Asexuality? It’s Normal, Says Expert

Emerging sexual orientation beginning to gain recognition

    Amy de Vos, a 21-year-old asexual from Kitchener, Ontario, says awareness about asexuality is growing, but many people still misunderstand it. (Courtesy Amy de Vos)

    Scientist Isaac Newton, writer Emily Brontë, fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, singer Morrissey, and comedian Janeane Garofalo all share an unlikely commonality: they were or are thought to be asexual.

    An asexual, or “ace,” is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction or a desire for sex—an anomaly in today’s sexually preoccupied world. The phenomenon has garnered increasing attention in recent years as human sexuality experts and the media attempt to understand it. 

    For the last decade Anthony Bogaert, a psychology professor at Brock University in Ontario and a leading expert on asexuality, has been working to change the notion that being asexual is some kind of problem or disorder.

    “It used to be the case that a lack of sexual interest, a lack of sex drive, or a lack of sexual attraction to other people was not necessarily construed as a problem—it was actually considered to be a virtue,” Bogaert explains. 

    “That sort of changed in the past 20 years or so, when the medical community became interested in looking for treatments, interventions related to human sexuality, and an absence of sex was starting to be construed as a problem.”

    Asexuals often have a life-long disinterest or little interest in sex, says Bogaert. He notes, however, that asexuality is not the same being sexual but choosing to be celibate, or experiencing a temporary loss of sex drive from an illness or traumatic experience. 

    Bogaert jump-started international research in the field of asexuality with his 2004 paper “Asexuality: Prevalence and Associated Factors in a National Probability Sample,” which suggested that at least one percent of people are asexual. In Canada, that would be nearly 350,000 people.

    He has been an influential authority on the subject ever since, culminating in his latest book, “Understanding Asexuality,” which characterizes asexuality as an emerging sexual orientation.

    Bogaert’s studies have also challenged popular attitudes and norms in today’s sex-obsessed Western culture.

    “When you start looking at it you start to see sex for its particulars and some of its strange intricacies and manifestations. It also makes you start to think about, really, what is a disorder and what is not a disorder,” he says.

    Growing Awareness

    Bogaert’s work has been extremely well received by the global asexual community, many of whom see the professor as a champion of their cause. It has also likely been instrumental in changing attitudes in the academic and medial communities. For example, last year’s edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders differentiated asexuality from sexual disorders for the first time.

    Amy de Vos, a 21-year-old Kitchener-based photographer, has identified as an asexual since the age of 16. She says that although awareness about asexuality is growing, she still encounters many misconceptions.

    “’You just haven’t found the right person’—that’s probably one of the most significant responses I’ve gotten,” she says.

    “It’s kind of saying, ‘you don’t know who you are.’ I am very aware of myself, so I don’t like people telling me that.”

    De Vos coordinates meet-ups with other asexuals in her area, usually groups of 10-12, but says it isn’t easy to meet others like her. She hopes to get married one day but doesn’t want children, and plans to remain celibate.

    “Sometimes you kind of wish that you weren’t [asexual] so that you could find more people like you,” she says.

    But there’s a positive side to asexuality, she adds— putting the focus on someone’s character and compatibility when choosing a partner as opposed to animal attraction.

    “Personally I think it’s just more healthy to focus on those romantic aspects and someone’s personality, as opposed to lust,” she says, adding that she finds the modern obsession with sex “disconcerting.”

    “Especially if someone isn’t that sexual, there’s a lot of pressure on people to act.”

    According to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), the main online portal for the global asexual community, there are a wide range of relationships amongst asexuals: many enjoy romantic partnerships, others are satisfied with close-knit friendships, and some are happiest alone. 

    “Figuring out how to flirt, to be intimate, or to be monogamous in nonsexual relationships can be challenging, but free of sexual expectations we can form relationships in ways that are grounded in our individual needs and desires,” the website states.

    With increasing attention paid to asexuality in recent years, the community appears to be expanding. Several dating websites for asexuals have cropped up, and a documentary examining asexuality is currently available on Netflix.

    One of the largest-ever gatherings for asexuals will be held in Toronto on June 28 at the 2014 WorldPride Asexual Conference, featuring international visitors including the founders of AVEN. 

    This exposure is important, says Bogaert, because the more asexuality comes into mainstream consciousness, the more “closeted” asexuals will be able to identify it in themselves and avoid an identity crisis. 

    “If you don’t have a label for yourself and you don’t know what this is you can’t really ‘come out,’ so to speak, and be part of an ‘out’ minority and be counted,” he says.

    “If you don’t have a label for it people just assume they’re part of some other group.”

    Category: World Canada

    • Trilby16

      I am this! I’ve tried to “come out” but nobody gives a crap. Oh well. I love being “A.” Any other A’s out there?

      • AskandTell

        What do you love about it Trilby?

        • Trilby16

          It’s peaceful. I’m whole. I don’t feel “need.”

          • AskandTell

            I can understand that.

      • ChrisDC

        Correction. I give a crap. I’m not asexual, I’m gay. But if that’s taught me nothing else, it’s that telling other people that you know better than they do what’s going on in their heads, or in their hearts, is both pointless and wrong. I’m happy that you’re happy. And I suspect I’m not alone in that.

      • Life-of-an-Asexual

        Ace pride! I am a fellow asexual. I love seeing articles finally starting to talk about us and give the visibility we need to get recognized.

        • Trilby16

          Well, howdy!!!

          • Life-of-an-Asexual

            Hi :) Good to see other asexuals finding this article. So often the comments on articles about asexuality turn ugly and I’m glad to have another ace here to help me try to combat any hate that shows up.

          • Life-of-an-Asexual

            Hi :) I’m glad to see another asexual found this article. The comments on articles about asexuality so often seem to turn ugly and hateful. It’s good to have another ace here that can help combat the hate if it shows up.

            • Life-of-an-Asexual

              Oops. Didn’t mean to post basically the same thing twice. I didn’t think it went through the first time.

      • Root

        I’ve never understood why people felt they needed to “come out”.. just stop pretending and be yourself.. but there’s no need to shout it from the roof tops. But then maybe,.. I’m just more reserved and don’t care what people think.

    • Canukistani

      I think we might be a whole lot better off if we’d just stop worrying about other people’s sexuality. As long as it doesn’t in any way involve hurting others or hurting themselves, it’s none of our business.

      • takawalk

        Agreed. I understand why someone might want to label themselves in their private lives in a attempt to explain why they don’t respond in ways that people think they should. But the Ace label needs to be better defined since as it stands it is very subjective, and what someone means when saying it, might be very misunderstood by those hearing it. However in most interactions with society at large, who you do or don’t sleep with should not determine how people interact with you, and should be a private thing.

    • chenelope

      The lady in that photograph has tweezed eyebrows, lipstick (and we all know what that symbolises), straightened hair, eyeliner, mascara and a low cut top. Whether her claim as an ‘ace’ is disputable or not, she’s at least conscious of the tactics of female attractiveness. There are a lot of new hipster trends, such as ‘pansexual’, ‘bisexual’ etc (apparently being attracted to kitchenware and bicycles is now very trendy) and people seem to love being different and unique. It would be interesting to follow these people up in 10-15 years to see if it was just a ‘phase’. The example of Morrisey is tenuous, at best, as there’s a lot of ambiguity surrounding his sexuality. Fair play to anyone who really doesn’t have sexual desires, or chooses celibacy – one less problem for them, and society, to have to live with.

      • Trilby16

        Surprisingly, many women make an effort to look good for other women, even tho’ they’re straight. I’m asexual but I still care about how I look! (I look better than this guy to my left, btw.)

        • chenelope

          As stated, the tactics of appearing attractive, especially via make-up, involves an element of sexualising one’s self. Drawing attention towards voluptuousness of lips, concealing wrinkles, etc. Initially this was done in order to attract love interests, but as you’ve noticed, it’s also done to achieve status among peers. This is especially the case in this sexualised society, where status and power is subconsciously tied to the appearance of sexual fitness (apologies for the very Darwinian term), and where people may be quite unaware of the origin of their style choices. Children, who are generally asexual until reaching a certain age, don’t employ these methods, at least until they’re exposed to peer pressure. For the asexual person attempting to convey attractiveness, their effect on a sexual person may be greater, since the former is disinterested in the outcome, while the latter may be led by their desires. Advantage asexuals!

          • amydv

            I take care of my appearance for myself to make myself feel good thank you very much. I don’t give too much of a damn behind the history or how others use their makeup. Sincerely, the one you wish to invalidate purely based on my outer appearance.

            • chenelope

              You’re right, my comment was sowing an element of discord, and was based around a superficial observation. I wasn’t trying to invalidate you, and didn’t comment on your quotations in the story, or any aspect of your character. I wasn’t even commenting on your good looks, either, just the connection between make up, attractiveness and possible sexual overtones, as well as branching off onto some other issues. It’s impolite to comment on people’s appearance though, so I apologise. If you noticed, I have a lot of respect (possibly envy) for celibates and aces, and see the advantages for individuals and societies that stem from there. I questioned the validity of the Morrisey argument, on account of some other info that’s out there.

          • OnyxE

            Children generally don’t do a lot of things because they are children. I don’t think what children do is relevant at all.

            • chenelope

              I’m not saying I’m right, but it might very well be quite relevant, since we all went through an asexual period as children. If you want a touchstone for asexuality, look no further. Pretty much the entire basis of psychosocial, psychosexual (all these fancy buzz words) analysis is centred around formative years and childhood. The schism takes place as a person goes into adulthood, with some going one way and others going in other ways.

          • Mariannella212

            I don’t mean to be offensive (although your argument itself is a bit offensive) but, It could be seen as a bit ignorant to say something like that. A lot of people care about their appearance, that doesn’t mean they’re trying to impress anyone other than themselves. I’m asexual and I still wear makeup, but I wear it for myself. And in the few cases I have of wearing it for someone else, I don’t mean to be sexualized for it. Looking nice, or pretty, doesn’t point to wanting sex or wanting other’s to find you sexually pleasing. Typically it points to feeling good for yourself, or to look professional. You’re the one who says that what I do with my life makes me whatever you want to make me. In this society everyone is labeled as something they don’t want to be labeled as. As people begin to discover themselves we’re shot down and labeled as “hipster” or “pretentious” and are claimed to be some sort of teenager who only wants to be unique. I’m not going through an identity crisis, and I’m not just some hipster striving to be unique or different. I am who I am, and I was born being asexual, and I’m proud of myself. Please don’t shot down anything just because you don’t understand it.

            • chenelope

              Thanks for the perspective. You’re right that my arguments are somewhat offensive, and I’ve apologised already to a lady I offended. However, you’ve overlooked where I praised asexuality, and have jumped to the conclusion that I don’t understand it and am critical of it. That’s not the case. I merely pointed to the scenario where some people are trying to be different, and of course pans and bicycles was a joke. The reality of this society is that labels are tossed around casually, and almost everyone is subject to them. If you wear make-up, you may be encouraging a ‘pretty’ label, for example. The historical uses of make-up is possibly valid, and I presented them in the context of the sexualised nature of our society. As you can see, I didn’t make any prescriptions for how anyone should behave, and everyone’s motives for how they like to appear is up to themselves to analyse.

            • Hal Capone

              Chenelope, your praise of asexuality is misguided and doesn’t carry any weight, because you clearly have no idea of asexuality and obviously view it exclusively through sexual terms. Thanks for trying, tho.

            • chenelope

              I know more about asexuality now after reading the article and discussion. Given the very vague and spectral nature of asexuality, it is necessary to view it through sexual terms, since asexuals often engage in sexual intercourse, auto-eroticism, etc. The only type of sexuality that is mistakenly viewed in sexual terms is non-sexuality.

            • Hal Capone

              “I know more about asexuality now after reading the article and discussion.”

              The only thing that happened is you learned a new word: asexuality. From your “discussion” it appears that you know nothing about asexuality and are only commenting as a person who still views the world with the same sexual expectations as everyone else.

              Hint: asexuals have heard the same things you’ve said all our lives. You’re not saying anything new. We’ve heard it all before.

              Hint: your concepts you think are so groundbreaking aren’t new, and they’re wrong. They’re a function of traditional sexual thinking that doesn’t apply to asexuals. You should also know that your comments here have been received with scorn from the asexual community, because the comments were so emblematic and representative of the sexual thinking that asexuals must deal with on a daily basis.

              It would be great if non-asexuals would make an effort to really get to know some asexuals. There’s a lot of amazing, interesting, honest and trustworthy people out there who just happen to also be asexual. But you’ve got to get to know them, not read one article and then decide you know everything about it…especially when you condemn one asexual on their appearance, and what you THINK that their appearance means….

              …after reading just one article.

            • chenelope

              No, no, I admit it, you’re right, I’m wrong. Hint taken. Asexuals are ‘wonderful, amazing, interesting, honest and trustworthy people’ and to think I even had the temerity to try and understand the concept after reading an online article just goes to show how cliched and like totally lame I am. Talk about being so mainstream! There’s not a hope I could understand this phenomenon, by reading, say, some of the definitions presented by various Asexual organisations, because just when you think you’ve got it – mind blown – it takes on a whole new meaning. It’s exactly the same as how many hipsters it takes to change a lightbulb (it’s an obscure number, you wouldn’t have heard of it). I can’t believe I didn’t break any new ground or try to say something new. I’ll try and be more innovative and come up with a definition of asexuality that will truly be innovative and unique, since that seems to be what’s expected and is the name of the game, then everyone will be smiling all the way along the scorn-free rainbow road.

            • chenelope

              Btw, it’s good that you’re proud to be who and as you are. Rest assured that everyone’s sexuality causes them agony. Sex is often behind an awful lot of violence and bloodshed in the world. It seems like being non-sexual could be a way to avoid the tumult of often dangerous emotions arising from sexual desire. You may have been born lucky, and perhaps that’s why others want to shoot or drag you down.

          • Trilby16

            A woman does not need to sexualize her look to be attractive– unless you are speaking just for yourself and what YOU find attractive. You probably think that cheerleader squads are the height of female attractiveness.

            Children are not necessarily asexual. They might be pre-sexual. They could be a lot of things. My mom used to say that fear was sex for children (she was thinking of things like The Big Bad Wolf, which is pretty sexy).

            Anyway, you seem to have a lot “facts” about everything that probably will not be changed by the likes of me so I bid you adieu!

            • chenelope

              No, no, that’s the point of discussion, to consider other perspectives, so maybe I can be changed by the likes of you. Good point about pre-sexual, but not sure about the big bad wolf. Horror movies definitely tie up fear with sexual undertones. The cheerleader comment has kind of come a bit out of the blue.

          • Hal Capone

            The problem is you see all adult efforts to manage one’s appearance as being sexually oriented. This is a perfect example of the challenges asexuals face in a sexual world.

            If a person leaves the home they might brush their hair….not to attract sexual attention, but they feel that the look with brushed hair suits them, or that there are non-sexual social advantages to having brushed hair and not looking like a slob, especially at work. They don’t have a sexual interest in anyone at work, but they still brush their hair and dress a certain way at work because that is what is expected of them. Besides, there’s no sense causing trouble for yourself is all that is needed to do to avoid this problem is brush your hair. Maybe having a certain type of brushed hair is just who they are That’s how they express themselves, there’s absolutely nothing sexual about it. Maybe they were born with great hair, or they just know how to style it. Others may find the hair attractive or that managing their hair could be seen as an effort to appear attractive, but in this case they’re wrong.

            Society is projecting their beliefs on someone who does not match or comply to their belief system … just like what you are doing.

            You think that asexuals are not being honest with themselves, but you are the one living a lie because you cannot perceive an asexual accurately. If you consider an asexual as attractive it is immediately suspect in your mind. You are completely unaware of other options, reasons, or alternative explanations for the choices we’ve made. You grew up learning about and participating in a sexual world, even before you were sexual, and as your words have proven, you can only process an asexual on sexual terms. It seems to be the only model you have.

            • chenelope

              No, I’ve pointed out that creating an attractive appearance also has implications on social standing. Big difference between brushing one’s hair and the artifice of make-up use. There may be no sexual intent behind it, but there are other intentions, such as elevating social status, ‘to look professional’, ‘to feel good about myself and look pretty’, etc. Whether one likes it or not, using those methods to achieve that end is participating in and complying with the social mores of a sexualised society. That’s the point I was making.I never once stated that asexuals are being dishonest with themselves. Asexuals also grew up learning about and participating in a sexual world.

            • Hal Capone

              “Big difference between brushing one’s hair and the artifice of make-up use” No, there’s not. You’re imposing your sexual belief system on asexuals.

              I never said asexuals are dishonest with themselves, what I said is that YOU think asexuals are being dishonest. Why? Because you simply cannot see asexuals as how they are.

              Your belief system is so rigid it is incapable of being challenged. Case in point: you can’t even process an asexual’s comments properly and not only avoid the truth, but in the mental deflection you try to cast blame on the asexuals.

              Personally, I think the problem is that you are in denial.

            • chenelope

              It’s true, I’m a closet asexual

      • OnyxE

        I don’t think caring about your looks is any indication of sexuality. People form impressions of you based on your looks, that includes employers, coworkers, friends. You can totally appreciate beauty without it being sexual. “Aesthetics (also spelled æsthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty”.

        • chenelope

          Good point

      • Cyla

        Psstt, people keep up with their appearances because they want to, not to be attractive. You need to ‘phase’ out of your tiny ideas of human sexuality.

      • Hal Capone

        It is obvious you know nothing about asexuality, and that you view the world through a sexual prism. Like the rest of society, some asexuals like to look attractive, even though they want absolutely nothing sexual to come from it. Some asexuals, just like other non-asexuals, don’t give a damn how they look. Others like expressing themselves through clothes and style, just like non-asexuals. Some asexuals were born with what society considers to be great looks and/or great bodies. Quite surprising to the non-asexual community, a decent percentage of asexuals are considered good looking and, ironically enough, sexy, by non-asexual society. Part of that comes from growing up knowing you are different and having the confidence to set your own style, your own terms, by consciously defying society’s arbitrary norms, and learning how to communicate non-verbally.

        I’ll agree that the Morissey reference was a little specious, and the material could be written better, but you managed to judge and condemn an entire community of wonderful and strong people by the appearance of one person on a subject that you know absolutely nothing about, so good for you.

      • Saint_Sithney

        I identify as a “Grey-A” (capable of sexual attraction after a period of getting to know the person. I’m attracted by personalities to the point where physical contact is not repulsive, though for the vast majority, I experience no attraction whatsoever and find the idea of physical contact repulsive. Physical contact with a person I have developed an attraction to is pleasant, though other things are more pleasant and more interesting).

        I wax my eyebrows. I sometimes wear makeup, but mostly just cultivate a very nice complexion. I dress nicely when I feel like it. I work out. It is not attempting to get the attraction of a potential sex partner, but because I like to feel pretty sometimes. There’s also the fact that asexual or not, we have to live in this world. Women who “let themselves go” are treated as pariahs. If I did not go beyond basic hygiene, I could face real-world repercussions – harassment, even less positive views on my job performance. I experience enough harassment as a larger-bodied woman, I do not also want the associated harassment of being an “untidy” larger-bodied woman.

        • chenelope

          Thanks for giving your perspective. Without a doubt, people are under pressure to be presentable these days, and very few who wish to be successful don’t conform to expectations. Physical contact certainly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway. How does one cultivate a nice complexion, may I ask?

          • Saint_Sithney

            I used to have very bad skin – terrible acne, bad blackheads, etc. I got treated with a series of acne facials, then began caring for my skin at home, naturally. I don’t over-cleanse, make a lot of my own skin treatments out of things like honey, fruit, cream, or natural clay, and don’t apply chemicals to my skin. I get a lot of compliments on how nice my skin is, and a lot of disbelief that it used to be absolutely horrible.

            • chenelope

              That’s really cool. Natural products are the way to go! I’m a man, so to avoid being labelled as ‘metrosexual’ I avoid every semblance of skin care or grooming. Your concoctions strike a chord though, so I might possibly risk of courting a natrosexual label

            • Saint_Sithney

              No reason to tell anyone – it’s easy enough to make and apply without anyone around. Since you make almost everything yourself, you won’t have a medicine cabinet like Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho”. I use Dr. Bronner’s soap and nothing else on my face, unless I’m specifically preparing for a treatment that day. There’s plenty of info online about how to make face masks out of things you find around your kitchen that treat acne and make the skin soft and clear.

              As a Grey-A, I don’t care as much that my nice skin is considered desirable, but like any other human, I do have a certain amount of vanity, and like to have at least one claim to beauty. There’s also, again, a very negative stigma attached to women with bad skin. The teasing and harassment I got when I had bad acne hurt. Having things perceived as physical flaws gives strangers this odd feeling that they have full license to comment, even to mock.

      • Michael

        would not have guessed that a person’s appearance is so very significant, at least to some. must admit i’m not the best at self consciousness and really don’t make much out of how i present myself, as it is largely superficial and a matter of practicality. attractiveness as far as i know is not a luxury habit known to be a sign of wanting to induce romances, but rather about being presentable, such as for an employers’ understanding of work place appropriateness or to make a statement of one’s dignity and culture or society. besides this anything more is the work of artists. i am certainly not an artist, but i can see that has value in society. the only other issue about appearances that seems relevant is safety, which very few seem not to understand with slight exceptions for those of us who are not yet well used to socialization to a regular pitch, it can take time to learn how to “carry one self.” but safety is always an issue, as are levels of comfort for the situations.

    • rg9rts

      Whatever floats your boat and hurts no one.

    • konspikuous

      Asexual, hypersexual…either is abnormal.

      • Cyla

        No, just your ideas on sexuality is abnormal. Human sexuality is wide and diverse, just because it does not fit into your tiny ideas on sexuality does not make it abnormal.

        • konspikuous

          lol…Right. That’s what it is.

          But here, it’s you, rejecting a definition, a very clear terminology. But go ahead, challenge what abnormal, unusual, unlike like the rest means.

      • Life-of-an-Asexual

        Hypersexual has nothing at all to do with asexual. Hypersexual concerns sex drive and asexual is an actual sexuality. Both are completely acceptable but they are also in completely separate categories so I don’t know why you are listing them as if they were both sexualities.

        • konspikuous

          Not having a drive for sex, and constantly driving for sex…are yes, two extremes of the same scale.

          And again, because neither is anywhere near the general population’s norm, that defines each as abnormal.

          Now, I know you, nor most people, want to accept there normal self as abnormal relative from the rest of the population. However, the ones, unlike the others, are, abnormal.

          I do not see that as a negative. What I see as negative is, some one attempting to skew terminology.

          • Life-of-an-Asexual

            Asexuality is not a lack of a sex drive. Please pay attention to the article you are commenting on. Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction. Meaning simply that we don’t see a “hot” person and want to have sex with them because of how hot they are.

            Many asexuals actually do have sex drives. They just fulfill them in other ways or they have sex with a partner for the physical pleasure and release. Attraction is not necessary for sex.

            So again, hypersexual and asexual are not comparable terms because one relates to sex drive and one is about sexual attraction. Two different things.

            Also, there is no such thing as “normal”. Average is the word you are looking for. The average person experiences sexual attraction. Saying that sexual attraction is “normal” implies that we are somehow broken because of our lack of sexual attraction.

            • konspikuous

              I do not view an asexual person as broken. I do not see someone that needs medical attention or, fixing. And yes, it is a sexuality. A sexuality that, by and large, tends to not have a drive for sex. Which, amongst all living things…is unusual. To further, the differences between normal and abnormal…what is an asexual who routinely engages in sex when compared to the rest of the population of, typical, normal asexual.

              I really have no stance, nor problem, nor rejection of any sexuality. Boil it down, my debate here is about semantics. Relative terms relative to the groups, and their sub groups.

              Hash out with me terms that fit, okay. But assigning misnomers…not okay. That’s all.

            • Life-of-an-Asexual

              You may not think of an asexual person as broken but the language you use implies it. Dictionary definition of Abnormal is: “Deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.”

              Feel free to call me unusual or to say that my sexuality is less common than others, but please stop using a word that is characterized by being different in an, “undesirable or worrying,” way.

            • konspikuous

              Noted. My apologies.

              Sincerely.

            • Root

              You’re correct, abnormal has a negative connotation.. however it’s negativity is a product of society. I would wear such a term proudly.

            • takawalk

              I am a bit confused, I looked at several definitions of asexual. A lack of sex drive is included in most of the definitions. You say it is about a lack of sexual attraction but say there is often a sex drive. Is this a term that is not well defined and remains subjective? How would you best define the word?

            • chenelope

              The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) defines an asexual as “someone who does not experience sexual attraction” and stated, “[a]nother small minority will think of themselves as asexual for a brief period of time while exploring and questioning their own sexuality” and that “[t]here is no litmus test to determine if someone is asexual. Asexuality is like any other identity – at its core, it’s just a word that people use to help figure themselves out. If at any point someone finds the word asexual useful to describe themselves, we encourage them to use it for as long as it makes sense to do so.”

            • takawalk

              The term in my mind, from what I have read and what your posts seems to support is subjective. To me it has always meant someone who has no desire for sex, I don’t think at this time that this definition is complete.

            • Root

              I would be hesitent of stating “no desire”… I would simply say that their desire for it is weak enough that they tend not to notice.

            • zhyrs

              The idea is that asexuals don’t have any desire for sex *with other people*. The attraction to specific people in a sexual manner is not there. (now, individual asexuals may have no desire for sex in general along with no person specific sexual attraction, but that’s not applicable to all asexuals.)

            • chenelope

              http://asexualawarenessweek.com/mission-and-values/

              Asexuals seem to be taking it upon themselves to “check priveleges”.

            • chenelope

              The need or desire for masturbation is commonly referred to as sex drive by asexuals and they disassociate it from sexual attraction and being sexual; asexuals who masturbate generally consider it to be a normal product of the human body and not a sign of latent sexuality, and may not even find it pleasurable.[6] Some asexual men are completely unable to get an erection and sexual activity by attempting penetration is completely impossible for them.[21] Asexuals also differ in their feelings towards performing sex acts: some are indifferent and may even have sex for the benefit of a romantic partner; others are more strongly averse to the idea, though they do not typically dislike people for having sex. (wikipedia)

            • Root

              The definition changes as it gets more study, as of now it is both a lack of attraction and a lack of “sex drive”. Not to say that they never want sex, simply that it’s very.. weak.

            • zhyrs

              The most well regarded definition of asexual is a lack of sexual attraction to any gender. I’m not sure where you looked, but generally sex drive is considered separate (if often overlapping) thing from sexual attraction. Most definitions, if they’re found in places either run or consulted by asexuals, will make the distinction since how low or high your sex drive (or libido) is generally doesn’t determine who you’re sexually attracted to. There are however some people who don’t care to make that distinction, or who consider the only true asexual to be one who has zero interest in sex.

            • Root

              One could argue that sexual attraction occurs because of the sex drive, and without the sex drive there can be no sexual attraction. Regardless, the very next part after it says that they don’t experience sexual attraction, it mentions that they don’t have a “desire for sex” either. Nobody claimed that asexual’s can’t or don’t have sex, simply that they don’t have the drive to, and thus don’t do it as often.

          • Root

            Normalcy is an illusion, a facade that we’ve created to pretend that we are something that we can never be.

        • Root

          Actually,.. they both concern the sex drive.. one has too much, the other very little to none at all.

      • Hal Capone

        By definition, being a genius, exceptional, well-dressed, or a straight A student is abnormal.

      • Root

        No, just two ends of a continuum. Most people tend to go to one extreme or another.

    • peiguy

      This is just another group of people trying to convince themselves that being “different” is ok So sad that they are relying on some self professed expert to validate their gender and behaviour confusion. Shame on Bogaert for leading them on.. This kind of reminds me of kids wearing a Goth persona. ” Hey look at me I’m different!…oh no don’t stare”

      • amydv

        This comment is disgusting.

      • Life-of-an-Asexual

        Actually, all we want to do is find people like us. So we’re not “convincing ourselves that being ‘different’ is ok”. We’re doing our best to stop constantly feeling like we are different. We don’t want to be different. We want somewhere that we can finally fit in. We’re trying to find a place in the world where we can belong instead of always being laughed at.

        • takawalk

          Being different is not always, or very often a bad thing. Being different can often be defined as being superior. The need to be accepted is a common human trait. You are not that different. Your input on this topic is appreciated, I find I understand very little about it.

      • Trilby16

        But being different IS ok. Isn’t it? Should we all be the same?

        • Life-of-an-Asexual

          A wonderful point. Besides, I’m pretty sure even if we tried, we couldn’t all be the same. People are all different. Just because one of our differences is sexuality doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing.

      • bebe

        Better to know that you’re different than to think that you’re broken.

    • amydv

      Anyway, I’m going to stop reading the comments, but thank you to Justine and Epoch Times for the interview and increasing asexuality awareness. The article is wonderful.

    • Life-of-an-Asexual

      As an asexual, I am really excited to see more and more people talking about asexuality. It is fantastic finally seeing people start acknowledging that we exist.

    • Root

      Mother nature’s population control :)

      • zhyrs

        Actually, there are many asexuals who both want and have children.

        • Root

          Population control, can’t keep it going if you eliminate it’s genetic properties. In either case, asexuals tend not to breed like vermin, and only have children when they are ready.

          • zhyrs

            The same can be said for many people of the other orientations. (but without polling asexuals (as well as those not yet identified as asexual, but who would say that they don’t experience sexual attraction) intensively I don’t think that anyone can really know if people who are asexual have higher or lower child bearing rates… but I would say that not experiencing sexual attraction has little bearing on the interest in having children)

            Anyway, I think the group that you’re looking for are the child free.

            • Root

              People who wait longer to have children tend to have fewer children and spread out the generations more. People who have children as young adults, (teenagers) tend to have more children and shorten the generation gap increasing the overall population of the earth. Again I state, Population Control, nature has never, to my knowledge, created an unsustainable system. For any control to function for any extended period of time, it must progenerate.

            • zhyrs

              I don’t know what any of this has to do with asexuality.

            • Root

              I’m not sure how it doesn’t.

            • Rae

              There is nothing about asexuality that says we’ll wait to have children. Essentially it just means we don’t look at someone and think “I’d do that”. Sex isn’t a driving force for us or our relationships. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never have sex or that we’ll wait for children. I think the term you’re looking for as a Population Control would be Celibacy as that is complete restraint from sex, not a lack of sexual attraction.

            • chenelope

              Not sure if poling asexuals intensively goes down too well

    • http://whoiskt.tumblr.com/ KT Nelson

      thank you so much for this article!! you have no idea how happy it made me to see this– there’s too many people on this earth who don’t know what asexuality is or don’t believe it’s real. during asexual awareness week this last fall i overheard a girl say, “asexuality? um, that’s the same thing as celibacy” and continue to deny asexuality’s exsistence. made me really sad… so just, thank you!!!

      • Michael

        right you are. it is a shame that this idea is not taught in health classes for the young adults in grade school. with a short but thorough description, it would create a very good awareness for the next generations, it would create good mental health.

    • Michael

      This personality trait describes me perfectly! I am unlike the person in the article who has some regret about not engaging in sexuality nor am like the description of “figuring out flirting.” I simply have no interest in romance, no interest in sexuality, no interest in marriage, am not attracted sexually to anyone, never have been and it does not disrupt me at all, but rather, I find it to be peaceful, ethical and good. It conforms greatly to spiritual beliefs of all of mankind’s great Faiths and is a respected lifestyle for their most devoted clergy. It might be rare in the culture that is typical for the world of these days, but always, it is fine, in harmony with good mental health and of course a useful social trait as well as a spiritual and psychological support. Nothing to be ashamed of and it is something to be enjoyed, should you find your self with such a condition as desiring to be voluntarily and or naturally celibate. Have good confidence in yourself and respect all the world in this way, because they desire romances and so on, they will also have respect for those who are celibate, either by nature or by a deliberate religious sacrifice. All places and times have had such people who by need or want have practiced celibacy on purpose or not, its good to see our scientists and counselors are learning to share these facts with the thinking people.


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