Am I asexual?
It can be hard for asexual people to feel confident identifying as asexual, because it's difficult to notice or be sure that something isn't being experienced. After all, how can you be sure sexual attraction isn't there if you don't know what it is? On the other hand, for people that do experience sexual attraction, the feeling is usually obvious to them, so if you're unsure, you are likely to be somewhere on the spectrum.
To determine if you're asexual, you only have to ask yourself one question: do you experience sexual attraction? That is, do you ever see/meet someone and feel and urge to actually have sex with them? If the answer is no, then you're asexual. If the answer is yes, then you may be allosexual. It's important to remember that you can experience arousal, masturbate, have a sex drive, and even enjoy sex, all while still being asexual.
Even if you do experience attraction, you may be grey-asexual. Grey-asexuality refers to any sexuality that is intermediate between asexuality and allosexuality. It includes people that experience attraction only very rarely, people who only experience attraction after forming a strong bond, any many other kinds. You can read about grey-asexuality in Grey-asexuality.
At the end of the day though, what matters is that you've thought about what you feel. The effort you've put into understanding yourself doesn't just disappear because you can't find a particular word that comfortably fits you. You don't need to find out the answer right now, and these things can take time, so in some cases it can help to try to come to terms with not having a label.
Maybe hanging out in the asexuality community for a while will help ideas solidify in your mind, and in particular online communities offer a low stakes forum to ask any questions you might have . Of course reading the rest of this website may also provide some clarity, and if you're confused about what sexual attraction even is you should read the The a-spectra or Experiences.
In academia, the Asexuality Identification Scale was developed in 2015 . This is a 10-quesiton test used to identify asexual individuals based on the typical answers given by self-identified asexuals and non-asexuals. While no simple quiz can tell you for certain what your sexuality is, you may find it useful to taken an online version of the test (for example, here).
Finally, it's worth noting that "does not feel sexual attraction" is ultimately just an approximation of what it means to be asexual, typically used when explaining the orientation to someone unfamiliar with it. While that works for most asexuals, in reality people are more complicated than that, and everyone who identifies as asexual does so for their own reasons. Labels are tools: if the label feels right to you, helps you connect others, or promotes understanding, then that's all you need.
Common asexual experiences
Below are some possible indicators of asexuality – however this list should be used with some care. Firstly, it must be emphasised that not relating to any particular one of these indicators is not evidence against being asexual. In fact, some of them are contradictory or unlikely to occur at the same time. Secondly, non-asexuals will also sometimes relate to some of these, some of the time. This is especially true with young or adolescent people – even for non-asexuals it's not abnormal to be scared of or confused about sex, or to not relate to others with respect to sex.
Two of the key distinguishing features of asexuality from these more universal experiences, are that they are persistent throughout a person's life,1 and that they do not cause any intrinsic distress (although pressures from a world unwelcoming of asexuals may cause extrinsic distress).
Regardless, all these examples are generalisations, and so should only be used to paint a picture of some of the things an asexual might relate to.
Perhaps you have felt one of the following.
- Finding people aesthetically appealing, but that's as far as that feeling goes;
- the idea of sex never occurring to you on its own;
- finding conversations of a sexual nature especially boring;
- finding yourself consistently not initiating or suggesting sex with your partners;
- deciding that you would 'put up' with sex because it seems like a requirement to have an intimate relationship;
- feeling your ideal relationship would be one that doesn't include sex;
- having sex but 'not getting what all the fuss is about'; being repulsed by the idea of sex;
- pursuing sex as an intellectual curiosity rather than due to attraction;
- feeling like you could go the rest of your life without sex just fine;
- not feeling that sex is much different to masturbation;
- not really understanding why sex is supposed to be better when it involves another person;
- pretending to find people attractive when a friend asks;
- saying who you think is attractive by guessing what other people would think;
- not minding that you don't feel attraction but being made to feel inadequate by society for it.
Perhaps the actions of others have seemed strange to you in one of the following ways.
- Wondering why everyone else seems to find sex so interesting, and hence feeling like the odd one out;
- being confused when other people's fantasies include sex;
- forgetting or not realising that other people think about sex;
- finding yourself unable to relate to the idea that someone could 'need' sex;
- not understanding why people find abstinence difficult;
- not understanding what would ever motivate someone to cheat in a relationship;
- wondering why people pursue sex when it seems to just be messy and something that complicates relationships;
- feeling like people place too much emphasis on sex in relationships – for example, perhaps you would use dating apps for a relationship when other people are mostly looking for sex;
- not understanding what it is about sex that makes cheating in a relationship particularly frowned upon compared to other activities with another person outside the relationship;
- finding flirting confusing or failing to even notice it;
- not understanding why people seem to think romance can only happen if it involves sex;
- not seeing why people act as if cuddling and /or sleeping in the same bed implies a sexual relationship;
- not understanding why kissing is seen as sexual;
- not understanding why kissing is seen as non-sexual (e.g. acceptable to do in public);
- thinking kissing is strange and not understanding why people would want to do it;
- wondering how people would have first come up with the idea of sex before modern society existed to tell them about it;
- appearances of sex in fiction often seeming random, out of place, or uninteresting – perhaps you prefer genres that tend to avoid the topic (e.g. children's media); perhaps regularly averting your eyes or skipping sex scenes even when watching/reading on your own.
Perhaps you've been mistaken in one of the following ways.
- Thinking that everyone is exaggerating or ironic or being 'immature' about sex and that really they all see it the same way you do;
- not understanding / thinking it's a joke when people say they would have sex with a certain stranger (especially when based only on appearances);
- missing or not understanding sexual innuendos;
- not realising that sex dreams are real or happen as often as they do;
- thinking that people only involve others in sex because of social expectations;
- thinking "I'd know if I were gay so I must be straight";
- thinking "I'm not attracted to the opposite gender, so I must be gay";
- thinking "I feel the same way about both men and women so I must be bi/pan";
- thinking you're just a late bloomer (or picky) and waiting for the moment that sexual attraction comes to you but it never does;
- feeling aesthetic or platonic attraction and mistakenly labelling it sexual attraction.
Asexuality Archive has also compiled the following articles of a similar nature to the above.
- Possible Signs of Asexuality – Part 1: About You
- Possible Signs of Asexuality – Part 2: About Sex
- Possible Signs of Asexuality – Part 3: About Others
Our FAQ has answers to the following questions.
Asexuality Archive also has articles exploring doubts you might have. Maybe I'm not asexual because...
- I've had sex
- it's really just my religious upbringing
- I'm curious about sex
- I get aroused sometimes
- I have no idea what sexual attraction is so how do I know if I’m feeling it or not?
- I haven't tried sex yet
- isn't everyone like this?
- I've fallen in love
- I might have some kind of disorder
- Certainly a person's orientation can change over time, but this is relatively rare. People who become asexual at some point in life are of course valid, but there's no doubt that their situation is more complex and nuanced.
- : Yule, Morag A.; Brotto, Lori A.; Gorzalka, Boris B. (March 2015). A validated measure of no sexual attraction: The Asexuality Identification Scale. Psychological Assessment. 27 (1): 148–160. doi:10.1037/a0038196.