Hello! I'm a curious anon who wants to be not ignorant on asexuality cause i gotta be a good ally, so i was wondering if you could explain it? sometimes i get confused like, they say asexual people also have sex but i thought that would negate asexuality? also how do you know you're asexual, how do you know the difference between romantic attraction and sexual attraction? sorry if i'm asking a lot of questions i just wanna be Educated™
hey there, sunshine!!! OK, let me explain EVERYTHING.
so, asexuality is when a person does not feel sexual attraction to other people. sexual attraction is - this is kind of hard for me, as I’m ace myself, to explain it without it sounding a bit weird, maybe?! - but it’s the feeling of looking at someone and being turned on by them, I guess? the feeling of looking at them and wanting to have sex with them, and feeling aroused by the idea of having sex with them. this is something that asexual people do not feel.
this is separate from feelings of romantic attraction, which is not to do with sex and all to do with intimacy of heart - and how you express that romantic intimacy varies from person to person. for a lot of people, it involves stuff like kissing and holding hands and going on dates and flowers and stuff. pretty much, if it’s your heart going !!!!!! then it’s romantic, and if it’s your down-there lair going !!!!!!!!, then that’s sexual.
asexuality, like many sexualities, is not an absolute: it’s a spectrum! the spectrum of asexuality includes - but is not limited to - demisexuality (being attracted to someone only after a strong emotional bond has been formed with them), grey-asexuality (feeling sexual attraction to other people very rarely, or very weakly, or a combination of both), and asexuality itself, which is simply never feeling sexual attraction.
as for the question about sex negating asexuality, there are many reasons an asexual person might have sex:
- to experience physical intimacy with someone they care about a lot, even if they are not sexually attracted to them
- because they know their partner enjoys it, and they get enjoyment out of pleasing their partner
- because not feeling sexual attraction doesn’t mean not feeling sexual arousal. you can be asexual but still want to have sex, it’s just that you’re not able to find someone you particularly want to have sex with. I’ve seen an analogy that goes like this: you know that feeling where you’re hungry, and you open the cupboard, and everything you see you’re like… nah… but you’re still hungry? yeah, that. eventually you might end up eating something that you don’t feel especially drawn to, just because you’re hungry.
- because sex can be really fun! even if you’re not attracted to your partner, sex can be enjoyable (and I am speaking from experience here)
- to have kids! some asexual people want to raise a family.
- on a less positive note, society kind of demands sex of people. it’s seen as a young person’s rite of passage, as the cementing of romantic feelings, as a given in any long-term relationship. it’s something that friends bond over, their sex stories; it’s part of drinking games, it’s often part of TV and books and movies, it’s a whole world that demands to be understood or else you risk feeling like - and being treated like - a child. asexual people may feel pressured to have sex, even when not wanting to, just to fit in. this is a not-cool reason.
that is absolutely not an exhaustive list but hopefully it gives you some idea of some reasons why ace people might have sex! still very much asexual before, during, and after.
lastly, you ask how people know they’re asexual… this one is kind of hard to answer. personally, I figured it out pretty late. I’d always assumed that everyone was kind of deciding to be attracted to people, like I was, and it was only after some revealing conversations with friends that I realised - no, most people don’t have to try to force attraction with decisions, it just happens naturally.
often, the Realisation Process begins with doing a little bit of reading and recognising yourself in the things you’re learning! if you want to know more, I seriously recommend AVEN - click here! - a website which has a crap ton of info!! thank you for your question, I appreciate you wanting to learn and be a good ally - it makes all the difference to have educated, accepting allies out there in the big wide world. you’re wonderful, and hope I helped! <3