A listing of asexuality-related words.  If you have any objections, clarifications, or words you’d like to see added, please let me know.

Abstinence: Not participating in sexual activity (often specifically partnered sexual activity) by choice.

Ace: Colloquial abbreviation of “asexual”.  Often used to refer to asexual people in a similar manner as “gay” or “straight” are used to refer to homosexual or heterosexual people.  Ace also includes gray-asexual and demisexual people.

Ace Flag: A pride flag consisting of equally sized horizontal stripes, from top to bottom: Black, gray, white, and purple.

Ace Spectrum:  The grouping of asexual, demisexual, and gray-asexual under a single umbrella of related sexual orientation.

Aegosexuality:  See “Autochorissexualism”.

Aesthetic Attraction:  Non-sexual/non-romantic attraction to the way someone looks.  Often described as the desire to “admire someone like a painting”, but not necessarily anything further.

Affectional Orientation:  See “Romantic Orientation”.

Allo:  Usually short for “Allosexual”, but could also be short for “Alloromantic”, depending on context.

Alloromantic:  Someone who experiences romantic attraction; not aromantic.

Allosexual: Someone who experiences sexual attraction; not asexual.

Antisexual:  General dislike of sexuality or sexual activity, including instances where other people are involved.  Often accompanied by the belief that sex or sexuality in any form is “bad” or “wrong”.  Antisexual views should not be confused with asexuality.

Arc: Abbreviation for “Averse, Replused, or Conflicted”, which can describe someone’s personal feelings about sex or romance.

Aro: Short for “Aromantic”.

Aroace: Short for “Aromantic Asexual”.

Aromantic:  A romantic orientation characterized by a persistent lack of romantic attraction toward any gender.

Arousal:  Being “turned on”, generally accompanied by a physical genital response, such as erection and/or lubrication.

Asexuality:  A sexual orientation characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction to any gender.

Autochorissexualism:  Coined by Dr. Anthony Bogaert to describe the scenario where some ace people can be aroused by or masturbate to sexual situations or material, without experiencing attraction to those involved in the situation and without a desire to be personally involved in the situation.

Averse:  Feeling disgusted or put off by the thought of sex.  It’s not necessarily the thought that sex is “wrong”, more that there’s a personal “dislike”.

Biromantic:  A romantic orientation characterized by romantic attraction regardless of gender.

Bisexual: A sexual orientation characterized by sexual attraction regardless of gender.

Black Ring:  When worn on the middle finger of the right hand, a black ring is an indicator that a person is asexual.

Cake:  Better than sex.  Also better than pie.

Celibacy:  Not participating in sexual activity (often specifically partnered sexual activity) for any reason, not necessarily because of a personal choice.

Coming Out:  The act of revealing one’s sexual orientation to others.

Demi:  A colloquial abbreviation of “Demisexual”.

Demiromantic: A demiromantic does not experience romantic attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.

Demisexual:  A demisexual does not experience sexual attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.  The bond may or may not be romantic in nature.  Please note that there is a difference between demisexuality, which involves attraction, and “I don’t have sex unless I love someone”, which has to do with behavior.

Erasure:  How can I explain when there are few words I can choose?  Sometimes, when people talk, they’ll hideaway other people’s sexuality.  I don’t know why.  When this happens, it tends to turn the love to anger.  Stop!  It doesn’t have to be like that.  I say, I say, I say:  “I know it ain’t easy to see the truth, but reach out and gimme gimme gimme a little respect, and live in harmony, harmony.”

Grace: A colloquial abbreviation of “Gray-Asexual”.

Gray-A: A colloquial abbreviation of “Gray-Asexual”.

Gray-Asexual:  A gray-asexual may infrequently experience sexual attraction, may be unsure if they have, or may experience low sexual desire, yet will generally identify as being close to asexual.  Gray-asexuals differ from demisexuals in that demisexuals will require an emotional bond before experiencing attraction, yet graces do not necessarily require a bond.  The word “gray” comes from the “gray area” between asexuality and non-asexuality.

GSRM: Gender, Sexuality, and Romantic Minorities.  A deliberately inclusive replacement for the limited LGBT initialism.

Heteroromantic:   A romantic orientation characterized by romantic attraction to a different gender.

Heterosexual:  A sexual orientation characterized by sexual attraction to a different gender.

Homoromantic: A romantic orientation characterized by romantic attraction to the same gender.

Homosexual:  A sexual orientation characterized by sexual attraction to the same gender.

LGBTQIA:  A common extension of the well-known LGBT acronym:  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender.

Libido:  Also called “sex drive”, a libido may cause arousal and/or strong desires or urges to engage in sexual activity (although not necessarily with a partner).

Libidoist: A person who has a libido.

Lithromantic:  Someone who experiences romantic attraction, but does not desire reciprocation.

MOGAI: Marginalized Orientations, Gender Identities, and Intersex.  A deliberately inclusive replacement for the limited LGBT initialism.

Non-Libidoist:  Someone who does not have a libido.

Panromantic: A romantic orientation characterized by romantic attraction regardless of gender.

Pansexual: A sexual orientation characterized by sexual attraction regardless of gender.

Pie:  Better than sex.  Also better than cake.

Queerplatonic Relationship:  A close relationship that does not fit within the traditional boundaries of a romantic or sexual relationship, yet is different than friendship.

Repulsed:  Feeling disgusted or put off by the thought of sex.  It’s not necessarily the thought that sex is “wrong”, more that it’s “icky”.

Romantic Attraction:  A sense of “I would like to be involved in a romantic relationship with that person”.  (Please note that “romantic” in this context does not necessarily mean flowers and sunsets on the beach and candlelit dinners.)

Romantic Orientation:  A description of the gender or genders (or lack thereof) that one experiences romantic attraction towards.

Sensual Attraction:  A sense of “I would like to engage in non-sexual physical activity with that person”.

Sexual Attraction:  A sense of “I would like to engage in sexual activity with that person”.

Sexual Orientation:  A description of the gender or genders (or lack thereof) that one experiences sexual attraction towards.

40 thoughts on “Glossary

  1. I think “demi” should include demiromantic as well as demisexual. I also disagree with romantic attraction, but it is practically impossible to pin down since it’s a very distinctive feeling that may or may not be connected to certain desires depending on the person. It just so happens wanting a specific type if relationship is the most common for the majority but I don’t think it defines it by any means.

  2. In my country demisexuality is also defined as: ‘Someone who doesn’t experience a sexual attraction, and considers himself/herself to be aseuxual. But when falling in love, they find out that they can also experience a sexual attraction’.
    It’s a bit different from the definition above. We use both of the definitions.

    • There’s a joke in the ace community about cake that was advertised as “better than sex cake”. Because, for many asexuals, most things are better than cake, these adverts were often joked about.
      Anyway, some people started saying that pie is better than cake. In fact, some people think that both are great, and in recent years ~1% of the population started saying that neither are nice. It’s the subject of great controversy.

  3. I love your website! I’m still trying to figure things out and your site is really helping me do so. I’m still kind of confused, though, by what you mean by “romance.” How is a romantic attachment different from a strong emotional bond? It sounds like romance means a particularly strong affection, possibly even love (which may be entirely platonic). Is that about right?

  4. I have occasionally seen the term “Ghost ace” at various places on the web. If anyone knows what this means, I would love to get some insight.

  5. Hello, I’m not sure if that’s what sexual attraction means. I identify as Ace, and sometimes I want to have sex with a person, not because they are sexually attractive, I believe it can be for other (consented, safe) reasons. Sexual attraction doesn’t have to be the main, or even the part of the reason I want to have sex with someone. Such as because I felt like I love them, or I just want to do it for fun.

    • I agree. I also strongly identify as ace, but I love making my partner feel good because the intimacy it has and it still feels good. I would argue that sexual attraction is more like feeling sexual arousal associated with a person. Asexuality doesn’t mean no libido and there are other reasons to have sex besides attraction.

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  7. Wow. I just thought I was a Hetrosexual Metrosexual, but I’ve learnt I’m a bit more than that now if I was to comment my entire sexuality identity.

    I love learning about Sociology and Psychology.

    When we are young, most of us want to feel apart of something, I’m 27 and I can say since possibly around the age of 21, I no longer need to “define myself” (or even justify myself) to anyone. I am me, I like what I like and no one is going to tell me what I can and cannot like, or what I can and cannot do, or what I should or shouldn’t believe in.

    I accept other people’s beliefs and I expect the same in return.

    I saw this website on BBC Three’s Tiger Honey Drew’s Season 2 Episode 1 Documentary.

    • I am 50 and I don’t feel a strong urge to “come out” except to GPs who ask concerned questions, nor do I like too many terms to define my sexuality. I studied Ma Psychology and sociology and feel that vocabulary links to culture and history.

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  9. Interesting list. I kind of agree that definitions can be imposing on culture and history. However, I think that at this time in our current culture, these definitions are beneficial for those that can’t find themselves in the generic definitions of heterosexual, homosexual, etc.

    These terms help us to quickly explain to others who we are in a nutshell. I find myself having to give a seminar on my sexuality just to get people to understand. But now with terms like these I can just say, “I’m a grace” (I love that term! )

    I think that once we as a culture open our arms to this diversity of sexuality, the specific terms may not be necessary anymore.

    Btw, I disagree with the definition of a grace saying that we “will generally identify as being close to asexual.” I think that’s making a major assumption about people that consider themselves graces. I really identify as being a grace, not an ace. I see the term “grace” as encompassing two terms: gray-asexual and gray-sexual.

    Even though I haven’t had intercourse in 20+ years (more than most aces I’d guess), I actually consider myself a gray-sexual since I like a lot of things that surround sex. I just don’t care about it AS MUCH AS a “normal” sexual person so I don’t seek out intercourse like “normal” sexuals do.

    Plus, to me, I’m always afraid that if I have intercourse with a guy that he’s going to feel a much stronger bond with me than I do with him. So in a way I’m holding out for Mr. Right with whom I want that bond to be formed; so it’s not for religious reasons or anything like that )I’m agnostic).

  10. I am said to ” have a very low sexual drive”. This arose when various GPs asked why I wasn’t in a relationship. By then I “had been” with my future husband quite a while, but how was I to know since we were not sexually attracted to each other! Yes I can see the point of labelling oneself, although for me the word asexual is satisfactory. My mother is a romantic…you name it.

  11. I would like to proffer an addendum to the list. Celibacy is, strictly speaking, being unmarried. The definition you have listed is really better described as Chastity, however, the modern vernacular is in alignment with your definition.
    Celibacy /= Chastity, they are two different things. It just chafes my bones to see the words misused.

    ps came her for the definition of DemiRomantic/Demisexual. Im not sure which I identify with more. Thanks for the information!

  12. Oh well Christine, I have very low libido, and am not heterosexual. I have felt the rare attraction, based on love, towards both genders. However I felt nothing sexual on the occasion I had, and I did one time with someone I didn’t fancy. I’ve given up trying to understand myself.

  13. So, I have a “friend” who has always considered herself heterosexual.

    She’s always dated males, regardless of their weight or face. But she recognizes that they are unattractive.

    She likes to hug and cuddle, but doesn’t feel a strong desire to have sex with the person. In fact, she never feels a need to have sex at all with the person. She said that while she feels “wet,” she can’t really see much if an incentive to act any further. She said that it’s numb.

    She only has had sex with one person, and that was after almost a year of dating.
    She engages in sexual activity, gets aroused, but not really in a way that makes her act in some sort of way unless asked.

    She finds a lot of sexual positions uncomfortable, PAINFUL, or not stimulating at all. In fact, there’s only one that will do it.

    She can orgasm, but only under set conditions, and it takes FOREVER to finish her.

    When asked by her friends about “hot” guys, she’ll often admit that she never really noticed, or that while the guy had a symmetrical face and wasn’t huge, that that wasn’t really a reason to consider him further.

    She said looking at attractive people is like “how you like a song or something.”
    When her friends comment on a guy’s ass, she’ll later admit to me that she doesn’t really know what makes a guy’s figure or ass SUPER HOT but she knows what makes it UNATTRACTIVE (overweight).

    She admits that body parts in general are kind of gross, but she’s not opposed to intercourse.

    She is only aroused by certain actions in only REALLY sensitive spots, and it takes a while.

    She said she has never really had a huge “crush” on a guy before, but has never really been opposed to “experimenting” if someone showed interest in her. She said she just doesn’t really think about it, so she figures she’ll wait until someone bugs her.

    She doesn’t mind joking about sex unless the joke involves her in some way. She doesn’t mind discussing sex as a general term (have you done xyz?) but she doesn’t like “sexting.”

    Yet she isn’t attracted to females, either. In fact, her female “friends” I mentioned earlier are really just classmates that talk to her during class. She’s actually really averse to women, as she claims she doesn’t really understand other girls, and that they can get mean or confusing.

    So she’s not mentally or physically attracted to women…

    She spends most of her time talking to men like friends, but isn’t opposed to a romantic relationship, and eventually a sexual one. She isn’t sexually turned on by appearance, intellect, or regular activity, but can discern between attractive and unattractive.

    She’s okay with sex, but only in certain ways. The rest of it (like 90% of it) she’s not.

    She’s usually horny right before her period, but for NO APPARENT REASON. Just: “hey, I’m ready.”

    She doesn’t think “hot,” but usually says “they aren’t ugly,” or “he has a symmetrical face.” She doesn’t dress up except maybe ONCE in a blue moon. She is a bit of a tomboy, but also shows some girly sides. She’s a mix of both. She doesn’t do girl things, and actually spends a lot of her time alone. She doesn’t whisper or giggle or gossip about guys, or girls. It’s like she’s not even aware of it.

    Wth is she?

    • Well, not wth is she, just wth is going on.
      I’ll ask if her if she likes abs, and she’ll say “no, they look weird.”
      I’ll ask about an average-weight or somewhat skinny, and she’ll say “It doesn’t bother me.”

      If I ask her if is turns her on, she’ll say: “No, but I guess it doesn’t really bother me.” But then I’ll ask: “Do you find me, in general, attractive,” and she’ll say “yes.”
      “Do you find this body attractive?”
      “Um. I don’t know. He has a nice face.”
      “His body?”
      “It’s… Average?”
      Like, she almost seems confused about bodies. She can call a fact pretty, or say that she wishes she was as pretty as a model, but she’s not attracted to either sex, even if they’re a model…

      • Ok, “wth” isn’t a great way to support someone’s sexual identity. But i get that you are trying to figure out what’s going on.

        I often feel this way. I am newly identified as grace. While I am attracted to men in therory, I rarely actually feel desire or attraction for any particular man. I can appreciate when someone is attractive, but I don’t find them “hot”. As a grace, I have had moments in my life where I have had strong sexual relationships. I get horny sometimes, but the desire to act on it is low, and generall it passes…… but the whole concept has been different for me since i was a 13 year old girl.

        The first time simeone asked me who my celebrity crush was, I froze. Girls thought about that stuff? How could someone i had never seen IRL be sexy?

        I thought I was broken.

        For years.

        The first time i heard the term “asexual” it was like a lightbulb went off. It felt right. It felt nice to know that other people feel the same way. The more i read, i realized it wasnt quite right. Aces felt no desire, yet i had at rare points in my life. Gray-sexuality seemed so fitting when i first encountered it.

        I dont know what your “friend” feels, or how she may identify, but know that there really are women out there who are not allosexual. Your attitude suggests you think there may be something wrong with her, but i can assure you that she is healthy and that graces really do exist.

        • I am think I identify as the same thing with you because girl — I cannot I am stuck I felt like I should just Identify as confused sometimes

    • She’s someone who may, or maybe doesn’t, struggle with defining these things for herself. But, mostly, she’s someone who doesn’t owe you an explanation. These things are quite difficult, and may change for some of us throughout our lives. What all of us truly want is understanding, love, and support. In ways that are right for us, and if honestly given, we’re happy to reciprocate. What we don’t care for are people who judge us. I’m sorry this person isn’t into you, but before you rag on them, please consider that your passing of such judgments is unlikely to win you the love that you want – be it romantic, familial, platonic, or otherwise. Also, we see you.

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  15. What would it be if you never feel a real romantic or sexual attraction to anybody except for people who you have a strong bond with (demisexual) but you still feel a sexual attraction to random people but would never love them or be involved with them? like i would never actually do anything with them but i find them attractive? hard to explain but it that still demisexual?

  16. Some like the term Non-Binary to explain that they do not relate to either their biological birth sex nor the opposite sex.

  17. What do you call a person who doesn’t build an emotional connect with a person until they have been sexually involved with the same person? In other words: whats the term for someone who is ‘sex before relationship’ type? Regardless of orientation.

  18. I feel like gray-romantic should be included too, it’s just like gray-asexual except romantic attraction instead of sexual (obviously)

  19. As a Southern aroace, I say that pie is better than cake or sex. Both pie and cake are definitely better than sex, of course.

  20. Ah. I always considered gray ace to be anything between ace and allo. Like I’m autochorissexual and I’ve always considered myself gray.

  21. Okay so I was going to you know be fluent to the world that I am Gray-asexual— but it just didn’t fit quite well with me and what I experience. The feelings that I have are like I want a relationship but then I’m kinda disgusted by it. I want sex but I don’t want to act on it. I like talking and thinking about sexual things because it makes me feel great for a moment then I am like EWWWWWW!! Also I am not attracted to any gender under like strict circumstances. SO please can someone help me with this that I am feeling I am kinda giving up on myself. I go to bed sad every night it is starting to affect my health and well- being can someone please help me to be free!!!
    Genesis WiLDs

    • I have the same feelings! I used to identify as Pan, but now I realize that I *could* be attracted to all but I feel the same ways about relationships and sex. I feel like I need to have a label (it makes me feel better, like I belong somewhere) but I’ve honestly given up and currently identify as Queer.

  22. I think that there should be more of a separation between bisexual and pansexual as they are two different identities. As it stands, the definitions imply the same thing to me.

  23. i’d just like to say that cake is actually better than pie, but other than that thank you for compiling all of these terms together :)

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