Anonymous: hey, im thinkig i might be asexual...? I masturbate but I dont have sexual thoughts while i do it. I find people attractive but not in a sexual way. I have had sex with men before, but I thought it was really gross+ i never want it again. nude men repulse me, and nude women are neutral. I can appreciate female beauty but it does not turn me on. i may have sex w a woman out of curiousity. If i had a girlfriend i may have sex w her for closeness/to please her. could i be asexual?

I most certainly think you could be asexual! First off, remember that sexual orientations are about attraction, not action. I think that might help with a lot of your confusion. The sole criteria for sexual orientations are to who you are, and aren’t, sexually attracted. You said that you do not find people attractive in a sexual way, so I most certainly think that asexual might be a good label for you! Remember, it’s all about what makes you comfortable.

As for the other aspects, they are important, but they don’t have a baring on your sexuality. Feelings and actions in regards to masturbation or sex, whether positive or negative, are felt by all sexualities. There is no requirement for asexuals to feel sexually repulsed, but it’s okay if they are, just like it is okay for any other sexual orientation to feel that way.

Lastly, I just wanted to point out that you are the ultimate authority on your body and no one has any right to demand physical contact from you. I say this because of your comment about having sex for closeness/to please your girlfriend. If you want to have sex then that’s totally cool, but if you don’t want to have sex, it’s unfair for her to pressure you into it for any reason. Remember, sex is not a requirement in a relationship. 

- Tyger

Anonymous: Hi, I'm asexual but I don't know if I'm aromantic or biromantic because I don't really understand what romantic attraction is. Like, I understand aesthetic attraction, and I experience that, but what constitutes romantic attraction? Is it the desire to have a relationship with someone? Or like holding hands and stuff?

Romantic attraction is difficult to define because it can be a bit different for everyone. Loosely, it is the desire to have a romantic relationship with someone.

What constitutes a romantic gesture can mean so many different things to many different people. There is no set in stone list of romantic gestures. Only you will be able to know if something is romantic to you or not. Do you feel that holding hands is a romantic gesture? Do you feel it is platonic? Only you know that. If you do not feel it is a romantic gesture then, for you, it isn’t. However you feel is perfectly okay! 

The reason I stress the desire to be for a romantic relationship is because there are many different kinds of relationships. Often, when romantic attraction is described as the desire for a relationship, it causes confusion for aromantics. It isn’t that none of them want to have any kind of relationship with anyone, they simply don’t desire romantic relationships. However, they may desire platonic relationships, queerplatonic relationships, or have squishes. 

- Tyger

AVEN 2014 Survey | The Asexual Visibility and Education Network | asexuality.org

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) is performing a large-scale survey.

We are looking for any respondents who are part of the asexual spectrum, as well as people who are not part of the asexual spectrum. This survey includes some sensitive questions about sexual topics. Please distribute this announcement.

The survey is open for some time. Later, statistical results will be published, providing crucial information about the demographics and needs of asexual-spectrum people.

The survey can be accessed here.

(via asexualfactoftheday)

butterscotchwm: So asexual awareness week is coming up, and I was thinking that in order to participate I could talk to a doctor I know (my mother) about it. The reason why is because I don't think asexuality is known throughout the medical community, and if it were, it would help so many patients who might be confused or think that there's something wrong with them. I was wondering if someone could help me out, give me some advice, or tell me what the best way of approaching the topic to a doctor. Thanks.

I would suggest giving her something like this to start with, which is a very comprehensive overview of what I consider to be “asexuality 101” — the basics that someone would need to understand what asexuality is and is not. This is an extensive bibliography of academic work on asexuality, if she wants something a little more formal.

After that, the information that a medical professional needs about asexuality is mostly related to what it isn’t. Specifically, asexuality is not the same as HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder). Something like this post explains the differences between the two, and the history the asexual community has had with HSDD.

Of course, the usual coming out kind of stuff applies here too. Be prepared for the fact that she is probably going to have questions, save it for a time when she is able to sit down and actually consider what you’re showing her, all that good stuff.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you don’t mind that I’m publishing this for anyone who might be interested.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Im a very rational person, almodt too rational sometimes and im worried my loneliness is turning into Asexuality, not that its a bad thing, for me it seems to be rationalized loneliness

Anon, I’m sure that you mean well, and I know that being alone/lonely does not always feel good. But what you’re saying here is playing into some really negative things that I want to make you aware of.

First, the “asexuality is rationalized loneliness” thing seems to me to tread really really close to some unpleasant asexual elitism. It sounds like “asexual people are better than everyone else because they’ve learned to” whatever. Asexuality isn’t inherently better or worse than any other sexuality.

Second, it sounds like you’re upholding the idea that asexual people, because of their asexuality, are incapable of making connections with other people. It is absolutely true that some asexual people will also be unable to connect to other people, or just plain don’t want those kinds of connections; however, this is not a defining characteristic of asexuality. This stereotype leads to a lot of people who are capable of forming (and who want to form) meaningful relationships with other people being afraid that identifying as asexual is going to strip them of those connections, which is obviously not a good thing.

This isn’t to say that you can’t identify as asexual, but please take the time to critically examine whether your current thought process is rooted in negative stereotypes about what it means to be asexual. Asexual is feeling sexual attraction to nobody. It isn’t loneliness or isolation.

-Natalie

Anonymous: My new friend has a thing for saying things of "this guy in this band is really hot" "if he shaved he'd be really hot" "but she's so sexy" "I'd bang him really hard" etc. Me being ace and sexually-repulsed, I get really uncomfortable. I don't know how to tell her, as I'm very very open about being ace. She knows I get uncomfortable and can't relate. I just don't want her to get annoyed by my simple short nods when she says these things. Help?

If your friend already knows that you are ace and not comfortable with these kinds of conversational topics, then she really shouldn’t be bringing them up in the first place. It sounds like she needs a reminder of that. The next time she makes a comment like that, mention that it’s the sort of thing that you would rather not talk about with her. Request a subject change. You don’t have to make a big deal of it, just a casual “Hey, remember, I’d really rather not talk about that. Can we talk about something else please?” While it’s great that she wants to share things with you, contrary to what we learned in kindergarten, sharing is not always caring.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Can being graysexual/grayromantic have anything to do with having BPD or being bipolar?

I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be possible for someone who is greysexual/romantic and has bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder to feel like their orientation is affected by their disorder. I can’t really give you a more concrete answer than that, since I don’t have either disorder, but as a general rule I think that for any aspect of a person’s identity, there are going to be some people who feel that it has an effect on other parts of their identity, and some people who feel that part of their identity is completely distinct from other parts of their identity.

I want to be really cautious about generalizing here, though. While it’s possible for an individual person to say “yes, my BPD and my greysexuality are related,” it is not a good thing to start saying that all people who are greysexual and have BPD are greysexual because of their disorder. The same would go for people with bipolar disorder.

(I would love to be able to throw in some links here to help you out, Anon, but pretty much all I found were a couple of AVEN threads, none of which seemed to mention greysexuality at all. If anyone has any resources that I can add here, please let me know.)

-Natalie

Anonymous: So I have been dating this guy for almost 8 months... And the other day he tried to do sexual things for me... I made it clear that I didn't want to and he stopped and said that he would wait until I was ready. But I don't think I'll ever be ready....

I am really really glad that he respected your wishes in that respect, Anon. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to do sexual things ever. You deserve whatever amount of contact you will be comfortable with, no more, no less. 

Work out where exactly your boundaries are. What do you think you will and will not be comfortable with right now? In the immediate future? What things are on your list of “probably will not be comfortable with ever”? Which are on your list of “might be okay in the future but not now”? Figuring out for yourself where exactly your boundaries are will help you communicate to him “these things are okay, these are things you can ask me about in the future but not now, and these are things I don’t ever want to be asked for.” Make it clear that the things on that last list especially are not up for debate, and may never change.

Remember, there is absolutely no need for a relationship to involve sex, there is nothing wrong with you not wanting it, and there is no requirement for you to compromise your comfort and security for his temporary gratification.

-Natalie

Anonymous: so now i finally decided to ask: i am definitely homoromantic, yet in any relationship i have never felt a sexual connection, more arousal and some sort of peer pressure from outside. when i fall in love all i want is to (be) cuddle(d). and all sexual intentions just leave me as i want to be with him in good and bad. so i confronted myself about being ace, i felt much better and happier to be alive. i don't know what all this makes me and where i stand? should i out myself as ace? with love!

It sounds to me like you have a fairly good idea of where you stand to me, Anon. If you identify with being ace, and it makes you feel comfortable and safe, then by all means that is absolutely a label that you should use for yourself.

Coming out as ace is no different from coming out as any other orientation. Whether or not you should come out depends on how comfortable you are and how you think the person you are considering coming out to will react. Come out if you feel safe, comfortable with potentially needing to answer questions about who you are and what you feel, and ready to be out.

-Natalie