The sexuality spectrum is nuanced and fascinating, but being asexual isn’t as commonly recognized as other sexual orientations like gay, straight, bisexual or even pansexual.
Contrary to what many people believe, asexuality isn’t a choice or behavior (as opposed to celibacy, where people choose not to have sex for various reasons). As Julie Sondra Decker outlines in her 2015 book, The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality, it can be hard for an expert to diagnose you as asexual. That said, there are certain traits that can help you identify yourself as such.
Common signs you might be asexual—also known as “ace”—include:
- You lack any interest in sex at all.
- You don’t find yourself sexually attracted to anyone—even someone you are in love with or romantically attracted to.
- You masturbate but aren't stimulated by the idea of sex with another person.
But here’s the thing—just because you’re asexual, doesn’t mean you can’t foster a loving, intimate relationship. For asexuals, intimacy is simply defined beyond the realm of sex—often through cuddling, kissing, spending quality time together and other romantic gestures.
What’s more, if one partner identifies as asexual and the other doesn’t, it can still be possible to have a healthy long-term relationship. Of course, communication is key in that case—especially if it involves the possibility of ethical non-monogamy for the sexually active partner—but an asexual may even find satisfaction in pleasuring their partner sexually, even if they don’t experience pleasure themselves.