The concept of asexuality has recently become frequent in the media, and even a dozen years ago it was understood as a sexual deviation and the articles were accompanied by tips and recommendations on how to treat this “disease” and phone numbers of clinics. And in 2001, the Aven asexuals site appeared – and this gave a new round of development to the asexuality phenomenon. We will consider the issue from the psychological and physiological points of view and give you tips on coming out to other people.
- Is asexuality a disease?
Close relationships, dating and sex as their component continue to transform because we, as collective humanity, transform. Now you can use vip dating sites to seek partners instead of just meeting in real life. New forms, variants, and, accordingly, names appear for this entire spectrum of practices that have become known and accessible to many. We were covered by the information flow about the existence of a whole range of sexual orientations, about gradations and different forms of expressing relationships, we often read and use the concepts of “narcissus”, “inner child” and “gender”.
It is useful and important to know that such a diagnosis as “asexuality” simply does not exist. There is no such term in ICD-10, and there will be no such term in the next revision of the classifier (ICD-11 since 2019, or in other countries officially since 2021). Asexuals are the same as all women, men and other personalities who do not belong to these categories.
- What is asexuality?
Conventionally, we will create a formula of “ordinary” close relationships: sensual attraction + intellectual interest + physical attraction. So, for asexual people in this formula, only the first two components are relevant.
Asexuality is generally not related to the desire or unwillingness to have children. Asexuals who want to have children can have sexual intercourse to conceive, but they can also opt for artificial insemination or adoption.
Asexuality is not the same as conscious abstinence from sexual activity (which, in turn, should not be identified with its only religious form – celibacy. Many asexuals enter into sexual relations under the influence of social prejudice or seeking to satisfy the desire of a partner, or to procreate; in turn, not all adherents of celibacy are asexuals.
Thus, asexuality is not an intentional refusal of sex and the impossibility of building a romantic relationship – it is simply an unintentional unwillingness of sex, in which, however, it is possible (since the physiological mechanisms of erection and ejaculation are not affected). It must be remembered that sexual orientation can be fluid (at least a person can self-determine in different ways over time – from hetero- to homo / bi- and asexuality).
- How common is this phenomenon?
The numbers range from 1.05 to 3.3%. But there is still debate, because statistics are scarce. Alfred Kinsey wrote in 1948 that 1.5% of men are asexual. And 3.3% of Finnish women report that they have never felt sexually attracted to anyone. So say 2% of New Zealand high school students and from 0.4 to 1% of adults from the UK.
According to the results of surveys conducted in the 90s, which were analyzed by Anthony Bogart, 70% of asexuals are women. But such data may be related to the fact that it is more difficult for men to talk about the absence of libido.
- How to understand if I am asexual?
Can I change my sexual orientation? How to understand for yourself whether you fall under the definition of asexuals? How to your orientation? We offer you mental exercise in self-reflection:
1. Remember your sexual and romantic experience, what you liked and what did not. Sexual and romantic experience is a whole range of practices, so consider everything from how you held hands with someone or kissed, ending with penetration, if you had such an experience. And don’t just think about the “traditionally sexual” experience.
2. Think about cases where your borders have been respected, and about cases when they have been violated. When did you feel safe and when was it vulnerable? When did you feel good and comfortable? Pay attention to whether your wishes coincided with actions or with the expectations of others.
3. Ask yourself questions: why did everything turn out that way? Perhaps you wanted to show that you are in a relationship, but did it because of external pressure? Or maybe you don’t feel sexually attracted, but because of the pressure of society were forced to have sex? Society and popular culture insist on all sides that sex is a new cult. The presence and quality of this sex is like a new rating scale. There is “right” and “wrong” sex. But should it be so?
- Why does society dictate that sex important?
Pay attention to this concept of world order – there is a picture of the world where the presence of sex is a mandatory norm. There are options for regularity and types of sex that are, and any differences are immediately a cause for concern, shame, and turning to specialists.
At the moment, domestic doctors are also inclined to consider manifestations of asexuality as a deviation and sometimes call it “hypoactive disorder” but in the future this misconception will, pf course, fade away. Like many other gender identities, asexuality is practically not represented in the sphere of public consciousness. People who believe that asexuals do not make love and do not have children in the traditional way are fundamentally wrong. The lack of accessible information about asexuality is fertile ground for the emergence of stereotypes and conjectures, which today can be found in abundance in both virtual discussions and discriminatory social practices.
- Should you tell your partner about it?
On the one hand, you do not need to openly position yourself as asexual. If you don’t raise this topic with your friends: your communication circle is such that you don’t discuss each other’s personal relationships and they value your personal space. And on the other hand, it is very necessary, at least so that society does not crush responsibility. The problem of responsibility pressure is that people know too little about asexuality and do talk about it. Therefore, this topic should be covered and developed further.
Make up some corrections into your intimate life so that both of you are as comfortable as possible. Your partner should understand that this is important for you and not refuse to help. You must have a very trusting relationship and he must understand you. Most importantly, understand that this is not because of him. Each asexual makes his own choice. Someone is raping his body and psyche, afraid to upset his partner. Sex is just human leisure, you should not be upset that you cannot get sexually excited, and your partner can. If you don’t experience any discomfort, then don’t be silent and just say how your beloved can help you better handle your particularities.
- Asexuality FAQ. Here are the examples of the questions you may get asked if you come out and what you can explain to people in response.
What exactly does it mean to be an asexual person?
You: Being asexual means never feeling sexually attracted or only slightly or rarely. Our community is huge. Among us there are asexual people who feel romantic attraction, which means that they have a non-sex desire to share life with someone. Among us there are people who do not feel this at all. And of course, there are homosexual and transgender people in the community. There is only one thing that unites asexual people: we really do not feel the desire to sleep with other people.
Asexuals generally have sex, although they do not have such a desire or almost do not feel it?
You: It is necessary to distinguish between two phenomena: sexual desire and sexual behavior. Attraction is an impulse that a person feels, one that draws him to some person or some situation. In our case, it is very weak or absent. But our organisms still respond to certain stimuli: we can be excited and experience an orgasm.
Are there any couples in which both partners are asexual?
You: There are asexual people who are still looking for partners, because the romantic ideal sits in us as deeply as in everyone else. For an asexual and sexual person or two asexuals, there are thousands of ways to build relationships.
Do asexual people masturbate?
You: There are those who masturbate, and there are those who do not. There are people who do not feel a strong attraction to others but are still excited and therefore masturbate. The main thing in asexuality is the nature of a person’s attraction to others, but pure libido works separately from this.
How do people react when you tell them that you are asexual?
You: People often decide that I abstain from sex, and this is completely different. People who abstain from sex feel sexually attracted, but decide not to have sex, while we, asexuals, do not feel or almost do not feel sexual desire, but still we can have sex whenever we want.