[ ey-sek-shoo-uhl ]
/ eɪˈsɛk ʃu əl /
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  1. having no biological sex or sexual organs: In nature, there are numerous examples of asexual plant and animal species.
  2. independent of sexual processes, especially not involving the union of male and female germ cells: Asexual reproduction is common among echinoderms such as starfish, basket stars, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers.
experiencing little or no sexual attraction to other people:a woman who identifies as asexual.Compare graysexual (def. 1).
not involving sex or sexual feelings; nonsexual: an asexual friendship;an asexual hug.
a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction to other people.Compare graysexual (def. 2).
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Origin of asexual

First recorded in 1820–30; a-6 + sexual


a·sex·u·al·i·ty [ey-sek-shoo-al-i-tee], /eɪˌsɛk ʃuˈæl ɪ ti/, nouna·sex·u·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does asexual mean?

A person who is asexual experiences no sexual attraction to others. Asexual people still experience romantic attraction and may participate in sexual activity.

Asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy or abstinence. It’s not a choice or disorder. It is a sexual orientation that falls on a spectrum, and includes diverse identities, behaviors, and attractions.

What are some other words related to asexual?

affectional orientation
sexual orientation

Where does asexual come from?

The word asexual combines the prefix a-, meaning “not” or “without,” and sexual, referring to sex. Asexual is first recorded in the late 1700s, originally used in biology to refer to organisms, especially plants, that had no sex organs.

By the 1800s, asexual was referring to organisms that can reproduce without sexual intercourse with another organism. Komodo dragons and hammerhead sharks, for instance, are capable of asexual reproduction.

By the 1860s, asexual moved into the realm of human sexuality as a term for lacking sexual feelings or attraction to someone

A notable organization for the asexuality community is the website AVEN, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, launched in 2001, and since then has been representing and advocating for asexual individuals. Into the 2000s, asexual persons have joined LGBTQ activism for the fair and equal treatment of all sexual orientations, including asexuality.

As Rory Gory, Digital Marketing Manager of the LGBTQ crisis resource and help organization The Trevor Project, explains in their article for Dictionary.com on “What Does It Mean To Be Asexual?”: “Not every asexual person experiences their sexuality the exact same way. Asexuality, like many sexual orientations, exists on a spectrum.”

An asexual person may not experience sexual feelings but still can have romantic desires and relationships that do not involve intercourse.

How is asexual used in real life?

Asexual describes a person who identifies as asexual. The fact of being asexual is called asexuality. Like most labels, it is generally considered offensive to refer to an asexual individual as an asexual. Discrimination against asexual people is sometimes referred to as aphobia.

Many asexual individuals call themselves aces, based on a phonetic shortening of asexual. They may use the ace of spades playing card to represent themselves. The asexual flag includes stripes in black (representing asexuality), gray (for those between asexuality and sexuality), white (sexuality), and purple (community). Asexual Awareness Week takes place in the last full week of October each year.

The term allosexual is used in the asexual community for a person who experiences sexual attraction. It’s based on allo–, a prefix meaning “other.”

More examples of asexual:

“[W]e barely see characters admit to not desiring sex, or an asexual person navigating their sexual orientation in an empathetic and thoughtful manner as a gay character coming out would.”
—Michele Kirichanskaya, The Mary Sue, August 2018

“I want people to understand that asexual people are simply that—people. Any age, any gender, any background, any look, these are just people with a different sexual orientation, the one in which they are simply not attracted to anyone.”
—Laia Abril quoted in BuzzFeed, February 2019

How to use asexual in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for asexual

/ (eɪˈsɛksjʊəl, æ-) /

having no apparent sex or sex organs
(of reproduction) not involving the fusion of male and female gametes, as in vegetative reproduction, fission, or budding

Derived forms of asexual

asexuality (eɪˌsɛksjʊˈælɪtɪ, ˌæ-), nounasexually, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012