Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person

Psychology Today: Brief Primer on Asexuality

All Your Questions Answered: What It's Like to be Asexual

PBS Interview: Asexuality

Info: Romantic Orientation


Love Without Sex


The asexual community refer to themselves as "aces." A catch-all definition characterizes an asexual as someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy or abstinence, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who you are. Asexuality does not make your life any worse or any better, you just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction and arousal somewhat differently.

"I do have regular sex, and it is pretty nice," one asexual woman says of her relationship. "And I do feel some sexual desire under special circumstances … but I enjoy a lot of the sex with my partner only very partially from my own sexual desire, which is minimal. It's really from this secondary sexual desire, this desire to make him happy, that makes it enjoyable. That desire is a powerful force that stems from the head, rather than my libido. I don't hunger for sex the way other people might." 


According to researchers, some asexual people are happier on their own or with a group of close friends, while other asexuals have a desire to date and will form more intimate romantic relationships. Asexual relationships are based on the same elements that are also important for many sexual people, like understanding, commitment, trust, emotional intimacy and communication. For some asexuals arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner. Some asexuals will occasionally masturbate, but feel no desire for partnered sexuality. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal.

What is Asexuality?

Is Asexuality a Disorder?

Asexual Relationships & Romance

What Do Asexuals Fantasize About?

Info: Romantic Orientation

Are Asexuals Part of the LGBTQ Community?

It's Okay to be Asexual

What it's Like to Date When You're Asexual

What Do Asexuals Want You to Know?



Famous Asexuals

Paula Poundstone / Comedian

Fredreric Chopin / Musician

Tim Gunn / Fashion Consultant (Project Runway)

HP Lovecraft / Author

Janeane Garofalo / Actor, Comedian

Ralph Nader / Activist

Isaac Newton / Physicist

JM Barrie / Author (Winnie the Pooh)

Florence Nightingale / Founder of Modern Nursing

Nikola Tesla / Scientist

Emily Bronte / Author

John Frusciante / Musician (Red Hot Chili Peppers)


Famous People Who Are Asexual

Romance Tips From the Most Famous Ace

Video: Signs You Might Be Asexual



Understanding Asexuality


Asexual people have the same emotional needs as anyone else, and like in the sexual community we vary widely in how we fulfill those needs. Some asexual people are happier on their own, others are happiest with a group of close friends. Other asexual people have a desire to form more intimate romantic relationships, and will date and seek long-term partnerships. Asexual people are just as likely to date sexual people as we are to date each other.

Sexual or nonsexual, all relationships are made up of the same basic stuff. Communication, closeness, fun, humor, excitement and trust all happen just as much in sexual relationships as in nonsexual ones. Unlike sexual people, asexual people are given few expectations about the way that our intimate relationships will work. Figuring out how to flirt, to be intimate, or to be monogamous in nonsexual relationships can be challenging, but free of sexual expectations we can form relationships in ways that are grounded in our individual needs and desires.


Many asexual people experience attraction, but we feel no need to act out that attraction sexually. Instead we feel a desire to get to know someone, to get close to them in whatever way works best for us. Asexual people who experience attraction will often be attracted to a particular gender, and will identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or straight.


For some sexual arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Some will occasionally masturbate, but feel no desire for partnered sexuality. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal. Because we don’t care about sex, asexual people generally do not see a lack of sexual arousal as a problem to be corrected, and focus their energy on enjoying other types of arousal and pleasure.

[Source: Asexual Visibility & Education Network]

Asexual Research

Asexuality: What You Should Know

Info: Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & the Ace Community

Chart: The Asexual Spectrum
Psychology Today: Brief Primer on Asexuality



Asexuality Explained


People who identify as asexual don’t really feel sexual attraction towards anyone. They may think other people are physically attractive, or they may want to be in romantic relationships with people. But they’re not interested in having sex or doing sexual things with other people. Asexual people sometimes use the word “ace” for short.

Asexuality has nothing to do with romantic attraction. Many asexual people feel romantically attracted to people, so they may identify as asexual, and also as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight. They just don’t feel any desire to act on these feelings in a sexual way.

Asexual people have emotional needs just like everyone else. Some asexual people have romantic relationships, and others aren’t interested in that. They get close to people or experience intimacy through ways other than sex.

There are also people who don’t feel romantic attraction or want to be in romantic relationships. They may identify as aromantic. Being aromantic and being asexual are two separate things.

Some asexual people do get aroused (turned on), but they don’t feel the desire to be sexual with other people. And some asexual people masturbate. But others may not feel arousal at all.

It’s totally normal to go through times when you don’t want to have sex, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re asexual. And asexuality is not the same thing as being celibate. Celibacy is a choice you make, and asexuality is a sexual identity (who you naturally are).

Like other sexual orientations, asexuality isn’t always black and white. There’s a spectrum between being sexual (having sexual attraction) and being asexual. Different people fall into different places on that spectrum. Some people who have very little sexual attraction to other people identify as gray-a. Some people who are only sexually attracted to people they’re in relationships with identify as demisexual.

There is nothing “wrong” with people who are asexual, and there’s no evidence to support that people are asexual because of any kind of mental health issue or psychological trauma. It’s actually kind of common. Some research says that 1 out of 100 adults is asexual.

[Source: Planned Parenthood]


Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person

Psychology Today: Brief Primer on Asexuality

All Your Questions Answered: What It's Like to be Asexual

PBS Interview: Asexuality

Info: Romantic Orientation

What it's Like to Date When You're Asexual



The Ace Spectrum

The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN) has devised a useful model which can be helpful in understanding asexuality. This research-based model is called the Asexuality Spectrum. Asexuality can be understood in terms of Romantic Orientation and Sexual Orientation and the interplay between the two. It addresses the causes and effects of primary and secondary forms of sexual attraction and sexual desire.

An asexual person's romantic orientation may be described along a continuum as: heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, or aromantic. (An aromantic person experiences little or no romantic attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in forming romantic relationships.)

An asexual person's sexual orientation may be described along a continuum as: asexual, gray area, demisexual, or sexual.

In between sexuality (persons who experience sexual attraction) and asexuality (persons who do not experience sexual attraction), there is a fluid or gray area that is described by this model.

"Gray Area" or "Gray-A" is a term used to describe a person who is both sexual and asexual. Other terms used are "hyposexual" or "semisexual" or "asexualish" or "sexualish."

"Demisexual" is a term used to describe a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with somebody. It is commonly seen in, but not confined to, romantic relationships. Demisexuality refers to an orientation between sexual and asexual.


Asexual Relationships & Romance

Shades of Grayro: Romantic Orientations

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Is Asexuality a Disorder?

AVEN: Romantic Orientation

Info: Romantic Orientation

What is Asexuality?

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation



Asexuality, Celibacy, Abstinence, Virginity
Celibacy is the state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons. It is often in association with the role of a religious official or devotee. In its narrow sense, the term celibacy is applied only to those for whom the unmarried state is the result of a sacred vow, act of renunciation, or religious conviction. In a wider sense, it is commonly understood to only mean abstinence from sexual activity.

What's the difference between celibacy and abstinent? While they are often used interchangeably, celibacy, abstinence, and chastity are not exactly the same. Celibacy is generally recognized as a voluntary choice to remain unmarried or engage in any form of sexual activity, usually in order to fulfill a religious vow.

Often confused with chastity, celibacy is an abstinence from sex that is correctly performed on a permanent basis. The Catholic Church defines the only foolproof method of birth control as being "chastity outside of marriage and celibacy within marriage."

What's the difference between celibacy and chastity? Chastity means no sex while you are single. Celibacy means no sex while you are breathing.

Celibacy and asexuality are two different concepts. Celibacy means someone doesn’t have sex. Asexuality means someone doesn’t have sexual attraction.

Asexuality describes an orientation, not behavior. Heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite sex, homosexuals are attracted to the same sex, and asexuals aren’t attracted to any sex. However, it’s possible for someone to have sex with someone they’re not sexually attracted to. Someone can be asexual and still have sex.

Celibacy is about behavior. Someone who is celibate is not having sex by definition, while someone who is asexual doesn't experience sexual attraction, but they may or may not be having sex.


Sexual abstinence or sexual restraint is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, financial, philosophical, moral, or religious reasons. Asexuality is distinct from sexual abstinence.  And celibacy is sexual abstinence generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs. Sexual abstinence before marriage is required in some societies by social norms, or, in some countries, even by laws, and is considered part of chastity.

Abstinence may be voluntary (when an individual chooses not to engage in sexual activity due to moral, religious, philosophical reasons), an involuntary result of social circumstances (when one cannot find any willing sexual partners), or legally mandated (in countries where sexual activity outside marriage is illegal or while in prison).  

Abstinence is a self-enforced limit in engaging in any bodily activities that are typically related to desire. Most commonly, the term being abstinent refers to sexual abstinence, which means not having any type of sexual intercourse or sex play with a partner.


Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions that place special value and significance on this state, predominantly towards unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth.

Like chastity, the concept of virginity has traditionally involved sexual abstinence. The concept of virginity usually involves moral or religious issues and can have consequences in terms of social status and in interpersonal relationships.

The term virgin originally only referred to sexually inexperienced women, but has evolved to encompass a range of definitions, as found in traditional, modern and ethical concepts. Heterosexual individuals may or may not consider loss of virginity to occur only through penile-vaginal penetration, while people of other sexual orientations often include oral sex, anal sex or mutual masturbation in their definitions of losing one's virginity.

Asexuality and Celibacy

Defining Celibacy

Abstinence and Contraception

Defining Sexual Abstinence

Defining Virginity 



What is virginity? Virginity is the state of never having had sex. But people define “sex” and “losing virginity” in many different ways.

What does it mean to be a virgin? A virgin is someone who has never had sex. But it’s not quite as simple as it seems. That’s because sex means different things to different people, so virginity can mean different things, too.

A lot of people think that having penis-in-vagina sex for the first time is how you lose your virginity. But this leaves lots of people and other types of sex out of the picture.

Some people haven’t had penis-in-vagina sex, but they’ve had other kinds of sex (like oral sex or anal sex) and they may or may not see themselves as virgins. And there are lesbian, gay, bisexual or pansexual people who may never have penis-in-vagina sex at all. But they probably don't see themselves as lifelong virgins just because they haven’t had penis-in-vagina sex.

Many people believe rape and sexual assault aren’t sex. It’s only sex if both partners have consent. So if someone was forced or pressured the first time they had vaginal sex, oral sex, or anal sex, they may not see that as “losing their virginity.”

Bottom line: the definition of virginity is complicated, and it’s really up to you to decide what you believe. Some people don't even care what “virginity” means or think it matters. Stressing about whether you’re a virgin is way less important than how you feel about your sexual experiences. Ask yourself: are you happy with the sexual experiences you've had or decided not to have?


What is Virginity?

Video: Actual Definition of Virgin

Healthline: Losing Your Virginity

First Time Sex



Relationships, Squishes, and Zucchini
Being in a relationship does not necessarily imply that there is romance. The asexual community (including aromantics) separates sexual and romantic orientation.
There is such a thing as non-romantic loving relationships. Most people would agree that family is kind of non-romantic loving relationship, especially from the mother to the children, but friendship and companionship may be more important than romantic partnership even for some romantic people.
Not only is love not exclusive of romance, but even infatuation. For the latter, the asexual community coined the term “squish” to refer to an asexual aromantic crush. And they recently coined the term “zucchini” to refer to an aromantic platonic relationship.



Queerplatonic Relationships
A queerplatonic relationship (QPR) is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model. It is characterized by a strong bond, love, and emotional commitment, yet is not perceived by those involved as romantic or more than a friendship. Being a so-called platonic relationship, it does not comprehend sexuality/eroticism or exclusivity nor it is this what the relationship is organized around. It is defined by the intensity and significance of the emotional connection.
The people involved do not have to identify as queer. It is a type of relationship experienced by and available to anybody regardless of their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, or monogamy. The people involved in a queerplatonic relationship may consider themselves partners, life-partners, a couple, a triad, or any other term that implies the relationship is meaningful, committed and intimate. Because queerplatonic relationships are not based on exclusivity, a participant of the relationship may have multiple QPPs and exclusive relationships (romantic or sexual) with a third party not involved in the QR.
Queerplatonic partners (QPs or QPPs) are sometimes referred to as "zucchini.” This was originally a joke within the aromantic asexual community, underscoring the lack of words in mainstream relationship discourse to signify meaningful relationships that do not follow the standard and expected sexual/romantic norms, and frustration with the erasure of other kinds of intimacy, which were perceived as equally valuable to the sexual/romantic model.
Due to the controversy surrounding the reclamation of "queer", an alternative to queerplatonic is "quasiplatonic" or "quirkyplatonic".
In some situations the people involved can show physical affection such as cheek kisses, pecks on the lips, holding hands, sitting on each other's lap, seeing each other naked, cuddling and literally sleeping together. To QPPs, these activities are not necessarily romantic nor sexual/erotic.









Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama