Queer Eye | Issue 04
Well, son, you may want to sit down for this next bit: words can have more than one meaning. In the context of human sexuality, asexuality is defined as “not experiencing sexual attraction towards people of any gender.” None of them. No people. This is the point where people usually screw up their faces in confusion, or perhaps laugh, pat your shoulder and tell you how sorry they are. (Protip: don’t do this.)
If you’re in the former category, I invite you to consider the following: statistically, you are likely only attracted to one gender. There are entire swathes of people wandering the world towards whom you are totally unable to feel attraction, based solely on gender. Is it such a stretch to extend that state to cover everyone?
Now we’ve got the basics down, things start to get a little more complicated. To wrap your head around asexual-spectrum identities, the first and most important step is to start thinking about breaking down the idea of “attraction.” As mentioned above, “asexuality” is defined as not experiencing sexual attraction. Everything else is fair game. So what does this mean?
The main categories into which you will see attraction broken down are aesthetic, sensual and romantic. Aesthetic attraction is the experience of feeling drawn non-sexually to someone based solely on looks; a similar feeling to what you might get for a sunrise or a really pretty horse. Sensual attraction is physical non-sexual attraction; for example, I’m told people less black-hearted than myself occasionally want to rub their faces on small animals. Romantic attraction is at once easy—it’s just what it says on the box—and really tricky—no-one actually has a good definition for it.
These all tend to get tangled together, but as with most aspects of queerness and identity, it’s very rarely that simple.