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Asexuality is a non-existent or extremely low level of sexual attraction or interest in sexual activity. It can be considered a lack of sexual orientation, an alternative to heterosexuality, an alternative to homosexuality, or an alternative to bisexuality.
Alfred Kinsey was one of the first researchers to recognize asexuality. When he found he could not accurately record the sexual attraction of some individuals on his Kinsey scale, he instead used a category called "X" to group individuals with "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions."
Asexuality is sometimes called nonsexuality.
Despite their lack of sexual attraction toward others, asexual people may form romantic relationships. Within these relationships, they might identify as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Alternatively, some asexual people choose to use alternative terms such as heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, or aromantic. These terms stress the emotional or romantic nature of their relationships.
Asexuality differs from abstinence and celibacy. It is not motivated by religious or personal beliefs. Celibate people have sexual desires but choose not to act on them. Asexual people have no sexual desires at all. Some asexual people do actually engage in sexual activity, but this engagement is not driven by libido. Instead, they might choose to perform sexual acts to please a romantic partner or to conceive children. Other asexual people are repulsed by sex, and will not engage in sexual acts.
It's estimated that one percent of the world’s population identifies as asexual and roughly 70% are female. Because asexuality is relatively uncommon, asexual people have found support through online communities.