It didn’t bother me too much to discuss sexuality in the context of high school.
We didn’t talk about it often because few of my friends had experienced it. More importantly, I had lived long enough to have something to say in any “Never Have I Ever” discussions or games that might arise.
However, when I got to college, it seemed like a lot of the “getting to know you” conversations revolved around who you had slept with, how, and so on.
It wasn’t that I had nothing to share from my past; it was just that, between my senior year of high school and these conversations with my new college friends, I had come to terms with the fact that I have no sexual attraction to anyone.
Seeing potential hookup partners was never a driving thought in my interactions with others (except for a constant slight panic about what sexual things they expected from me).
I think it’s vital that people feel safe speaking up about their sexual orientations and experiences, whether they’ve had “plain jane” sex or the kinkiest, most out-there sex imaginable.
However, we need to watch out that our enthusiasm doesn’t get the better of us and create issues for those of us who have little to no interest in sexual activities.
However, a 2004 study published in the Journal of Sex Research that is often cited states that 1% of the population identifies as asexual, which is obviously much lower than the actual number because of those who do not openly identify for whatever reason.
Asexuals are defined as those who do not feel sexual desire.
This doesn’t rule out the possibility of experiencing or desiring sexual arousal, romantic or aesthetic attraction, or closeness in a relationship.
Even asexual people can engage in sexual activities like masturbation and sex.
Asexuality is one end of a spectrum, but each person who claims to be asexual is unique.
You can be asexual and any combination of heteroromantic, homoromantic, aromantic, or asexual.
Demisexuals, who experience sexual attraction only after developing a deep emotional connection, and graysexuals, who very rarely experience sexual attraction, are common in the ace-spectrum.
Because of the clear distinction between actions and feelings, asexuality can be easily distinguished from celibacy or a refusal to engage in sexual activity.
There are asexuals, too, who partake in sexual behavior.
Asexuals are subjected to a lot of prejudice and sexism in today’s hyper-sexualized culture, and not just from their heterosexual contemporaries.
Men who identify as asexual are not as likely to partake in the typical locker-room banter or celebrate each other’s sexual triumphs, as many of us are prone to do. They don’t typically discuss the hotties in their lives and the things they want to do with them while gossiping.
On the other hand, asexuals who identify as women are frequently criticized for being overly cautious or unapproachable.
When most people’s conversations center on sexuality and romantic partnerships, asexuals may feel isolated and alone. This is especially true during the adolescent years.
People frequently tell them that they are “missing out” on “all the great sex in the world” or that they just need to “find the right person.”
Although I’ve only recently come out as asexual, I was once a fairly sexually active person. I simply didn’t enjoy it, feel a desire for it, or perceive a sexual connection with other people.
When I was in a relationship, sex was one of my strategies for fostering emotional closeness with my partner. However, I soon discovered that not everyone shared this view.
Something must be wrong with me, I figured, if I didn’t want it.
For a very long time, the idea that I might be categorized according to my sexual orientation or that there might be others who don’t view interpersonal relationships from a sexual perspective never crossed my mind.
Because I believed that sex was what was expected of me and what I was supposed to give in a relationship, I found myself in a lot of unhealthy partnerships.
Recognizing the existence of the asexual identity has been crucial in processing these traumatic sexual experiences.
The ability to “come out” as asexual is a huge step for many asexuals, just as it is for many people who do not identify as heterosexual.
In no way do I represent all asexuals; the ace-spectrum is as varied as the sexual-orientation spectrum.
The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) hosts a wealth of informative materials and a community discussion board for those interested in the topic of asexuality.
There is also helpful material for those in relationships with asexuals (as well as helpful material for those in sexual relationships who want to learn more about having 100% consensual sex).
The most beneficial action we can take is to educate ourselves, either on our own sexualities or on the identities of those around us, and to be willing to entertain the idea that our own views on sexuality may not be shared by everyone.
There is a wide variety of things that can be either a turn on or a turn off, even among sexually active people. Why is the fact that some of us fall outside this hazy revolving door of possibilities so shocking?
At times, it may appear that no matter which way we turn, there is yet another perspective to take into account.
It’s crucial to remember that there’s no shame in not having or wanting sex, just as there’s no shame in having it, saving it, having it with one person or different people, or even with someone of the same gender.