What does grey-a mean?
As with many things in life, sexuality isn't black and white. Grey-a, or grey-asexuality, refers to sexual identities along a spectrum of asexuality and sexuality. Those who identify as grey-a experience sexual attraction or desire sex only rarely or under certain conditions. People of a variety of gender identities can be grey-a.
Examples of grey-a
Where does grey-a come from?
Sexuality isn’t a binary of being sexual or being asexual. That’s where grey-a comes in. Falling between sexual and asexual, grey-a or grey asexuality describes someone who only has some or occasional feelings of sexual desire.
The term grey-a was coined by user KPsaz in 2006 on AVEN, or the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. The a is short for asexual while the grey represents in-between-ness and alludes to AVEN’s logo, a triangle with a gradient from white to black. Of the identity, KSpaz wrote: “Is there really a line at which point you are asexual? According to our logo there isn’t. Just fuzziness. So, this thread I dedicate to our fuzzy members who may sometimes feel unsure of their asexuality/sexuality”
As greater awareness and inclusion of nonbinary gender and sexual identities has spread in popular culture in the 2000–10s, grey-a began to spread from AVEN to communities on platforms such as Reddit and Twitter. This greater visibility has earned grey-a attention in major publications such as Refinery29, Bustle, NOW, and Vice.
Who uses grey-a?
Grey-a and grey-asexual may also be referred to as grey-sexual. A related concept is grey-romantic, or a person whose experience of romantic attraction and desire falls between aromantic and romantic. Another related concept is demisexual, referring to people who only experience sexual attraction or desire after a strong emotional bond is formed with a person. Like grey-a, demisexual was coined on AVEN in 2006.
Grey-a is commonly found as a self-identifier or topic on AVEN forums or social media messages boards like Reddit’s r/asexuality. Grey-a may also be found in popular discussions of the nature of human sexuality as on a continuum.
Being Grey-A is romantically frustrating tho, since I do occasionally fall for people, but it's soooo rare and most interests won't stay interested in a chick with a "low libido".
— Cody the Lovebird (@birdhism) June 1, 2018
Someone who is grey-a might also refer to themselves as grey-ace, with ace styled after a shortening of asexual. Someone who is grey-a might also further identify their sexual orientation, e.g., grey-a heterosexual or grey-a homoromantic. Others who are grey-a may identify more generally as queer.
Bisexual > Lesbian > Pansexual Homoromantic Lesbian > Grey-A Pansexual Homoromantic Lesbian (who is married to a nonbinary person) https://t.co/EbaGfnDmKH
— Megzie @ Daishocon 🖤💜🖤 ONE LAST TIME (@SailorMegzie) March 17, 2018
This is not meant to be a formal definition of grey-a like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of grey-a that will help our users expand their word mastery.