What is Asexuality? Learn from The Invisible Orientation PDF Book
The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality
Asexuality is the invisible orientation. Most people believe that "everyone" wants sex, that "everyone" understands what it means to be attracted to other people, and that "everyone" wants to date and mate. But what if you don't feel sexual attraction to anyone? What if you don't want sex at all? What if you're somewhere in between? How do you navigate a world that assumes you're just like everyone else?
The Invisible Orientation An Introduction To Asexuality Download Pdf
In this article, we'll explore the topic of asexuality, based on the book The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker. We'll cover what asexuality is, how to understand it, and why it matters. We'll also provide some resources for further learning and support. Whether you're asexual yourself, curious about asexuality, or just want to be more inclusive and respectful of asexual people, this article is for you.
What is Asexuality?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation that describes people who do not experience sexual attraction to anyone. Sexual attraction is the feeling of wanting to have sex with someone specific. It's different from sexual drive, which is the general desire or need for sexual release. It's also different from romantic attraction, which is the feeling of wanting to have a romantic relationship with someone specific.
Asexual people may or may not have sexual drive, and they may or may not experience romantic attraction. They may also identify with other labels that describe their feelings and preferences more accurately. For example, some asexual people may use terms like:
Aromantic: not experiencing romantic attraction to anyone.
Biromantic: experiencing romantic attraction to two or more genders.
Demiromantic: only experiencing romantic attraction after forming a strong emotional bond with someone.
Gray-romantic: experiencing romantic attraction rarely or under certain conditions.
And so on.
Similarly, some asexual people may use terms like:
Demisexual: only experiencing sexual attraction after forming a strong emotional bond with someone.
Gray-sexual: experiencing sexual attraction rarely or under certain conditions.
Sex-favorable: enjoying or being willing to have sex for reasons other than sexual attraction.
Sex-indifferent: not having a strong preference for or against sex.
Sex-averse: disliking or avoiding sex.
And so on.
Asexuality 101: The Basics
Here are some basic facts about asexuality that everyone should know:
Asexuality is not a choice, a phase, a disorder, or a result of trauma. It's a natural and valid orientation that exists on a spectrum.
Asexual people are not broken, incomplete, or missing out on anything. They can have fulfilling lives and relationships without sex.
Asexual people are not all alike. They have different personalities, backgrounds, beliefs, values, goals, hobbies, interests, and opinions.
Asexual people are not anti-sex or anti-relationship. They may or may not want to have sex or be in a relationship, depending on their individual preferences and circumstances.
Asexual people are not cold, emotionless, or selfish. They can feel love, affection, empathy, compassion, and other emotions just like anyone else.
Asexual people are not rare or invisible. They make up about 1% of the population, which means there are millions of them around the world.
Asexual Experiences: The Diversity
As we mentioned earlier, asexuality is a spectrum that encompasses a variety of experiences and identities. Here are some examples of how asexual people may differ from each other:
Some asexual people never experience sexual attraction to anyone. Some experience it only under certain conditions or with certain people. Some experience it very rarely or weakly.
Some asexual people never have sex and don't want to. Some have sex for reasons other than sexual attraction, such as pleasing their partner, satisfying their curiosity, or having children. Some enjoy sex or are indifferent to it. Some dislike sex or avoid it.
Some asexual people identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or other orientations based on their romantic attraction or aesthetic attraction (finding someone visually appealing). Some identify as queer or questioning. Some don't use any labels at all.
Some asexual people experience romantic attraction to one or more genders. Some don't experience romantic attraction to anyone. Some experience it only under certain conditions or with certain people. Some experience it very rarely or weakly.
Some asexual people have romantic relationships and want to. Some don't have romantic relationships and don't want to. Some have platonic relationships (close friendships) that are more important to them than romantic ones. Some are polyamorous (having multiple relationships) or monogamous (having one relationship).
Romantic orientationSome asexual people identify as heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, or other orientations based on their romantic attraction. Some identify as aromantic (not experiencing romantic attraction), demiromantic (only experiencing romantic attraction after forming a strong emotional bond), gray-romantic (experiencing romantic attraction rarely or under certain conditions), or other terms. Some don't use any labels at all.
Gender identitySome asexual people identify as male, female, non-binary, agender, bigender, genderfluid, or other genders. Some identify as cisgender (their gender matches their sex assigned at birth). Some identify as transgender (their gender does not match their sex assigned at birth). Some don't use any labels at all.
Gender expressionSome asexual people express their gender in ways that are stereotypically masculine, feminine, androgynous, or other styles. Some express their gender in ways that are consistent with their gender identity. Some express their gender in ways that are different from their gender identity. Some don't care about gender expression at all.
Asexual Myths: The Misconceptions
Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about asexuality that can cause confusion, misunderstanding, and harm to asexual people and their allies. Here are some of the most common ones and why they are wrong:
Asexuality is the same as celibacy or abstinence.No, it's not. Celibacy and abstinence are choices to refrain from sex for personal, religious, or other reasons. Asexuality is an orientation that describes the lack of sexual attraction to anyone. Asexual people may or may not choose to be celibate or abstinent.
Asexuality is caused by hormones, medication, trauma, or illness.No, it's not. Asexuality is not a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed, treated, or cured. It's a natural and valid orientation that exists on a spectrum. Asexual people may have normal levels of hormones and no history of trauma or illness.
time or with the right person. Asexuality is a stable and consistent orientation that can be identified at any age. Asexual people may or may not experience changes in their feelings and preferences over time, but that doesn't invalidate their asexuality.
Asexuality means you can't love or be loved.No, it doesn't. Asexuality only means you don't experience sexual attraction to anyone. It doesn't affect your ability to feel love or be loved by others. Asexual people can have deep and meaningful relationships with their friends, family, partners, and others.
Asexuality is a result of repression, fear, or trauma.No, it's not. Asexuality is not a coping mechanism or a defense mechanism. It's not a reaction to negative experiences or emotions. It's a positive and affirming orientation that reflects one's true self. Asexual people may or may not have experienced repression, fear, or trauma, but that doesn't cause or explain their asexuality.
How to Understand Asexuality?
Now that we know what asexuality is and what it's not, how can we understand it better? How can we support and respect asexual people in our lives? Here are some tips and suggestions for different situations:
If You're Asexual (Or Think You Might Be)
If you identify as asexual or are questioning your sexuality, here are some things you can do to understand yourself better and find your community:
Learn more about asexuality. Read books, articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, and other resources that explain what asexuality is and how it affects different aspects of your life. Some examples are The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker, Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen, The Asexual Agenda blog, A OK podcast, Swankivy YouTube channel, and Ace and Anxious comic.
Connect with other asexual people. Join online forums, groups, chats, events, and organizations that cater to asexual people and their allies. Some examples are AVEN (The Asexual Visibility and Education Network), AceApp (a social network app for asexual people), Ace Week (an annual celebration of asexuality), and local ace meetups in your area.
Be proud of your identity. Don't let anyone tell you that you're wrong, broken, or weird for being asexual. You're not alone and you're not less than anyone else. You're a valuable and unique person who deserves respect and acceptance. Celebrate your identity with pride symbols, such as the ace flag (black, gray, white, and purple stripes), the ace ring (a black ring worn on the middle finger of the right hand), and the ace cake (a cake decorated with the ace flag colors).
Seek support if you need it. If you're struggling with self-doubt, confusion, isolation, discrimination, or other issues related to your asexuality, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, partner, counselor, or mentor. You can also contact helplines, such as The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386), GLBT National Help Center (1-888-843-4564), or Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741).
If Someone You Know is Asexual (Or Might Be)
here are some things you can do to understand them better and show your support and respect:
Listen to them. If they come out to you as asexual or share their feelings and experiences with you, be attentive, empathetic, and open-minded. Don't interrupt, judge, or invalidate them. Ask questions if you're curious or confused, but don't pressure them to explain themselves or prove their asexuality.
Learn more about asexuality. Educate yourself on what asexuality is and what it's not. Don't rely on stereotypes, myths, or assumptions. Read books, articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, and other resources that explain asexuality from different perspectives and contexts. Some examples are The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker, Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen, The Asexual Agenda blog, A OK podcast, Swankivy YouTube channel, and Ace and Anxious comic.
Respect their identity. Don't try to change them, fix them, or convince them that they're wrong or confused. Don't make jokes, comments, or suggestions that imply that they're missing out on something or that they'll change their mind someday. Don't assume that they're all the same or that you know what they want or need. Accept them for who they are and how they identify.
Support their choices. Don't pressure them to have sex or be in a relationship if they don't want to. Don't interfere with their relationships if they do want to. Don't expect them to conform to your standards or expectations of what a relationship should look like. Respect their boundaries and preferences and let them decide what makes them happy and comfortable.
Other Resources for Asexuality
If you want to learn more about asexuality or find more resources for yourself or someone else, here are some useful links:
AVEN (The Asexual Visibility and Education Network): The largest online community and information hub for asexual people and their allies.
Asexuality Archive: A comprehensive collection of articles, books, studies, FAQs, glossaries, and other resources on asexuality.
Ace Week: An annual celebration of asexuality that aims to raise awareness, visibility, and education about the ace community.
Regional Forums: A section of the AVEN forum where you can find local ace groups and events in your area.
Ace-Friendly and Ace-Unfriendly Counselors/Therapists/Psychologists/Psychiatrists etc.: A list of mental health professionals who are either supportive or unsupportive of asexuality.
Ace-Friendly and Ace-Unfriendly Doctors/Gynecologists/Urologists/Endocrinologists etc.: A list of medical professionals who are either supportive or unsupportive of asexuality.
Ace-Friendly and Ace-Unfriendly Books/Movies/TV Shows/Music/Games etc.: A list of media and entertainment that are either supportive or unsupportive of asexuality.
Why Asexuality Matters?
and respect. It matters because asexual people face challenges and opportunities that are unique and important. Here are some of the reasons why asexuality matters:
Asexuality and Society: The Challenges
Asexual people live in a society that is highly sexualized and heteronormative. This means that sex and heterosexuality are seen as normal, natural, and desirable, while other forms of sexuality and relationships are seen as abnormal, unnatural, and undesirable. This creates a lot of challenges for asexual people, such as:
Lack of awareness and education. Many people don't know what asexuality is or have misconceptions about it. This can lead to ignorance, confusion, or misinformation.
Lack of representation and visibility. Asexual people are rarely seen or heard in mainstream media and culture. This can lead to invisibility, isolation, or erasure.
Lack of acceptance and inclusion. Asexual people are often discriminated against or excluded by their families, friends, partners, communities, institutions, or society at large. This can lead to rejection, harassment, violence, or oppression.
Lack of resources and support. Asexual people have difficulty finding information, services, or spaces that cater to their needs and interests. This can lead to frustration, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Asexuality and Identity: The Benefits
Asexual people also have a unique and valuable perspective on themselves and the world. They have strengths and advantages that come from their asexuality, such as:
Self-awareness and authenticity. Asexual people have to question and explore their sexuality in a way that most people don't. This can lead to a deeper understanding of themselves and their identity.
Creativity and diversity. Asexual people have to create their own definitions and expressions of sexuality and relationships in a way that most people don't. This can lead to a richer variety of experiences and possibilities.
Independence and freedom. Asexual people have to make their own choices and follow their own paths in a way that most people don't. This can lead to a greater sense of agency and autonomy.
Solidarity and community. Asexual people have to find and connect with other asexual people in a way that most people don't. This can lead to a stronger sense of belonging and support.
Asexuality and Visibility: The Future
Asexuality is not a new phenomenon, but it is a growing one. More and more people are becoming aware of asexuality and identifying as asexual. More and more resources and spaces are being created for asexual people and their allies. More and more voices and stories are being shared by asexual people and their allies.
and diverse society, where everyone can be themselves and be respected for who they are. It also means that we're moving towards a more open and curious society, where everyone can learn from each other and appreciate their differences.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Asexuality is still largely misunderstood and marginalized. Asexual people still face many challenges and barriers. Asexual people still need more awareness, education, representation, acceptance, inclusion, resources, and support.
That's why we need to keep talking about asexuality and listening to asexual people. That's why we need to keep learning about asexuality and educating others about it. That's why we need to keep celebrating asexuality and supporting asexual people.
Asexuality matters because it's part of who we are and how we relate to each other. Asexuality matters because it's part of our humanity and our diversity.
In this article, we've explored the topic of asexuality, based on the book The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker. We've covered what asexuality is, how to understand it, and why it matters. We've also provided some resources for further learning and support.
We hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of asexuality and asexual people. Whether you're asexual yourself, curious about asexuality, or just want to be more inclusive and respectful of asexual people, we hope that this article has inspired you to learn more and do more.
Asexuality is not invisible. Asexual people are not invisible. They're here and they're proud. And they deserve to be seen and heard.
Here are some frequently asked questions about asexuality and their answers:
How do I know if I'm asexual?A: There is no definitive test or criteria to determine if you're asexual or not. The only person who can decide that is you. However, some signs that you might be asexual are: you don't feel sexual attraction to anyone; you don't understand what sexual attraction is or why people care about it; you don't enjoy or want sex; you feel indifferent or repulsed by sex; you prefer other forms of intimacy over sex; you identify with the term asexual or other related terms.
Can asexual people have sex?A: Yes, some asexual people can and do have se