It’s 2022 and there are so many ways we can identify our sexuality and attraction toward others. Hooray! The Kinsey Scale, invented all the way back in 1948, helps people read examples of sexual attraction and identify what feels best for them. Although the Kinsey Scale was a great invention in sexual research and health, it does not accommodate all sexual identities. Asexuality, for example, isn’t on the scale, and is often forgotten about and misunderstood in the conversation about sexual attraction.
What is asexuality?
Asexuality describes a sexual orientation in which someone is not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender. Asexuality deals with sexual desire and is different than celibacy or consciously choosing to not have sex for a period of time. Asexual people do not feel an inherent sexual desire or attraction towards others. People that do feel sexual attraction are allosexual.
As with any identity or sexual orientation, asexuality exists on a spectrum. Think of asexuality as an umbrella term with other identities underneath it. Some asexual people identify as “Grey-A” or someone that feels their attraction and desire is somewhere in between asexual and allosexual. There are also demisexuals, or people who need to feel a strong emotional bond with someone before ever feeling any sexual attraction.
What are different types of asexuality?
Just because someone is asexual or ace, that does not mean they don’t want to find love or a relationship. Ace people still can feel romantic attraction towards others, and some ace people do have sex with their partners. Just like allosexual people, people choose to have sex for many reasons: to feel close to someone, to express their love, for fun, maybe we’re bored, to have an orgasm, etc. Asexual people can choose to have sex with their partner as a way to express romantic attraction, or as a way to care for their partner. There are some sex-repulsed asexual people, but that is another identity under our asexuality umbrella.
How does attraction work?
I love reading and learning about asexuality because it makes me think of all the wonderful ways we can be attracted to someone. There is sexual attraction of course, but also romantic attraction. How does romantic attraction feel different than sexual attraction? There is intellectual attraction. Aesthetic attraction or simply recognizing that someone looks good. Platonic attraction. Emotional attraction. It’s so exciting to think about! Within yourself and your attraction, you can examine how all of these different factors help you feel sexual attraction. Which attraction comes first?
Someone that is asexual can still identify with types of romantic attraction as well, although, under our ace umbrella, there are some people who are aromantic or don’t experience romantic attraction. You can be aromantic and still allosexual, however. Someone could feel sexual desire or urges, but choose to fulfill those urges on their own or outside of a romantic relationship. A full list exploring different types of romantic attractions can be found here.
If you are questioning your sexuality or attraction, there are many resources online. Go to your local Planned Parenthood and have an information session with an educator there. Find forums online. If you are a student, find the LGBTQ organization or center on campus and find like-minded people to talk to. Asexuality and sexual orientation are beautiful, exciting things to explore.