Asexual Isn’t Anti-Intimacy

David Jay, head of Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), draws a distinction:

In our culture sex and intimacy are velcro-ed. When I say ‘not drawn to sex' they hear ‘not drawn to intimacy' and that sounds alien. The desire to connect is a vital part of what makes us human, it's hard to imagine someone who doesn't have that on some level. But sex itself is just a set of physical activities, it's easy to imagine someone who's not into them once you take all the symbolism away.

The alternative:

If we stop defining our significant relationships only as those that are romantic or sexual, being single will take on a whole new meaning. If we broaden our emotional focus from the person we share bodily fluids with to the sum of our friendships, acquaintances, and colleagues, our communities will grow stronger. If we stop treating penetrative sex as the be all and end all of physical intimacy, we will experience greater heights of pleasure. 

Previous threads on asexuality here, here and here