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By Bellesa Team

Sex-repulsed describes someone who lack interest or is fully disgusted by the idea of sex and engaging in sexual activity. For some this may refer exclusively to partner sexual activity, while others’ definitions can also include masturbation as well as exposure to any form of sexual adult content. 

The degree of repulsion varies from one individual to another. It can manifest as a general disinterest in sex all the way to stronger nervous system responses like anxiety, panic, fear, nausea, holding tension, or physical pain.

Sex-Repulsed and Asexuality

This term his most commonly used in relation to asexuality, as it pertains to the experience of some asexual or asexual spectrum (a-spec or ace-spec) individuals. Asexuality is a recognized sexual orientation in which someone feels little to no sexual attraction to people of any gender and/or lack interest in sex. Because the range of definition can be highly subjective and individualized, asexuality is therefore considered to exist on a spectrum. Asexuality is a not a pathology nor is it a choice or form of celibacy.

While there is overlap between asexuality and being sex-repulsed, the two terms are not synonymous, as not all asexual people are sex-repulsed. There are many a-spec people who are sex-neutral (i.e. someone who is ambivalent or indifferent to sex) or sex-favorable (i.e. someone who, while they may not feel sexual attraction or desire, will still participate in sexual activity for enjoyment). Moreover, not all sex-repulsed people are asexual, as there are allosexual people (i.e. those who regularly do experience sexual attraction towards other people) who experience sex-repulsion.

Sexual Attraction and Romantic Attraction

While often correlated, sexual attraction differs from romantic attraction. Where sexual attraction is what drives someone to feel sexual interest or desire in others and compels one to engage in sexual activity, romantic attraction is when someone feels romantic interest in others and the desire to form romantic relationships with them.

No matter how repulsed by sex someone might be, that does not preclude an individual’s potential to feel romantic attraction as well as a desire and need for interpersonal intimacy. 

Sex-Repulsed, Sex-Averse and Sex-Negative

Sex-repulsion is sometimes conflated with descriptors like sex-averse and sex-negative, as some have used these terms interchangeably. However, many a-spec people make a distinction between them.

Sex-repulsed and sex-averse are categorically different, where sex-averse is a reticence or revulsion to partaking in sexual activity with others. While they may not be interested in sex themselves, they are not active repulsed by sexual matters that don’t involve them. Comparatively, sex-repulsion is an aversion to sex at large, and can include the mere idea of sex of any iteration.

Sex-negativity refers to an active hostility in one’s views towards sex and sexuality. It describes the attitude held by those who believe that sex is bad, and that engaging in sex for any reason beyond the mores set by a compulsory heterosexual monogamous society is deviant and unacceptable

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