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    Everything You Need To Know About Asexuality

    You can be asexual and still want a romantic relationship.

    Alexa Fishman / BuzzFeed

    Asexuality is one of the most frequently misunderstood identities.

    Even though it's starting to show up more frequently in pop culture — like on Bojack Horseman or Game of Thrones — not everyone knows what it means to identify as asexual.


    There can be a lot of inaccurate labels and beliefs around the term, and that's why it's especially important to educate yourself and others about it.

    To help with this, we spoke to Antonia Hall, a psychologist and sex and relationships expert, who walked us through what asexuality is — as well as some common misconceptions around it.

    The biggest thing to know? Asexuality exists on a spectrum — so it can mean different things for different people.

    If you're asexual, you can still enjoy things like kissing, touching, or cuddling — without wanting to have partnered sex.

    Relationships to sex can be very differfent within the asexual community, too. For example, some can have sex or masturbate without being driven by attraction.

    Aegosexuality is a kind of asexuality where a person might get aroused in response to certain triggers as long as they are sufficiently removed form themselves. The list below includes some common aegosexual experiences. (1/4)

    They might masturbate because it feels good or relieves stress — or they might have sex because they want to have a child.

    'Asexual' is also an umbrella term with a lot of smaller subcategories within it or related to it.

    But — and this is key — you shouldn't confuse asexuality with things like celibacy, abstinence, sexual dysfunction, or low libido. They're not the same thing.

    Eleni Kalorkoti / BuzzFeed News

    Because having a low sex drive (when you normally enjoy sex) can be caused by a number of factors, it's not unlikely for some to dismiss or mislabel asexuality as just a "side effect" of other issues, says Hall.

    "There's a common belief that the lack of sexual desire experienced by asexuals is consequential and labels like 'sexual dysfunction' can be inappropriately assigned," explains Hall. "There is no evidence that asexuality is caused by a chemical imbalance."

    Similarly, unlike celibacy or abstinence — which are choices — asexuality is seen as an inherent disposition, according to Hall.

    Asexuals can deal with a lot of inaccurate labels and misconceptions, particularly from people who try to "help" them.

    Instead, if you or someone you know identifies as asexual, it's important to work towards acceptance, understanding, and non-judgment.

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    "Asexuals may experience anxiety caused by societal misunderstandings about sexual orientations that fall outside the heterosexual norm," says Hall.

    But as Hall sums up: many asexuals lead fulfilling and happy lives with no desire to change who they are. And anything we can do to dispel misunderstandings, educate others, and foster inclusivity is a positive thing.

    For more asexuality resources, check out the The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network. 💜