What Does It Mean to be Graysexual?

Sexuality can come in many shapes and forms. One’s approach to how they feel about sex and love varies from person to person. Your sexuality does not define you, but it is helpful to get to know who you are and find a community of like-minded individuals to support you. 

Graysexuality refers to those who fall between the asexual and allosexual spectrum. This means it can be tough to define exactly what graysexual means. Someone who identifies as graysexual generally feels limited sexual attraction, this means they might sometimes feel sexual attraction but is infrequent and they often do not pursue them. 

In this article, we’ll explore what graysexuality means and how you might fit into this community. We will also delve into ways in which we can learn more about and help bring awareness and support to graysexuals.

Who is Graysexual?

The best way to explain graysexuality is that it cannot be black or white: it’s called graysexual for a reason. The idea that one does not need to be strictly asexual or allosexual is what makes up the foundation of this identity. Graysexuals experience sexual attration occasionally, but it is not an important factor when choosing a romantic partner. Of course those who identify with graysexuality can fall on a spectrum within this identity itself, some being more allosexual or asexual than others. 

Sexual attraction for graysexuals might be situational. This means perhaps it’s rare to feel sexual attraction for this person, but under the right circumstance they feel such attraction. Some might try to put graysexuality under the asexual spectrum, but that is incorrect. Although the asexual community is a huge supportive group for graysexual individuals, they are not the same identity. Asexuality (link to what it means to be asexual) refers to those who feel no sexual attraction at all, and although it might be rarer for a graysexual person to feel sexual attraction it can still happen. 

It is important to note that this identity has no absolute. A graysexual person lives in the in an inbetween space, which is what many find comforting about graysexuality. They are able to explore and move about the idea of sexual attraction without having to strictly claim to be allosexual or asexual. Because why can’t you be both? 

Graysexuality only refers to your sexual orientation, not your romantic orientation. This means that just because you are graysexual that does not mean you are also grayromantic (link to grayromantic article).  Your romantic orientation refers to how you approach romantic feelings instead of sexual feelings therefore you could be graysexual and aromantic for example. There are endless combinations and ways to approach your individual identity.

Where does the word “graysexual” come from?

The word “gray” in graysexual refers to the idea of being in between and “sexual” refers to physical attraction. Like a variety of sexual identities it is unknown as to who exactly coined the word graysexual, however we owe it to the asexual community for popularizing the word.

​​ What we do know is that in 2003 an AVEN member conceptualized the idea of  “semisexuality,” to describe a half-way point between being asexual and allosexual, possibly starting to coin the definition of graysexuality we know today. In 2006 KSpaz who was an AVEN member suggested the term “gray-a” to better explain the feeling of those who felt rare sexual attraction within the asexual spectrum. This was the start of the usage of the word graysexual. 

WIth the rise of social media and online platforms these newer terms are starting to be better understood. One insurance in which we see the word graysexual being used is in a 2015 Mic article, written by sexuality educator Sari Locker he states in it that graysexual individuals “feel they are within the gray area between asexuality and more typical sexual interest.”

It is up to us to help put these sexual orientations on the map. Although these identities are becoming well known within queer spaces it is still mostly undefined for those who are not within the community. Simply sending an article about what it means to a friend or keeping up with graysexual influencers can help bring awareness to the word and definition. 

Other ways to say graysexual

Although the word graysexual is the most common word used to identify individuals in between allosexuality and asexuality, there are a few other ways to refer to those who identify with this orientation. Here are some examples: 

  • Gray asexuality
  • Gray-ace
  • Gray-a

New words and identities are created every day. Labels and terms carry connotations whether that be bad or good, which is why one might identify with one term over the other even if they mean the same thing to someone else. 

Is this identity for you?

The LGBTQ+ spectrum is huge and there is a place for everyone although at first it may be hard to find out where that place is. If you resonated with some of the thoughts above and believe you might be graysexual we have included some points to think about to help you understand your identity a little better:

Do you feel sexual attraction at all?

This can mean having felt sexual attraction once in your life, every few weeks, or years. If the answer is not at all you might want to look into what it means to be asexual. Graysexual individuals can feel sexual attraction very rarely, but they can still use this identity to define themselves. If you feel sexual attraction all the time you might be allosexual instead. 

Do you often feel in between sexual orientations?

A big part of being graysexual is the feeling that your identity is a mix of black and white. If you feel like you’re a little bit allosexual and a little bit asexual this is the identity for you. Someone who is graysexual might not feel sexual attraction often but it can still happen. 

When choosing a romantic partner do you prioritize sexual attraction?

When you have a crush on someone and you are thinking of pursuing someone, does the idea of being sexually attracted to them play a big part in your decision? If so you might not be graysexual. A graysexual person does not see sex as an important part of a relationship, although it may occur it does not dominate their feelings for that person. A graysexual person might show love in other ways such as cuddling or through romantic acts. 

The graysexual flag

The graysexual flag was created by Milith Rusignuolo in 2013 and was uploaded to Wikipedia that very year. The colors represent the gradient fluctuation of going through the spectrums of allosexuality and asexuality and finding your place in between. The colors represent as follows: 

  • Purple: Represents someone starting with no sexual attraction or asexuality 
  • Gray to White: represents going through a single episode of sexual attraction.
  • White: Represents allosexuality from the asexual flag and returning to asexuality with the last purple stripe. 

Embracing identity diversity is critical

Graysexuality is all about accepting those who feel like they don’t quite fit into one single box. That is what sexuality is all about afterall, being able to be a part of numerous communities and dipping into a variety of identities. 

If you feel like you’re not quite allosexual and not quite asexual that is completely okay! That is what graysexuality is here for. If you rarely feel sexual attraction and are confused as to why, there is no need to fret. Finding out you are graysexual can bring you a new sense of freedom, the freedom of belonging in the gray space and knowing there are millions just like you out there. 

If some of the ideas above resonate with you and you’re thinking of coming out, make sure the conditions are safe and have a plan of action regarding housing and food if things don’t go as planned. 

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