What is Asexuality?

An asexual is someone who does not experience what is typically regarded as sexual attraction. Asexuality is only just coming to the fore of sexual politics, the concept of asexuality as a human sexual orientation only really started gaining momentum in the 1980's.

As with other sexualities, people who define as asexual may have different attitudes towards their asexuality. Many asexuals identify as such thier entire lives, and some feel their sexuality is more fluid and dynamic.

It is perfectly possible for an asexual to define as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, etc, as well as being asexual.

What isn't asexuality?

Asexuality isnt celibacy, the inability to find a sexual partner/s, sexual repression, being "frigid" or having a fear of intimacy.

How many people are Asexual?

In a 1994 UK study by Bogaert, 1% of respondents said they had never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all. So with a UK population of 60 million, an estimated 600,000 people could be considered asexual.

Asexuality and Relationships

Asexuals have the same emotional needs as anyone else, and are fully capable of having relationships and falling in love. Asexual people may still find themselves attracted to other people, but do not feel the need to act out their attraction in a way that would be considered 'sexual'. Asexuals are often in 'sexual' relationships, for a variety of reasons; to please a non-asexual partner, to act in a 'romantic' fashion. Some asexuals are comfrotable with the idea of having sex, others are repulsed by it.

The issues

This list is by no means exhaustive, but just to give you a general idea…

  • There are practically no asexual 'role-models', like there is for LGBT defined people. In fact, there are incredibly few 'out' asexuals.
  • In our highly sexualised society it is often presumed that an asexual person is 'broken' for not wishing to have sex. For this, and other reasons, a lot of asexuals find it easier to live life in the closet, only telling thier partners about their asexuality, or simply pretending to be sexual.
  • With so few 'out' asexuals, asexuality is often misunderstood by people in wider society. Many asexuals are often met with a reaction of "you just haven't found the right person yet", or of simple disbelief.

More info

AVEN - The Asexuality Visability and Education Network

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