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asexuality: the oft-ignored sexual categorisation

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Sexual attraction is about sexual attainment. It’s an involuntary psychological experience. You know who you like when you see them. With some guts, you may even approach them. With luck, you end up in bed with them. That’s the ultimate goal of sexual desire. So what happens when individuals deviate from this involuntary impulse of ‘sexual desire’?  What if they don’t feel any of these desires at all?

Asexuality is somewhat of a dawning sexual category. We know there are heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals but, asexuality has long been somewhat of a neglected area of study. And no wonder when you look at the statistics – according to Professor Bogaert, an associate professor at Brock University in Canada, only one percent of the worlds population – 70 million people – identify as asexual.

One percent claim to have no feelings of sexual arousal or desire towards others. One percent live in their stream of self sufficiency and rejection of sexual gratification. One percent, more or less, lack that jet of sexual impulse that makes us victims to our desires.

When I think of sex and sexuality, I see a sinuous exchange of flesh and waves of warmth. But sex and sexuality are different. Sexuality is about abandon and sensual luxury. Sex is simply a biological action in order to procreate. Sexuality is created by the interlocking narrative of desire and glorification. Sexual desire is a biological pull wrapped in a social fabric. Sexuality is not a biological function but a social one and this is where we need to go to begin understanding asexuality. Asexuals don’t feel sexual attraction because they don’t participate in the social exchange of sexual innuendo and communication. Divorce the two, and things will become clearer.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation, but it’s also a psychological orientation. It’s a sexual preference, but it’s also a downright rejection of sexual anything. To me, there is nothing baffling about being asexual. Sex is more than just a bodily action. It’s an entire storyboard comprising generations upon generations of literature, conceptual contributions and creativity. It’s a created thing now; it’s not just an exchange where we participate in to have fun or to procreate.

Asexuality rejects the entrance into sexual desire, but it’s not even that – it’s a complete absence of that sensation, desire and pull towards him or her. Can life be as we know it without attraction to other people? Sexually I mean?

Wanting to have sex with someone feels natural because in a sense, we are not even  part of the process. We are being led by the process. And what we don’t consciously participate in with logic and rationale seems natural to us. To the majority, asexuality is a blatant rejection of the natural processes of sexual desire. It’s not natural because to them, it’s also a rejection of Mother Nature.
“Biological destiny” tells us that we are sexual by birth and by nature. In defining oneself as asexual we are rejecting the course of Mother Nature and that seems unnatural and unreal. What is natural and what is unnatural is an individualised definition though, ratified against the freedom of speech tract created and sustained by the liberal minded attitude of most Western countries. Asexuality is a creation of a new biological outlook. Sex is not a part of the body for asexuals.

Asexuals by definition of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) are individuals who ‘do not experience sexual attraction’. But AVEN also state that ‘asexuals may regard other people as aesthetically attractive without feeling sexual attraction to them. Some asexual people also experience the desire of being affectionate to other people without it being sexual’. So sexual attraction and attraction are segregated here, and this is something that most of us overlook. Sexual attraction and attraction to AVEN are different things. Acknowledging attractiveness in the opposite sex is where asexuals come to a halt in their sexual awareness. This is where the game ends. To heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals, the acknowledgement leads to a desire of physical attainment, which asexuals just don’t experience.

What we need to see is that sexual desire is sex in fermentation. Asexuals can have sex, but the entire glamour and excitement of sexual attraction is something that they don’t feel. And who are we to deem what is wrong and right to feel? To me, asexuality is a category that will see itself rise in the future. It’s not that people will be finding it easier to label and identify themselves, but because people will find it more comfortable to “come out” knowing that there are others out there like them. It’s an orientation that’s been nothing because to most people, it is a sexual orientation based on nothing. No feelings of sexual pull. No feelings of sexual attraction. A complete contentment and desire to be alone.

One thought on “asexuality: the oft-ignored sexual categorisation

  1. It’s nice to see articles on asexuality on mainstream feminist websites, but there are a couple of inaccuracies in this post I’d like to point out.

    Firstly, asexuality comprises a sexual orientation, but also occupies a place on a spectrum of sexuality. It’s not an absolute position, a ‘downright rejection of all things sexual.’ We still experience connections to other people, just not on the basis of sexual attraction. I think you’ll find that many asexual people adapt sexual culture in ways that work for them and form relationships in which sexuality (not just procreation-sex – heteronormative much?) can play a role, for whatever reason that is. We’re also not all completely content and desiring to be alone – in fact, the majority of asexual people will form relationships of some sort, be they platonic, romantic, relationships with allosexual people, close friendships and partnerships. Asexuality is not so much about outright rejection as ‘hey, I don’t feel this sexual attraction stuff, so how can I still negotiate my relationships with other people?’ We’re not all perfectly self-sufficient.

    I do like the emphasis on sexuality as social as well biological in this article. But it seems to lack research about actual asexual people and experiences, and rather relies on a cursory understanding and a sexual person’s extrapolations and generalisations from there. Perhaps anyone reading this should have a look at the blog ‘The Asexual Agenda’ for in-depth discussion of asexuality, written by asexual people.

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