It’s Friday night, you’ve almost drained your glass of wine, when your friend asks you, “If you could sleep with anyone, who would it be?” You chew the inside of your lip, debating between honesty or pretense. The question cuts to the private war you’ve been battling but haven’t voiced. With a deep breath, you opt for the truth and say, “No one.”
This isn’t an easy admittance when society has placed a high importance on pairing-off for the better part of our history. If someone isn’t interested in sex or finding a partner, they do not have a biological problem. They simply have a different sexual orientation called asexuality.
What is asexuality?
Someone who is asexual, also known as “ace” or “aces”, experiences little or no sexual attraction toward individuals of any gender. This orientation is not common and can often be misunderstood for that reason. Only 1% of the population identify as asexual, according to research by Anthony Bogaert, a psychology professor at Brock University in Ontario, Canada.
This orientation should not be confused for celibacy. Celibacy is a choice to not be sexual, whereas being asexual is the lack of desire for sex. Asexuality is not a one-size-fits-all, either. There is a spectrum. In some cases, an asexual person won’t be interested in sex but will crave a romantic or emotional connection. Some may enjoy cuddling or physical touch, but do not need anything further. Still others will desire sex only after a deep connection has been made, or some asexuals do not desire a romantic or sexual connection whatsoever. All of these people fall on the asexual spectrum.
“If someone isn’t interested in sex or finding a partner, they do not have a biological problem. They simply have a different sexual orientation called asexuality.”
Differences Between Asexuality & Low Sex Drive
A person might think, “Well, I have a very low sex drive, maybe I’m asexual.” Perhaps, but it’s not that simple. Low libido and asexuality are not the same thing.
The first difference between asexuality and a low sex drive is the duration of time that an individual has lacked interest in intimacy. For those who are asexual, they’ve had little to no sexual attraction for an extended period of time–we’re talking many years–even as early as adolescence. Those with a low sex drive have experienced high libido or sexual desire in the past, but currently find themselves uninterested.
A second difference is that a low sex drive is a medical diagnosis. It can be caused by menopause, depression, phobias, or a variety of other reasons. “Unlike having a low libido, asexuality is not a medical condition, and is in no way a “disorder” that could or should be treated,” says Kristen Lilla, licensed social worker and certified sex therapist in Nebraska.
Asexuality is not a choice to abstain from sex or a loss of libido. It’s simply the way you are, and it doesn’t require fixing.
“Unlike having a low libido, asexuality is not a medical condition, and is in no way a “disorder” that could or should be treated.” ~ Kristen Lilla (Sex Therapist)
Differences Between Asexuality & Low Sex Drive
A study by the Williams Institute found that the majority of individuals who identitify as asexual are women. And guess what? That’s okay. Being asexual isn’t a negative.
English model, activist, and writer, Yasmin Benoit came out as aromantic-asexual in 2017. She has become a public speaker online and around the world encouraging greater understanding, acceptance and inclusion. “There is too much effort, pressure, and emphasis on finding romance,” says Benoit. “As someone who is aromantic, I don’t experience romantic attraction. I don’t ‘fall in love’ in a romantic sense. I don’t have romantic relationships. I don’t date anyone. I don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends, or any kind of romantic partner.” By accepting her orientation and living life without worrying about sexual or romantic relationships, Benoit says she is experiencing so much.
Asexuality and Self-pleasure
You don’t need a partner to have an orgasm. Which is why self-pleasure can still be a draw for an asexual individual. “After all, asexuality doesn’t always mean someone doesn’t enjoy sex. It just means they don’t experience sexual attraction.”
In a survey by the University of British Columbia, 56% of asexual participants reported that they engage in self-pleasure at least monthly. No matter what your sexuality is or how often you desire to have sex, Vella is here to support you and your body. Our Women’s Pleasure Serum will help you come more easily, more intensely, and more frequently, either solo or with a partner.
For asexual and sexual individuals, self-pleasure has other draws beyond just the release. Achieving orgasm helps with stress relief, reducing anxiety, boosting your mood, and better sleep. These benefits are strong reasons to go for an O.
“Asexuality doesn’t always mean someone doesn’t enjoy sex. It just means they don’t experience sexual attraction.”
How Do I Know If I Am Asexual?
It can take careful introspection to fully know, understand, and acknowledge if you are asexual. If you have been struggling to determine if you are asexual, here are some points to consider:
- You can see that someone is attractive, but you rarely experience sexual attraction toward them.
- You have little or no desire to have sex, even with your partner.
- When you engage in intimacy, you don’t enjoy it.
- You rarely think about being sexual with a partner or solo.
- Intimacy isn’t something you find important, exciting or gratifying.
- You have little interest in a romantic relationship.
- You have experienced a combination of the above for a long period of time.
As with any sexual orientation, it’s important to embrace who you are. Your authentic self is wonderful. It doesn’t matter whether you experience sexual attraction or a desire for romantic relationships. Do you. Be you. And find freedom in that.
There is a helpful and supportive online asexual community called AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, that offers resources and creates opportunities for open, honest discussion to further your learning and understanding.