Understanding asexuality and debunking myths

  • Asexuality means not being sexually attracted to other people.
  • But asexuality is a spectrum, which is why some people may have an aversion to sex while others feel indifferent.
  • Although many avoid sex, asexual people can still kiss, hug, and hold hands.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference for more tips.

When it comes to sex, everyone is different – some people may crave sex often, while others may not need it at all.

If you have little or no desire for sex or are not sexually attracted, you may be asexual. Asexuality is not very common, it is estimated 1.7% of non-heterosexual adults in the United States… However, this is still valid sexuality that people experience.

What does asexuality mean?

“Asexuality does not mean celibacy or lack of libido. It simply means that the person is not always or never sexually attracted, ”says Katherine Hertlein, Ph.D., sex therapist and sex therapy application advisor Blueheart

This means that some asexual people may masturbate and have sexual urges, but usually do not want to have sexual intercourse with another person.

Here are some signs of asexuality:

  • I have no desire to have sex with anyone
  • Failure to communicate with others when they talk about sexual desire.
  • Lack of mental or physical signs of arousal (such as vaginal lubrication or erection)
  • Have a partner but don’t feel sexually attracted to him

In relationships, some asexual people won’t have sex with their partner at all, so their partner needs to rely on masturbation to meet some of their needs, Hertlein says.

In other cases, asexual people may have sex to please their partner if their partner is not asexual. In other cases, asexual people may choose to date other asexual people.

However, lack of sex does not mean lack of intimacy. Hertlen says that asexual people can experience intimacy through:

  • General touch
  • Hold the hand
  • Hug
  • Kissing
  • Taking care of your partner

It’s also important to note that asexuality doesn’t automatically make you aromantic. Asexuals can fall in love or fall in love without a sexual aspect.

Asexual spectrum

Asexual people can be on any asexual spectrum. Hertlen says this spectrum includes people who:

  • Repulsive from sex: When someone is repulsed by sexual behavior.
  • Disgust for sex: When someone is completely uninterested in sexual behavior.
  • Indifferent to sex: When someone is indifferent or neutral about sexual behavior.
  • Favorable for sex: When someone is positive about sex in certain situations.

You may also hear about some common asexual identities, including:

  • Gray: When someone has little or no sex drive.
  • Coupiosexual: When someone is not sexually attracted but still wants to engage in sexual behavior, for example, if they want to have an orgasm or feel closer to a romantic partner.
  • Demisexual: When someone is sexually attracted only after meeting someone deeply emotionally.

There is no specific age when most asexual people realize that they are asexual, but some may notice it when they reach puberty and their friends are sexually attracted and talk about it, but they cannot relate to each other. Or they may not realize that they are sexless until later in life. “It depends on the person and their asexuality,” says Hertlein.

Myths about reality

Since asexuality is not usually understood by the masses, it is surrounded by some myths. Three common myths about asexuality:

  • Myth 1: Asexual people are not positive about sex. Positive sex means an open and unbiased attitude towards sex. “Even if asexual people are not sexually attracted, they can still be sexually positive,” says Hertlein.
  • Myth 2: Asexual people don’t have sexuality. While this may confuse people a little, asexuality is actually a form of sexuality. “[Asexuality] describes a person who has no sexual desire or sex drive, and this sexual preference is within himself, “says Hertlein.
  • Myth 3: Asexuality means sexual dysfunction. “This is a myth that is harmful to the asexual community,” says Hertlen. Asexuality is a sexual preference, not a sexual dysfunction. “This can lead to misdiagnoses, unnecessary medications, and problems with low self-esteem and confidence in asexual people,” Hertlein says.
  • Myth 4: asexuality is not the same as aromanticism: Unlike asexual people, perfumed people can crave sex. The difference is that scented people have no desire for relationships. But sometimes they can coexist: Study 2020 found that about 26% of asexual people are also aromatics.

Insider’s conclusion

Asexuality is a type of sexuality in which a person is usually not sexually attracted to others.

However, asexuality falls into a wide spectrum, and people experience it to varying degrees.

Asexual people may still be tempted to have romantic, healthy relationships.

If you are struggling with your own sexuality, feel free to contact a mental health professional who specializes in sexuality to discuss it in a safe place.

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