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The Invisible Orientation

An Introduction to Asexuality

By Julie Sondra Decker
12-minute read
Audio available
The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker

The Invisible Orientation (2014) provides a helpful introduction to asexuality, including valuable information on both what it is and what it is not. You’ll also learn about how people experience this sexual orientation, the difficulties that come with it, and why there is no need to cure it, condescend to it or consider asexual people as being any different from you or me.

  • Anyone interested in how sexual attraction works
  • Adults who are wondering about their sexual orientation
  • Sociologists interested in the variety of human life

Since 1998, Julie Sondra Decker has helped raise awareness of asexuality by providing interviews and insight to such mainstream media as The New York Times and Marie Claire. Decker is also a webcomic artist and a writer of science fiction and fantasy. Being aromantic and asexual, she currently lives, happily single, in Florida.

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The Invisible Orientation

An Introduction to Asexuality

By Julie Sondra Decker
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker
Synopsis

The Invisible Orientation (2014) provides a helpful introduction to asexuality, including valuable information on both what it is and what it is not. You’ll also learn about how people experience this sexual orientation, the difficulties that come with it, and why there is no need to cure it, condescend to it or consider asexual people as being any different from you or me.

Key idea 1 of 7

Asexuality is a sexual orientation that describes experiencing a lack of sexual attraction to anyone.

If you’ve ever encountered someone and felt sexually enticed by his or her appearance, then you’re familiar with basic sexual attraction.

Let’s take a moment to define some terms, here. Don’t confuse sexual attraction with arousal, or sex drive, all of which are different things.

Sexual attraction simply refers to the emotional reaction of finding someone sexually appealing, whereas arousal describes a physical reaction and sex drive is the desire to respond to that arousal.

For many, this distinction isn’t that important, since these reactions usually go together, with one following the other: if you find someone sexually attractive, you are easily aroused and then feel the desire to pursue these feelings.

But there are also people who identify as asexual, which means they’re not sexually attracted to anyone. If you were to ask them who they find sexy, the answer would be “Nobody.”

Now this doesn’t mean they can’t get aroused or feel the desire to do something about it.

Yes, some asexual people are repulsed by the idea of having sex, but others are indifferent and might perform the act as a favor to a partner.

If an asexual person chooses to engage in sex or masturbation, that does not put an end to their asexuality. It’s important to remember that behavior is not what defines sexual orientation. Just like anyone else, asexual people are perfectly capable of having sex with people they don't find attractive.

In fact, asexual people might masturbate for the same reason most people do: because it feels good, and they want to enjoy the rush of endorphins or relieve stress.

And as with other sexual orientations, being asexual is neither a decision nor a choice. After all, no one can choose to find someone attractive; it just happens.

Others will often respond to an asexual person with condescension, saying, “Just wait, one day you’ll find someone attractive,” suggesting that the person doesn't fully understand his or her own feelings.

The fact of the matter is this: asexuality is a sexual orientation just like any other, since it describes how a person experiences attraction.

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