Painsexual - What is it? What does it mean?

Last Updated: 12/16/2022
2 min read
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Painsexual flag

Painsexual is an identity on the asexual spectrum. This is an ace-spec identity which means a person's sexuality causes them to feel physical and/or mental pain. It may mean that a human being’s sexuality is influenced by unwilling pain that was not intended to be there. 

The word can be used as an identity term on its own or in combination with other terms. It may or may not be a subset of aceflux or abrosexual but does not have to be.

Painromantic is the romantic counterpart.

Table of contents


Contrary to the information and content on many online platforms, painsexual does not refer to one's work or participation in the BDSM culture. The word most often refers to people who are on the asexual spectrum. Some believe the identity is not valid because they do not read enough information about it,  while others feel the word best fits their sexuality. 

This is an identity that can be discovered when a person’s sexual orientation changes from asexual, to demisexual or even allosexual when experiencing pain, but changes back to asexual when no longer experiencing pain, or their sexuality stays the same until experiencing pain again. That said, the pain is unintentional, and does not include self-harm. This sexual orientation rarely makes people content. 


The term seems to have originated on website focusing on LGBTA terminology in December 2020. Unfortunately, there is very little information about the history and the usage of the word. It looks like the definition of the word was coined by a wiki user as the sexual counterpart to paingender.

Flag and Symbols

There is very little information on the painsexual flag other than what is posted upon the visit to a wiki page on painsexuality. The one version of the painsexual flag was created at around the same time as the definition of the word. The colors and symbols of the flag are the following: 

  • Blue stands for sadness which symbolizes mental pain
  • Red represents physical pain
  • Black stands for emptiness
  • The diamond is for sexuality and sexual attraction
  • The black drop is for both teardrops and blood as well as the lack of sexual attraction
  • The cracks in the design represent discomfort and displeasure

Painsexual flagPainsexual flag


Painsexual people can have different gender identities. They can identify as cisgender, non-binary, agender, and transgender. They may use pronouns that make them content. These may range from gender-specific he/him or she/her to gender-neutral pronouns they/them or neopronouns of the preference. 

Remember to never assume someone’s pronouns based on their gender identity, sexual orientation or expression. Some people may prefer to not use pronouns at all and only use their name. Always do your best to share pronouns in written and oral communication. If you are unsure of the pronouns a person may use - ask them in a non-intrusive way.

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Julia Sotska is a former Senior PR Manager at Taimi. She hails from Toronto, Canada where she studied Communications and Journalism Broadcasting. Julia is an experienced journalist, TV producer, editor and communications manager. Her work has been featured in prominent publications in Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and more. Julia is passionate about LGBTQ+ and disability rights, mental health, wellness, and parenthood.

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