Is asexuality (no sexual attraction to anyone) a valid orientation, or is it more likely that there’s a medical reason behind it? How should I ask my doctor about it?

Asexuality is all about not feeling sexually attracted to other people. It’s completely valid, and there are many perfectly healthy people who identify as asexual. Some people think of it as a sexual orientation, others think of it as more of a general sexual identity. If you think you may be asexual, you get to decide what it means to you. Check out the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network to learn more about asexuality.

Not feeling attracted to other people is different than not being able to experience sexual arousal. Some asexual people experience arousal, but just don’t feel it in relation to other people. In some people (whether or not they’re asexual), health issues can make sexual arousal difficult.  So lack of attraction and lack of arousal are two different things that can sometimes happen in the same person, but definitely don’t have to. If you’re worried about your ability to become sexually aroused, telling your doctor what’s going on could help.

Just as it can sometimes take people many years to understand whether they are gay, straight, or bi, it can take some self-exploration and time to know if you’re asexual or not – and that’s totally okay. You may find speaking with a counselor helps you get to know what you’re feeling and figure things out.

-Emily at Planned Parenthood