We have, on AVEN, FAQ and info threads saying what asexuality is, which is awesome. First and foremost Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction.
I thought I would make a thread to clear up some of the most common misconceptions in regards to what asexuality is NOT.
Asexuality is not any of the following :
• A hatred of sex
• Sexual repulsion
• The inability to become aroused or to feel sexual pleasure
• A feeling of discomfort during acts of intimacy or sex
• Feeling nervous or fearing sex
• Lack of libido
• Chastity, Celibacy or Abstinence
• Disinterest in sex
I will note however these things can and do run in parallel for some asexuals; however they are not determining factors if someone is asexual or not: this means that you CAN be asexual and hate sex and/or feel discomfort during intimacy. You CAN be asexual and celibate or abstinent. But being celibate/abstinent, sex-repulsed or nervous during intimacy does NOT mean, on its own, being asexual.
See what I mean? You can be celibate without being asexual. In fact, you can be asexual and NOT be celibate: many asexual people, especially if in a relationship, have sex. Some even like it, for many different reasons. This, in fact, is an important point: asexuality has nothing to do with behavior.
Many people think that "not having sex" or "not being interested in sex" is the key of asexuality. While it's true that many asexual people don't have sex, and while it's very likely that most asexual people have no interest in sex, there are also sexual people who have little to no interest in sex because they prefer other aspects of relationships, even though they feel sexual attraction. You can see this in some mixed asexual-sexual relationships where the non-asexual partner decides to give up sex in order to stay with their loved one, or in many cases of celibacy/abstinence.
So, while "being not interested in sex" is easily a consequence of asexuality, it's not the cause nor the key of it, because there's also sexual people who aren't that interested in sex, even though they may not be the majority.
Many people think asexuality means not having a libido: this has been proven incorrect. Many asexual people have a libido, they just don't feel the need to share their sexuality with other people.
So, to sum things up:
- If you do not experience sexual attraction to anyone, and you also experience any of the listed factors: you still fit in the "asexual" label
- if you do not experience sexual attraction and you do not experience any of the listed factors: you still fit in the "asexual" label
- If you experience sexual attraction, but you experience any of the listed factors: you technically do not fit in the "asexual" label.
I hope this will help clearing up some confusion and help people find their own sexual orientation in an easier way, adding a different perspective from which to look at asexuality.