Updated: Nov 21, 2020
By Lauren Zakari
Image via amazn.to
Warning: this article contains mature content
Have you ever cringed at the thought of sex, even found it a little disgusting? Are you able to remain completely calm during those steamy scenes in movies and tv shows? Do you get bored when people talk about their flings?
If you said yes to any of these statements, you may be asexual. But don’t worry, it’s really not that scary or mysterious. Before diving into some of the specific signs, I want to say that I am specifically focusing here on asexuality and won’t really be touching on being aromantic.
Asexual people make up about 1% of the population meaning that there are about 71,250,000 people who fall under this “label” and probably plenty of people who don’t self-identify. Personally, I've never met anyone else who identifies as ace. I barely even knew that it was an option until probably up until recently when I started to question exactly what I was feeling.
The first thing that people don’t realize about asexuality is that it is a spectrum. It ranges from a complete lack of sexual attraction to feeling sexual attraction in certain situations. An example of this would be someone who identifies as demisexual: when someone only experiences sexual attraction after getting to know someone on a personal level. For me, that I know of, I really don’t feel sexual attraction ever. I don’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like, but I’m like 90% sure I haven’t really experienced it. If you want a more articulate description of what it feels like to not feel sexual attraction watch this scene from the show Sex Education. When I was questioning, this small scene really hit hard as I found someone that perfectly described me. Another misconception about this is that people who are asexual never have sex. There are people who identify as ace who still have a libido (aka your sex drive) but lack sexual attraction (which is the process of finding some sexually attractive and wanting to have sex with them). So as you can see, it's not black and white, but a wide and complicated range of feelings.
Another thing people misunderstand about asexuality is that it’s not a choice. It has no relation to celibacy or abstinence, which are both situations where people who feel sexual attraction consciously choose not to have sex. Personally, I sometimes wish that I wasn’t ace so that I could feel semi-normal. I think about the future of finding a partner and worry that it’ll be much harder for me than the “average” person because I don’t want to have sex with anyone. There’s a set expectation in society that every relationship has to have sex and that one of the milestones of a relationship with someone is that first time. I would feel guilty of depriving a romantic partner of sex just because I don’t feel anything. But after feeling like that, I have to remind myself that sex isn’t everything. I have to remind myself that there are people who feel the same way that I do and realize that sometimes it’s okay to be the cool single wine aunt. Despite this, I just want to clarify that being ace doesn’t affect the need for intimacy or romance. There is no limit to people’s emotional needs just because they're ace. People can still want to be intimate, maybe not in a sex way, but in an emotional way. I personally know that I am very much a hopeless romantic who loves, well, love.
So now that we got that all of the way, hopefully there’s a bit more clarity about what exactly asexuality is. So now here are 4 signs that you may be asexual (some taken from the linked article) and my personal experience with these.
You Rarely Develop Crushes
The way that I saw this and really did the *slap your hand over your mouth really hard* thing. I relate to this one a lot and I don’t think I ever realized that this wasn’t normal. I remember being in middle school and everyone else had crushes on like a ton of different boys in our grade. We even had a little codename system where we’d call people’s crushes fruit names to keep it all a secret. I never had a fruit name because I really wasn’t interested in anyone. I used to think it was because I had extremely high standards, but I have now realized that my unrecognized asexuality played a role. Throughout the last 18 years of my life, I have only had 3 real crushes, and 2 out of the 3 of those are debatable. I have only had one boyfriend in my life and my crush on him developed over like 2 years. I remember I didn’t really like him like that and I was going to die on that hill, but it slowly started getting more and more obvious that I in fact liked him in a romantic way and not just a friend way. But that’s another important distinction: when I have a crush on someone, I never have a crush because I’m sexually attracted to them or simply because I think they’re cute. It, sadly, has to be a deeper connection than just thinking someone is good-looking meaning that I never got those “airport crushes” where you saw someone from across the room and knew you liked them.
You Zone Out when your Friends Talk About their Hookups
This is another one where I was just shocked at how accurate this was. I mentioned this one earlier, but I truly can’t sit and listen to people’s sexual experiences. I will always be very supportive of my friends and them feeling comfortable in their sexuality, but I will not be able to pay attention for very long.
You Find Sex Just a *Little* Disgusting
Now I didn’t know that not everyone has an irrational fear of male genitalia. Or that most people don’t think that sex sounds disgusting. I have slowly realized that I am in fact in a minority that wouldn’t be caught dead touching a penis. I feel like media only talks about the way that humans are programmed to want sex and not the side of it where there are people who don’t feel that way. Other than that Sex Education scene I linked above, I have never watched a movie or TV show or read a book that had an asexual character. I won't go too much into detail in this article, but there is a constant erasure of ace/aro people in media when people mistakenly think that the "A" in LGBTQIA+ stand for "ally" and not "asexual/aromantic" and just the sheer lack of representation anywhere.
You Can Tell Someone is Attractive, but you aren’t Attracted to Them
So this one may seem contradictory, but being asexual does not mean you are blind to people’s physical attractiveness. You can still very much tell when someone is hot. Like I know that Harry Styles is possibly the most handsome person on this planet, but that doesn’t mean I want to sleep with him. Like I understand that he is super hot when he sings “Medicine,” but I’m not turned on by it (I'm more of an "Anna" girl myself). I just want to be his best friend, but that’s a conversation for another time. But yeah, we can tell when someone is hot, but we don’t really feel attraction.
To conclude, if you are questioning whether or not you are ace, or you already know, just know that it’s okay. You shouldn’t feel ashamed that you aren’t “normal” or that you don’t want to have sex with someone because sex isn’t everything. And also don’t be ashamed if you label yourself as ace and then do sometimes feel sexual attraction, that’s normal too. You aren’t unlovable, you aren’t weird, you aren’t crazy. You are perfectly normal and you also aren’t alone.
Written by writer Lauren Zakari