Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Dr. Katelyn Baker Psy.D
The A In LGBTQ2IA+: What Is Asexual?
Published Jun 22nd, 2021 & updated on Jun 23rd, 2021
Today, we’re here to talk about the A in LGBTQIA2S+. There are many forms of the acronym that seeks to inclusively represent the queer community, and the acronym is ever-growing and changing as more is understood and accepted (we hate that this isn’t just a given) about different genders and orientations. So, as the acronym evolves, you might be curious what each piece stands for. The A refers to asexuality, allyship and, for some, a-gender. We’re going to talk about asexuality, how to know if you’re asexual, asexual dating, aromantic asexual and more. Whether you’re here to be a good ally and learn more, or your questioning whether the A represents you, we’re happy to have you!
The Asexual Meaning
You may have heard of celibacy or abstinence, where people voluntarily choose not to participate in sexual activity — whether for a short period of time or long-term for religious, cultural, or personal reasons. But the big thing with celibacy and abstinence is that they are choices. Asexuality is not a choice. Asexuals, also known as “aces,” feel little-to-no sexual attraction to people of ANY gender, and every ace has a different experience with their sexuality. So, let’s dive through everything to do with asexuality and allll the different ways it shows up!
Someone who is asexual doesn’t experience sexual attraction, which is desiring someone and being aroused by them. Some aces view it as their sexuality, but others see it more as a lack of sexuality altogether! Asexuality can also go hand-in-hand with other sexualities, whether gay, bisexual, lesbian or otherwise. A prime example of an ace would be Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman! He comes to terms with his asexuality in the third season when he says, “I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing.”
- Romantic attraction: having strong romantic feelings toward a person.
- Sensual attraction: enjoying physical contact that doesn’t lead to sex, like cuddling.
- Aesthetic attraction: liking someone’s appearance without it being sexual or romantic.
- Platonic attraction: wanting to be someone’s friend.
- Emotional attraction: having an emotional connection with someone.
For example, in a later season, Todd Chavez ends up having a partner who is also asexual — but they’re still able to form a romantic relationship!
Types Of Asexuality
If you haven’t seen the asexual flag before, we’ve attached one here! Because there’s a whoooole asexual spectrum, and each colour represents something different.
Okay, now that you’re familiar with the flag, let’s take a look at what each colour represents!
Black: Asexual, someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction.
Grey: A “gray” is someone who may feel sexual attraction in a certain few situations and they may, or may not, feel the need to act on it. Or, they may feel that sexuality just isn’t a meaningful concept to them.
White: Non-asexual partners and allies.
Graysexuality, Aromantic Asexual & Biromantic Asexual
The grey area represents two different identities! One being demisexual, which describes someone who only feels sexual attraction to a person if they have a deep, emotional bond. The prefix “demi” by itself means “half,” which means demisexuals are halfway between sexual and asexual! See what we mean by sexuality being a spectrum?
The other identity represented by the grey area is gray asexual (also known as graysexual or gray-a)! It describes someone who experiences sexual attraction very rarely; whether it’s only under specific circumstances or it’s at such a low intensity that it’s easily ignored.
Unlike Todd from Bojack Horseman, there are also aromantic asexuals. In that case, they don’t feel any sexual OR romantic attraction to another person! There are also biromantic asexuals, who are romantically attracted to multiple genders without the sexual attraction.
A lot of asexuals and aromantics tend to pursue a queerplatonic relationship — a committed relationship that is neither sexual nor romantic in nature but still has an emotional bond that is stronger than friendship.
Alright, now that we’ve covered allll the different terms under the asexuality umbrella, we can cover some of the common misconceptions associated with them.
Myth 1: Asexuals Don’t Have Sex
Some aces actually do! Even though they don’t experience sexual attraction, they can still have libido and sexual desire — meaning they may masturbate or have sex. And there are some other reasons that aces will have sex, like to have children, to satisfy their libido, or to make their partner happy!
Myth 2: It’s A Health Concern
Asexuality isn’t the same as experiencing a loss of libido, fear of intimacy or sexual dysfunction! So, you don’t need to worry if something is “wrong,” because not everybody experiences sexual attraction and that’s okay.
Myth 3: Asexuals Don’t Want To Be In Relationships
A lot of aces still like romance and asexual dating is quite common! There’s also a misconception that their lack of sexual attraction will change once they find the “right” person, but that’s also not the case. Aces can have happy and healthy relationships without it!
Myth 4: Once You Say You’re Asexual, You Can’t Go Back
Asexuality can be fluid and that doesn’t make it any less valid! Someone may have experienced sexual attraction in the past and now no longer does, or they used to feel asexual and then felt a shift where they suddenly feel more sexual attraction.
How To Know If You’re Asexual
If anything that was mentioned in this article resonates with you, and you think you might fall under the asexual spectrum, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to see how well it aligns! Unfortunately, there isn’t a multiple-choice test to give you the perfect answer, but your gut may give you a good idea of how you’re feeling.
- Do I ever experience sexual attraction?
- How do I feel about sexual activity?
- Do I feel pressure to like sex because it’s expected of me?
- What does the term ‘sexual attraction’ mean to me?
- Do I view sex as important?
- How do I show affection? Do I enjoy it, and is sex a part of it?
- Do I find people attractive and want to have sex with them?
We hope you’ve learned lots about asexuality and how normal it is. It’s a very common experience that sooo many people go through — and if you’re one of them, there’s a whole community of people waiting to embrace you!