Goodful·Posted on Aug 29, 2020Everything You Need To Know About AsexualityYou can be asexual and still want a romantic relationship.by Julia PugachevskyBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink Alexa Fishman / BuzzFeed Asexuality is one of the most frequently misunderstood identities. View this photo on Instagram @aroace_of_spades / Via instagram.com 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. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Netflix 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. View this photo on Instagram @the_proud_ace / Via instagram.com Broadly speaking, an asexual (or "ace") is someone who typically doesn't experience sexual attraction or have interest in sex. Depending on the person, that might look like:• Someone who never experiences sexual attraction (or)• Someone who's attracted to people romantically, but not sexually (or) • Someone who only likes platonic relationships (or)• Someone who can experience sexual arousal without wanting to have sex with another person. If you're asexual, you can still enjoy things like kissing, touching, or cuddling — without wanting to have partnered sex. View this photo on Instagram @the_safe_ace_space / Via instagram.com "Comfort levels with physical and sexual activity vary within asexuality," Antonia Hall, a psychologist and sex and relationships expert, told BuzzFeed.For example, if you're asexual, you might love holding hands but have no desire for sexual intercourse. Or you might love being in romantic relationships but not enjoy sex or cuddling. 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. Ace Advocacy Glasgow @GlasgowAce 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) 05:44 AM - 12 Aug 2020 Reply Retweet Favorite 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. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com There are asexuals who are also aromantics, or people who don't want romantic relationships. There are asexuals who identify as graysexuals, or people who still feel or have felt sexual attraction on some occasions, but still pretty infrequently. Even within graysexuality, there are subcategories like demisexuals, or people who are only sexually attracted to someone once a strong emotional bond has been formed. 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. View this photo on Instagram @asexualmood / Via instagram.com Even if someone's intentions are good, saying things like "you just haven't found the right person yet!" or assuming that a person is asexual because of past negative sexual experiences can be really hurtful. (Besides also being untrue!) Instead, if you or someone you know identifies as asexual, it's important to work towards acceptance, understanding, and non-judgment. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF USA Network "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. 💜 Read more:• How I Discovered My Own Asexuality Without Knowing It• 16 Things Asexuals Want You To Know About Asexuality• Q&A: What Does It Mean To Be Demisexual?