A recent article by the director of a new documentary about asexuality reminded us that “asexual” is one of those terms that gets thrown around in casual conversation so much that it’s easy to forget what it really means (kind of like “passive-aggressive”). So here’s a brief primer for you.
1. Asexuality is not a choice. Celibacy is a choice; asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like being straight or gay.
2. The official definition of asexuality is “someone who does not experience sexual attraction.” (Being too tired to have sex or too closeted to have the kind of sex you really want doesn’t count.)
3. Being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t masturbate. Many asexuals have a sex drive, it just doesn’t translate into wanting sex with someone else.
4. Being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t experience attraction, either — it just means you just don’t feel the need to act on it sexually.