Understanding Asexual Orientation

For the final post in our month exploring the diversity of human sexuality, we’re going to build an understanding of asexual orientation. Ace (or asexual) is one of the most misunderstood orientations. I hope broadening our perspective allows us to be more open to, and accepting of, our asexual siblings.

What is Asexual Orientation?

Please remember that this is my definition. It’s important to allow someone to explain how they define their orientation. I define an asexual as someone who does not experience sexual attraction to others, or for whom sexual attraction is not important. 

That doesn’t mean that asexual people don’t enjoy sex. Many can and do. They just don’t feel a great desire for it. Sexual attraction is not a consideration when they connect with people. Asexuality, like other orientations, occurs on a spectrum from no sexual interest at all, to attraction under particular circumstances. 

Can Asexual People Fall in Love?

Of course, asexual people can fall in love. Falling in love is an emotional and chemical experience. It’s useful to separate emotional attraction from sexual attraction. Some asexuals are aromantic, or not interested in romantic relationships, but they are separate things.

Some asexuals experience sexual attraction once an emotional connection has been made. That’s just part of the natural diversity of this orientation. But, falling in love will not necessarily lead to a sexual attraction for them.

It’s also important to distinguish between physical attraction and sexual attraction. Just because an Ace person isn’t interested in sex doesn’t mean that they don’t crave and seek out non-sexual physical connections. The desire to be physically close to our love interest is the same for asexual people as anyone else. 

How Do I Know If I’m Ace?

First, be open to your inner world and honestly explore. If you have felt you’ve never been that interested in sex and don’t find yourself turned on by other people, you might be asexual. 

If you can’t relate to discussions of sexuality, or even feel uncomfortable talking about sexual attraction you may be asexual. But before you jump to conclusions really explore why you feel the way you do. You are the only one who can really know where you stand in terms of sexual attraction.

If you find that you resonate powerfully with the idea of being Ace then you owe it to yourself to explore the topic. You may fit somewhere on the spectrum of asexual identity. Moving into that new identity means accepting it for yourself first. 

Coming Out Asexual.

Our culture is exploring more openly and discovering how wonderfully diverse human sexuality is. Still, there are many orientations that are a mystery to most people. Understanding asexual orientation is pretty rare. So when you come out you’ll probably have to explain what Ace is all about.

That makes it even more vital for you to understand yourself first. Once you’re certain of your orientation and feel comfortable in your own skin you’re ready to start the coming out process. Always remember that coming out is about you and should be done on your terms. Openly embracing your sexuality and living out and proud is amazing when you’re ready. If you have challenges finding acceptance reach out to other Ace people to share your journey with. You’re part of a huge community of people who for lots for reasons don’t fit the straight cisgender mold.

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