Things That Are Not Asexuality

I found this post about what asexuality isn’t very interesting (HT Asexy Vida). I’m fascinated by how people who aren’t asexual respond to asexuality, particularly when they first encounter it. I’ve argued in the past that the almost universal tendency to explain away asexuality reveals some very interesting things about contemporary sexual culture. This helpful article does a good job of addressing the confusions which are still so common surrounding asexuality:

Asexuality is not celibacy or abstinence.

Celibacy and abstinence describe behavior, they’re about actions. A celibate or abstinent person does not have sex. Asexuality is an orientation, it’s about attraction, not action. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction, but they may or may not have sex.

Asexuality is not a lack of sexuality.

Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t have sex. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t masturbate. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t wear make-up or nice clothes. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t be interested in sex. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone is infertile or impotent. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t have a libido. Asexuality means that someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction, and that’s all.

Asexuality is not virginity.

Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, and won’t suddenly start experiencing sexual attraction by having sex. Many asexuals have had sex, and yet are still asexual. In fact, many asexuals don’t even discover that they’re asexual until after they’ve had sex and start to wonder why they’re not all that interested in it.

Asexuality is not a hormone imbalance.

Many asexuals have had their hormones tested and have been found them to be within normal levels. Some asexuals have undergone hormone therapy for other conditions and have not reported any change in their sexual orientation. In general, asexual people do not experience any of the other signs of a hormone imbalance (hair loss, erectile dysfunction, depression, hot flashes, etc.), so even when they haven’t been specifically tested, they can be reasonably sure that their hormones are in order. Also, a loss of sexual interest due to a hormone imbalance is often sudden, while an asexual person typically has never experienced sexual attraction for their entire lives, so it’s not like anything was “lost”, because it was never there.

(If you do have reason to believe that your hormones may not be in order, particularly if you’ve suddenly lost the interest in sex that you used to have, go see a doctor about it.)

Asexuality is not a fear of sex.

Being asexual doesn’t mean someone afraid of sex, just like being heterosexual or homosexual doesn’t mean a person loves sex. Being asexual doesn’t say anything about a person’s opinion of sex. Some asexuals are afraid of sex. Some asexuals love sex. Some asexuals are indifferent to sex. Many people who do experience sexual attraction are afraid of sex, but that does not make them asexual.

Asexuality is not a purity pledge or a religious act.

Asexuality has nothing to do with adhering to religious beliefs and is not the result of taking a purity pledge. If one chooses not to have sex because their religion or personal beliefs prohibit it, that’s abstinence, not asexuality. It is possible for someone who is asexual to refrain from sexual activity for religious reasons, which would make them abstinent and asexual. On the flip side, there are many asexuals who are not religious and do not appreciate having religious motivations ascribed to them.

Asexuality is not a choice.

Like every other sexual orientation, asexuals were born this way. We never looked at our lives one day and thought “You know, I’m done with this sex stuff” and decided to become asexual. You cannot choose to be asexual any more than you can choose to be gay or straight. Certainly, you can choose who you have sex with or whether or not you have sex at all, but that’s behavior, not who you’re attracted to. If you experience sexual attraction and choose not to act on it, then you’re not asexual. Asexual people do not experience sexual attraction.

Asexuality is not a disease.

There’s nothing physically wrong with people who are asexual. We’re not asexual because of a tumor or a virus or a parasite. We’re not contagious. Some people like men, some people like women, some people like both, some people don’t care, and there’s nothing to cure about any of those cases.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.