Trying to determine the difference between low libido and asexuality can be very difficult, especially if you’ve always assumed you have a low libido and recently discovered the existence of the asexual community.
It can feel like you’ve discovered a whole new world.
But how do you tell the difference between being asexual or having a low libido?
Sometimes it can appear similar from the outside. What usually makes the difference is the person’s underlying internal feelings and motivations behind sex. The most important thing to know is that asexuality exists on a spectrum, and not all asexual people feel the same way about sex.
*Note: I’m not asexual and I don’t claim to be an expert on this particular topic, I can only discuss what I have learned from the helpful asexual community and The Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Their website is a wonderful resource if you have more questions about asexuality.
How do you tell the difference between having low libido and being asexual?
1. Asexual people experience little to no sexual attraction to other people of any gender. While people with low libido do experience sexual attraction to other people but their desire for sex is low or has decreased.
People who are asexual are not sexually attracted to any gender. They don’t look at another person and go “Ooh, I wish I could have sex with them!” But they can experience romantic attraction or attraction on a friendship level, which is different.
This doesn’t mean that people who are asexual don’t have sex or experience a desire to have sex with their partner. Asexuals can have sex or masturbate for all sorts of reasons, that are not necessarily related to sexual attraction.
While people with low libido have usually experienced high libido or sexual desire in the past, maybe at the beginning of their relationship and it has slowly declined over time. They are sexually attracted to other people, may think about what sex might be like with that person, but not be “in the mood” to have sex with them at that moment.
2. Asexual people tend to masturbate frequently whereas people with low libido don’t, or aren’t as interested in masturbation as they used to be.
Like I mentioned above, asexual people can engage in masturbation for a whole range of different reasons, usually quite frequently. They can still enjoy masturbation (and even sex) for pleasure, stress relief, meeting emotional needs, and even to meet the needs of their partners.
Some asexual people even identify as having a high libido, they just don’t experience sexual attraction to another person.
People with low libido, on the other hand, do not masturbate frequently, sometimes not at all. For them, sex and masturbation doesn’t tend to cross their mind on the average day.
3. Asexual people aren’t bothered by not having sex. People with low libido are concerned and try to get help for it.
This doesn’t mean that asexual people have never been distressed by their lack of interest in sex before. They may have felt distressed in the past. This is most likely due to living in a hypersexual society where the societal expectation is that everyone should love sex and want to have sex with other people all the time.
If that’s the case, then it makes sense that if they don’t feel that way, then they might feel like something is wrong with them. Often it can be quite a process of self-discovery and finding the right resources before they can accept who they are.If you've never desired to have partnered sex and it doesn't cause you any distress, then you're likely to be on the asexual spectrum. Click To Tweet
On the other hand, if someone previously had a high interest in having sex with other people and it now it’s started to change, and this concerns them, then they probably have low libido. If they’re actively avoiding sex and it’s starting to cause problems in their relationship, they probably have low libido, or even a sexual aversion.
Another way to look at it is: people with low libido want to want sex, but asexual people are content with the way they are.People with low libido WANT TO WANT sex, but asexual people are content with the way they are. Click To Tweet
At the end of the day, the label doesn’t have to matter to you.
I hope reading through these 3 ways to differentiate low libido and asexuality was helpful and that it gave you some insight into yourself or a loved one.
Whether you’re asexual or have low libido, I want you to know that you’re perfect just the way you are. And you don’t have to change yourself or put yourself into one box or the other. You don’t have to explore your sexuality or improve your libido if you don’t want to. You get to choose what makes you happy and how you want to live your life.
If after reading this you are convinced that you have low libido and you’d like to get some help, take the Libido Assessment Quiz now to take that first step. You don’t have to struggle alone with your libido anymore, we’re here to help you on that journey every step of the way!