Hello everyone! Today I’m starting something new on my blog: a week-long series called Let’s Talk About Asexuality. I’ve been working on this blog series for quite some time now and I’m so excited to finally share it with you all! I purposely planned this blog series to coincide with Asexuality Awareness Week because I felt it was the perfect time to draw more attention to asexuality and to help people understand what it truly is.
I’ll talk more about my personal experiences tomorrow, but I just wanted to quickly mention one thing. I first heard of the term asexual (as a sexual orientation) during last year’s Asexuality Awareness Week. Hearing that term led me to doing research which led to me learning about this whole other awesome part of myself. If I can help just one person the way other ace people helped me, then I will be more than happy!
There are a lot of fantastic things in store during Let’s Talk About Asexuality this week, if I do say so myself. For example, later on in the week, I’ll be joined by a whole slew of awesome ace-spec guests including authors, bloggers, and others from the book community! Today though I wanted to begin with a bunch of the basics when it comes to asexuality – Ace 101 if you will. Without further ado, let’s get started!
There are many different types of attraction and it’s crucial to know what these different attractions actually are in order to fully understand asexuality. Here are some types of attraction:
- Sexual attraction – attraction that makes people desire sexual contact or show sexual interest in another person
- Romantic attraction – attraction that makes people desire romantic contact or interaction with another person
- Aesthetic attraction – occurs when someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another person, disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction
- Sensual attraction – the desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling
- Emotional attraction – the desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality; this type of attraction is present in most relationships from platonic friendships to romantic and sexual relationships
- Intellectual attraction – the desire to engage with another in an intellectual manner, such as engaging in conversation with them, “picking their brain,” and it has more to do with what or how a person thinks instead of the person themselves
Here’s some basic asexual-related vocabulary:
- Asexual – someone who does not experience sexual attraction
- Ace – shortened way of saying asexual (just like bi can be used for bisexual)
- Demisexual (demi) – someone who does not experience sexual attraction to a person until they’ve formed a strong emotional bond with that person
- Grayasexual (gray-ace, gray-a) – someone who infrequently or rarely experiences sexual attraction or may be unsure if they’ve ever experienced sexual attraction; will generally identify as being close to asexual
- Asexual spectrum (ace spectrum, ace-spec) – the grouping of all identities listed above under a single umbrella
- Allosexual (allo) – someone who experiences sexual attraction
Here are some other terms you may hear in relation to aces/in ace discussions:
- Sex-repulsed – someone who finds sex, the idea of sex, sexual talk, sexual images, etc. repulsive, nauseating, or anxiety inducing; some sex-repulsed people are repulsed by all things sexual, while others are only repulsed by certain things; the degree of repulsion varies from person to person, but is considered stronger than in sex-aversion; not limited to asexual people
- Sex-averse – someone who is opposed to having sex; they may not want to talk about sex, see sexual images, etc.; many consider sex-averse to be a milder response that does not have nausea, anxiety, or repulsion tied up in it; it’s a general “no, I don’t want that” response to sex; not limited to asexual people
- Sex-favorable – someone who likes and is interested in having sex; not limited to asexual people
- Sex-indifferent – someone who is indifferent to the idea of sex or participating in it; a general attitude of “meh” towards sex; this does not mean that the person is willing to have sex ever – they may not feel strongly opposed to having sex, but neither are they interested in it; not limited to asexual people
- Autochorisexual – someone who can be aroused by sexual material and may masturbate, fantasize, and/or watch porn but has no desire to participate in sexual interactions themselves; not limited to asexual people
Note: People who are sex-repulsed, -averse, or -indifferent can still be sex-positive. The sex-positive movement is “an ideology in which all forms and expressions of sexuality are viewed as potentially positive forces as long as they remain consensual.”
Since some asexual people may also fall on the aromantic spectrum, here’s some aromantic-related vocabulary:
- Aromantic – someone who does not experience romantic attraction
- Aro – shortened way of saying aromantic
- Demiromantic (demiro) – someone who does not experience romantic attraction to a person until they’ve formed a strong emotional bond with that person
- Grayromantic – someone who infrequently or rarely experiences romantic attraction or may be unsure if they’ve ever experienced romantic attraction; will generally identify as being close to aromantic
- Aromantic spectrum (aro spectrum, aro-spec) – the grouping of all identities listed above under a single umbrella
- Alloromantic (allo, alloro) – someone who experiences romantic attraction
Sexual and romantic orientations are completely different from one another and may not match. For example, somebody could be asexual and alloromantic (like I am), while someone else could be asexual and aromantic, and another person could be demisexual and grayromantic. The combinations are almost endless! In addition, some alloromantic asexual people choose to also identify by what gender or genders they’re romantically attracted to. Some romantic orientations people identify by include: homoromantic, heteroromantic, biromantic, and panromantic. The same can be said about some allosexual aromantic people. Some choose to identify by what gender or genders they’re sexually attracted to. These identities can include: gay/homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, straight/heterosexual, and pansexual.
Stay tuned for Day 2 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality where I’m going to talk about my experiences with asexuality, including how I discovered I was asexual, my coming out experiences, and more!
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