided to hold onto the label rather than explore that but I don't think many people do that, there'd be no point. It's not like we have a huge peer-pressuring community. So please, don't offend out current sensibilities by comparing our sexual orientation as a phase or wishing we'd find our way out of it. Trust me, if someone is claiming to be asexual they're already cool with it.
8. Asexuals are virgins or have had bad luck with finding good lovers. If only I have a nickel for every time someone aid, "Just try it! You'll like it!" If only they realized that's like me saying, "Just try bungee jumping! It's awesome! You're a total freak if you don't love lopping yourself off a bridge!" Some people do love bungee jumping, but those same people shouldn't consider anyone else a freak for not enjoying such an activity. This is an easy concept to understand so why doesn't it apply to sex as well? It's a funny thing. Some Asexuals do sort of enjoy sex, they just don't have the drive to do it again. It's like going to Paris. It's fun but they'll be OK if they live another 50 years and die without going again.
9. Asexuals are man haters/misanthropes/anti-social. I'm not going to sit here and say I love people, all people, all the time. That's just not true. I'm an introvert but that being said I don't hate any particular group of people over another and I don't hate all of humanity either. Hate is a strong word. Just because Asexuals don't have a desire to have sex doesn't mean they're anti-social. Some of us may love the night life, partying, being around a lot of people, some of us not so much. It shouldn't make a difference because that's not what this is about.
10. Asexuality is a convenient excuse not to bang me/date. Quite possibly. I'm just kidding. I am always astounded by men who are so full of themselves they can't understand why I wouldn't want to throw them on the floor and bang them right then and there in the middle of Wal-Mart. They always take it so personally when I show my profound disinterest in their wily ways. I'll admit I tend to find this sort of person to be.... less than what I feel like I should be hanging around with but believe me if I were a sexual being I'd still turn you down, just for completely different reasons, so please get off yourself. Thanks. In the mean time it's not a good idea to date a sexual person who clearly isn't going to be OK with asexuality if you yourself are asexual. So be clear and communicate, it'll save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other questions or misconceptions you'd like me to add write out a comment or an e-mail and I'll be sure to reply.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on September 18, 2016:
Thank you for reading and commenting Rebecca. I wrote this quite a long time ago but I am happy to see that it did seem to hit a chord with some people. I would have been a lot happier teenager if I had someone telling me I wasn't a freak growing up - instead I was continuously pestered by friends and family who were the inspiration for this list. That was not helpful to anyone.
Rebecca Burg from Florida on June 08, 2016:
Well assembled list, thank you! Wish this stuff was discussed when I was young, it would've helped me realize as a sensitive, worried teen that there's nothing "wrong" about having a lack of sexual intetest while all my friends were dating and making a big deal out of it. Good articles like yours will help young people today avoid the poor self image I'd had for not being like everyone else
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on December 27, 2012:
Of course, as with anything relationship-wise all things are possible. Sometimes asexuals will get into a relationship with a sexual person and make arrangements from there. Maybe the asexual is willing to bend, maybe the sexual person doesn't care, maybe the asexual doesn't care if the sexual partner has other lovers. There are many ways around this, just like any other problem that may arise between a couple.
Om on December 26, 2012:
Is it possible for an asexual to have a long-term relationship with a sexual active partner? or it's necessary for both parts to be asexual to make it work?
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on December 13, 2012:
Asexuality isn't really black and white. Because it hasn't really been studied as its own concept there is a lack of concrete vocabulary around it. As with any sexuality there are blurred divisions. Even more confusing is that asexuality itself is a word based on how someone feels, not what they're doing, which can make studies difficult if not impossible. Some asexuals may indeed participate in "pleasuring themselves" (for a variety of reasons - curiosity, to get rid of headaches, menstrual cramps, or excess energy, etc.) Some may even have actual sex, and some may even enjoy it, but that doesn't mean anything because an asexual is by their definition someone who does not feel sexual attraction. You can still practice self-love or even sleep with someone without feeling sexual attraction. People do it all the time. Some asexuals do not go this far. As for the ones that do participate in solo sexual activity I am sure you will find they are like the rest of the population. Some will be thinking of men, some women, some of just the feeling itself, and a rare few might be thinking of something strange like an inanimate object which happens in sexual individuals as well sometimes.
Currently what an asexual wants to call him or herself is entirely up to them. Some of the more ardent asexuals who are sexually completely inactive may feel others who engage in self pleasuring or sex are perhaps not asexuals but something else. There are several new terms appearing to ease this confusion. For instance an asexual that participates in these behaviors may call themselves a "gray asexual" like the gray area between black and white. In some individuals asexuality is cyclical or a phase of their life and more classic sexuality may precede or follow these times. Others, like myself, are surprised to find themselves to actually be demisexual, a term used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction until they are deeply emotionally and or romantically involved with another individual. In these cases the sexual attraction is focused only on that one individual. All these terms have been coined by asexuals within the internet community. As I said before there is a lack of academic vocabulary on the subject so this is all there is to discuss. I hope I have answered your question, if not just reword it an repost. Also feel free to ask another question if my answer made your brain itch!
OutsideIn on December 11, 2012:
Hi :) few questions
are a-sexuals .. gender biased i guess?
(this bit might not make much sense so im sorry in advance) buttttt
if they fantasize about others and pleasure themselves yet don't want to have sex with others .. is that the same as a-sexuality or something different altogether?
and is most of it really just defined from person to person?
sorry if these questions make no sense.. i know its not right but i like to know things even though theyr labeld n stuff
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on September 24, 2012:
Well, that really depends on who she is and where her comfort level lies. We're all different so I can't really give you any sure guidelines. Some of us are cuddly, some of us don't like to be touched in any way that might be misconstrued. (In one of my other articles I briefly went over how odd hugging is to some of us, though I think it was in the comment section.) Anyway, just approach her with honesty and interest. You'll learn over time where she stands on issues. Just be aware going in that she's going to have some different views and maybe reactions on many things. It helps to understand by putting yourself in her shoes for a second. Most of us are completely baffled by things like dating, why people are so insane for each other, and why "sex sells." These can be everyday things you don't even think about but really... it can be seen as quite odd behavior indeed! Just remember that in any relationship honesty and openess to conversation and communication is always key and you should be fine. :) Good luck!
Kyle on September 24, 2012:
Accidently sent too early. Was gonna follow up with a question.
I have recently met the most wonderful of girls, and we have started up an amazing relationship. I can safely say that I am deeply in love with her, and accept her as asexual. My question is are there any things that I need to look out for so as to not offend or upset her? I don't mean in the way of obvious things like asking for sex, I honestly don't want that, I just want her, but I have never met an asexual person before, and I am deeply afraid of stupidly saying something one day that may upset her. Any advise?
Kyle on September 24, 2012:
I'd like to say you helped, but you just blasted things that idiots say.
Couven on July 19, 2012:
I'm asexual but nobody has ever questioned it.
Although I admit that I thought I was straight, despite never thinking about sex or dating or staring at "cute boys" in the cafeteria and just assumed it was the default status to be in and therefore thought I was in it.
However, my behavior (or lack thereof) told a different story. Took me forever to figure out that asexuality was a thing and that I was in it though.
Boy was that a funny day where I went "Huh.... guess I never thought of that as an option." despite following that option.
Haven't had to deal with those comments though. My family is just like "Don't care, shut up and take your seat at the table." like I'm trying to tell them something boring and obvious.
As a result I admit I've not seen much on asexuality. I just assumed my situation was universal because there's nothing really controversial about not doing the nasty.
Lydian on May 20, 2012:
I definatly wonder if I'm asexual. I know Ièm already not a romantic person and I must admit part of it might be the fact that I don't like the idea of getting that close with anyone and I certainly wouldn't do it just for the hell of it with someone random. If that were it though I think I would have at least have been attracted to soemone before. The idea of sex is just...I dunno. It doesn't strike me. I don't even get the appeal of kissing ^^;
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 05, 2012:
"Treatment" assumes that the reason for an individual case of asexuality is medical or psychological and that the individual wishes to have it changed. If that is what you wish than all the power to you but don't get your hopes up to high. Asexuality is a poorly studied occurrence and "treatments" in the medical field are usually based on guesswork, in the psychology field it also largely depends. I wrote this article mostly in support of people who do not feel asexuality is a problem in their lives and feel they should be able to live their lives freely with this personality characteristic. You don't have to tell people anymore than they have to tell you their orientation, though in my personal experience I have been met with far more curiosity than judgement from the public at large. Its something to think about. Best wishes to you in your journey, whatever path you choose.
katie on May 05, 2012:
Do you know if there is a treatment for it??? I don't want to be disrespectful to anyone but i hate feeling like i have to lie to everyone about who i am as i feel i will be treated differently if they know. I just want to be normal
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 16, 2012:
becca - So sorry for the very late reply but I'll still answer your question. Personally I'd step with caution but I wouldn't rule out the possibility altogether. If you get along great and are interested in that companionship there are ways to deal with it. Some asexuals are in 'open' relationships with their sexual partner, allowing their partners to have sex with anyone they choose so long as the main companion part of their relationship stayed the same. Other asexuals are willing to work with a sexual partner. It's really up to you two but if it's an uncomfortable situation either talk about it or avoid it. All relationships have their complications, this could potentially be a big one.
know_everything: I am glad you have decided you know everything. Perhaps you should be president. Just to let you know though, you seem to be off your game. Personally I am an asexual and I'm really happy with myself and my life right now. Being someone who has suffered from depression in the past I know it has absolutely nothing to do with my asexuality and neither do medications (as I am on none.) Thank you once again for clarifying everything for us. Can't wait to see your comments on other hubs.
K.K. - I am so sorry to hear that but I am happy you have found self discovery. With knowledge there is power and now you know what you are you can find ways to work with it. There are others out there like you and others still willing to work with or around you to be with you. I am confident you will find someone.
amy: You're not destined to be alone forever. There are lot of fish in the sea, as we say. You may find someone like yourself or you may find someone who can work with you in a way you are both comfortable. If you really truly want to become sexual well... all I can suggest is going to visit a doctor and having a hormone panel done, or perhaps a shrink to see if you're harboring anxieties from a trauma or something else. These MIGHT be an explanation and they might be able to help you but in the end asexuality is a very mysterious thing and there very often isn't a concrete answer out there. That being said there is hope. Many people love the one their with because they're the perfect personality to be with them. This doesn't always have to involve sex or sexuality. Just look at really old couples. You know they haven't done anything in years and yet they're still holding hands as they sit on a bench in the park.
A Person: That can certainly explain some of us but certainly not all of us. You can't tell me the 2% of asexual sheep out there are just avoiding memories of being buggered. At least I would certainly hope not! (My point is asexuality is not just a human thing, it's seen fairly commonly throughout many species of animals.)
DavidUK: I'd love to answer your questions more effectively but the only answer I really have is that we are all different. Do I think we're more perverse than any other subset of sexuality? No, I do not believe so. Do I believe asexuals are all completely celibate, even towards themselves? No, at least some of us are not. There are lots of reasons for personal pleasure, perhaps stress reduction or a cure to insomnia, libido isn't always one of them, and libido is the only thing that defines an asexual. We have no drive or desire. That doesn't mean all of us hate sex, that none of us enjoy it, or that self love is somehow off in some way. However this doesn't mean we lack anything when it comes to human emotions and connections. There are no more of us that fall in love with the toaster or the Eiffel tower than there are sexual persons. That would be a whole different issue!
david852: Of course our population could be higher. There are no studies done on just asexuals so statistics are really hard to come by. When inquiring about someone who has sexual fantasies about let's say having sex with a building I just can't answer you... I wouldn't personally put that under the asexual umbrella because if said person could do a building they probably would... Asexuals are merely someone who has no desire to pursue sex, nothing more, nothing less.
Rekab: There are all sorts of people in this world and that's great. Being asexual doesn't have to come from some sort of dysfunctional upbringing. It can result from that but I am willing to bet most of us can't blame that. Anyone who doesn't want to be in a relationship doesn't necessarily mean they're an asexual, just means they don't want to be in a relationship. I think many asexuals do want to be in a relationship they just choose not to because they find the sex thing to be too much of an issue to want to deal with.
kat_xk8: Good for you in accepting yourself as who you are. I love to see that. So many of us are tortured because we let the speculations and opinions of those around us get to us too much. It's always refreshing to see someone who says, "I know who I am, I am this person, and I am happy and content in this."
AppleJax: Doctor Who isn't a comedy but it does have an asexual character and lots of laughs. I love the show personally. Check it out.
shekaga: Sorry I don't know any German references but I can send you to AVEN. The people on the forum there might be able to help you, who knows. There's a purple button to the top right that says "enter forums." Don't ask me why I can't link it directly. http://www.asexuality.org/en/
Lyzz: Asexuals can absolutely be sexually active. I know they may get hissed at by some purists but like I said before most of us do want to be in a relationship with someone because there are so many other benefits besides sex within a relationship. Personally I found myself in shock because I suddenly gained a boyfriend at 25. We are sexually active and I do enjoy it but as I said before there's no drive for more. That's what defines me. If my boyfriend dies or gets into an accident that prevents him from having sex ever again I'd be perfectly fine with that. It's like going to Paris. I went there once, had a lot of fun, and if someone wants to take me there again someday that'd be great but I'm not going to pine over it like "Oh man, I wish I were in Paris! If only I could get there..." Hope that helps. I might write an article soon about that whole thing too. It was a strange part of my life, the same part of my life I left these articles in abandonment. So sorry.
BeeM: Good for you! You've discovered a fine truth about yourself. There's really not much out there for asexuals right now but I can send you to AVEN. They have a pretty large community who may have more ideas than I do. Have fun. http://www.asexuality.org/home/
BeeM on April 01, 2012:
I actually found this hub while looking for someone intertested in asexual companionship. Does anyone know a good place to find asexual "cuddle buddies?" I'm not aromantic, but I am certain that, at least right now, I am asexual.
PS: It's so weird to finally have a title for this; I just learned this about myself this week. I still want kids, just not "my" kids. I want a partner, just not a sexual one. Interesting, huh?
37yo Virgin on February 29, 2012:
Finally I know the reason why? I could never understand why sex never interested me or why its something I find strange. Thanks for the answer.
RR on January 16, 2012:
"Asexuals are not all against love and relationships. Often times they do have relationships with others but the fact that they don't wish to engage in sex remains the same, regardless of whether they are single or not." Yes.
"I like girls a lot and I love looking at them and noticing them and I could see myself dating and kissing and cuddling and being emotionally close but honestly I don't really see any interest in sexual acts." - Hud
I can say the exact same thing (although about boys).
Kiela Starcatcher from Chicago, IL on December 16, 2011:
Thank you for this, Theo. And thank you for being willing to open yourself up to criticism for the sake of education and understanding. It can certainly be a touchy subject, but the information you've provided here is informative without emotional judgment or condemnation.
It's well written too, which helps gives you credibility to those who might otherwise challenge the whole idea. I fully intend to read as many of your other hubs on the topic I can!
Rated up / awesome! (^_^)
Lyzz on November 15, 2011:
I've recently come into contact with the term "asexual" through my college level Gender and Sexuality class. Today in class we had an asexual guest speaker, and she gave a somewhat different perspective on asexuality than I'd previously heard. She said that she enjoys sex when she has it, but doesn't feel like it's an important part of life and has only had sex with one other person. Her story really spoke to me and made me start wondering if asexuality would explain some of the feelings that I have. For example, while I find people of both genders nice to look at, I don't really get sexually attracted to other people - although I have had sex with multiple partners and enjoyed it, I enjoy the closeness/intimacy of it more than I enjoy the act itself, and am more satisfied by knowing that I'm bringing my partner pleasure than by anything he does to/for me. I've looked around all afternoon, and every site or article I've found about asexuality doesn't leave any room for an asexual to be sexually active, so I'm not comfortable identifying as an asexual, but I'm not willing to say I'm not asexual either. Any suggestions or insights?
Lise on November 09, 2011:
Laura, yes, what you described is still asexual. Asexuality has several different branches. I would go further as to suggest that you may be aromantic, in that you have no desire to form a relationship/hug/kiss. But i'll say this, I used to be exactly like that..not interested in hugging/kissing etc at all, relationships were of no impotance to me. Until i met my boyfriend, i've remained 100% asexual though, that's never changing, im the kind that doesn't want it even for the sake of my partner. :)
Laura on November 07, 2011:
what exacly is an asexual because i don't feel sexualy attracted to anyone, but i also don't wat to be in a relationship or hug and kiss it this still asexuality?
Hm on June 25, 2011:
I'm asexual, but I would like to get married and adopt (I don't want to have a child of my own, I would if I didn't Have to have sex)but I wouldn't want an open relationship and you can't expect a sexual person to never have sex! so it would be another asexual person, and I haven't ever met one. so...
shekaga on June 16, 2011:
Thanks for your blogs.
I'm not sure if I'm asexual, but the thought of not having to have sex lifts a burden from my shoulders.
I'm wondering if you could tell me where I could find more information on this topic or even better , a forum for finding an asexual partner (male or female).
I live in Germany and I have the impression that there is even less interest in the topic than in the US (if that's where you writing from).
AppleJax on April 05, 2011:
You know what I would like? A comedy movie with an asexual protagonist. Like a big comedy movie (think Judd Apatow).
Does one already exist (like from the 70's or 80's)
I'm gonna guess no. Dexter Morgan was the closest to that, but they had to go make him straight for the show (I hear this wasn't the case in the books). Have to please mainstream audiences, I see. Figures.
ThePeon on January 11, 2011:
While I'm sure there are legitimate asexuals, I sometimes fear that sexual people with traumas will latch on to this label so they don't have to deal with underlying emotional issues.
Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on December 01, 2010:
Thank you for this Hub. It is very informational and sheds a light on humans who are free from the 'call of the wild'. Wasn't Alfred Hitchcock asexual? Voted up
kat_xk8 on November 23, 2010:
I'm asexual - gay,straight or bi is a lie and gives me no identity
Asexual does - due to a medical condition since birth this is who I am
I have absolutely no interest in sex at all - with anyone
This is no copout , don't need to see