Asexuality 101 part 1: Introduction

This is the draft I have for the section on introducing what asexuality is, and is not, and the definitions usually used, for the asexuality and related concepts 101 page I got started on here. Libido, romantic orientation, other types of attraction, attitudes towards sex, are mentioned, and each have their own separate sections. This is an early draft, open to suggestions, including a change in the structure, if it’d be better to include other things under the “Asexuality” heading than just the definition(s).
Is there anything you’d want me to put under the “rhetoric to avoid” for this section? The only thing I can think of right now is to avoid conflating asexuality with other things that happen to overlap with it.
EDIT: This is an edited version, based off of suggestions made in the comments. Thanks to luvtheheaven and killerbee13 for the suggestions.

Asexuality

Basic definitions

Asexuality (in English) has two basic definitions that are usually used:

  1. A person who does not experience sexual attraction.
  2. 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.

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8 thoughts on “Asexuality 101 part 1: Introduction

  1. luvtheheaven

    “The lack of sexual attraction does not imply that they is always no sex drive.” – I think you meant “there”, not “they”, in that sentence. Just a minor typo type thing.

    And um… the one of the first questions I’ve seen allosexuals raise after learning this definition for asexuality is “But do you masturbate?” and while you do mention that we can have “ranging libidos” you may want to clarify, explicitly, that some asexuals masturbate while others don’t. I don’t like the idea that it’s “just like” in the allosexual population and get frustrated when that comparison is made – from what I can tell, masturbation is often a different experience for aces than it is for aces, if they do it, and I also am fairly sure that more aces don’t masturbate than allos, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway you don’t have to add anything about masturbation to this section, but it’s just something to consider.

    The other thing is I think there is some redundancy going on here. I think you define asexuality right under the “Asexuality” heading but then also under the “Definitions” section and it’s just kinda weird for you to say so many things twice. I think the more concise the page is, the more likely people will bother to read the whole thing.

    I hope I’m not offering too much advice. I’m just trying to help. Feel free to ignore anything I’m saying if you think I’m wrong.

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    1. luvtheheaven

      And by “but maybe that’s just me” I meant, but maybe the anecdotal evidence I have personally seen to that effect is incorrect. I have no statistics to back me up. So ultimately I’m not sure. Regardless, I’m not suggesting you say much. Just one short sentence added about masturbation right around the sex drive/libido sentence. Of course, I also think you should only have one definitions section, not two.

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        1. luvtheheaven

          I don’t think adding that in is necessary. I just was trying to tell you that I’d prefer if you *avoided* the wording “some asexuals masturbate while others don’t, just like the variance there is in the non-asexual population” or whatever. I was just mentioning that I don’t like that wording. So I’d rather you leave it at “some asexuals masturbate and others don’t”. Like I said, keeping things simple and concise is probably ideal. BUT… whatever you want to do works! 😉 This is just my opinion.

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    2. Aqua Post author

      Thanks for the input! I really needed it!

      Oops. That is a typo, and I should elaborate more on masturbation in the libido section, since I didn’t directly mention it. The first part was supposed to show the diversity of the asexual community, before going into what asexuality specifically is. Another way I could do that, is change the “asexuality” heading to something like “The asexual community is diverse”, while listing the ways asexuals are different from each other. The “Definitions” heading is a sub-heading, but that’s not really noticeable under this blog theme.

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      1. luvtheheaven

        I think it *is* clear that “Definitions” was supposed to be a subheading. I didn’t miss that fact, actually. I mean, the text is smaller, and the way the bold works… it’s clear enough.

        And, yeah, well… subheading or not, I still think maybe you need to first define what asexuality specifically is, THEN elaborate on how diverse the community is. As it is now, it feels like you’re repeating yourself when it’d be better to say everything just once. When I do a control + F search for “sexual attraction” the term comes up in two completely separate paragraphs. Same with “libido”. And I just feel like it’d be great if you could condense this Asexuality 101 “part 1” post to have those things come up once each.

        And I agree with killerbee13, “does not experience sexual attraction yet DOES experience a desire for partnered sex” is what certain aces describe as their experience.

        You may also want to mention that there is an asexual spectrum/umbrella and gray areas here. You don’t have to expand on the definitions of them here in this section, but you could briefly mention that it can be nuanced and that you’ll be explaining about gray areas, demisexuality, etc on a different webpage. Just a suggestion.

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  2. killerbee13

    I think that you should mention in the last section that there are asexual-identified people who are sex-favorable, under the definition you have marked as #1, and for whom #2 fails to capture their experiences. The way it is written it seems to state that some people object to def. #1, and say #2 is better, but there’s no counterpoint to that saying that #2 also isn’t perfect.

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    1. WovenTales

      I’d agree with that, though I might go a bit farther and say that it is difficult to find a wording for #2 that is not problematic in some way. This is going to sound elitist and exclusionary, but when I started following the asexual community a year ago (though, admittedly, I don’t frequent AVEN where #2 might have come from), #1 was the only definition in use. Following it by stating that there are aces who experience sexual desire was standard, and including the counterpoint of there being allos who experience sexual attraction but not desire (though they may not conceptualize their experiences as such) wasn’t uncommon. Most of the conversations followed that model, looking purely at how a lack of attraction affected things.

      #2 seems to have suddenly appeared in definitions of asexuality a couple months ago. I’m sure a lot of people have added it to be inclusive, but I feel it might have the opposite effect; now, instead of just needing to give the standard corollaries to #1 (attraction =/= desire, etc.), we need to add that some aces may fit one definition but not the other and maybe a couple other explanatory sentences. On the other side of things, the asexual elitists were already saying that experiencing sexual desire doesn’t make you a “true” asexual, and having #2 right in the definition seems like it would make it even easier to turn an “or” into an “and”.

      Basically, why have we suddenly added this to the definition? Yes, it’s more inclusive, but it seems like it’s inclusive at the expense of being clearly defined and despite a wide swath of previous discussion, while opening up the ability to much more easily be exclusive. Am I just missing something?

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