Asexuality (in English) has two basic definitions that are usually used:
- A person who does not experience sexual attraction.
- A person who does not experience an intrinsic desire for partnered sex.
The first definition is the most widely used. “Sexual attraction” is usually defined as that feeling of desiring to have sex with a specific person. The second definition is sometimes used, because not everyone understands what “sexual attraction” is supposed to mean, and finds the definition for it either unclear, or not meaningful to them personally.
Some people find the second definition more clear. There are also allosexuals (people who aren’t asexual nor gray-asexual) who say that they don’t experience “sexual attraction” as the asexual community defines it, but they say they’re allosexual, because they desire sex. A comparison that has been used, is that someone who is allosexual will still have desires for sex, even if they lived their life in complete isolation.
There is the added issue that some define asexuality as lacking sexual attraction and/or the intrinsic desire for partnered sex, drawing a clear line between what “sexual attraction” is, and the “intrinsic desire for partnered sex”.
There are other asexual people who feel like the first definition fits their experiences, but the second one doesn’t. These reasons are why a combined definition of “Doesn’t experience sexual attraction and/or an intrinsic desire for partnered sex” has grown in popularity.
An expanded definition
Asexuality is an orientation where an individual does not experience sexual attraction. However, asexuals may have romantic, or other attractions. The lack of sexual attraction does not imply that they is always no sex drive. Asexuals can have ranging libidos. (Credit to Stained Glass from AVEN for suggesting this expanded definition.)
Asexuals are a diverse group
Some asexuals experience romantic attraction, others don’t, and some don’t distinguish romantic from platonic feelings.
Some asexuals are repulsed by sex, while others are indifferent to it, and some may enjoy it. [note: in the “attitudes towards sex” section, this’ll be elaborated on a lot more, including statistics to show that these groups aren’t equally-sized]
Asexuality isn’t celibacy or sexual abstinence, though many asexuals happen to be celibate, and can be for different reasons. Likewise, others are sexually active, and can be for different reasons.