Asexuality

I’ve seen a few misconceptions regarding the whole asexuality thingy, which I would like to clear up, along with explaining some concepts closely related to asexuality. Some increased visibility can’t hurt, either. I guess I’ll start off with the very definition of an asexual:

someone who does not experience sexual attraction

A celibate is someone who chooses to abstain from sexual activities, like say the Pope. They try to ignore their possible sexual attraction in favour of whatever motive they pursue, being asexual is not a choice. Indeed, while most asexuals obviously are celibates, there are a few asexuals who do sex. I’d like to clarify that the Asexual Visibility and Education Network is in no way anti-sexual, though isolated asexuals are.

What’s sexual attraction, then? It’s somewhat vague. Not to say complicated… Hmm. AVEN wiki says:

Sexual attraction is a feeling that sexual people get that causes them to desire sexual contact with a specific other person.

Basically,
1) You feel sexual urges.
2) You want to relieve them with person X through sexual activity Y.

This is not to be confused with a sex drive:

More commonly referred to as ‘libido’, a sex drive is a desire for sexual contact. In the context of asexuality, sex drive is an important concept because some asexuals have a sex drive but lack sexual attraction, while others have little or no sex drive. This is the main reason some asexuals masturbate and some do not, and can confuse people who either don’t fully understand the definition of asexuality, or don’t see sex drive and sexual attraction as different things.

It is of course important to differentiate between sexual attraction and romantic attraction:

Romantic attraction is a feeling that causes people to desire a romantic relationship with a specific other person. Many asexual people experience romantic attraction even though they do not feel sexual attraction. Sometimes this romantic attraction is directed towards a specific gender, giving asexuals who experience it a “romantic orientation” that is different from their sexual orientation. Other asexual people do not feel romantic attraction, and classify themselves as aromantic as well as asexual. It is speculated that aromantic but sexual people also exist.

It is a strange phenomenon in our world that sex is considered to be a prerequisite for a successful relationship, or even one of the things which define a relationship. There is a view that two people who don’t have sex with each other can never be anything more than friends. Even when asexuals get married and so on. One could turn it around and wonder if people who do have sex with each other can’t be anything more than just friends with benefits. I can add that some asexuals do have sex in their relationships.

Like there are different sexual orientations, there are also different romantic orientations. Here are some of the most common (and isn’t exclusively refered to asexuals):

Aromantic
Heteroromantic
Homoromantic
Biromantic
Panromantic (attracted to all genders)

How many asexuals are there out there? According to this study, a very, very rough percentage would be 1% of humanity. There are factors like how the questions are phrased, the general knowledge of the concept of sexual attraction and so on which could cast doubt on the accuracy of this study, but for the moment one could treat it as a very approximate number.

Seeing as asexuality as a concept is quite new, not an incredibly large amount of research has been conducted surrounding it. There is some, however. Here is a list of current studies related to asexuality.

I think those are the rough basics. To clear up some confusion about what an asexual is and isn’t, this blog has a nice little flowchart:

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