It's easy to get confused about the meaning of this term. Asexuals don't particularly care about sex specifically--that's what the term means, after all--but they don't necessarily eschew flirtation or dating or romance or love. The asexuals I've met don't have much libido, but they can still feel philia and agape and even eros, because eros involves all sorts of romantic attraction, not just lust. I don't know what you'd call a person who wasn't interested in any kind of romance--anerotic, perhaps? Aphilic? Anagapic? "Anerotic" sounds too much like "a neurotic," so I doubt it'll catch on, but we need some term to distinguish disinterest in sex from disinterest in relationships.

A good friend of mine explained the difference to me when she was trying to come to terms with her asexuality. As far as she could tell (she said), she was just as susceptible to debilitating crushes as anyone else, but they just didn't evoke a desire to rub body parts with anybody and she couldn't understand why they would. To her, sex seemed like an irrelevancy, an inexplicable fixation, a glitch in the neural wiring, an obsession as bizarre as an obscure, disgusting fetish would seem to you. "Why," she asked, "does the development of a long-standing, stable companionship require periodic episodes in which two people throw aside reason and act like wild animals? How can people argue that sex stabilizes and enriches a relationship when the opposite is obviously true a lot of the time?"

I had no answer for her. I still don't, really, except to say that some of us are wired (short-circuited?) that way.