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"There's nothing more to it." Luke Bovard, who studies applied math, says he's been "vaguely aware" of his asexuality since his early adolescence.
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.
Most asexuals, when asked, will identify two orientations: a sexual one and a romantic one.
For example, while some aces identify themselves as both aromantic and asexual (meaning they generally do not feel romantic or sexual attraction toward other people), others say they do have the capacity to feel romantically toward others.
"When you talk about masturbation, you may think of it as a sexual activity, but actually masturbation is not inherently sexual.
[Asexuals cite] boredom, stress reduction, helping them to get to sleep, etc., as reasons behind masturbation." Several male asexuals told us they masturbate frequently, some every day, and most used the phrase "cleaning the plumbing" to explain why they do it.
Masturbation doesn't make you sexual, says sex expert Lori Brotto.
Aces say that asexuality, just like sexuality, exists on a spectrum.
"[The ace lifestyle] allows you to see how sex and romance can be decoupled," said Anthony Bogaert, a professor at Canada’s Brock University and an authority on asexual research.
"It allows you to see that when we automatically couple up romance and sex, as if they're naturally together, that's not true." Mark Mc Clemont, who identifies as a homoromantic asexual, explains how romance and sex are delineated in his mind.
Brotto estimates that about 10 percent of masturbating asexuals masturbate to non-human images.
One woman Brotto studied said she masturbates to mythical fairies.