Did you know that approximately 1% of the population is asexual? In a world with 7.5 billion people, that means that roughly 75 million people identify with this sexuality. But what is an asexual person? What does this term mean?
Even though such a hefty amount of people are asexual, we still have so much room to learn about those who identify with this orientation. Understanding asexuality better can help us be more helpful to those who are asexual.
What is an asexual person, and how does this orientation differ from other major sexual identities? There are many things to know about this type of identity, and some of them are quite surprising.
What Is an Asexual Person?
If you’ve landed on this page, you’re likely to have one primary question in mind — what is an asexual person? By definition, asexual individuals are not interested in sex. This does not mean they have trouble experiencing arousal or find sex complicated — they simply do not experience the attraction involved with it.
While this a simple and broad explanation, every asexual individual has their unique set of feelings and sense of identity when it comes to their sexuality. Some may feel a sense of physical attraction to others, minus the desire to have sex. Others will tell you that their attraction to people — whether of the same or opposite sex — is absent.
Asexuality can be further divided into two different categories — those who masturbate, and those who experience no sex drive at all. You may find it shocking that nearly half of all asexuals engage in self-stimulation. However, many asexuals don’t view masturbation as a sexual act in the way that others associate lustful feelings with sex to others.
Is Asexuality a Sexual Dysfunction?
Some people may confuse asexuality for a sexual health problem — especially when society conditions us to think that desire is a normal part of everyday living.
If you’ve asked yourself, “what is an asexual person?” you may be wondering if asexuality is a sexual dysfunction. The answer is no, it is not.
Unlike those with sexual dysfunction, asexual individuals simply have no interest in having sex. They do not struggle to maintain arousal in the bedroom, nor do they find sex challenging. For many, sexual attraction was never a present force in their lives.
Asexuality is also not a mental disorder. Research studies do not note a correlation between an absence of sexual attraction and trauma. Most asexuals don’t exhibit any notable reaction to exposure to genitals, either. Asexual feelings don’t stem as a result of any traumatic life experiences — voiding the argument that it’s a mental disorder.
Do Asexual Individuals Date?
Another misconception about asexual people is that they do not desire relationships. When understanding asexuality, it’s important to realize that this is not entirely true. Many asexual people have happy and healthy relationships or marriages.
If a person is asexual, it typically means they are not interested in sex. However, this is only one component of a relationship. An asexual person can be romantically attracted to somebody else — whether of the same or opposing sex.
Asexuality is not to be confused with a-romantic feelings — or the lack of romantic attraction. Being asexual means you can still be attracted to others in an amorous way. For many, the only difference is that they’re not interested in engaging in sexual acts with their partner.
In essence, being in a relationship does not mean you’re not asexual. Many asexual individuals desire long-term relationships with a partner in much the same way that those of other sexualities do.
Asexuality is sometimes hard for society to define or grasp because those who identify with this sexual orientation live such varied lifestyles. An asexual can be single, in a same-sex relationship or married with children. In much the same way that heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual relationships can look different, asexual relationships can be just as unique and varied, too.
Why Understanding Asexuality Matters
It’s important to get in touch with your sexuality — no matter what it may be. Whether you’re reading this article as a person who lacks feelings of sexual attraction or you simply find yourself interested in learning more about varying identities, educating yourself about asexuality is key. The more you know about it, the better equipped you are to inform others.
Learning more about asexuality is just one of the many sexual health initiatives we should take as a society to learn more about and connect with the people that surround us. Research about asexuality is still shockingly sparse, which means we have a lot of room left to learn about those who identify as asexual individuals. However, as the knowledge and desire to learn more about others increases, understanding asexuality and those who feel that way will continue to grow, too.