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ASEXUALITY

“I’M AN ASEXUAL, NOT AN AMOEBA”

The above statement is how my friend and fellow LGBTQIA+ community member Asha (name changed) chooses to define herself as on any account where she has to explain to someone what is “asexual” and how it is different from the biological terms of “asexual” and “asexual reproduction”


She shared one of the major incidents that made her realize the lack of awareness about asexuality and the myths associated with who an asexual is.


I was traveling on a bus with my classmates for a weekend trip to a campsite. My friends and I were enjoying some music when I overheard some of my classmates discussing the topic of sexuality. They were talking about how far the world has come to accept and accommodate different sexual orientations and respecting everyone for who they are. As they were talking about each sexual orientation, one of them mentioned asexuality being a sexual orientation. Everyone stopped talking for a moment, I seemed to notice their confused looks. One of them started laughing and said “ASEXUALITY IS WHAT AMOEBAS DO YOU DUMBO. THAT’S REPRODUCTION, NOT A SEXUAL ORIENTATION,” Everybody seemed to be laughing including the one who said it and they started talking about something else. This made me contemplate how low the visibility of asexuality is even among the population’s awareness about the LGBTQIOA+ community”


The vastly cited figure as to the proportion of people who identify as asexuals in the world is just 1% of the population. However, experts believe that this figure could be majorly due to the lack of awareness about the existence of such a sexual orientation and the minority group as a result of which many people who do fall under the umbrella of asexuality might live their entire life struggling with their feelings without finding acceptance anywhere.


This article is an attempt to spread awareness about the vast spectrum of Asexuality and to help those who might be struggling with their sexuality and to make them aware that a safe space exists where they can gain clarity about their emotions and be accepted.


According to the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, Asexuality can be simply defined as a lack of sexual attraction.

People who identify as ASEXUALS do not feel any sexual appeal for others. They may seek a romantic relationship with others or maybe romantically attracted to other genders, however, where society deems sexual contact or physical intimacy to be a very important part of being and consider it as a big step in a relationship, asexuals are neutral or might even be repulsive to the act of sex. For them, it could be a task as menial and annoying as doing dishes or cleaning the house.


Asexuality is a minority even among the minority of LGBTQIA+ community, it is an umbrella term that lies on a spectrum which covers a variety of sexual and romantic orientation.

Among the lingo of Asexuality, Asexuals are known as ace and Asexuality stands for A-spec.


Asexuality in itself is a huge community that is inclusive of both the sexual orientation and the romantic orientation of people who identify themselves as Asexuals. This is because despite having no sexual attraction towards others, asexuals have the same emotional needs as others but they may fulfill them in different ways and may face different challenges. They may get married and even have children but may not be particularly looking forward to sex.


This can be explained better through the following domains across asexuality:

  1. Attraction

In terms of attraction, an asexual might feel:

  • Romantic Attraction: may want to seek a romantic relationship with any gender.

  • Under this, asexuals might define their “romantic orientation” to make others clear of what they seek from the other person. This includes:

  • Aromantic- do not feel the need to make any romantic connections and are happy on their own or with close friendships

  • Heteroromantic- feel romantic attraction towards the opposite gender

  • Homoromantic- feel romantic attraction towards the same gender

  • Biromantic- feel romantic attraction to both men and women

  • Panromantic- feel romantic attraction towards all genders

  • Demiromantic- feel romantic attraction only if they can form a strong emotional bond with the other person.

  • Aesthetic Attraction- feel a lot of appreciation or attraction for a person’s appearance

  • Sensual Attraction- one seeks pleasure from platonic activities like kissing, cuddling, or hugging but not sex.

  • Sexual orientation- though a majority of the asexuals feel no sexual attraction, some people like to define their sexual orientation in the asexual community as:

  • Graysexuals- for the majority they do not feel any sexual attraction but infrequently they might feel some sexual attraction. However, they better relate to the experiences of asexuals and identify with the asexual community.

  • Demisexual- they feel sexual attraction only when they have formed a very strong emotional bond with someone. This bond takes time to develop so it is not frequent that they experience sexual attraction.


  1. Arousal

  2. Arousal is common among asexuals and is referred to as “libido” in the asexuality community lingo.

  3. A lot of asexuals may experience bodily arousal which could either be explained through the biological phenomena of variation in hormones during the menstrual cycle or the early morning erection in men.


Some asexuals may masturbate and seek pleasure out of it and may enjoy touching themselves without wanting to seek a sexual partner while others may find it repulsive or may not feel the arousal.


People who do not feel arousal are known as “non-libidos”.

Since sex is not an intrinsic need of the body, it is okay to not feel any sexual attraction or arousal in the body.

However, it is important to differentiate a lack of arousal that an asexual feels and has always felt from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).


Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is an actual condition mentioned in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Edition Five) characterized by the sudden decrease in sexual desire which is distressing to an individual.


In asexuals, the lack of sexual desire or appeal has always been there and is a part of the individual and may not have a distressing impact on the individual when they accept their sexuality and come to terms with who they are.


  1. Relationships

Asexuals have similar emotional needs as any other person, however, the way they fulfill the needs are diverse even among the a-spec.

Asexual people may crave romantic relationships and feelings of trust, communication, fun, humor, excitement, etc. that are central emotions in any romantic relationship.


Looking for a fellow asexual to date becomes a difficult task as the dating pool is very limited for them. Therefore, most of the asexuals who crave romantic relationships end up in mixed relationships that involve some compromises.


Some may have sex to please their partner and may even seek pleasure from it but not consider it as an integral of the relationship.

  1. Identity

Unlike other minority groups in the LGBTQIA+ community that possess a long history that date back to as far as 2400BCE, the history of asexuality dates back to the 19th century. Therefore, researches are at an infant state and so is the awareness about it.


Many people live their entire life not feeling any sexual attraction and being unaware of the community or the term asexual.


Recently, the Asexual Identification Scale has been developed as a measure to confirm one’s asexuality but it cannot be claimed to be a completely accurate measure.

The lack of awareness could be one of the major factors that influence the actual figures reported for asexuals across the globe.


Asexual is a term that simply means a lack of sexual attraction. Since it is considered as an umbrella term that is inclusive of various romantic and sexual orientations, many people stay in the a-spec community temporarily as they are in the process of exploring and questioning their asexuality. So, many people identify as asexual until they figure out what truly their sexuality is, and later, they might not identify as asexual anymore which is COMPLETELY ALRIGHT!!


To anyone who might be able to relate to the Asexual community and might feel a sense of belongingness and acceptance in the community based on the information in this article, the LGBTQIA+ community welcomes them and accepts them wholeheartedly as they rightfully belong here.


A community called Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) founded by David Jay, an American activist is the world’s largest online asexual community as well as a huge archive of resources on asexuality.

This community has all the information one needs on asexuality and has forums, where discussions are held regarding asexuality and questions, are asked by the members part of the online community.


AVEN is extremely accepting and supportive of not only asexuals but every minority group in the LGBTQIA+ community.

For any queries regarding sexual orientations and the a-spectrum, one can visit the website.


DEBUNKING MYTHS AND DOBTS ON ASEXUALITY:

  1. Does being asexual mean, an individual can divide into two like an amoeba does to procreate- No, Definitely Not

  2. Is asexuality different from asexual reproduction- YES, VERY DIFFERENT?

  3. Is asexuality possible in humans- Asexual Reproduction is NOT POSSIBLE in humans but the sexual orientation is real.

  4. Is asexuality a disorder? It’s Not.

  5. Asexuals have no feelings- They do have feelings and can form close friendships and even romantic bonds with others that stay for a long time

  6. Asexuals can never get married- Some asexuals may want to live a married life and may even have children if they want to.


Asexuality can be caused due to a declining sex life- Asexuals have never felt any sexual attraction or desire at all in their life. It’s not something that occurs suddenly. Asexuals may realize their lack of sexual desire in the later years of their life but they have felt that way for most of their lives.

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