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Asexuality

Asexuality (A)sexual documentary
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In a world full of sex (this site!), an unrecognized portion of the population identifies as asexual. In all ways, they are normal, well-adjusted people, yet profess no interest in sexual acts. All they want is to be understood.

  It’s an Orientation

Most asexuals want others to know that they do not have sex because they simply do not wish to engage in sex; yet, it’s not a choice. Celibacy is the choice that sexual people make to not have sex. Asexuals strongly feel that they were born feeling the way they do, and as a result want to have their identities recognized as an orientation.

Certain criticisms of asexuality arise on the topic of reproducing and children, most of which seems to implicate the so-called natural process of procreation. Many transsexual and homosexual individuals have probably heard this criticism before. Even as a straight female who hasn’t encountered this reaction, the irony surprises me that the differences between people (even if they seem to be accepted for some groups) appear again for a group like asexuals. What does tolerance really mean if the same facts are not accepted group to group?

  There Must be Something Wrong with You

Sex is power. Sex is desired. Being sexy is often critical to self-confidence and even essential to value either to oneself or others you may wish to impress. Being asexual may seem to take the "teeth" (so to speak) out of a person’s presence. A person without sexual interest must be "nerdy," a milquetoast, or faint of heart. Yet, while being sexual may be important to personal identity, it could never be the majority of a personality. So many other interests, talents and ideas make us who we are and should not be downplayed as mere extensions of our sexuality.

The expectation that asexual people must have something wrong with them is extremely prevalent. The idea that asexuality is the result of repressed sexuality, pasts filled with abuse and even biological or hormonal problems could be considered insensitive. Speculations on personal fears about pregnancy or performance certainly begin to be insulting. Psychological profiles of asexuals rarely show indications of depression, post-traumatic stress or other disorders.

Intimacy with others is not a problem. The desire to be with and make connections to other people is unaffected and completely separated from sex for asexual people. I would put forth that sex both solves and creates so many problems. The value in understanding asexuality lies not just in learning another aspect of tolerance but also in understanding the way relationships can be formed.

One thing I had trouble understanding, however, was that rates of masturbation compared between asexual people and those who identified as heterosexual were the same. In the documentary, several explanations are put forth, ranging from masturbation as an indication that asexuality doesn’t exist to masturbation as an indication that nothing is physically wrong.

  So What’s the Problem?

A survey for sexual preference showed that 1% of the population identify as being attracted to neither males nor females. Extrapolated from the sample size to total population, 1% of survey participants translates to about 3 million people in the United States alone.

A certain apathy exists -- if you don’t want to have sex, no one’s making you! Yet, the experience of asexual people has been rife with alienation, which is common to us all as individuals. Founder of the movement to recognize asexuality, David Jay, notes that having sex is a rite of passage into adulthood -- therefore, if an individual doesn't want to have sex, they frequently feel unrecognized as an adult. There’s something different about everyone, but we all deserve understanding. Ultimately, the key to tolerance is making an effort to understand and educate. Societal pressures are rough on everyone who doesn’t fit the mold. It’s hard to wrap your head about an idea that may feel very out of the box. Sex seems like an integral experience to the human condition. The benefits of sex cannot be ignored and frequently it enriches lives. But it’s not the answer for everyone, which is the core reality we must all accept in order to be truly sex-positive and tolerant.

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Comments

This was very positively stated and I liked it.
There are times when I wish I were asexual, but I am what I am.
Thanks for writing this! I didn't realize this orientation was so prevalent.

04/19/2013

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