So recently I’ve been seeing some misuse of terminology commonly used re: asexuality. And it’s bugging me a bit! So in my own infinite vanity, I decided to compile a list of some useful terms people seem to get muddled up a lot, and some other concepts that, again, people sometimes get sort of… wrong.
lol now of course now I’m going to somehow fuck something up myself or something
Please note that these are the commonly accepted definitions as I understand them, but that individuals sometimes adapt them to meet their own needs!
- Asexual: used both as an umbrella term for ‘the asexual spectrum’, and as an identity which involves a lack of sexual attraction to people. (Does not necessarily mean, ‘does not have sex ever’, or ‘does not desire sex’.)
- Ace: an umbrella term for ‘the asexual spectrum’; a person who calls themselves ‘an ace’ is somebody on said spectrum. (Tip: calling someone ‘an ace’ can be kind of bad if they’re not OK with it! It’s a little dehumanising. Like if somebody called me ‘a transgender’ I might be angry at them, see?)
- Grey-A: somebody who falls into the ‘space between’ being asexual and not being asexual. Usually used as an umbrella term.
- Grace: apparently the counterpart to ‘ace’. It seems to be new-ish? Hey, so did you know that ace people are puntastic? What the hell is up with the puns.
- Demisexual: somebody who only experiences secondary sexual attraction. Basically, a person who isn’t attracted to somebody for their looks, their mannerisms, their mind, etc., but who experiences attraction instead based on their emotional bond with the person. E.g you fall in love with them and as a direct consequence, find them sexually attractive.
- Hyposexual: sometimes a synonym for grey-A, often used to specifically mean someone with a dramatically low or non-existent sex drive. So, basically, doesn’t want to have sex. Not necessarily the same as being asexual.
- Aromantic: does not experience romantic attraction. Please note that contrary to very popular belief, this is not the same as not experiencing love, period. It refers to romantic attraction.
- Grey-romantic: basically the romantic equivalent of the above grey-A definition.
- Queerplatonic: a relationship that is not “typically” romantic/sexual/both. No, not like “really really good friends”. It’s sort of… idiosyncratic, I suppose, it’s difficult to define. I usually tell people it’s sort of like being a couple without the romance, but that’s not necessarily true for everyone.
- Zucchini: the above, which started as a frustrated joke at how any attempts to define queerplatonic are thwarted by a lack of adequate vocabulary, so let’s just call it something random and call it a day. (As in, ‘XYZ is my zucchini’.)
- ___romantic: hetero-, homo-, pan-, etc. Basically, romantic orientation as held separate from sexual orientation.
- Asexy: like sexy but for ace people who don’t find the term appropriate. The puns just keep coming, y’all.
- Aversive/repulsed: this is a personal declaration that a person is personally squicked out/triggered/generally doesn’t react well to sex. This is a pretty wide category: some people only have the reaction when it’s about them having sex, some people have it regardless of who’s doing the sexin’. It does not mean that they think sex is objectively this terrible, repulsive thing, it means that they have a personal reaction of repulsion/aversion to sex. I cannot emphasise this enough, mmkay?
- Indifferent: exactly what it sounds like. Somebody who just doesn’t really feel either a desire to have or a desire to avoid sex. ‘Apathetic’ works too.
- Why do you keep making cake jokes: apparently this is an ‘ace people like cake instead of sex’ thing or something, which is clearly wrong because pie is superior, goodness, keep up people.
- Asexual symbols: the ones I know of are ace cards (hearts typically means romantic, I believe it’s spades which is used for aromantic/general?), a black ring on the middle finger of the right hand, the AVEN triangle (which isn’t related to the pink triangle), the asexual flag (black, grey, white, purple), and… probably more I don’t know.
- AVEN: the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. This site. Contrary to popular belief, not the be-all-end-all of the ace community. Kind of controversial for some people, since there tends to be a focus on a specific type of ace narrative that’s considered acceptable, but also a community a lot of people get a lot out of. Personally, I’ve got no experience whatsoever with the place beyond observation.
Now, things asexuality is not:
- Celibacy: celibacy is the avoidance of sexual behaviour through a concious decision. It doesn’t automatically say anything about who you’re attracted to or what you enjoy doing.
- Abstinence: see above.
- Hating sex as a concept: not saying that nobody in the ace community engages in anti-sex rhetoric, but there’s nothing inherent in asexuality that encourages it. Asexuality and slut shaming are absolutely different. And also slut shaming is terrible, don’t do it.
- ‘Lacking in sexuality’: in the sense of, ‘lacking sexual appeal/a fictional character who is homosexual but not shown acting sexually/etc.’; basically, asexual as a descriptor. This is really common, like, when talking about double standards in the media; ‘they made this gay guy so asexual compared to all the straight guys!’. No. They didn’t allow him to express his sexuality. There’s a difference in those two concepts.
Ahhh, now I feel better. This was sort of bugging me recently, seeing all this misinformation going around. And now I have something to link people too, I guess.
(Source: i-can-be-found-at-ayries)@2 years ago with 463 notes