10 things you probably didn't know about asexuality

photo by davidgljay

A recent article by the director of a new documentary about asexuality reminded us that “asexual” is one of those terms that gets thrown around in casual conversation so much that it’s easy to forget what it really means (kind of like “passive-aggressive”). So here’s a brief primer for you.

  1. Asexuality is not a choice. Celibacy is a choice; asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like being straight or gay.
  2. The official definition of asexuality is “someone who does not experience sexual attraction.” (Being too tired to have sex or too closeted to have the kind of sex you really want doesn’t count.)
  3. Being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t masturbate. Many asexuals have a sex drive, it just doesn’t translate into wanting sex with someone else.
  4. Being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t experience attraction, either — it just means you just don’t feel the need to act on it sexually.
  5. When Kinsey created his scale of sexual orientation, where 0 was completely homosexual and 6 was completely heterosexual, he included a separate category, “X,” for those who weren’t either one — or anything in between. They just plain didn’t care about sex. He labeled 1.5% of adult males “X”.
  6. A 1994 study found that 1.05% of respondents had “never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all.”
  7. A 1982 survey of Playboy readers found that 2% of respondents were asexual.
  8. A larger proportion of women than men identify as asexual.
  9. Another study found that 33.57% of asexuals have problems with self-esteem.
  10. According to Asexuality.org, because asexuals don’t care about sex, they generally don’t see their lack of sexual arousal as a problem that needs fixing: “Asexual people are fine not having sex; if you think that your lack of interest in sex is a problem then you should consult a doctor or therapist.”

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