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What Is Asexuality?
What Is Asexuality?
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What Is Asexuality?

This video defines the sexual orientation of asexuality and discusses the many aspects of asexuality. It also reminds us that sexual orientation is a spectrum of identities, and that all people deserve respect and love.

Youth

Sexual orientation is all about who you’re romantically and sexually attracted to, if you have attractions at all. Some people are attracted to those of a different gender (heterosexual), and some are attracted to those of the same gender (gay or lesbian). Some are attracted people of either the same or a different gender (bisexual), and some people do not experience sexual attraction (asexual), though they may be interested in a romantic relationship. There are other sexual orientations that exist too! It’s totally normal to have questions about sexual orientation, so it’s okay if you’re wondering about who you are and feel attracted to! Some people know their sexual orientation at a very young age and others don’t know until they are much older.

Sometimes people who are asexual identify as ‘ace’; and often they still date and have romantic and emotional relationships. Other people identify as aromantic, sometimes called ‘aro’, which is when a person doesn’t have romantic feelings for other people, and are likely not interested in dating.

What’s important to know is that people who are asexual or aromantic are not broken, and don’t need to be fixed. Being ace or aro is just another sexual orientation and it is totally normal, just like any other orientation. Remember, sexual orientation is a spectrum, and it can change as we grow and learn more about ourselves and the world around us.

FAQs

How will I know if I’m asexual?

Sexual orientation refers to who you feel attracted to romantically or sexually. Some people have intense attractions during puberty and some people don’t-both are totally normal. You might see that some of your friends and classmates are developing crushes. It’s okay if you don’t experience those types of feelings. Or you may only have romantic or emotional feelings-or neither.

You might feel confused about having different feelings than some of your friends. Don’t worry, as you get older it may become clearer. For many it’s a journey, and your attractions may even change over the years.
For now, you may not know how to label your feelings, and you should know there’s no rush to label your feelings or yourself. Just know that this is all perfectly normal, you are not alone in asking this question and there are no “right” or “wrong” answers.

Are abstinence and asexual the same thing?

Being asexual is a sexual orientation that means a person doesn’t have sexual feelings for others. These feelings aren’t something a person chooses, they are just another part of our identity.

Being abstinent from sexual activity is different. Abstinence is a deliberate choice a person makes to not participate in certain sexual behaviors for a specific period of time. Some people choose abstinence until they are in a serious relationship (like marriage), other people choose abstinence because they want to spend some time focusing on other things in their lives, whatever you decide is the right choice for you. A person’s choice to be abstinent might be connected to their faith, or cultural and family values.

What if I still want a relationship?

Many people who identify as asexual still develop emotional and romantic attractions for others and some do not-both are normal.  There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to be asexual.

Parents

A person’s sexual orientation is determined by the gender(s) of the people that person is romantically and sexually attracted to, if they have attractions at all. Many people may first become aware of their sexual orientation during puberty. Hormonal changes associated with puberty can trigger new feelings of romantic or sexual attraction. This can be confusing and even a bit scary for many tweens and teens. These romantic and sexual feelings are often intense and not necessarily directed toward particular types of people. Sexual feelings for some may be provoked without cause during puberty. This can confuse tweens and teens as they begin to question their own and others’ sexual orientation. For asexual young people there can be a lot of confusion if they don’t experience the same types of feelings as their friends. They might think ‘what is wrong with me’ or have difficulty fitting in when their peers and others talk about crushes and begin dating. It is essential to help young people understand that it may take time to understand their attraction, what gender(s) they find romantically or sexually attractive, or if they have attractions at all. It is also important to reiterate that there are no right or wrong answers and only they can determine their sexual orientation. As they get older, they will be better able to figure out who they find attractive

Asexuality, often called ‘ace’, is when a person doesn’t experience sexual feelings towards others. Some asexual people still have romantic and emotional attractions, and want to experience intimate relationships with others. Other people identify as aromantic or ‘aro’, which is when they don’t experience romantic or emotional attraction towards others. Its important to remember that both asexual and aromantic people are not broken, and don’t need to be ‘fixed’. These sexual orientations are normal, and part of the broad spectrum of sexual orientations.

It is important that you show your children that you will love and support them always, regardless of whether they are asexual, aromantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, or any other sexual orientation. If your child has trusted you with information about their sexual orientation, do not share that information with others without permission. Respect them and their decision to come out when and if they feel comfortable and safe.

Conversation Starters

It is important that your children know that you are open to talking about sexuality and sexual orientation with them. You could start these important conversations with your children using some of the following:

Speak with your child when you’re both relaxed, like over dinner or in the car

“Is there anyone at school you like or are attracted to?” “Do you or any of your friends have crushes?” Get to know what is happening in their school and friend group. Talk to them about what it means to have a crush, and be supportive and listen if they don’t have a crush. Avoid things like ‘you will have a crush someday’, instead say things like ‘if you have a crush someday’.

Talk about a variety of relationships and attractions in your conversations:

Discuss all the types of relationships that can bring closeness and intimacy.  Talk about different types of friendships, in addition to sexual orientations and romantic/sexual relationships.  Avoid things like ‘all people are sexual’, instead say things like ‘for people who have romantic relationships’ or ‘for people that have sexual feelings’’.

Educators

A person’s sexual orientation is determined by the gender(s) of the people that person is romantically and sexually attracted to, if they have attractions at all. Many people may first become aware of their sexual orientation during puberty. Hormonal changes associated with puberty can trigger new feelings of romantic or sexual attraction. This can be confusing and even a bit scary for many tweens and teens. These romantic and sexual feelings are often intense and not necessarily directed toward particular types of people. Sexual feelings for some may be provoked without cause during puberty. This can confuse tweens and teens as they begin to question their own and others’ sexual orientation. For asexual young people there can be a lot of confusion if they don’t experience the same types of feelings as their friends. They might think ‘what is wrong with me’ or have difficulty fitting in when their peers when others talk about crushes and begin dating. It is essential to help young people understand that it may take time to understand their attraction, what gender(s) they find romantically or sexually attractive, or if they have attractions at all. It is also important to reiterate that there are no right or wrong answers and only they can determine their sexual orientation. As they get older, they will be better able to figure out who they find attractive

Asexuality, often called ‘ace’, is when a person doesn’t experience sexual feelings towards others. Some asexual people still have romantic and emotional attractions, and want to experience intimate relationships with others. Other people identify as aromantic or ‘aro’, which is when they don’t experience romantic or emotional attraction towards others. Its important to remember that both asexual and aromantic people are not broken, and don’t need to be ‘fixed’. These sexual orientations are normal, and part of the broad spectrum of sexual orientations.

It is important that you show your students that you will support them always, regardless of whether they are asexual, aromantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, or any other sexual orientation. If a student has trusted you with information about their sexual orientation, do not share that information with others without permission. Respect them and their decision to come out when and if they feel comfortable and safe.

National Sex Ed Standards

IV.5.CC.1 - Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Harassment, and Domestic Violence

Define child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and domestic violence and explain why they are harmful and their potential impacts

View all IV.5.CC.1 Videos

IV.5.IC.1 - Strategies a Person Could Use to Leave an Uncomfortable or Dangerous Situation

Identify strategies a person could use to call attention to or leave an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, including sexual harassment

View all IV.5.IC.1 Videos

IV.8.AI.1 - Community Resources and/or Other Sources of Support

Identify community resources and/or other sources of support, such as trusted adults, including parents and caregivers, that students can go to if they are or someone they know is being sexually harassed, abused, assaulted, exploited, or trafficked

View all IV.8.AI.1 Videos

IV.10.CC.3 - Why a Victim Is Never To Blame

Explain why a victim/survivor of interpersonal violence, including sexual violence, is never to blame for the actions of the perpetrator

View all IV.10.CC.3 Videos

International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education

7.1, ages 12-15

Sexual Behaviour and Sexual Response

View videos for 7.1 (ages 12-15)

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • How does the video define asexuality?
  • According to the video, how are asexuality and abstinence different?
  • What are some things we can all do to make sure that asexual people are treated with respect?
  • What would you tell a friend if they shared with you that they may be asexual?

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