29 March 2022

I think I might be asexual or aromantic but I'm not sure, do you have any advice or insight?

I think I may be a- or demi-sexual & -romantic, but I’m not sure exactly. The way I feel is about the same for both, so as an example: I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt romantically attracted to anyone. I have had some experiences I might call crushes, but I really struggle to identify what is and isn’t romantic attraction. I feel like it should be simple to tell but for me it’s not. There are one or two instances where I’ve felt like I’d like to have a romantic relationship with a specific person.
In general, I want to have romantic relationships, but not with specific people. I maybe think about things I’d like to do with a partner, but very rarely do I think about specific people in that way.
Sexuality is maybe a little simpler to figure out? I don’t feel like I’m sexually attracted to people. I’m turned on by watching porn, but that’s more about the acts than the people, I think. I’ve never had sexual fantasies involving people I know. Actually, my sexual fantasies don’t usually include me at all. But, like with romance, I do want to have sex. I know that there’s a range of how asexual people feel about sex, but what I’ve seen doesn’t usually include actively wanting sex? I don’t know.
I guess in summary, I think I might be demiromantic and asexual, but I still want romantic and sexual relationships. Beyond how I feel about that myself, I kind of worry that people wouldn’t want those things with me- especially, a romantic relationship- if I don’t feel attracted to them. Do you have any advice about how to talk to people about this, or more insight on my situation?

Gabrielle (Elle/Iel)

Hi Artie,

Thank you for turning to Alterhéros with your questions! To summarize, you’re questioning whether you might be asexual (not experiencing sexual desire) demi-sexual (experiencing contextually sexual attraction), and/or aromantic (not experiencing romantic attraction). You want romantic or sexual relationships, but rarely with specific people, and worry that how you feel about love and sexuality will prevent you from finding partners.

You seem to have reflected a lot on these topics! Let me address the romantic attraction part of your question first. You’ve mentioned that you struggle to identify romantic attraction and feel like it should come to you easily. However, a lot of people struggle, just like you, with identifying their romantic feelings! Romantic attraction can be an ambiguous thing for a lot of folks, whether they’re aromantic or not. Also, as you might already know, aromantic identities are a spectrum, just like asexuality! It’s perfectly valid to be aromantic whilst still experiencing, for example, crushes as you mentioned, or not to be aromantic but to have a hard time identifying romantic attraction. On that topic, aromantic people can have a variety of genuine, fulfilling relationships, like friendship, queerplatonic relationships, romantic relationships, or chosen families. For more information on each of them and many more, you can look at the Aromatic-Spectrum Union for Recognition, Education and Advocacy (AUREA)’s glossary here.

As for the asexuality part of your question, as you mentioned, asexuality is a large spectrum. First, let’s distinguish:

  • Your libido implies wanting to have sex and experience sexual pleasure.
  • Your sexual desires, which refers to the desire for sexual experience for any reason, whether it’s because of sexual attraction, for fun, to connect with a partner, to conceive a child, or to feel good!
  • Your sexual attraction involves finding someone sexually appealing and wanting to have sex with them.

Anyone can experience varying levels of all, some, or none of the above, hence why asexual people absolutely can desire sexual relationships, whilst still being asexual. With that in mind, I hope your experience of being turned on whilst watching porn and wanting sex, but without experiencing sexual attraction, will make a little more sense to you. 🙂

As for how to talk to people about this, maybe you could start with a single person you trust, like a friend or a family member, and see what makes sense for you to reveal or not. Also, looking for asexual, aromantic, or 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations in your region could help you meet other asexual, demi-sexual, or aromantic people if you’d like that. There are also online asexual or aromantic forums you could discuss with like-minded people on, like the AVEN Forum.

I’ll leave you with this previous answer on asexuality, which provides a list of asexual Tiktokers and YouTubers who talk about their experiences as asexual people.

I hope my answer helps you reflect on your romantic and sexual needs and desires. Above labels, understanding your limits, desires and communicating them to others will allow you to keep exploring your identity in safe and fun ways.

Don’t hesitate to reach out again,