Any time someone tells you that “asexuality” is a stupid term because “isn’t asexuality about single organism reproduction and not someone’s sexual attraction?” …well… here’s what a PROFESSIONAL LINGUIST has to say about that bogus:
Words have definitions that are created by how a population uses them, not by what you see in a dictionary. Now, words might have roots and prefixes and suffixes that help build the meaning of the word, but ultimately what is important is how the word is actually used by native speakers of that language. So how a population uses a word is how a word receives its meaning or meanings.
It’s also to note that word meanings change over time; there is very little which is static in a language, but languages are constantly, always morphing. Those changes are valid and completely, utterly a part of the contemporary language. Once upon a time people scoffed at how “pants” was shortened from “pantaloons.” But nobody in today’s society would disagree that “pants” is a widespread, very real word of the English language. Words are simply what are used by a contemporary native speaking population of a language.
A dictionary is not an omniscient authoritative source of a language. A dictionary is not a prescriptive means by which to prove whether or not something is a word. A dictionary is an imperfect, human-created document regularly updated to record how a population currently uses a word. It’s an observational record, not a book of rules.
BUT… because dictionaries are records of things that change, the dictionaries’ definitions are very often outdated or incomplete.
So, yes. The dictionary does provide us a scientific term of the word asexuality related to single organism means of reproduction, and that term is still of course relevant in scientific discourse. That still is a meaning of asexuality, yes. But words often have multiple legitimate meanings (ex: bat meaning an animal, sports equipment, whacking something aside, or a way of moving one’s eyelashes). All of those meanings are equally valid so long as they are used by the population of English native speakers. The fact that a very, very large population of native English speakers uses “asexual” to mean “an individual who is uninterested in sex, or who has very little or no sexual attraction”… means that this is indeed a valid meaning of the word asexual!
Linguist approval for the fact ASEXUALITY IS A REAL WORD ABOUT A REAL QUEER THING!
And if anyone tries to argue with a professional linguist because you think you have some authority and knowledge about your own language, well…
You might have a human body, but that doesn’t make you an expert in biology. You wouldn’t argue with a biologist about the chemical processes that occur within the stomach and other parts of the human digestive tract.
You might be able to see the sun and moon rise and set every day, but that doesn’t make you an expert in astronomy. You wouldn’t argue with an astronomer who tells you how the planets orbit around the sun. In fact, your personal, first-hand experiences of planetary bodies might lead you to make incorrect conclusions, like the earth being flat or the sun rotating around the planet.
Similarly, you might be able to speak a language, but that doesn’t make you an expert in linguistics. Many native speakers’ intuitions about their own language are wrong. For example, most English speakers don’t realize that the “t” in “star” is actually a different sound than the “t” in “tie.” So if you want to argue with me, a professional linguist, you can go and kiss my shiny grad degrees that pronounce me a literal expert in the field.
Asexuality is valid, friends. There is a reason why the term is so widely used by human beings: it’s because so many of us have similar, shared experiences in which we do not feel sexual attraction, or little sexual attraction, or have no or little interest in having sex. Humans don’t make up words that have no use in society. We use words because they are needed to explain something that is a real experience to us. The reason why the word “asexual” ACTUALLY DOES MEAN THE QUEER THING is because we humans have a need for this term to describe a widespread, common, legitimate, valid, understandable, real human experience.
You keep being rad, my fellow ace angels.
Asexual linguist signing off.