AM I ASEXUAL? THE REAL REASON YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX!
Most of the readers of the Princess Fantasy like sex and feel desire for other people, but what if you don’t? Maybe you’ve never felt lust for another person, man or woman, and it’s led to you feeling like an outsider, someone who isn’t normal. You can’t understand why others put so much effort into the confusing hassle that is sex. It could be that you’re asexual. From movies to songs to books, it seems like everyone is obsessed with having sex. So why don’t you experience lust and attraction? There are a group of people who just don’t feel sexual desire, and they’re called asexuals or aces. Asexuality literally means “no sexuality.” It’s the opposite of sexuality (and graysexual covers all the ground in between the two). You might have heard of it because it is the “A” in the acronym LGBTQIA, not “ally” as some people incorrectly believe. Between 1% of the population and 5.5% of the population identifies as asexual  . While that’s fewer people than those who are gay or lesbians, you are definitely not the only one! “Am I asexual?” Maybe! If you’re an ace, you just don’t feel sexual feelings and attraction to other people. If you don’t have a desire to have sex, then the cultural obsession with sex probably seems pretty bizarre to you. Some aces view having sex as especially awkward and even alien. They don’t understand why people exert so much effort to have sex, which can be messy! THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOW LIBIDO AND ASEXUALITY Wait a minute; you might be thinking! If you don’t want to have sex, does this just mean you have no sex drive? It’s true that a low sex means you don’t want to get down and dirty. But it’s just not the same thing as being asexual. Sex drives wax and wane, and some things affect it. Depression, SSRIs, and stress can all lower your sex drive, while a glass of wine, a sensual massage and reducing stress in your life can boost it. Let’s not forget how hormones play a role in desire, which is why teenagers are especially horny, but many people lose desire as they age. Some people may have a low sex drive for their entire lives, but asexuality isn’t really about having a sex drive. Some aces even report that their libido is normal, as is their ability to orgasm and to get wet. Asexuality is about not feeling attraction. You don’t experience intense crushes as hormones rush through your pubescent veins, and you don’t find yourself lusting over the celebrity du jour that everyone else just can’t seem to get enough of. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU IF YOU’RE ASEXUAL There isn’t a lot of representation of asexuality in the media. A lot of people assume that everyone is sexual and that anyone who isn’t has something wrong with them. Some researchers even question if asexuality falls into the broader sexual desire disorder . You might have been sucked into this line of thinking and tried to boost your sex drive so you can be “normal.” But there really is no normal when it comes to sex, and being asexual doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. There is a slight increase in risk of erectile dysfunction in men who are asexual, however . However, it’s difficult for some people to accept. They might try to push you to look for solutions to your lack of sexual feelings or to look for the underlying problem. The problem with this is that there isn’t necessarily anything wrong if you’re asexual. It’s just how you are. Researchers have looked into possible causes of asexuality, including religion, biology, health, and education. No one thing causes you to be asexual. Although, women are more likely to be asexual than men . If you’re okay being an asexual, then there’s nothing to fix. Some asexual people only come to realize this after miserable years — or decades — of pretending to fit in or even forcing themselves to engage in sexual activity they didn’t want. There’s no way that’s going to make sex seem any more positive! COMING OUT AS ASEXUAL If you ask “Am I asexual?” and realize the answer is positive, you might consider coming out. Coming out simply means revealing your sexual identity, and there may be a number of times when you have to come out as asexual. For starters, you might have to tell any potential partner, and we’ll get to that in a while. Many asexuals choose to come out to everyone in their lives, however. This may be one way to get your parents off your back about being single and to end all the questions from older ladies at work who want to know when you’re going to settle down and have a family. It might just be a relief to admit who you are and not feel like you have to hide or that you’re alone, anymore. You can choose the day and way you come out, but some people use National Coming Out Day, which happens every October 11th as the time and place to let others know that they are asexual. It’s up to you, ultimately, when you choose to disclose your status. Coming out as an ace can be affirming. This is part of who you are, and you want others to know. But it can also be difficult. Some people may not understand (or even choose not to understand) while others may respond with disbelief. They may try to offer solutions to fix your sex drive, even though being asexual isn’t a disorder. You may have tried to boost your sex drive, but that’s none of their business! Your loved ones may have questions. Frequently those questions are about whether you have any sex at all, and they may be too intimate for you to answer. Feel free not to answer or to simply let people know that, no, you don’t experience sexual attraction to others. Of course, if you’re coming out to someone with whom you might like to be in a relationship, then you will have to answer some of those questions. Unfortunately, not everyone is cool with being in a relationship with someone who identifies as asexual. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find your happily ever after! ASEXUALITY AND RELATIONSHIPS While asexuals don’t always understand why others are so wrapped up in getting laid, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the concept of asexuality. For starters, many people assume aces are never in relationships or want them. But that’s not true. While sex is often an important part of a romantic relationship, many people enjoy a relationship with very little or no sex. Some aces may not want a relationship, but this is because they’re also aromantic (not romantic). And just because an asexual person doesn’t want to have sex doesn’t mean they don’t desire partnership, companionship, and someone to spend their life with. Sex just isn’t a priority for them. However, some aces may have sex with their partners because those partners desire sex. One study found that less than half of the asexual respondents qualified as asexual based on behavior, that is, having no sex at all . As you can guess, it can be difficult to be an asexual who desires a relationship. Many people want sex from their relationship, and if you don’t yet understand that you’re asexual, you might find yourself turning down sex. This can lead partners to feel rejected and resentful. It’s hard not to take it personally when your partner doesn’t want to have sex with you. But partners need to understand that it’s not about your attraction to or caring about them. It’s about you. And pushing you to have sex will never have the desired effect. Looking for potential partners in the pool of people who are already asexual (or demisexual, which we’ll touch on later), is one way to curb hurt feelings. But you can be an asexual in a successful romantic relationship as long as you communicate well. Let your partner know your desires and expectations and provide a safe space for them to do the same. You may be able to come to a compromise in your relationship such as having sex, having an open relationship or mutual masturbation to keep both you and your partner happy. ASEXUALITY AND ISOLATION While the world is beginning to understand asexuals better, and many asexuals are happily in relationships (or happily single!), this doesn’t mean that being an ace is easy. As we’ve mentioned, it’s uncommon to see any characters (Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory may be demisexual, at the very least) or celebrities who are “out” as asexual (Janeane Garofalo is one who comes to mind, but the list is sparse). You don’t realize that what you feel is a normal part of the sexuality spectrum. This makes it hard to talk to others, especially if your peers are sexually active and frequently talk about it. Many aces struggle to talk to friends or family about their lack of sexual feelings. This can result in feelings of isolation. You think you’re the only one and don’t know where to turn, let alone realize that others feel the same. Another reason for isolation is pressure to avoid situations where sex might be expected. This could include dating or going out to a bar. One study found that asexual people were likely to avoid situations that might lead to sex, with many of them actively avoiding any situation where sex might be expected . Consider local LGBT groups, which may include other asexuals. Even if there are no aces in those groups, you’ll be surrounded by people who understand what it’s like to be so isolated (beware that sometimes LGBT groups aren’t super inclusive of aces). Your area may even have an ace group if you live in a bigger city. Fortunately, even those aces who live in remote areas can connect with other asexual people online. Many people on Tumblr are aces, and they create and share content on their blogs about asexuality. Chat rooms and other groups dedicated to asexuals exist, and you’ll found personal accounts by asexual people detailing the coming to terms with and even coming out with their asexuality. There are even dating sites specifically for aces! If you want, you can even join the fight and help inform people of asexuality DO ACES MASTURBATE? This brings us to our next point. Asexuals might not have sexual desire for other people, but this doesn’t mean they don’t masturbate. Masturbation still feels good and can bring you to orgasm. There also benefits to masturbation such as improving your mood and helping you sleep better. You might be surprised to learn how many aces do touch themselves even if they have no desire to touch others or let other people touch them. DEMISEXUALS As you might be learning, the sexuality spectrum has a lot more colors than everyone realizes! You have people with typical sexual preferences (straight, gay, bi and everything in between!) and you have asexuals. But there’s a sort of middle ground here, too: demisexual. Someone who is demisexual can feel sexual desire and attraction, but it’s based on emotional connection. While a sexual person might see an attractive person in a bar and consider sleeping with them, an asexual wouldn’t want to have sex with that person at all. A demisexual requires an emotional bond to feel sexual attraction. If you consider yourself asexual but have never had a strong emotional bond, you might one day realize that you’re demisexual, instead. Many demisexuals sympathize more with asexuals because they both experience atypical sexualities that are not represented in the media. While asexuals and demisexuals lack visibility, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone if you fall into one of these groups. There’s no reason to feel guilt or shame or to agonize over a solitary life. Once you identify as an ace, you can also immerse yourself in the asexual community for support.