Let’s talk about sexual orientation first: Orientation is defined by attraction not by behaviour.
Attraction: The action or power of evoking interest, pleasure, or liking for someone or something
Behaviour: the action or reaction of something (as a machine or substance) under specified circumstances
So I’m asexual because I’m not sexually attracted to people. This means I experience no sexual attraction. What is sexual attraction? I have no idea. Asking me to explain sexual attraction is kind of like asking someone who was born blind to explain what seeing is like. Well, kinda. Not really. But you get the idea?
Also on the asexual spectrum are grey-asexual people who occasionally experience sexual attraction or under certain circumstances and demisexual people only experience sexual attraction when a close bond (romantic or otherwise) is formed and lithsexual people who feel attraction towards people, but with no desire to have the feelings reciprocated or the desire to act on it.
Have a libido, but no sexual attraction to anyone? Asexual. Masturbate? You can still be ace. Horny as f*ck? It’s still possible. Highest sex drive on the planet, but not directed at anyone? You, yes you! Can still be ace. Remember: attraction defines orientation, not behaviour!
Now let’s talk about that “I think I’m too young” stuff. Did you know that the average age of first sexual attraction is like… 10? I’m almost twice that age (19). Oh, and if you sometime do feel sexual attraction? Well, what do you feel now? Does what you may or may not experience in the future invalidate how you feel now? No, not really. At least, I don’t think so.
So are you asexual? I can’t tell you. You have to decide yourself. If you want to talk to me a bit more, my ask is open. But you’re not a ~*~speshul snowflake~*~ for identifying as ace (or think you are ace), and chances are, you’re not too young to know.
Now, let’s talk about romantic orientation. The romantic orientation spectrum is similar to the sexual orientation spectrum in that there can be hetero, homo, bi, pan and aromantic people. Romantic attraction is usually defined as a desire to form a romantic relationship with a person. Now, this is a pretty vague definition, but that’s okay! That just means that you get to fill in the vague-ness with your own definitions. Homoromantic asexual people can also identify as gay or lesbian, if they wish, but I guess that’s not particularly common? Wikipedia is infinitely better at explaining this than I am. Like with sexuality, there can also be demiromantic, lithromantic, gray-romantic and aromantic people! We (well, I) call this the aromantic spectrum.
Some aromantic things: A squish is an aromantic crush, and usually characterized by a desire to form a close platonic bond, usually “stronger” or more “intense” than a regular friendship.
A term often used in the aromantic community is queerplatonic relationship or committed platonic relationship. Queerplatonic [relationship/partner] comes from the idea of queering relationships, and is semi-interchangeable (ALWAYS ASK) with committed platonic [relationship/partner], which is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. I prefer “cuddle-buddy” or “life-partner”. All aromantic relationships are really, really specifically personal, and every aromantic person and partner of said aromantic person (whether they are romantic or aro) will give you a different definition. Aromantic relationships are for the people in the relationship to define.
Okay so you might think we’re done, but I want to talk about sensual attraction and aesthetic attraction.
Sensual attraction is a type of physical attraction (sexual attraction is also physical) defined by the desire to do sensual - but not sexual - things with a person. This includes everything from hand-holding to kissing to cuddling to even foreplay (but not sex), and every person is different in what they want to do and what they’re comfortable with. For example, I like cuddling and hand-holding and hugging, but not kissing or making out.
Aesthetic attraction pretty much means you find people attractive, but don’t want to do anything with them. I’ll let AVENwiki explain:
Some asexuals report feeling an attraction to other people that is not connected to a desire to do anything with them, either sexually or romantically. They simply appreciate their appearance. This is called aesthetic attraction because it is thought to be similar to other aesthetic desires, such as the desire to keep listening to a good song or to keep looking at a beautiful sunset.
Now, there are controversies with all of these, and some people use some terms, but not others for various reasons, but personally I identify as a pan-aesthetic, pansensual (slightly homosensual leanings), aromantic asexual. What a mouthful. My aro and ace identities intersect in many different ways, but I didn’t realize that I was aromantic until about a year after I realized I was asexual. Some people figure out their romantic and sexual orientations at different times, like me, and some figure it all out at the same time. Which is cool. Whatever. This is all highly personal to every person, and varies between people, and it is totally, 100% completely up to you what you want to identify as. We define labels, they don’t define us! So, good luck with your self-exploration and I hoped my giant wall of text helped at least a little bit. My ask is always open if you want to talk about my experiences as an ace/aro more or have specific questions. :)
TL;DR? Don’t listen to the anti-ace brigade; Listen to asexual people. Send me an ask if you want, this shiz is complicated!
Modified from my reply to this post.