All search terms appear exactly as they were typed into Google/Formspring, so I take no credit for any spelling or grammar errors.

Standard Definitional Disclaimer: Asexuality refers here to a sexual orientation among humans.  It does not have anything to do with biology, whether that means the biology of non-human asexually reproducing species, or humans with non-standard anatomy (if you’re looking for that, google intersex conditions instead). Asexuality means not experiencing sexual attraction; it does not mean or imply that we are “not sexual” in any way at all. The term is analogous to homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, etc. For a more detailed explanation on this, please check my FAQ page. Asexuals are a widely varied group that may have little else in common with one another aside from not experiencing sexual attraction to others as a general rule. I can only answer for myself. My answers may include sarcasm.

On to the questions!


Q: Very new to all this, and so much of what I’ve read hear and elsewhere through Aven makes sense to me, helps me to understand how I feel. But now I have so many questions (well, three) and only 37 characters left. Would it be okay to post more than once? (from Formspring)
A: Of course. :) You can post as many times as you want–and if you have a longer question, you can post more than once, or email me if you want. Whichever is more comfortable for you! I know some people don’t like giving their email or IP address.

Q: Thanks. Okay, firstly: I have a mood disorder, which means that periodically I get very hyper and at those times, do sometimes feel some element of sexual attraction. But not often. Does this mean it would be wrong to identify as asexual? (from Formspring)
A: No, I don’t think it’s wrong to identify as asexual in that case. You should identify however you’re comfortable identifying. If you feel really uneasy about feeling something similar to sexual attraction, you might identify as gray-asexual if that’s more comfortable for you, but some people who occasionally experience sexual attraction do identify as just asexual, because they feel that it’s still most accurate. Also, keep in mind that there’s no shame in identifying as asexual and then later changing your mind. Some of our best allies have done that. Whatever works for you, works! Don’t listen to people who tell you you’re wrong to identify that way.

Q: Secondly: even if I don’t feel any sexual attraction, I kind of like it when someone feels that way about me. My self-confidence has always been a problem, and it’s nice to feel wanted, even if the feeling isn’t reciprocated on my part. Is this wrong? (from Formspring)
A: Nope, it’s totally understandable, and I kinda feel that way myself, although I tend to be conflicted about it. Sometimes I have actually felt a little sad when I felt my partner wasn’t very attracted to me, because I felt like I couldn’t fulfill what she was looking for. I think having these feelings is not only understandable, but also allows you to have more empathy for your girlfriend, if she feels rejected because you don’t feel sexually attracted to her, which could be very helpful when you do raise the issue with her. (transitioning to the next question…)

Q: Thirdly: as I said at first, I recognise so much of myself in what I’ve read, and feel a lot more comfortable for having done so. But I have no idea how to raise this with my girlfriend; she may have guessed already, but it’s still a awkward prospect. (from Formspring)
A: Knowing how to bring up topics like this is always tricky. For me personally, whenever I have a serious issue to discuss it always helps to write down what I want to say beforehand, even if I intend to just talk it out without actually giving the person the letter I wrote. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t go as well as I’d expected, and in that case it’s useful to write a letter to explain what you mean without interruptions. Or sometimes it is so daunting to even begin the discussion that I just use the letter to start it. Your girlfriend may not understand at first, and may feel rejected. Gently try to reassure her as much as possible that even though you’re not sexually attracted to her, you still love her and want to make it work between you in whatever way that you can. She may need some time to process it, so give her some space if she needs it. Other than that, I can’t think of much else to tell you right now–you may find some of the recent guest posts helpful, though. Best of luck!

Q: I like your definition of intellectual sexual desire and responsive sexual desire! I can relate to that too (I’m not sure I’m grey-A or asexual). I have a further question: when asexual people enjoy sex, do they just enjoy the physical pleasure, or do they also feel a deep emotional connection with their partner? From some posts I read on AVEN, it seems that asexuals only enjoy the physical part, so partnered sex isn’t really different from masturbation to them. Is this right? (reposted from comments)
A: I think it totally depends on the person. For me personally, I enjoy both the emotional connection with my partner and the physical part of it—and the physical part of it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me without an emotional connection, because masturbation is safer and easier than partnered sex while still satisfying on the physical level. Some asexuals don’t really find sex particularly pleasurable or desirable on a physical level themselves, but do really enjoy the emotional connection they get from it. Others don’t feel, enjoy, or don’t want to feel the emotional connection as much, but can enjoy the physical part of it. I’ve heard some asexuals talk about how they think they might enjoy trying casual sex or sex with prostitutes more than sex in the context of a romantic relationship, although I’m not aware of any who have actually tried it. I know there are some who have done the sex-with-friends thing (more commonly called “friends with benefits” although I dislike that term because it implies friendship doesn’t have inherent benefits), too, and from what I recall some had enjoyed it on both levels as well.

Q: So… what IS your farorite color? (from Formspring)
A: Haha, it’s blue. Usually medium – deep blues in particular. Purple is a close second.

Q: how do i know if my partner is asexual (from Google)
A: By talking to them. If you suspect your partner may be asexual, first ask them if they’ve ever heard of asexuality. If they haven’t, or if they don’t seem to understand the definition, show them AVEN. Give them time to think about it. While many asexuals have an immediate “omg this fits me so well!!” reaction when they first discover that asexuality is a real, legitimate sexual orientation, that they’re not the only one, others don’t accept it right away. Some people have a knee-jerk “What? No I’m not!” sort of reaction. Others may be afraid to accept their asexuality because they don’t want to acknowledge that they’re not “normal”—they may fear that it means they’ll always be perceived as somehow broken or wrong. Reassure your partner that if they are asexual, it doesn’t mean that they’re broken. Let them know that you don’t blame them for any sex-related relationship problems that you may be having, and that if they’re asexual it’s just a (potential) compatibility issue that the two of you didn’t know about when you first got together. (I say that it’s a potential compatibility issue, by the way, because some people find it really isn’t a big deal to date an asexual person at all.) Be honest about your emotional reaction to it, but at the same time, realize that right when they first come to understand their asexuality is not the time to bring up your personal issues with it, and give them space to think. I’d recommend giving them at least a few days, maybe a week. Don’t expect them to come to a definite conclusion within that time frame, but I think a week is a reasonable amount of time to wait to check in about how they’re feeling about it. Most of all, DON’T pressure them to have sex!

Q: does masturbation lead to asexuality
(from Google)
A: No, that’s ridiculous. I have no idea where people get ideas like that.

Q: why is a unsexual 14 year olsd girls period late (from Google)
A: You know, I’m not sure how this even led here, but I guess I’ll answer it anyway. There are a number of reasons why young girls can have late periods. It’s pretty common for girls who have just reached menarche to have irregular cycles in the first place, so it’s not necessarily anything to worry about. If a girl is underweight, or physically stressed in some way, her period may be delayed or she may stop having periods at all. All that said, I’m not a doctor, and if you’re worried about it, you should go see one. If you are the 14-year-old girl in question, you can talk to your parents/guardians or school nurse about it, if you feel unsafe talking to parents.

Q: asexual chronic masturbaters? (from Google)
A: I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean or why it has a question mark… Seriously, why would anyone define themselves—or anyone, for that matter—as a chronic masturbator? Masturbating is fine. It’s not a health condition, it’s not an addiction. It really isn’t a bad thing, it won’t hurt you, unless you do it too hard or something. But the good thing about masturbating is that you can feel what you’re doing, so you can stop being too rough with yourself.

Q: are gregory house arguments valid? (from Google)
A: Uh, which ones? Many of his arguments are, but not all. Sometimes the writers do a terrible job.


Have you got a question you’d like me to answer? Ask me here. Remember to check the FAQ page!

Doesn’t vs. Hasn’t

I was reading a thread on Apositive a while ago about “romantic”/affectional orientation, and it reminded me why I don’t like defining asexuality as “a person who DOESN’T experience sexual attraction.”

I’ve gone through a lot of different identities, with regard to my affectional orientation. I started out assuming I was bisexual, because at the time I thought that most people are actually bi but due to societal pressure never realize it. Later I changed the label to pansexual/omnisexual to reflect my interest in androgynous, and possibly differently-gendered people. Eventually I realized I was equally uninterested in everyone, and began calling myself asexual, pan-romantic.

A little further down the road, as I finally became interested in pursuing romantic relationships, I noticed a definite tendency to be attracted to women more often than men. For a while, I thought I was just pickier about men, or that there simply weren’t enough pretty specimens in my area. But after the pattern persisted for a couple years, I started seriously questioning whether I would ever be comfortable being with a cisgendered man, due to the power imbalance and lack of understanding of queer issues that I perceived such men to have. I wondered if I shouldn’t just start calling myself a functional lesbian.

Then M fell into my lap, and I realized that I was right the first time, I am just pickier about men. Still wondering if that imbalance and the lack of understanding are surmountable obstacles, though.

So, defining orientation based on not having a certain kind of attraction can be really tricky, as the only time it can be fully determined that one doesn’t experience that attraction or whether one simply hasn’t yet, is on one’s deathbed. It’s understandable, then, though still annoying, when people spout that tired old “right person” rhetoric when we tell them we’re asexual.

And then there are asexuals like me, who aren’t sure whether they’ve ever experienced it because they don’t know how to define it, or know that they have but only ever feel it once or twice in so many years, or even if they feel it, still haven’t felt any desire to act on it, ever, and don’t value sexuality enough that they think it probable that they will in the future. I think determining asexuality is a little more complicated than just “Sexual attraction: ON/OFF.” It’s about the interplay of frequency and level of attraction/desire, value placed on sexual activity, societal influence/politics, identification/disidentification, and probably other factors that I’m not thinking of right now (feel free to throw out suggestions, guys). Lack of sexual attraction is widely touted as the single factor uniting all asexuals, but that’s not really true. The real factor that unites asexuals is identification, which is the result of all these other factors working together.

But I have problems with that idea, too, because it implies that if you don’t identify as asexual at any point in you’re life, then you’re not asexual at that point. I’ve always been asexual. We have to keep in mind that these are terms used to describe ourselves, not terms that necessarily define ourselves. I’ve always known I wasn’t interested in sex, but at different points in my life, my interpretation of that lack of interest has changed. In my youth, I didn’t consider it a significant factor in determining my orientation, but as I got older it became more and more a point of difference between myself and my peers, and as my mindset “solidified,” less and less likely that I would suddenly become interested.

Now, actually, I am interested, but not because I feel any desire to get jiggy with it myself. I just like finding out what it means to other people, because I’m fascinated by personal differences, and want to learn to relate to other people in a way that can include sex. I know I can do it, and I know I can even enjoy it. I want to find out where my limits are, and push my boundaries a little. I want to figure out ways that I can comfortably compromise, and explore different forms of intimacy.

Ultimately, I think it’s all about mindset. That’s not to say that all asexuals have the same mindset, because of course it varies wildly, but there are a lot of similarities with the ultimate result that we all identify as asexual. I could possibly identify as either asexual or hyposexual, but I make the choice to identify as asexual. There are also a lot of potentially asexual people who don’t realize that they have that option, probably because they haven’t heard of it or thought about it much.