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Finding the asexual community was a "relief," he says, as it helped him better understand himself and "articulate some of the thoughts" he'd been having about his asexuality.(Photo credit: Luke Bovard) Though asexuals (or "aces") are often seen as individuals who are devoid of sexual desire, incapable of sexual arousal and averse to interpersonal intimacy, both researchers and asexuals alike say these are largely misconceptions.In a 2010 study, Brotto says she found evidence that asexual women have a similar genital response to stimuli as sexual women -- in other words, a comparable sexual arousal response.Still, despite evidence that sexual desire and arousal are not usually absent in asexuals, current research indicates that aces do have significantly lower sexual desire and arousal than sexual individuals. Several aces even said that while they can experience orgasm (a reflexive response), it is almost always -- and this is a direct quote -- "meh." Brotto's study indicates, however, that these lower levels are not caused by an "impaired psychophysiological sexual arousal response." As one asexual put it, "everything works, we just don't want to get somebody else involved." Tellingly, most asexuals who masturbate say they rarely think about another person during the act, and even when they do, it's in a non-sexual context.
The specific language that has developed among asexuals has not just been useful in helping aces define themselves, but it's also worked to bring the community together.
' I admit the finding did surprise me, too," said Brotto, the director of the University of British Columbia's Sexual Health Laboratory.
"When you talk about masturbation, you may think of it as a sexual activity, but actually masturbation is not inherently sexual.
That desire is a powerful force that stems from the head, rather than my libido.
I don't hunger for sex the way other people might." Gray-A's, on the other hand, are people who identify more generally in the gray zone between asexuality and sexuality.