While it may seem silly that there are so many 'made up' words surrounding things like asexuality, their usefulness cannot be understated. Words exist so that people have the language to talk constructively about issues that are important to them – and sexuality does have a significant impact on many people's lives. These days it is easy to find testimony online that people can feel much less lonely when they find a term and community to help them understand what they were feeling.

Terms like those below also create the conditions for greater awareness, and contrary to what it might seem, they do not need to be used to divide people into separate camps. Sadly, it's always possible to use words in a harmful way, and these terms may play a role in enabling othering behaviour to occur more easily. However, in such a case, it is always the perpetrator at fault rather than the words themselves.

Note on usage

Some of the terms below are apparently no longer in usage, or were never particularly widely used in the first place. In these cases, the term will be marked by an asterisk (*), a further asterisk may then follow the definition with a note on the term’s lack of usage.

This has been done because asexuality glossaries are typically used in two distinct ways. Firstly they may be used as traditional a dictionary is: for people to find the meaning of unfamiliar terms they may come across. But these glossaries can also give people a list to go through to expose them to different concepts and identities in the asexuality community, which can be especially useful for those questioning their orientation.

Glossaries will try to be inclusive, which makes sense for the first use case, but for the second one this practice can artificially make it seem like terms are widely used in the community, when they might not be. And the whole situation is exacerbated by the fact that glossaries will often copy from each other as well.

The middle ground chosen here then is to clearly mark when a term isn’t used very often in practice. This has the effect of demarcating when it is advised to use the glossary for each of the two purposes outlined above.