When some people hear the word “asexual,” they think of someone who doesn’t have sex. But actually, some asexual people do have sex. And they masturbate. And they look at porn. And they do pretty much everything, because there are as many ways to be asexual as there are to be sexual.
“I personally define asexuality as a spectrum, and I'm grey ace,” Alaina, 24, tells Bustle. “I need to be really emotionally connected to someone to feel sexually attracted to them or want to have sex.” Alaina is in a relationship with someone who’s not asexual.
“I like to have sex with my partner because it's a way for us to be physically intimate with one another beyond cuddling and kissing,” she says. “Because I'm asexual, I can't always jump right into sex or a sexual mood the way a lot of people can, so it takes me more time and preparation to get there, but that's something my girlfriend respects and we've worked it into our sex life.”
"I define asexuality as an orientation where you are attracted to people, but with a lot of caveats."
"I define asexuality as an orientation where you are attracted to people, but with a lot of caveats," they say. "Sometimes, you're only attracted to folks who are smart, or folks who you connect with. Sometimes, you're attracted to folks, but never want to have sex with them."
Wolfe has sex with their long-term partner often and masturbates three times a week or more, thinking about people they know or imaginary people. They can't get turned on by thinking about celebrities because they don't know them.
Taryn, 26, who blogs about sex at Ace In The Hole, is also an asexual person in a relationship that involves sex. “It keeps us close, helps me relax, and incorporating kink can help my mental health as well by reducing my anxiety,” she tells Bustle. Taryn defines asexuality as “no sexual attraction to other people, not by an ability or inability to get aroused or enjoy porn or erotica.” In fact, Taryn often uses porn and erotica to masturbate because “it feels good,” she says. “It's been really helpful for my depression and anxiety, as well as learning what I like and what I don't like.”
Alaina also masturbates. “Even though I'm asexual, I have always had sexual urges at least on my own — the drive to masturbate to feel pleasure and a release,” she says. “My masturbating hasn't always been tied to a specific person or thoughts of sex, because I'm asexual, although it can be.”
The Myths About Asexuality
There are a lot of myths about asexuality, the biggest being that it doesn’t exist, says Taryn. Another is that they have “no desire for sex or sexual pleasure,” says Alaina. For some asexual people, like Taryn, asexuality is more about lack of attraction than lack of sex drive. And others, like Alaina, are not completely asexual all the time and might actually feel attraction to people sometimes. “Most aces I know fit somewhere on the spectrum, and even sexual people I know are on a spectrum somewhere too, with different feelings about sex/sexuality and sex drives,” says Alaina.
"Don't think of everything as black and white. There's a ton of grey in there too."
"As someone who identifies as a demisexual slut, I want folks to know that ace humans can have a ton of sex if they want it and still identify as asexual," says Wolfe. "We all have connective needs even if they are different. Don't think of everything as black and white. There's a ton of grey in there too. Just look at our flag."
Sex educator Kenna Cook agrees. "No two people are alike, regardless of how they sexually identify," she tells Bustle. "Asexual people may chose to have sex or masturbate because it is a stress and tension reliever. Maybe they're bored. Maybe because it feels good to have an orgasm. Having an orgasm is not the same thing as experiencing sexual attraction."