Q & Ace: An Introduction to Asexuality

I wrote this a while back for my friends and family.  I sent it to them when I came out.  It’s intended to be an overview of asexuality for someone who isn’t aware of what it entails and who was a bit blindsided and confused by an announcement from someone they’ve known for years.  Hopefully it’s useful for other people, too.

So, wait, what? You’re… Huh? What’s going on again?

I’m asexual. It’s a bit like being straight except I’m not into women.

Oh, so you’re gay?

No. Asexual. I’m not into men or women.

So, you’re a woman trapped in a man’s body?

No, I’m not transgender. I’m quite comfortable with the factory original parts and don’t see any need to replace any components.

Although, some people who are trans are also asexual.  They’re not mutually exclusive.

Are you missing pieces down below?

Uh, I don’t think so. Let me check…

Hang on a sec…

Ah, found it. Nope. All present and accounted for.

So, then, you’re saying down below doesn’t work or something?

Down below works just fine. It’s just I have no desire to interface my down below with anyone else’s down below.

You can clone yourself then?

No, different meaning of the word. Although, I’d have to say that binary fission would be an awesome trick for parties.

What are you talking about, then?

Asexuality means I don’t experience sexual attraction. That’s it. While other people are on an unending quest to find someone willing to test the repetitive compressive stress tolerance limits of their furniture, I’m on an unending quest to find a complete set of game cartridges for the Nintendo Virtual Boy. I’m simply not interested in having sex, although the customs and practices can be rather intriguing from a scientific or anthropological point of view.

You don’t want sex?


What, is it against your religion?


Were you abused, then?


Repressed or repulsed or something?


They have a pill for that, you know.

That’s not what the pill is for. The pill is for people who are ready and willing, but not able. I’m perfectly able, just not ready and willing. Saying there’s a pill that’ll fix asexuality is like saying there’s a pill that’ll fix homosexuality. I’m not going to take a pill, feel a stirring in my loins, and suddenly want to sleep with the next woman I see.

What is wrong with you? Sex is AWESOME!

You can keep your sex. Red Alarm is awesome.

More Awesome Than Sex

You should try it some time. You might like it!

“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say!”

I did try it. I didn’t care much for it. I mean, it was okay, I guess, but nothing spectacular. Nothing close to what all of you claim. Kinda boring, actually.

Wait, you had sex? Gotcha! That means you’re not asexual!

I had sex twice. Nine years ago. Call it a youthful indiscretion or whatever. I didn’t know I was ace at the time. I thought I was straight and that sex was what I was supposed to do at some point, and she offered. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like being gay or straight. Orientation is not the same as behavior. A little bit of experimentation in college doesn’t make someone gay. A lesbian who wants a child and opts for natural insemination isn’t suddenly straight. I had sex for the experience and because I thought that doing it might make my libido turn on. It didn’t.

I don’t regret it at all. In fact, I think it’s good that I did try it, otherwise I’d probably have doubts that I’m really asexual because there’d be that chance that I would like it if I just tried it.

Maybe she just wasn’t any good. If you find someone good, you’ll change your mind.

Maybe she wasn’t. I don’t know. I don’t have any other data points to compare. But that’s irrelevant. I wasn’t put off by a bad experience. I never was really all that interested in it to begin with. She could have been the most mindblowingly skilled woman on the planet and I still probably would have said “Meh”.

It’s just a phase. It’ll pass.

19 years since puberty is “just a phase”? Well, I’ll give it another 20 minutes, but that’s it!

You could be a late bloomer.

I’m 32 and I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone, not even a naked woman standing directly in front of me with her hands on my equipment. That’s not a late bloomer. Nothing was planted in my garden.

I’m so sorry for you. It must really suck for you.

No, it’s absolutely fine, actually. I don’t want sex. It’s not like I’m yearning to get laid but can’t, leading me to be a pent up bottle of frustration and sadness. I’m not missing out on anything because I’ve never felt anything to miss out on. It would be a bit like me telling you that your life must suck because you don’t want a copy of a game like Space Squash. You’d give me a funny look and shake your head in confusion over how I could possibly think that you’d be interested in that.

But sex is awesome! Everyone wants sex!

You can’t see me, but I’m giving you a funny look and shaking my head in confusion over how you could possibly think that I’d be interested in that.

By the way, weren’t these supposed to be questions?

Oh, right. So, uh… Aren’t you just putting a fancy name on celibacy?

No, not at all. Celibacy is the condition of not having sex, while asexuality is not feeling sexual attraction toward anyone. Think of it this way: Celibacy is “I don’t have sex because _________.” As in “I don’t have sex because it’s against my religion” or “because I can’t find anyone” or “because I’m in prison”. Asexuality is “Sex? Whatever. Please pass the cake.” So yes, I am celibate, but I’m celibate because I’m ace, not because I made some life choice to never have sex or just haven’t been able to get laid and have given up trying.

Not all celibate people are asexuals, and not all asexuals are celibate.

What you’re saying is that you can’t get laid and have given up trying?

Um. No. I’ve never even bothered trying because it’s just not that interesting to me. When I did have sex, it was entirely my partner’s idea, and it took a lot of persistence on her part to get me to the point where I said yes.

That’s a bit like claiming that I’m not interested in golf because I’m no good at it. No, I’m not interested in golf because it’s golf and it’s not interesting.

(Unless it’s Golf for the Virtual Boy.  In which case I’m all there.)

Why do you hate sex?

I don’t hate sex. I just don’t care about it. As far as aces go, I’m fairly sex positive. I’m not repulsed by it and I don’t have any problem with it. In fact, I find it secretly amusing when someone thinks that I’m offended by a sexual conversation and tries to steer things in a different direction. If I seem offended, it’s probably because I’m zoning out and not paying any attention because I have nothing to add to the conversation.

In the right situation, I might even be willing to give it another go. I just don’t feel any need to find myself in the right situation.

Anyway, go forth and fornicate, just keep your damn kids off my lawn.

So you can’t fall in love?

I can and I have. It’s definitely more than a friendship, it’s just not tied to sex.

Wait, how can you fall in love and still call yourself asexual? If you fall in love, you’re straight, gay, or bi. Pick one.

Sex does not equal love. Sexual attraction does not equal love. Many people are sexually attracted to people they do not love. Many people love people they are not sexually attracted to. And clearly, many people love people they do not have sex with. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction, not the lack of capacity for love.

You’re just inexperienced. If you get out there and keep trying, you’ll come around.

Did you have to “get out there and keep trying” to decide you were interested in sex in the first place? And who knows, maybe you’ll really get into gay sex if you just “get out there and keep trying”. After all, how can you say you’re not gay if you haven’t tried it out?

And that wasn’t a question.

But you’re like totally socially inept. Sometimes you don’t even want to go outside if there are people on the street. Ever think that maybe you’re not asexual, but that you really just have some sort of social anxiety disorder?

I can’t imagine that my social anxiety issues would cause me not to feel attracted to anyone. It’s not a matter of just being too nervous to ask someone out on a date. If that’s all it were, I would still likely feel attracted, but be unable to approach them. On the contrary, I think asexuality and the social issues have a symbiotic relationship going on. I’m not attracted to anyone, so I never feel compelled to break out and try to talk to someone that I’m attracted to.

Then again, maybe both are caused by my deep-seated fear of having to share a closet with someone.

So, uh… Do you feel anything, uh, down there?

Of course I do. There’s nothing physically wrong with my body.

Wait a minute, how do you know that?

A: Like I said, I’ve had sex.
B: Equipment is tested regularly and has been found to be functioning within normal operating parameters.

“Tested regularly”?  So, that means you, uh…? How can you be asexual if you…  you know?

That has absolutely nothing to do with asexuality. Like I’ve said, asexuality is an orientation. It relates to who I find sexually attractive, namely, no one. You don’t need to find anyone sexually attractive for that, it’s a physical response.

Of course, that’s absolutely none of your business, but anyway…

Have you ever thought that maybe you haven’t met the right person yet?

Right, maybe I haven’t. But given that I’ve never found anyone attractive in all the years I’ve been looking and that everyone else seems to find multiple people attractive EVERY DAY, I think it’s fairly safe to say that she’s not hiding behind a tree, just waiting for me to walk by.

Why did you choose to be asexual?

It wasn’t a choice. As the song goes, “baby, I was born this way.” (Of course, the song doesn’t mention asexuality, but whatever. We’re there in spirit.)

How did you realize you were asexual?

Last year, I realized that I didn’t think about sex the same way as anyone else I’d ever met. I started to explore those feelings and came to discover that I wasn’t really interested in sex at all. And I’ve always been that way. During puberty, as a teenager, when I had a girlfriend, and now as an adult. I didn’t really understand it. There weren’t any signs that my hormones were awry and I wasn’t depressed. Perhaps most significantly, I hadn’t had sex in eight and a half years and it didn’t bother me at all. Everyone else seems like they’d go insane if they hadn’t had sex in eight and a half days.

So, I was a mystery to myself, a puzzle to be solved.

I like solving puzzles.

And so I went looking for answers. Asexuality was the one that fit the best, so I took it.

But hey, I’m a scientist. I go with the theory that fits the evidence. Right now, the evidence points toward my being ace. But in the future, I recognize that there may be some new evidence that’ll come along and disprove the theory. Should that happen, I’m willing to go where that leads.

Ace? What’s that?

Ace…xual. It beats “amoeba”.

Why are you telling me all this, anyway?

To spread awareness and hope it’ll contribute to a better understanding of asexuality. I see other aces facing ignorance and struggling with those who are unable or unwilling to understand. On top of that, asexuality is almost completely invisible. I mean, I’ve felt this way for at least 19 years, since puberty, possibly even earlier, and I didn’t even know this was an option until April.

I’ve been a supporter of gay rights for years. It would be hypocritical for me to be open in my support there, yet be completely silent about who I am, now that I know who I am.

I know that one of the greatest factors in someone being willing to accept homosexuality is to know someone who is gay. I know that if I’m open about who I am and how I feel, that all of you will gain a greater understanding of asexuality and be more willing to accept us. You won’t see asexuality as some scary alien concept. You’ll see me. (Granted, I can be a scary alien concept at times, though…)

Were you hiding all this time, then? What took you so long to come out of the closet?

I haven’t been hiding. I really just found out myself back in April. I’ve been confirming the hypothesis since then and trying to figure out how to say anything about it. And it’s not like I’ve been trying to pass or anything. Even before I made the discovery, I never went around claiming to be sexually attracted to anyone. I’m sure everyone who knows me had already figured out that there was something off here. I mean, I have this picture on my desk at the office:

(I’m not really sure aces come out of the closet, though. I think we come out of the pantry, because of the cake.)


Yes. We have cake. That’s how we recruit people.

Recruit people?

Of course. Just like any other sexual minority, we recruit people to help carry out our sinister agenda.

Sinister agenda?

Yes. Say, would you like some cake?



Some excellent resources for learning more about asexuality are the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, at http://www.asexuality.org, and the Hot Pieces of Ace YouTube channel, at http://www.youtube.com/user/HotPiecesofAce

38 thoughts on “Q & Ace: An Introduction to Asexuality

  1. Pingback: What is Asexuality? | Asexuality Archive

  2. You have no idea how much this kinda of cleared out my mind, i mean, i’m a fuckin 20 yr old virgin who has all time found herself kinda of off. I mean, i thought i was bisexual… now i’m not that sure, i mean, i do find attractive girls and boys so i don’t know if being asexual resticts that or it is just me thiking everyone is kinda of ok?

    Well, my bugger lies here though, i’ve always found the idea of sex pretty separate from love, i mean, when i read or when i write i can totally connect the idea of sex for love but to me, i don’t know… i’ve always felt that Sex is something apart from love. that’s just something to be done, sometimes when aroused and totally independent of love.
    is that asexualish? or am i just kinda of weird?

    • I feel your sediment exactly! I feel an attraction towards everyone, but it’s not sexual. It’s just a general romantic attraction or “I think you’re kinda hot aka hey, I like your aesthetic and can appreciate how you look”

      Plus, I must admit, it feels odd when I admit to people I’m ace because I’m such a hopeless romantic sometimes, and it makes me feel weird when all I can find are aromantic asexuals to talk to because sometimes people think that romantic attraction invalidates being ace in some odd roundabout way of thinking.

      As someone with some experience with digging around and talking to people, what you feel about sex and love is perfectly fine! There’s plenty of people who are asexual but can still enjoy sex as an action and get aroused, etc etc, yet feel it’s different from love. I don’t think it’s weird at all.

      • The whole point of sexuality labels is to help people find where they are sexually, and be able to express that with a sense of comfort and belonging. If people start to restrict themselves to fit under a sexual label because of that, not only are they forcing themselves to act a way they probably wouldn’t, but they‘re likely stopping themselves from finding whatever they really are… if they feel something they desire or do invalidates them from a category, that’s either a misunderstanding or because they don’t really fit there.

        Just sharing my two cents (On the asexuals that think all asexuals must aromantic, which isn’t true)

        But yea, romantic attraction is different from sexual attraction; it’s just usually it’s intermixed for many people.

  3. So nice to finally find useful information. I grew up thinking that I was straight. I dated girls here and there, but I look back now and realize I never thought once about having sex with them. Not saying that as in I thought sex was bad, I just mean I was never really interested. I always felt that something was off about me and now I think I have finally cleared that up. I can be happy knowing who I am now.

  4. My daughter is dating a man who tells her that he is asexual, or perhaps, hemi-sexual, in that in order for him to have sex with someone, he has to have a deep emotional connection. So far, so good with them, but I’m concerned that at some point, that might not be enough for her (unless of course she is also asexual – a possibility). Would love opinions of whether asexual couples and/or one asexual + one heterosexual couple type of couple can make it work, long term. Thank you!

    • Yes, I believe they could make it work long term if they both communicate well to each other about how they feel. I can’t say this from my own experience, however, my parents were married for almost 39 years. My mom is heterosexual & I believe my dad is also asexual.

  5. Nothing has been covered concerning being an Asexual and Transgendered either from Male to Female or from Female to Male, I would like feedback on this Issue.

    • I don’t have any experience here, but I have heard that people can be both asexual & transgender. Good luck with your search for more info.

    • Aaron Ansuini on YouTube is asexual and transgender FtM, and ChandlerNWilson, also on YouTube, is a nonbinary asexual. Hope that helps!

  6. Is this site even still monitored?

    I am feeling fairly confident that I somehow fit into the “ace” category. Identifying as a gay man and definitely attracted to men, but just how sexually is a big question…

    With a partner of 16 years and no desire whatsoever. Sex was always a challenge. No sex in about a year. Partner doesn’t even ask for it! (Performance is also a big challenge.)

    I take a lot of medications for both bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I know that these can affect libido and performance. Even so I have no desire to use a supply of Levitra that was prescribed to me several years ago. Just not interested. If I found myself outside of my relationship with an extremely attractive man, I am not at all confident that sex would be likely.

    Input from anyone? Thanks so much.
    Raleigh, NC, USA

    • Hi ive finally figured out that im ace. Im bipolar and high blood pressure and seizers and other health issues. My “equipment ” works fine but sex is boring. Its the same thing over and over . Its way to much assoiated with sex Nowadays .if theres any one reading this and want to talk about this email me. Im very interested in learning more. Im open to any and all questions

  7. This is a wonderful letter! I think you did a beautiful job of presenting this topic and I love the part about the cake!

  8. I have enjoyed reading this while being informed about asexuality. That office picture and the cake part had me ROTFL. I can totally relate to you about this non-existing feeling of sexual attraction. I’m glad I read this. Now I feel I can certainly call myself an ace.

  9. My mother was asexual. She just didn’t know that it was a thing, untill I talked to her about it.
    She has had sex regularly and given birth to 2 children.
    But only out of a sense of duty

    • I think my dad is the same. He knows I’m asexual, but he also seems to be asexual. He & my mom have had me and my brother even though he never knew what asexuality was. Now I wonder why my dad and I have asexuality in common.

  10. hi I’ve read your letters carefully and just found out I’m ace :|
    I don’t know how to feel about it……… yet and no one knows…..it’s just
    ever since I remember I felt different …….I mean I always hated that people just think about sex and pleasure it brings………..sorry to say but all of it just seems dirty and savage to me
    now I know and thanks to you
    I accept myself with proud :)
    thank you you just lighted my way ^^

  11. Hi this was great, thanks. I’ve a question though. I do find guys attractive A LOT and wonder what it would be like. But I know I will never let anyone touch me like that. So what does that make me??

  12. Okay. I’m sixteen and have never felt sexually attracted to anyone.
    I’ve been thinking I might be ace since I was twelve and when I was fifteen, I became pretty much sure I was ace.
    However, someone on the Internet said that teenagers who call themselves asexual are just “trying not to be freaks”, and she apparently knows this because she had a friend who thought she was ace in high school but turned out to be a lesbian.
    This woman believes that it’s actually dangerous for teens to identify as asexual, but I’m pretty sure that that’s what I am!
    P.S. I’m definitely not “trying not to be a freak” as I’m a huge nonconformist and proud to be, but if I’m not asexual then why have I never been sexually attracted to anyone and feel that I probably never will be?

    • As for me, I didn’t know the term asexual until my early 20’s. However, like you, I always knew I was different. Even when I was a teenager. Had I known what asexuality was back then, I probably would have identified. Trust yourself. I’m almost 40 and I’m still being questioned by people. You know how you feel better than anyone else. I’m still asexual and that has never changed no matter what anyone else says. Good luck with your asexual journey! I believe you.

  13. I am pretty sure I am ace, I have felt aroused and have masturbated but I find it and sex with other people boring most of the time, I can’t picture other people when I masturbate it make me feel unaroused, and I just didn’t really feel emotional connections with the two boyfriends I had, I just did what I thought was expected and even then I think they noticed as they both broke up with me one for a girl who put out often and another saying that I was different than he thought.

  14. I love this article! At first I thought I was Demi, because maybe I would have sex if my husband wanted it, if I loved him very much…. what a revolting prospect. But then I realized that I’m really just Ace and don’t have to do anything I feel uncomfortable about. Thank you so much for existing, I reread this because I tend to feel like I have to be straight and it just gets really really irritating trying to understand attraction and why people like each other that way.
    Wishing you lots of cake and friendly dragons, OLRJ

  15. Mhhhh, what a discovery!!! An eye opener.
    Im 59 , divorced and married again but still not sexually attracted to my spouse.
    Lot of love and engages in sex, but I can do without.
    Did not know there is something called “ACE”.The discovery allay my anxieties because I was wondering what’s wrong with me hey.
    Im done Im ok. thank you so much for the information.

  16. I’m still laughing about the ‘we come out of the pantry.’ I’ll have to talk to my parents about that, because they don’t seem to see why I could ‘come out’ when I’m mostly just not doing something other people expect me to, rather than doing something different from what they expect me to.

  17. Thanks! I think you’re my age now. I’m a 39 year old female. But in my case I’m still a virgin. I imagine I’ll start hearing 40 year old virgin jokes next year. Anyway, I agree with your article there. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. And you’re so funny! Thanks for the humor!

  18. I don’t know if I am asexul or not…I mean I like to feel someone love me and I really love too kiss a girl or boy and sometimes I have dreams about sex so I was thought I am a bisexual but most of the time when I think about sex I really hate it and it seems disgusting…
    Who am I?

    • Maybe biromantic & asexual. If you desire a romantic relationship with both genders, that could be biromantic. But your sexuality could be asexual, if you have no desire for anything more than romance.

  19. It’s true, I’m asexual because two years ago a group of aces lured me into the pantry with the promise of cake and retro video games. I suck at games but the cake was delicious.

    Jokes aside – another ace here. been on the know for a couple of years now, actually knew about asexuality before realizing I was one. Just had misconceptions of what it meant… I’m definitely interested in sex, love and relationships as concepts, and might have sex one day if I had a partner who wanted it and could respect my boundaries, but I’ve never felt any need. This was an excellent explanation, I appreciate the humor put into it.

  20. This describes my wife pretty thoroughly. Weve been married for 13 years and have 3 kids, but she has never once initiated any sexual contact. Its been a struggle for sure but i feel like i have a better understanding of her now thanks to this.

  21. I thought that I was lesbian for awhile, but I think that I might be ace. Can you be ace and romantically attracted to only one gender?

    • Absolutely! Sexual and romantic attraction are two separate things, but it’s only really people on the asexual or aromantic spectrum who notice this. So being ace doesn’t have any effect on who you can be romantically attracted to. Hope this helps.

  22. This whole thing just gave me answers. I’ve spent years of my life thinking something is wrong with me. I’ve been called a prude many times because i have no interest whatsoever in men or women or relationships.

    Thank you I guess… also yes to retro video games and cake.

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