Orientation: Sexual
Prefix: A-
Main Umbrella: Aspec

Asexual (commonly shortened to Ace) is an orientation defined by experiencing little to no sexual attraction, the prefix A- meaning "not" or "a lack of" in Greek.[1] It is also an umbrella term for sexualities that are defined by experiencing minimal attraction.[2] Due to the orientation inherently lacking attraction to all genders, the varying a- spectrum orientations tend to be more distinct than those that experience attraction (also known as allo-).

The asexual spectrum (commonly shortened to 'ace-spec') comes in many forms and experiences. Some examples for asexuality include: not wanting to have sex, not being interested in sex, disconnected from the idea of sex, not experiencing a sex drive/libido, or being repulsed by sex.[2] Sexual attraction is defined as the desire to have sex with, or otherwise perform sexual acts with, another specific individual or gender. For non-asexual individuals (allosexuals), sexual attraction is involuntary, and even occurs when one doesn't personally know the other individual (though one might not act on it).[3] Although a heterosexual man may not be sexually attracted to other men, this is generally not classified as asexual, as asexuality is lack of sexual attraction to any/all genders.

It is important to note the difference between asexuality and celibacy/abstinence. Those who are abstinent or celibate are not necessarily asexual; they may still experience sexual attraction but they choose not to act on it, typically for moral or religious reasons.[4] Although some asexuals do not have sex, there are also many asexuals who do partake in sexual activities or are in sexual relationships. This could be for many reasons, such as their own pleasure, the pleasure of a partner, or to have children. For some individuals, attraction is not an important aspect to having sex.

Being asexual does not mean that one is unable to experience romantic attraction. An asexual individual can have any romantic orientation and some asexuals identify with a romantic orientation to specify who they're interested in romantically, if anyone.[2] They often use prefixes like hetero-, homo-, bi-, pan-, etc. in front of the word romantic to describe who they experience romantic attraction to. For example, an individual who is asexual heteroromantic is romantically attracted to individuals of a different gender, but is not sexually attracted to them.

Sexual dispositions among asexual individuals can vary. Some asexuals may still have a sex drive despite not feeling sexual attraction to anyone. They may still masturbate, watch porn, or participate in sexual activities. Other asexuals lack a sex drive, and some may be repulsed by the concept of sex.

Sex stance terms, including sex-repulsed, sex-averse, sex-indifferent, and sex-favorable, are commonly used to describe these feelings.

Individuals who are both asexual and aromantic may identify as aroace.[5]


Early uses of the term "asexual" for human sexuality predate the formation of the asexual community. One of the first (indirect) references to asexuality was in 1896 by physician, Magnus Hirschfeld, in his book "Sappho und Sokrates" where he says "There are individuals who are without any sexual desire ('Anästhesia sexualis')."[6] In 1948 and 1953 Dr. Alfred Kinsey added a category "X" to the Kinsey Scale, indicating those with "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions.”[7][8]

In a study published in 1983, Paula Nurius examined the relationship between mental health and sexual orientation. The study focused on heterosexuality and homosexuality but also had options for bisexual and asexual.[9]

The contemporary asexual community originated once the internet enabled small, geographically-dispersed demographics to connect with each other. The earliest asexual proto-community formed in the comments of a 1997 article by Zoe O'Reilly and published by StarNet Dispatches, entitled "My Life as a Human Amoeba".[10] On October 12, 2000 the Yahoo e-mail group "Haven for the Human Amoeba (HHA)" was founded.[11] The following year, David Jay created the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN).[12] On LiveJournal, the Asexuality community was founded in 2002.[13]

Over the years, asexuality has been defined in a variety of different ways by different individuals. One of the most popular definitions emphasizes attraction, but there have also been those that emphasize a lack of sex drive or desire.[14][15]

Low Sexual Interest in the DSM

The DSM-5 and ICD-10 currently define low sexual desire as a disorder. The diagnosis has gone under several name changes, the current names being:

  • DSM-5 — Female sexual interest/arousal disorder, Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder
  • ICD-10 — Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)

In 2013, the DSM-5 was published. Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder and Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder remain listed as disorders, but their criteria exclude individuals who self-identify as asexual.[16]

Related Terms

Label Relationship Description Difference
Allosexual Opposite An individual that experiences sexual attraction. It is the opposite of asexuality.
Aplatonic Counterpart Experiences little or no platonic attraction. The platonic counterpart of asexuality.
Apothisexual Similar Experiences little or no sexual attraction and is also sex-repulsed. Not all asexual individuals are sex-repulsed.
Aroace Similar Experiences little or no romantic nor sexual attraction. Also combines aromanticism.
Aromantic Counterpart Experiences little or no romantic attraction. The romantic counterpart of asexuality.
Non-libidoist Similar Experiences no sex drive.[17] Not all asexual individuals lack a sex drive, and one can experience sexual attraction without a sex drive.

Prefixes and Suffixes

Label Prefix / Suffix Flag Description Creator(s)
Acefog -fog Acefog.png[18] An individual that knows they are asexual but are unsure if one experiences sexual attraction as a result of neurodiversity.[18] emostiims
Aceflexible -flexible [19]



An individual who rarely experiences sexual attraction (also see greysexual).[22][23][24] Seeking, R_1, PennedWriterz, The Bigender Cosmonaut
Aceflexible (alt) / Flexible Asexual -flexible / flexible An asexual individual who is open to the idea of sexual acts or relationships (also see cupiosexual).[25][23]
Acefluid (alike arofluid) -fluid Acefluid.jpg[26]

Acefluid raydudepridehoard.png[27]

Acefluid Mxthet.png[28]

Fluid between acespec orientations, such as identifying as fraysexual, to identifying as demisexual.[29] Unknown, Pride-Flags, RayDudePrideHoard, Mxthet
Acefluid (new) An individual who has a specific orientation that is fluid between one's orientation types, temporarily replacing one's aspec orientations. For example, aromantic homosexual, to homoromantic asexual, noting that a specific type of orientation (homo- in this example) temporarily replaces one's asexuality, aromanticity, or other aspec tertiary orientation. The non-paraphrased definition is "when your attraction flows from asexual, to aromantic to another with core feelings the same".[30][31]
Acefluid (original) Synonymous with aceflux (see above).[32]
Acefluix -fluix [33] Both aceflux and acefluid.[33] Kau
Aceflux -flux Aceflux.png[34] Fluctuating between feeling sexual attraction and lacking sexual attraction.[35] ngc2068
Acejump -jump Acejump.png[36] Normally allosexual, but occasionally experiencing sudden and intense periods of asexuality.[36] luigis-mogai-mansion
Acemid -mid Acemid.png[37] Strictly asexual but partially aromantic.[37] star-allos
Acespike -spike Acespike.png[38] Normally asexual, but occasionally experiencing sudden and intense sexual attraction for a short period of time.[38] Cyzu, Unknown
Acevague -vague Acevague.png[39] Asexuality partially influenced by one's neurodivergence.[39] transboy-lou
Acevoid -void Acevoid.jpg[40] Experiences neutral or no feelings towards one's own orientations except one's asexuality.[40] aromagpie
Nebulasexual nebula- Nebulasexual.png[41] Nebulace.png[42] Cannot distinguish sexual attraction between another attraction due to neurodivergency.[41][43] libragender, epochryphal
Rat Ace Rat RatAce.png[44] An asexual individual who prefers cuddles, hugs, kisses, and other affectionate and sensual non-sexual acts over sexual acts.[44] PhoeniXXTalon

Flags and Symbols

In the summer of 2010, AVEN and several other asexual websites held a contest to design an asexual flag. The current asexual flag was designed by the AVEN user Standup and was uploaded on June 30th, 2010.[45] The colours were chosen based on the colours of the AVEN triangle. The black stripe represents asexuals, grey representing greyasexuals and demisexuals, white representing allosexual partners and allies, and purple representing community.[46] Some pride flags that represent forms of asexuality use these colors.

A common symbol is an ace playing card, due to the fact that asexual is often shortened to ace. Generally the ace of hearts is used to represent asexuals who feel romantic attraction. The ace of spades can be used to represent aromantic asexuals, or is sometimes used as an umbrella symbol for all asexuals and ace-spec individuals. The ace of diamonds and the ace of clubs are less commonly seen. The ace of diamonds is most commonly associated with demisexuals and sometimes greyasexuals as well. The ace of clubs is commonly associated with greyasexuals, but also sometimes is used for individuals who are questioning where they fall on the asexual spectrum.

Wearing a black ring on the middle finger, typically of the right hand, known as an "ace ring" has become a way to subtly identify the wearer as being asexual. The origin of the black ring began in a thread from 2005. The material and exact design of the ring are not important as long as it is primarily black.[47][48]

Cake has been an informal symbol of asexuality since 2004, originating from the AVEN forums cake emote and the joke that asexuals "prefer eating cake to having sex".[49] Dragons have also been used to symbolize asexuality, stemming from a joke that "asexual individuals are way more interested in dragons than in sex" it is also a reference to Charlie Weasley from Harry Potter, who was described as being "...more interested in dragons than relationships and all that stuff" causing many individuals to headcanon him as asexual.[50] Asexuals are also associated with plants, since certain plants have the ability to reproduce asexually through mitosis.

An older asexual symbol is the AVEN triangle, which used a black-to-white gradient to represent the asexual spectrum, with white representing allosexuality and black representing asexuality.[51] This gradient is what inspired the white, grey, and black stripes of the asexual flag.

The asexual symbol is characteristized by a hollow circle, which may have some semblance to the asexual black ring.[52][47][48]

An acespec flag was created by sude.the.acespec, featuring the same colours as the current popular asexual flag.[53]

An acespec flag was created by theflagarchive. Dark blue represents the community, it’s history, and solidarity. Purple represents asexuality of all kinds. Red represents self determination, pride in one's identity, and ascceptance of one's own and others’ asexuality. Cream represents diversity in experiences and types of attraction.[54]


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  3. Ferguson , Sian. "What Does It Mean to Be Allosexual?". Heathline, 7 Apr, 2022,
  4. "12 FAQs About Celibacy". Healthline, 28 Mar, 2022,
  5. "aro-ace". Wiktionary, 11 Jan, 2023,
  6. tommy92. "(indirect) mentions of asexuality in Magnus Hirschfeld's books". AVEN, 8 Feb, 2014,
  7. Kinsey, Alfred C. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. W.B. Saunders. ISBN 0-253-33412-8
  8. Kinsey, Alfred C. (1953). Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. W. B. Saunders ISBN 025333411X
  9. Nurius, Paula. (1983). "Mental Health Implications of Sexual Orientation" The Journal of Sex Research 19 (2) pp.119-136.
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  19. PennedWriterz. "Aceflexible". LGBTQIA+ Wiki, 25 Nov, 2021,
  20. PennedWriterz. "Aceflexible". LGBTQIA+ Wiki, 26 Nov, 2021,
  21. Tbc2021 / The Bigender Cosmonaut.. "Aceflexible". LGBTQIA+ Wiki, Uploaded by PennedWriterz, 27 Nov, 2021,
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  24. Star Bit. "Gray-sexual and Gray-asexual need to be two different terms?". The AVEN, 21 Mar, 2016,
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  39. 39.0 39.1 Pride-Flags. "Acevague". DeviantArt, 16 Dec, 2016, Archived on 14 Feb, 2022.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Pride-Flags. "Acevoid". DeviantArt, 22 Apr, 2021, Archived on 14 Feb, 2022.
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