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The Biggest Misconceptions About Asexuality, According To Asexuals

"That we're robots or children or some sort of innocent mythical being that transcends the human need for intimacy."

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Asexuality is often referred to as "the invisible orientation," surrounded by misinformation and misunderstanding. BuzzFeed reached out to individuals who identify as asexual to discuss the misconceptions they are most tired of hearing.

Here are the things they told us:

"Sex drive or libido is your desire for sexual release, which can be relieved by masturbation or with a partner if a person so chooses. Sexual attraction, on the other hand, is usually entirely focused on specific people or things." —Ashley, 20

"There are asexual people who don't experience romantic love, and that's fine! However, there are other types of love that exist that asexual people can experience: love for one's family, love for one's friends... Just because many of us don't experience sexual attraction doesn't mean that we can't love each other or our family, friends, or pets." —Bay, 18

"Because I am in a relationship with someone who is sexual, we have come up with compromises that work for us. I am repulsed by intercourse, but there are outercourse acts I am comfortable doing, and I participate in those because I know they make my partner happy. Sometimes my body reacts, but most of the time I don't 'get anything' out of it. My attitude toward sex is: If it happens, whatever. If it doesn't happen, whatever. I have no craving or desire for it, like my partner does." —Anonymous, 23

"Sexual attraction differs from sexual behavior, so even though there are asexuals who have sex, they can still be asexual. Or if someone hasn't had sex and never wants to, it's not necessarily that they're resisting it; they just don't feel any desire or interest to. Sexuality is fluid, but [being asexual is] not something you can just decide to be one day." —Rachel, 23

"What I think is great about not 'worrying' about the sex aspect of a relationship is that it allows the emotional bond to strengthen even more. Especially with compromises such as the ones my partner and I make regarding sex (outercourse only — no intercourse), they really show that we care for and love each other, because we're willing to compromise on something so 'essential' to human existence. The most fulfilling part of a relationship is being emotionally intimate with someone I consider to be my best friend." —Anonymous, 23

"I'm married to a very heterosexual dude! I know that he requires sex for happiness. He knows that I don't think about it and I also require mental preparation. So like all healthy functioning couples, WE SCHEDULE IT. It's like a super-rad road trip for him and cleaning out the fridge for me! ROMANCE! It certainly removes the spontaneity, but he gets sex and I don't get freaked out ... Just because I don't want sex doesn't mean that it's not mine to give. I'm certainly not getting anything out of it, but he is, so it's a present just for him. These are options you have in any relationship, not just asexual ones." —Gin, 34

"Asexuals are told every day that they are broken, delusional, repressed, wrong, abused, or emotionless, and it can be very debilitating to hear these things when you already feel like you don't belong." —Emily, 18

"Honestly, people seem to think we're robots or something. Or that we just 'haven't met the right person.' It's perfectly natural to not feel sexual attraction or to only feel it sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I've heard asexual friends (including myself) say that they feel broken. It's because asexuality is so thoroughly erased from the culture that no one knows it's a real thing." —Elliot, 22

"Romantic and sexual attraction are extremely different things — like socks and gloves. If asexuals don't wear gloves, they might still wear socks. If aromantics don't wear socks, they might still wear gloves." — Abe, 21

"Asexuality is a spectrum, which means there are lots of different subsets of it that people can identify [with], whether it's demisexuality (no sexual attraction without an emotional connection) or grey-asexuality (only some sexual attraction) or anything else. I identify only as asexual because I think that one fits me best, which is that I never experience sexual attraction." —Rachel, 23

"It's either mistaken for celibacy or some kind of corporal dysfunction." —Laura, 24

"It seems that a really common one is that no one is born asexual — that they were all 'turned' asexual somehow (e.g., sexual abuse, giving up on finding 'The One,' etc.) or that asexuality and celibacy (the choice to not have sex, whether you feel sexual attraction or not) are the same thing." —Ainslee, 22

"To quote Tumblr: 'What you're not doing is an abomination!'" —Lana, 17

"People think that we're broken individuals who must have experienced some sort of great trauma in our pasts (which can occasionally be the case but isn't that frequent), and others believe that we are attention-seekers, making up a sexuality because we wanted to feel 'special' and that one day we'll meet a guy or girl and finally stop being so 'frigid.' To be honest, it is the last assumption which I find most hurtful and something our community experiences from both the straight and LGBT community alike." —Hannah, 18

"The most common misconception by far is that asexuality is a choice. Let me tell you, from someone who waited patiently through two years of high school and four years of college and two years in the 'real world' (aka eight years of being at or above the age of consent) for a sex drive to magically appear out of the sky, it is NOT a choice. It is an orientation." —Anonymous, 23

"I do. It's often a stress reliever for me. Since I can become aroused when exposed to sexual stimuli (though I don't experience sexual attraction toward the target), masturbation usually takes care of that." —Bay, 18

"I do! And there are also many aces [people who identify as asexual] who don't. " — Shana, 18

"Mostly that we're robots or children or some sort of innocent mythical being that transcends the human need for intimacy. It's not like asexuals substitute sex with something else; there are a lot of jokes that go something along the lines of 'I like penises. She likes vagina. [Asexual person] just really likes dragons.' While that's all good and fun, it's not like asexuals choose something to be obsessed with instead of sex. You can't substitute something that you aren't missing, you know? Say you're not into coffee, but everyone else is. You don't replace your constant need for coffee with something else that's similar to coffee, because you don't even want coffee in the first place. It's not like you cut coffee out of your life; it just was never a part of your life to begin with." —Iladya, 19

"Sex is not necessary for a happy life. People don't seem to get that." —Elliot, 22

"Being asexual does not make you broken. Asexuals can still feel and express their love for people in other ways, whether it be through romantic and sensual gestures or even through commitment and friendship." —Dee, 17

"There's a huge difference between knowing you'll never be attracted to anyone or anything in the universe and thinking, I'll find someone someday. Even if I hadn't found the right person yet, that would still be demisexuality, which is on the ace spectrum. So really, either way it's asexuality. And some asexuals have never had sex, so it's not like, Oh well, my first time was really bad so I'm asexual. That's not how it works and that's how everyone seems to think that's how it works." —Anonymous, 17

"Just because I don't experience sexual attraction, people have told me that I should get my hormones checked, go on medications, go to therapy, etc. I've been called names like 'prude' and some weirder ones like 'plant' and 'amoeba,' which probably stemmed from people completely misunderstanding the definition of asexuality. Anyway, I'm really happy about where I am in life, without experiencing sexual attraction. This is the way I was made, and I don't really feel like I'm missing out. So don't tell me that I'm inhuman or broken, or anything like that." —Bay, 18

"I had, actually. This was 12 years ago, before asexuality really had what little visibility it has now. My orientation wasn't even considered a reason or cause for it at the time because my doctors and I simply didn't know about it... so we were treating a non-existent sex drive. We did what you'd expect... hormones, sex therapy, emotional therapy. I can assure you that these things won't fix it because it turns out there's nothing to fix. Asexuals are not broken." — Gin, 34

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