Who Is This Person I Married?

There are various classifications of people who are not interested in sex . . .   You may be able to identify your spouse in one of the following categories.  These definitions / classifications are all provided by AVENwiki .  You can find more information by looking up AVENwiki.
(This may be of NO interest to you at all, but for some of us it is helpful to have a "label" for our spouses.)

Gray-A / Grey- A

Asexuality and sexuality are not black and white; some people identify in the gray (spelled "grey" in some countries) area between them. People who identify this way can include, but are not limited to:

  • people who do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes
  • people who experience sexual attraction, but a low sex drive
  • people who are technically sexual, but feel that it's not an important part of their lives and don't identify with standard sexual culture
  • people who experience sexual attraction and drive, but not strongly enough to want to act on them
  • Functionally asexuals who experience sexual feelings but do not engage in them
  • people who can enjoy and desire sex, but only under very limited and specific circumstances
  • people who experience some parts of sexuality but not others, according to a theoretical model such as Rabger's[1]

Some people who most on AVEN would consider asexual choose to identify with the gray area instead, because they prefer a narrower definition of asexuality than AVEN's. For example, an asexual with a sex drive who prefers the nonlibidoist definition of asexuality might identify as semisexual rather than asexual.

Similarly, some people who might technically belong to the gray area choose to identify as asexual because it is easier to explain. For example, if someone has experienced sexual attraction on one or two brief, fleeting occasions in their life, they might prefer to call themselves asexual because it is not worth the bother of having to explain the one or two brief, fleeting occasions to everyone who asks about their orientation

Functionally asexual

(Or practically asexual) is a kind of Gray-A who does not perform sexual acts. Thus, the term asexual describes their behavior and not necessarily their feelings.

There are a variety of people who can be categorized as functionally asexual:

  • Those who have taken vows of celibacy. For instance, nuns, monks, and Catholic priests.
  • Lesbians and gays for whom a sexual relationship goes against their morals.
  • Unmarried elders who do not wish to begin a new relationship, often widows and widowers.
  • Those for whom finding a suitable sexual partner is not possible. Lesbians and gays were once in this category and many still are.
  • Plushies who are only attracted to something that doesn't exist.
  • A sexual Antisexual.

Antisexualism is a belief that sexuality is wrong or should be avoided. It is distinct from asexuality; an antisexual person can be sexual or asexual, and not all asexuals are antisexual.

Most asexuals on AVEN, far from being antisexual, take the viewpoint that sex (provided it is undergone safely and consensually) is a fine and dandy thing for other people to do, and they simply don't want to have to get involved with it themselves.

Reasons for Antisexualism

Some of the arguments for the antisexual position include:

  • Sexuality can complicate relationships
  • Sex may be incompatible with intimacy
  • Sexual desire can cause people to place primitive instinct ahead of intellect (people across the world continue to have unsafe casual sex despite their awareness of the dangers of STDs, as just one example)
  • Sexuality asserts itself in the human mind by releasing neurochemicals comparable to addictive drugs into the brain
  • Sexual desire can cause people to lie and cheat in the pursuit of sexual relationships
  • Sexuality can lead to discrimination, based on perceptions of sexual immorality and intolerance of certain sexual preferences
  • Sexual desires could be false assumptions that are foisted on you by society, hence you may need to look at how your sexuality is ideologically and institutionally constructed.
  • Sexuality makes no sense because it is too complicated for its functions; the variety of orientations, kinks, fetishes, and especially destructive variations like sadism and unsafe sex, make human sexuality seem too bewildering to be practical.
  • Some antisexualists make no distinction between consent and coercion, seeing sex as a means of oppression.
  • Some antisexualists see a link between unrestricted reproduction, resource depletion and environmental decay. This is a position ideologically connected to deep ecology and what some call "ecofascism".
  • Some antisexualists argue motherhood is a construct used to subjugate women, hence they oppose procreation. This is also an argument with pro-celibacy advocates.
  • The relentless pursuit of sex may be nihilistic

A person who identifies as a Demisexual is, according to Rabger's model, a person who does not experience primary sexual attraction but yet still experiences secondary sexual attraction. Primary sexual attraction being sexual attraction based on outward qualities such as a person's looks, clothes, or personality. Secondary sexual attraction being attraction to another stemming from emotional connection (usually romantic) or status or how closely the person is in relationship to the other.

The name demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual: In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of either gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to (usually in love with) someone else, the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire to the same degree as a sexual person, but only towards the specific partner(s).

Though factors such as looks and personality do not affect primary sexual attraction for demisexuals (since demisexuals do not experience primary sexual attraction), such factors may affect romantic attraction (as with other orientations).

"Demisexual" is also sometimes used as a synonym for some other kind of person falling under the gray-A umbrella.

"Demisexual" differs from "Grey-A" in that "Demisexual" is a specific sexual orientation inbetween "sexual" and "asexual", whereas "Grey-A" is a highly unspecific catch-all used for anything between sexual and asexual that doesn't fit.

When describing "demisexual" as an orientation to sexuals, sexuals often mistake it as an admirable choice rather than an innate orientation.

Demisexuality may make forming romantic or sexual relationships more difficult for some people. Demisexuals often make first impressions with sexuals of being "just friends", which may make the sexual value the relationship less. Demisexuals often have rocky relationships with asexuals because the demisexual's feeling may become more sexualized with time, which the asexual may find inappropriate or unexpected. In either case, having a better understanding of one's own orientation and how it differs from one's partner's orientation may help facilitate communication to clear up misunderstandings.


A nonlibidoist is a person who does not have a sex drive and has never had one, and hence does not experience sexual urges or desires (and in particular, does not **********.) Nonlibidoism is a much more stringent definition than AVEN's standard description of asexuality. A large percentage of asexuals do have sex drives, but still lack any sexual attraction, and on a more abstract level many believe the libido to be an innate and indivisible part of the creative subconscious, as defined by Jung[1].

Some nonlibidoists, such as those at the (now defunct) Official Nonlibidoist Society (Internet Archive Link), consider that nonlibidoism is the only valid form of asexuality. Due to the popularity of a more inclusive definition of asexuality, the Official Nonlibidoist Society has ceased to use the term "asexual" for its members, believing that it has "by now become almost synonymous for solo-sexual [or] ***********." (reference no longer available)

Other nonlibidoists, particularly those at AVEN, believe that nonlibidoism is simply one among many valid varieties of asexuality, neither better or worse than being an asexual with a sex drive.

enna30 enna30
56-60, F
4 Responses Jul 11, 2010

I'm an asexual and I don't understand how sexuals feel at all. <br />
on the AVEN boards there is a section where you can ask questions if you want, and some asexuals can try to answer them, there are also sexual people on those boards who are going through the same things as you are.

Thanks for this more medical/psych approach! Intertesting to read. <br />
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Not sure I found an exact definition for my H--I'd go with Gray A + "people who can enjoy and desire sex, but only under very limited and specific circumstances"<br />
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Now that I've defined it...what can I DO about it??<br />
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That's OK Enna--cannot expect you to provide all the answers !!

I totally agree that we may never understand, Yemanya! I try hard to understand, to empathise and to "see" how it is from the side of the sexless spouse - but I truly do NOT understand at all . . . . :(

Is nice to know there are enough people out there with this complex to label it (in other words, nice to know I’m not alone). I'd put my H under GreyA (low sex drive). Not sure what "technically sexual" means ... that is the challenge with these definitions, getting into semantics.<br />
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At this point I've spent a lot of time trying to understand and I’m not sure it has yielded much. Two years ago, I was told by our marriage counselor that I needed to accept I may never understand. <br />
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Thanks for the post Enna – you always provide food for thought.