What does the term Asexuality mean?
When someone says they are Ace/Asexual, that could be the only term they use to describe themselves, or they could use a different word under what is known as the Asexual umbrella. In this post, I’m going to try to explain some of the more well-known terms commonly associated with or used in the Ace community.
Let’s look at the first and foremost term, Asexuality. I’m new to this lingo, and I want to educate myself better; what does being Ace mean?
Aces and Aros (one of the Community Hubs for Asexual Outreach) puts the definition of Asexuality best:
“Sexual attraction is a type of attraction to another person that involves a sexual interest towards them. While this attraction is normal for many people, this concept can be completely foreign for people who identify as asexual. Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone and does not experience a desire for sexual contact. Asexuality, like all sexual orientations, isn’t a choice. However, unlike abstinence and celibacy, which are both choices to avoid sex, Asexuality is an innate part of who someone is.”
How do I describe my perspective to others (or how I’m going to explain it to others now other than saying, “Do your research”): See that person over there (take your pic of attractive people). When I see them, I only see them as a person, and perhaps they are aesthetically pleasing (I’ve certainly thought, “damn, they’re fine”). Maybe I want to talk with them, but I don’t look at someone and think, “Hot damn, I need/want to get into their pants.” The conversation is happening because I’m interested in talking to them or having a romantic relationship, not sexual, and not with the intent of hitting on them or trying to go any further. I am still worthy of love, and platonic love interests me the most. It isn’t a choice or learned after so many years single; I was born this way.
Asexuality is a colourful, beautiful, powerful, and sometimes confusing umbrella. People may use many terms to describe themselves on top of being Ace, or they don’t identify as Ace but have a stronger attachment to another word under the umbrella. I will explain the principal terms used in the Ace community as best as possible. I realize I will miss some, so please let me know if I do, and I will gladly update this list.
Thank you to GLAAD for the flag pictures and help with the descriptions. I’ve described Asexual above, so now I’ll focus more on the other parts of the umbrella.
Aromanticism is commonly seen as the romantic-orientation counterpart to Asexuality. Someone who identifies as aromantic does not experience romantic attraction to anyone.
However, like someone who identifies as Asexual, they may still choose to engage in a romantic relationship. Or they may not. They may also identify as Aro-Ace, feeling neither sexual nor romantic attraction. It’s fairly common that a person will feel represented by two terms to describe their type of attraction. For example, I mostly identify as Demi-Ace, which represents asexual and demi-romantic).
Greysexual / Greyromantic
Greysexuality and greyromanticism are terms used by people who identify somewhere between asexual and sexual or aromantic and romantic.
People who identify with either of these terms can include those who: do not typically experience attraction but sometimes do, people who experience attraction but have a low sex drive, and those who can enjoy/desire sex or romance but under particular circumstances that they set.
Demisexual / Demiromantic
Demisexuals or demiromantics are people who don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction until a deep and significant emotional bond has been formed.
Demisexuals or demiromantics do not experience attraction to another person on the first appearance (i.e., sight) but do experience attraction that develops over time and is based on the person’s depth and connection to the other person in the relationship.
Aceflux / Aroflux
Someone identifying as Aceflux or Aroflux fluctuates between asexual and sexual or aromantic and romantic. Some who identify as such may always stay within the asexual or aromantic umbrella, while others occasionally fall outside.
For example, an aceflux or aroflux individual may feel super asexual or aromantic one day and less as strongly asexual the next day (i.e., a slight sexual attraction). But, on the other hand, they may occasionally feel allosexual (i.e., experience sexual or romantic attraction for other people more regularly).
Aegosexual / Aegoromantic
This definition comes from Live Love LGBTQ+. An acquaintance expressed regret that it is under-represented in mainstream media or any media, so I wanted to give some space to it. Aegosexuality is a disconnection between oneself and a sexual target/object of arousal. It may involve sexual fantasies or arousal in response to erotica/porn but lack any desire to participate in sexual activities. It used to be known as “autochorissexual.”
Aegoromantics are those who enjoy the concept of romance but feel disconnected between themselves and the subject of romantic fantasies. They may enjoy romantic fantasies/media/shipping in fandoms but tend to feel little or no romantic attraction in real life. Thanks to LGBTA+ Wiki for that definition!
If there are representations that are missing, let me know and I will gladly add them in! Psssttt…for my lived experience account, check out What it’s like to be an Ace Community Leader in Canada and The Challenges of Being Asexual in Canada.