Common Misconceptions of Asexuality
Updated: Nov 11
The concept of asexuality has slowly been gaining more awareness. As a quick review, asexuality is a spectrum and refers to individuals who do not experience sexual attraction toward anyone regardless of gender. People who identify as asexual sometimes refer to themselves as Ace or Aces.
Given the field of sexuality, attraction, and gender is rather large and complex, asexuality is a less well-known orientation on the list of LGBTQIA+ identities.
Common Misconceptions of Asexuality
People think being asexual is “wrong” or means they have a medical condition.
o In reality, there is nothing wrong with someone being asexual.
o People do not need sex to live as healthy human beings or to be in healthy, fulfilling relationships.
o Love can exist without sex.
People, who identify as asexual, “just haven’t met the ‘right’ person yet” or it is just a phase.
o This is extremely invalidating and shaming them for identifying as asexual.
o There is no “right” person. They just identify as asexual.
People, who are asexual, hate sex.
o No. They just don’t feel sexual attraction towards others.
o Asexuality is a spectrum, so some may feel a level of sexual attraction in certain circumstances.
Asexuality is celibacy.
o This is incorrect. Celibacy is abstaining from sexual intercourse for various reasons (e.g., religious reasons), and these individuals often experience sexual attraction.
o Asexuality is having no or minimal sexual attraction to others.
Asexuality is a fear of intimacy.
o This is inaccurate. People, who identify as asexual, can have intimate relationships without sexual attraction, such as close friendships.
o They can have sex without experiencing sexual attraction.
o They can have romantic crushes on people as well.
Asexuality is a loss of libido.
o This is incorrect. If you had a libido, it may be loss due to a specific situation (e.g., loss of job, episode of depression, etc.). Moreover, sexuality and libido can fluctuate over time.
Individuals, who identify as asexual, do not experience discrimination or oppression.
o This is false. Given the lack of information and awareness, those who are asexual tend to be targeted because they do not feel sexual attraction.
o They themselves often feel alone or like something is wrong with them.
People, who identify as asexual, should dress a certain way to not illicit sexual attraction from others.
o This is horribly backwards and wrong. It is like blaming a sexual assault survivor for the assault.
o People can dress however they want to dress to express themselves.
Knowing the common misconceptions can help prevent inadvertently invalidating yourself and/or your loved ones. It is important to know about asexuality since you or someone you know may identify as asexual without even knowing it. Placing your own identities or values onto another person if they identify with something different does not help. Go in with an open-mind and be open to learning about another person’s identity.
While asexuality is under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, some in this community are unsupportive of people who identify as asexual. Asexuality is a legitimate sexual orientation. Having terms for one’s experience can be helpful and feel less isolating.
There are multiple online forums and Ace week is from October 22-28 for those who identify as asexual for additional support. Some who identify as asexual may choose to “come out,” but it is not a requirement. If you are interested in learning more in podcast form, an asexual activist, model, and writer, Yasmin Benoit, conducted an interview on an I Weigh with Jameela Jamil episode, Asexuality and Aromanticism with Yasmin Benoit. Benoit co-founded International Asexuality Day, April 6, and founded UK’s first asexual rights initiative.
All in all, sexuality is complicated since humans are. With how today’s society treats sex, gender, and attraction, individuals who do not identify with heterosexuality or as hetero-romantic tend to be marginalized and discriminated against. At the same time, everyone is on their own journey in learning and exploring their identities. Every journey is different because people are different. There are no right or wrong way to explore your identities.
At the end of the day, you define your identities, whether it is sexuality, gender, or something else. It takes a lot to be able and confident to move through the world as your authentic self. It is okay if you cannot or do not want to…safety is a very important factor to be considered. Living life as a human is difficult enough without us placing extra pressure on ourselves to live a certain type of life. Live your life as you see fit.
If you are interested in exploring your various identities, feel free to contact us here for our mental health services.
Stay tuned. The next topic is "End of Daylight Saving and Start of Seasonal Depression?"
Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.
Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.