Sex and Sexuality: Will All the Minorities Please Stand Up?

We know about heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality at this point. But what about all of those asexuals out there? Today the sci-fi website i09 published an article on the asexual community that very few people know about, let alone discuss. In fact, only a little over one percent of the population considers themselves to be asexual. Referring to themselves as “aces,” this portion of society would rather eat cake than have sex.

The sexual orientation of asexuality is fairly new to most, the group beginning to come into the public eye around 1995 when a study in the UK found a small portion of people who have never felt a sexual attraction to anyone or anything.

While one might assume that asexuals do not necessarily need a “community,” since they are not trying to find others to have sex with, this is not the case at all. In fact, more and more asexual communities are springing up, both off and online, as these individuals try to find others who understand them and may want to have life-long, sexless relationships as well. What may be even more interesting is the fact that such communities have produced happily married asexual couples.

Everyone needs companionship, right?

One asexual who was interviewed, a Paul Cox, explained, “When I was 13, my father gave me a book on sex education. I felt as if I was reading about a foreign culture; I just couldn’t see why anyone would go to so much trouble just to have sex. I tried looking at pornography on the internet. I wasn’t disgusted or appalled – it was just boring, like looking at wallpaper.”

Cox and other asexuals are essentially the polar opposite of those who have been diagnosed with “sex addiction,” which for many means they cannot stop thinking about and having sex.

What I want to make very clear is that sex addiction is not a “sexuality,” but a potentially detrimental diagnosis, while asexuality is an innate sexuality.

Another distinction that should be made is that asexual individuals are not just sexually inhibited. It’s not a choice they are making because they are shy or simply not confident in themselves.

Asexuals like Cox are now “coming out of the proverbial closet” more and more as the asexual community grows and becomes more recognized. Due to the expanding community, Cox himself has been able to find love and marriage, meeting his wife through an asexual online group. Just because his wife and he are not sexually attracted to each other does not mean they are not committed to each other in a loving relationship.

In some ways, it might be possible for people of other sexualities to learn from asexual relationships. As Annalee Newitz on i09 writes, “If you don’t base your most intimate relationships on sex, then you’re able to reimagine human intimacy in all kinds of new ways.”

For more information on asexuality, visit AVEN – the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network.

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Filed under LGBT, Politics, Social Justice

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