Asexuality is a sexual orientation that many sexual people still don't understand. There are so many misconceptions about asexuality. Unlike celibacy (where someone opts not to have sex), asexuality isn't a choice.
Asexuals - also known as 'aces' - are able have intimate and loving relationships in exactly the same way that sexual people can. Here, five asexual women explain the varying ways they experience intimacy in their relationships.
"I share their joy and pain"
"It's like a 'normal' relationship, except when you go to bed you actually sleep, and there's less genital-grabbing. You still love each other and think each other are pretty and cute. Still cuddle and touch affectionately, happy kisses and look forward to spending time with them. Still do favours for them, and go out on dates. Still dream about a life together, and argue about who was supposed to do the dishes. Still share their joy and pain, encourage them to do their best, sympathise with a bad day at work. Still play small jokes on each other, or make small sacrifices to see them smile. Still wake up early for work and watch your partner sleep for a bit, feeling peace and adoration in the quiet morning. Really, aside from the lack of sexual undertones and active genital mashing, I don't think there's a difference."
"Our intimacy comes from love, not lust"
"In a long term long distance relationship, almost three years. Visits every three to five months. We love each other and spending time together, near or far. When we are intimate, it's out of love, not lust, and that type of intimacy isn't our primary thing (lots of hugs, kisses, cuddles, I love yous, etc.)"
"We have a great lot of fun together"
"I am currently in a committed long-term relationship, going on two years. It’s great to be totally honest. He’s got a sort of low libido and while he is sexually attracted to me, he says he was always annoyed with the focus on sex in his past relationships, so he’s super happy with the setup too. We have a great lot of fun together, we write role playing characters together and he watches me play Sherlock games because I’m a puzzle/Sherlock nerd. I watch him play horror games because I’m terrified of everything and couldn’t play them on my own, and we take my dog out places and we just... we hang. We have our mushy romantic moments, but mostly it’s just getting through life one day at a time with my absolute best friend in the world. I find it relieving every day that he doesn’t find sex important, and because I have anxiety I double check that all the time (he knows why, and he understands)."
"We have more than just a friendship"
"I've been with my partner for over seven years, and sex just doesn't really happen. I'm also not a very touchy feely person. Making out does nothing for me. He has a lower libido and feels there is more than just sex in a relationship. He likes our connection and we have more than just a friendship (neither of us define relationships/friendships as having sex/no sex)."
"I get emotional gratification from bringing them pleasure"
"Asexual and polyamorous woman here. My current long-term relationship works out particularly well because my partner has a low libido. My asexuality is usually a non-issue in my other relationships because while I don't desire or benefit from sexual contact, I'm also not repulsed by it, and I get a great deal of emotional gratification from the idea that I can bring pleasure to someone else. I'm more affectionate with my boyfriends (I don't mind a limited amount of hugging, cuddling, and kissing), and I have sex with them as and when they want to (unless I actively feel unwilling, of course). With my partner(s), I hurt when they hurt. I would do just about anything to pick them up when they're down, and I'd work myself to the bone to support them if they were going through hard times."