September is actually asexual awareness month! I've not done anything for it so far, so I wanted to write something to share with you to raise awareness. Today I thought I should address some common myths about asexuality.
Myth 1: Asexuals do not feel romantic attraction so do not enter into romantic relationships.
Fact: You are actually thinking of the term “aromantic”. Sexual and romantic attraction are just two forms of attraction, and you do not need to feel one to experience the other. Many asexual people enter into romantic relationships without being sexually attracted to their partner, and many aromantics enter into sexual relationships without experiencing romantic attraction.
Myth 2: Asexual people do not have sex or have a libido
Fact: Libido, sexual desire, and sexual attraction are 3 separate concepts.
Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction, therefore asexuals can have a libido and can also experience sexual desire – as a result they may masturbate or have sex.
Myth 3: Asexuality is caused by either a medical issue or trauma
Fact: Whilst trauma and health issues can impact sexuality, libido, and sexual desire, this is not the case for the vast majority of asexuals. Being asexual is not a concern in and of itself, just like any other sexuality.
Myth 4: Asexuality is the same as celibacy or abstinence
Fact: Abstinence is about choosing to abstain from sex, and is usually temporary. Celibacy is about choosing to abstain from sex and sometimes marriage, and is usually a lifelong commitment. They both are active choices that an individual may make, and being asexual is not a choice. As mentioned above, asexuals may also choose to have sex, and may even get married.
Myth 5: All asexuals do not experience sexual attraction.
Fact: Asexuality is a spectrum, as is sexuality in general. There are people who define themselves as “grey asexual” or “demisexual" amongst other labels. This can often mean that the individual can only experience sexual attraction in certain scenarios, or very rarely. Each asexual identity is personal to the individual, which is true of every sexuality, and there are identities that experience sexual attraction and can fall under the asexual spectrum.
Myth 6: Sexual and romantic attraction are the only types of attraction.
Fact: Here is a list of different types of attraction that I know of, but of course there may be more:
• Aesthetic attraction: being attracted to someone based on how they look
• Sensual or physical attraction: wanting to touch, hold, or cuddle someone
• Platonic attraction: wanting to be friends with someone
• Emotional attraction: wanting an emotional connection with someone
It is important to remember that asexuality is different for each person, and can include people who are sex-repulsed, asexual, and aromatic, as well as people in long term relationships with someone they have sex with. Your libido, sexual desire, and sexual attraction may fluctuate over time, and you may have periods where a label other than asexuality fits you best. It is totally okay to fall anywhere on the asexual spectrum, and to change your label as often as needed, as the most important thing is to feel comfortable with how you express yourself and your own sexuality.