Asexuality is defined by its community as a lack of sexual attraction. While some asexuals may or may not have a sex drive, the actual sexual attraction to a particular person isn't there. Asexuality is different than aromanticism, in which a person does not experience romantic attraction to others. Asexuals will often describe if and how they experience romantic attraction with romantic orientations. Some of these orientations are: aromantic, biromantic, panromantic, polyromantic, heteromantic, and homoromantic.
Asexuality is also separate from celibacy. Celibates are people who choose not to have sex. Some asexuals are celibate, some are not.
Asexuality is not only a singular identity, but is also seen as an umbrella or spectrum. Some identities on the asexual spectrum are: gray-asexual, demisexual, and lithsexual.
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Gray-asexuality, or grey-asexuality, is when a person only experiences sexual attraction on rare occassions.
Gray-asexuals receive plenty of scrutiny among the asexual community, claiming that gray-aces are actually allosexual (a person who is not asexual), but looking at sexual attraction on a spectrum, it seems silly not to include gray-aces in the asexual community.
Someone who is demisexual will not experience sexual attraction to a person until they have formed some sort of bond, romantic or otherwise, with the person.
This is different from celibacy until love, which is where a person will experience sexual attraction to a person but will practice abstinence until they are sure they are in love.
Lithsexuals are people who experience sexual attraction but do not desire reciprocation for their attraction. They may be repulsed by the idea of reciprocation, or are simply passive about not wanting it, feeling as though they do not need it either way.
The term, "lithsexual" is the newest term to make its way to the asexual community. While "lithromantic" has been a term in use for years, it was only recently that people began to realize that lithsexuality is a phenomenon as well.
"Lith-" as a prefix, is Greek, meaning "stone".
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When a community begins to grow and become visible, there becomes a need for a way to describe those outside of the community, to make communication clear and to aid discussion within the community.
The most common word to describe people who are not asexual or of the asexual umbrella is "allosexual", or for short, "allo". One argument against this word surrounds Quebec, Canada, where some of the local MOGAI folks use the word, "allosexuel" to describe themselves, similar to the way "queer" is sometimes used. Macklemore, a known ally, has shown disapproval at the use of allosexual, however.
Proposed alternatives are:
Each of these have been debated up on for their positives and negatives, but most asexuals continue to use "allosexual", and those who disagree with the usage will typically use non-aces.