Asexuality- the Unknown Orientation
Asexuality (ace for short) is a sexual orientation in which a person doesn’t feel sexually attracted to anyone. It is one of the lesser known orientations and is very real- it is not necessarily a result of a bad experience or abuse. Asexuality isn’t when someone chooses to abstain from sex - that is celibacy.
Asexuality, like most orientations, is a spectrum; there are varying degrees of sexual attraction. At one end of the spectrum is allosexuality- which is where a person experiences full sexual attraction to both men and women. From there it gets a little harder to follow. Demisexuality comes next- this means someone can only be sexually attracted to someone after meeting them and forming a close emotional bond. The opposite of demisexuality is fraysexuality: sexual attraction fades after initially meeting someone. Another aspect of asexuality is lithosexuality; experiencing sexual attraction but not wanting the feelings to be returned. Grey-asexuality, sometimes spelled graysexuality, is when a person experiences sexual attraction very rarely.
It is important to distinguish sexual attraction from romantic attraction. An asexual person is capable of romantic love, but again, this is a spectrum. Romantic identities are just as varied as sexualities. A person who is hetero-romantic is romantically attracted to the opposite sex, while someone who is homo-romantic is romantically attracted to someone of the same sex. Similarly a bi-romantic person is romantically attracted to both sexes, and pan-romantic is someone who experiences romantic attraction regardless of the gender of a person. However, someone may be aromantic- they do not experience romantic attraction. This does not mean they are heartless- they can and desire to form strong platonic bonds, like very close friendships and familial bonds.
It is important to realise that an asexual person can still be romantically attracted to someone but not want to engage in sexual activities. Even if only 1% of the world’s population is asexual, that is still 70 million people; 70 million humans who deserve to be understood. If it is still difficult to understand, think of it as a barbecue. While people who experience sexual attraction will want the food there, demisexuals will only be there if a certain person is cooking, and asexuals are there just for the conversation. Celibates are on a diet.
An asexual’s experience with their orientation are that she wouldn’t change it. ‘I’ve never experienced sexual attraction, so I don’t really feel like I’m missing out. I’ve never found anyone ‘hot’ and I’ve always thought that people were exaggerating when they did. Sometimes it is quite difficult; people don’t think it’s real or just a phase and I feel awkward when people talk about the person we just passed on the street who is good-looking, Also, when I say I don’t find someone good-looking, people tend to think that I can’t or shouldn’t be able to tell. But to me it’s like looking at jewellery; I don’t particularly like wearing it but I can tell when a necklace is pretty.’