Some asexual people engage in sexual activity despite lacking sexual attraction or a desire for sex, due to a variety of reasons, such as a desire to pleasure themselves or romantic partners, or a desire to have children.

Various asexual communities have started to form since the advent of the World Wide Web and social media.

Asexuality is like any other identity – at its core, it's just a word that people use to help figure themselves out.

If at any point someone finds the word asexual useful to describe themselves, we encourage them to use it for as long as it makes sense to do so." There are asexual-identified individuals who report that they feel sexual attraction but not the inclination to act on it because they have no true desire or need to engage in sexual or non-sexual activity (cuddling, hand-holding, etc.), while other asexuals engage in cuddling or other non-sexual physical activity.

With regard to sexual activity in particular, the need or desire for masturbation is commonly referred to as sex drive by asexuals and they disassociate it from sexual attraction and being sexual; asexuals who masturbate generally consider it to be a normal product of the human body and not a sign of latent sexuality, and may not even find it pleasurable.

Asexuals also differ in their feelings toward performing sex acts: some are indifferent and may have sex for the benefit of a romantic partner; others are more strongly averse to the idea, though they do not typically dislike people for having sex.

People may also identify as a gray-A (such as a gray-romantic, demiromantic, demisexual or semisexual) because they feel that they are between being aromantic and non-aromantic, or between asexuality and sexual attraction.

While the term gray-A may cover anyone who occasionally feels romantic or sexual attraction, demisexuals or semisexuals experience sexual attraction only as a secondary component, feeling sexual attraction once a reasonably stable or large emotional connection has been created.

In the mid-twentieth century, Alfred Kinsey rated individuals from 0 to 6 according to their sexual orientation from heterosexual to homosexual, known as the Kinsey scale.

He also included a category he called "X" for individuals with "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions"; In his second book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, he reported this breakdown of individuals who are X: unmarried females = 14–19%, married females = 1–3%, previously married females = 5–8%, unmarried males = 3–4%, married males = 0%, and previously married males = 1–2%.

Further empirical data about an asexual demographic appeared in 1994, when a research team in the United Kingdom carried out a comprehensive survey of 18,876 British residents, spurred by the need for sexual information in the wake of the AIDS pandemic.