Not really ever. Like you can remember six or seven times in your ENTIRE life that you've ever felt like you really needed to eat.
Note 1- There was a TikTok about being asexual that came out not too long ago. I don't have the HTML skills to embed it, but the link will take you to a loop. This framing is absolutely based on that Tiktok, so I want to acknowledge it.
Note 2- While this would normally be an article I would put in NOT Writing About Writing, since the "Buy Me Lunch" series (in which I've written about sexuality and gender) started here on Writing About Writing, I'm going to keep it here for now.
To be clear, asexuality is a spectrum. And really it's three spectrums. Libido is the drive—the desire for sexual release. It's like an itch. Sexual desire is what controls wanting to have sex with another person. It's possible to have a high libido and a low sexual desire (and vise versa). And sexual attraction involves finding someone sexually appealing. Each of these three things can be high or low completely independently of each other.
I can't tell you what all ace people experience or how they feel about sex. It is a broad umbrella that covers a lot of ground. Most people who have typical levels of all three things never unpack and untangle their libido, sexual desire, and sexual attraction as separate from each other. It's those of us who feel like we're not experiencing the world in the "right" way who usually break down how all those things are different and have different levels. Some people have low libidos, low desire, and low attraction and kind of conform to the idea that is most thought of as "asexual." But there's a lot more variation. Some have high sexual attraction, but low sexual desire. (They really find people hot, but seldom act on it.) Some may have a low libido but high sexual desire (they aren't really into sex for release, but love having sex for other reasons). Others (like me) have high libidos, reasonable sexual desire, and a very lukewarm sexual attraction.
I can only tell you what ace means to ME and why I think I'm on that spectrum. There are people like me who enjoy sex and partake in almost as much as they can get as often as they can get it. I feel attraction, but it is usually very aesthetic and appreciative until/unless there is a lot of enthusiasm coming from the person toward me. But when people talk to me about being horny or needing sex or talk about how their desire for sex is starting to short-circuit their rational thinking, I don't experience this feeling.
I enjoy sex, and I have a LOT of it…with several partners. But my reasons for having sex are different than most people’s. The label "demisexual" comes pretty close, and I use it in a pinch, but it's not quite right.
It helps to think about wanting sex like wanting food. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's good enough to be a load-bearing metaphor. It's not that I don't eat. It's not that I don't enjoy eating. It's not that I don't think good food is delicious. It's just that I don't get hungry.
People eat for lots of reasons. And honestly, a lot of those (possibly even most of those) have nothing to do with hunger. We often eat when we "could eat" based on other factors which is more about no longer being absolutely full from the last time we ate rather than actually being hungry.
- Because the food tastes good
- Because we like that KIND of food
- To try something we don't get to have very often or have never tried before
- Because it might be a while before there's another chance to eat
- Because someone made us food and we want to show our appreciation
- Because a companion is hungry and we want to enjoy the time together
- Because we want to enjoy the experience of eating with someone
- To be connected with or bond with other people eating or the cook
- To help us cope with negative emotions, boredom, or just to generate some good feelings
- Because it feels good
I often say that I don't sleep with someone because I crave sex with them. I sleep with someone because I crave connection and intimacy with them and sex is one of MANY ways to get that—and definitely one of the most fun.
We're all wired differently and have different histories. (Part of my ace-ness is wrapped up in hang ups over consent, enthusiasm, and performance anxiety—it means I just don't have nearly as much fun with someone I'm not connected to with a deep bond of trust. All that has much more to do with my childhood traumas than biology.) Being ace is never as simple as "I don't like sex"…although for some people, that sums it up nicely. It's a label that is really only the starting point, so folks should be more willing to get the buy-[them]-lunch answer when it comes up.