Nonbinary Life

Nonbinary vs Asexual: What Exactly Is the Difference?

What is the difference between nonbinary vs asexual? Some people are nonbinary, some people are asexual, and some people are both!

In this post, I’ll explain all about what nonbinary vs asexual really means.

Nonbinary vs asexual: what exactly is the difference?

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Nonbinary is a Gender Identity

A gender identity, like “nonbinary,” is a way to describe what gender we are. “Woman” and “man” are other examples of gender identities.

“Nonbinary” is a way of explaining who you are, not who you’re attracted to. Nonbinary people may have feminine, masculine, and/or androgynous ways of expressing themselves. Nonbinary doesn’t mean no gender or no sex. It is a word for describing a gender identity outside the binary of man or woman.

Some nonbinary people are attracted to women, men, and/or people of other gender identities. And some nonbinary people are not sexually attracted to anyone. That may mean they are asexual (in addition to nonbinary).

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Asexual is a Sexual Orientation

People who do not experience sexual attraction may describe themselves as asexual.

Most people are sexually attracted to some people, but not to others. Often we describe how sexual orientation relates to gender: attracted to men, but not to women, etc. Some people don’t feel sexual attraction for anyone, regardless of gender. Perhaps if you are not attracted to people of a particular gender (not attracted to men, for example) you can imagine if this lack of attraction extended to people of all genders.

Because sexuality is so deeply ingrained in our culture, it can be hard to recognize and accept if you are asexual. Asexuality is a beautiful and natural expression of human sexuality (or the lack of it).

“Asexual” does not describe a person’s own gender. Women, men, and people of other genders can be asexual. They are both asexual (having no sexual attraction) and have a gender (such as man, woman, nonbinary, etc).

Asexual can often be confused with agender, a similar word which means the person does not identify with any gender. An agender person may not feel like a man, woman, nonbinary person, etc. Agender means not having a gender.

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Some asexuals are sex-repulsed, meaning they are uncomfortable with having sex at all. This may extend to not enjoying sexual content either. Some asexuals don’t mind sex or will lean into having sex as a physical activity to do with a partner, not because they feel sexual attraction to that person but for some of the other many reasons we have sex with people: to feel close, to build a connection, for release, for money, or for pregnancy.

Many of us have had consensual sex with someone we weren’t necessarily attracted to. Hopefully it wasn’t bad. Perhaps that can help you relate to why an asexual person might choose to have sex with someone.

Of course, many asexuals do not enjoy sex so you should never assume someone would be interested.

“Ace” is a short and casual way of saying you’re asexual. Many asexual people choose to share their identity with friends, dates, and partners so they are aware not to expect sexual interest.

Being asexual is all about not being attracted to other people, regardless of their gender. Asexual is quite different from nonbinary, which refers to one’s own gender identity.

Nonbinary vs Asexual: More Info

I hope this post has helped clarify the difference between nonbinary vs asexual. For more great info on being nonbinary or asexual, please check out:

Is Everyone a Little Bit Nonbinary (and Bisexual and Autistic)?

Nonbinary Meaning: Not a Man or Woman

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