Everyone tells you when you go through puberty that you’ll start looking at girls or boys (maybe both!) a little differently. Sex will change from a gross thing that you cover your eyes while watching to something you wanna do. You’ll start thinking about it more and want to be in a relationship. It’s the plot of essentially every teen movie…an awkward teen’s quest to have sex for the first time. But like most things, life isn’t that simple and people are so much more wonderful and diverse. The truth is, some of us are never interested in sex or don’t really find people ‘hot’, if that sounds familiar…maybe you’re asexual. Most of us have probably heard the term ‘asexuality’ chucked around in conversation, but it’s often something not taught in school. So here are answers to couple of common questions about people who just aren’t interested in sex.
What is ‘asexuality’?
Asexuality is a type of sexual orientation (like somebody may be homosexual or heterosexual), someone who is asexual (often called ace) does not experience sexual attraction to men, women or non-binary people.
So is that the same as celibacy (state of abstaining from sexual relations) then?
No, celibacy is a choice, you may still experience sexual feelings but are choosing not to act on them. For example, a priest may identify as heterosexual but choose not to marry or have sex because of vows they have taken.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation and is therefore not a choice.
Do asexual people want to be in relationships then?
The answer is maybe, it depends on the person. Sexual orientation is not the same as romantic orientation (who you are romantically attracted to based on gender) so some asexual people may want to be in a romantic relationship that doesn’t involve sex. The same way some people who may experience sexual feelings may not want to be in a relationship. The two things are not necessarily linked.
People in asexual relationships have just as rich and fulfilling relationships as sexual relationships, perhaps sometimes even more so because you can’t rely on sex to mask problems.
Do asexual people still masturbate?
Again the answer is maybe, it depends on the person. Just because someone doesn’t feel sexual attraction to others doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy sexual pleasure. But it comes down to the person, some may enjoy it and others may have no desire at all.
So how do you know if you’re asexual?
Some people know they’re asexual from very early on, the same way some people know they’re bi or straight or any other sexual orientation. Some people figure it out later in life. The important thing to know is that it’s not a strict sexual or asexual, everything is on a continuum. Some people may not experience any sexual feelings what so ever, others may every now and then or just to a low amount, both may consider themselves asexual and both are equally as valid. When it comes down to it, no one can label you as anything, and it is up to you to decide how you identify.
Hopefully this has cleared up a couple of questions you may have about asexuality, but if you want to find out more check out the Freedom Centre. They’re happy to answer any questions about sexuality both online or at their drop in service.