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Gray asexuality

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Title: Gray asexuality  
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Subject: Asexuality, Sexual attraction, Romantic orientation, Human male sexuality, Third gender
Collection: Asexuality, Sexual Attraction, Sexual Orientation
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Gray asexuality

Gray asexuality, or gray-sexuality (sometimes spelled grey), is the concept and community of individuals falling under the "ace umbrella," or in the spectrum between asexuality and sexuality.[1][2][3]

Due to the wide range of this spectrum, gray asexuality encompasses a variety of individuals under the "ace umbrella." Individuals who identify with gray asexuality are referred to as being gray-A, a grace or a gray ace.[1][4] Within this spectrum includes terms such as "hyposexual", "demisexual", "semisexual", "low sexual intensity", "asexual-ish" and "sexual-ish".[5]

Those who identify as gray-A tend to lean toward the more asexual side of the aforementioned spectrum.[6] As such, the emergence of online communities, such as the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), have given gray aces locations to discuss their orientation.[2][6]


  • Definitions 1
  • Romantic orientation 2
  • Community 3
  • Research 4
  • References 5
    • Bibliography 5.1
  • External links 6


The Asexuality Archive writes, "The difference between 'asexual' and 'gray-asexual' is one of attraction, not behavior."[1] The source adds that "gray-A" is intentionally a vague, catch-all term. Gray asexuality is considered the gray area between asexuality and sexuality in which a person may "occasionally experience sexual attraction."[1] The term gray-A is also considered a range of identities under an asexuality umbrella, including demisexuality.[7]

The gray-A spectrum usually includes individuals who, "experience sexual attraction very rarely, only under specific circumstances, or of an intensity so low that it’s ignorable."[8] In addition, those who "possibly aren’t quite sure whether or not what they experience is sexual attraction" are likewise included under the asexual umberella.[1]

Gray-asexuality is also related with demisexuality, which refers to those who, "may experience secondary sexual attraction after a close emotional connection has already formed."[9] The Asexuality Archive defines demisexuality as the capability, not guarantee "of feeling sexual attraction after" one has, "developed a close emotional bond with someone."[1]

Romantic orientation

The romantic orientation of a gray-A identifying individual can vary, because sexual and romantic identities are not necessarily linked.[9] While some are aromantic, others are heteroromantic, or panromantic, and regardless of romantic orientation, are able to develop relationships with other individuals.[4][5]


A commonly used asexual pride flag, in which gray represents gray sexuality

A Wired article notes examples of fluidity in the asexual and gray-A spectrum being accepted within the asexual community.[4] A Huffington Post article quotes a gray-A-identifying high school student, saying, "Sexuality is so fluid, and Gray-A presents more of a possibility to be unsure."[10]

The AVEN, as well as blogging websites such as Tumblr, have given ways for gray-As to find acceptance in their communities.[8] While gray-As are noted to have variety in the experiences of sexual attraction, individuals in the community share their identification within the spectrum.[11] A black, gray, white, and purple flag is commonly used to display pride in the asexual community. The gray line represents the area of gray sexuality within the community.[12]


Asexuality in general is relatively new to academic research and public discourse.[13][14] There have been, however, some instances of gray-sexuality being included in research on asexuality as a spectrum, such as that of Columbia University's Caroline H. McClave.[15] In her Master's thesis, McClave defines "gray-sexual" as, "people who have experienced sexual attraction, but prefer to have no sexual activity."[16] In addition, McClave uses demographic and behavioral variables that showed significant differences between asexual and sexual people in previous studies, in order to, "assess the validity" of her definition of gray-sexuality.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Under the Ace Umbrella: Demisexuality and Gray-asexuality". Asexuality Archive. June 16, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Bogaert 2012, p. 85.
  3. ^ "Under the Ace Umbrella: Demisexuality and Gray-asexuality". Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  4. ^ a b c McGowan, Kat (February 18, 2015). "Young, Attractive, and Totally Not Into Having Sex". Wired. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Mosbergen, Dominique (June 19, 2013). "The Asexual Spectrum: Identities In The Ace Community (INFOGRAPHIC)". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b White, Rachel (November 22, 2011). """What It Means To Be "Gray-Sexual. The Frisky. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ Weinberg & Newmahr 2015, p. 216.
  8. ^ a b Shoemaker, Dale (February 13, 2015). "No Sex, No Love: Exploring asexuality, aromanticism at Pitt". The Pitt News. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Mosenberger, Dominique (June 19, 2013). "The Asexual Spectrum: Identities In The Ace Community (INFOGRAPHIC)". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ Cerankowski & Milks 2014, p. 92.
  12. ^ Williams, Isabel. "Introduction to Asexual Identities & Resource Guide". Campus Pride. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ Stark, Leah (February 23, 2015). "Stanford scholar blazes pathway for academic study of asexuality". Stanford News. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  14. ^ Smith, SE (August 21, 2012). "Asexuality always existed, you just didn't notice it". The Guardian. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  15. ^ McClave, Caroline H. (2013). "Asexuality as a Spectrum: A National Probability Sample Comparison to the Sexual Community in the UK". Columbia University. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b McClave, Caroline H. (2013). Asexuality as a Spectrum: A National Probability Sample Comparison to the Sexual Community in the UK (Master's). Columbia University. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 


  • Bogaert, Anthony F. (2012). Understanding Asexuality. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.  
  • Cerankowski, Karli June; Milks, Megan (2014). Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Routledge.  
  • Weinberg, Thomas S.; Newmahr, Staci D. (2015). Selves, Symbols, and Sexualities: An Interactionist Anthology. SAGE Publications, Inc.  

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