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Asexuality: Dispelling Myths About the Hidden Orientation

Updated on January 6, 2019
AnnaMWegscheid profile image

Anna is a hetero-romantic asexual who loved spending time in her university's Gay-Straight Alliance, educating classmates about LGBT issues.

Asexual Flag
Asexual Flag

Intro

According to the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), asexuality is defined as "someone who does not experience sexual attraction." Various studies have shown that approximately 1 in 100 people are asexual. That is higher than the number of people who identify as transgender (roughly 0.6%), and may be higher still, accounting for those who are asexual but are not aware that the orientation exists. Asexuality has not attracted as much attention in the media as the other sexualities under the LGBT+ umbrella, leaving people to believe stereotypes and misconceptions that are not always true, such as:

"Asexuality is a Recent Invention"

Yes, asexuality is a new letter in the LGBT+ community, but it wasn't invented by far-left "social justice warriors" as a plea for attention. In 1948, Alfred Kinsey included asexuality in his research about sexual behavior. The Kinsey scale is a spectrum of sexual orientation, where 0 is strictly heterosexual, 3 is equally hetero- and homosexual (or bisexual), and 6 is strictly homosexual. He theorized that most people fall somewhere in the middle of 0 and 6, but additionally, he used the letter "X" to define someone who has no sexual desire.

"Asexuality is the same as celibacy."

Nuns, priests, and anyone saving sex for marriage (unless they are asexual themselves), are still sexually attracted to people, but they choose not to pursue them for religious or philosophical reasons. For an asexual person, the desire to experience sexual intimacy with others is absent, whereas a religious person may suppress their urges through prayer, meditation, or other means. Celibacy is a choice. Some asexuals are also celibate, but some are sexually active as well, in order to please their partners or to enjoy the physical act itself.

"Asexuals do not desire romantic relationships."

This is not entirely false. Some don't. They are called aromantic asexuals. Each sexual orientation has a romantic orientation to match it. For example, a biromantic asexual is interested in pursuing romantic relationships with both men and women. Additionally, some people identify as demisexual, where sexual attraction does not develop until an emotional connection has been formed. Relationships look different for every person who chooses to pursue one. Sometimes the couple will choose an open or polyamorous relationship. Some sex-favorable asexuals are willing to compromise and have sex, even if they would be content to live without it. Others prefer only dating fellow asexuals or people for whom sex isn't a priority.

"Asexuality is a mental illness."

While asexuality shares many of the symptoms of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, it differs for one main reason: A mental illness requires symptoms that are distressing to the patient. Most asexuals do not experience personal distress regarding their lack of attraction. They may experience negative emotions after being rejected or criticized for their sexuality, but most are content to remain how they are. Also, asexuality tends to be a lifelong orientation, whereas HSDD appears later in life after the patient has experienced a typical level of sexual desire.

Conclusion

Though discrimination does exist, especially in the form of sexual harassment by people who think they can "cure" asexuality (similar to the discrimination experienced by lesbians), most negative comments toward asexuals are made out of ignorance. This is slowly changing, with more Pride festivals and queer-friendly spaces being more welcoming of asexuality, and a handful of asexual characters appearing in the media. The "A" in LGBTQIA is small and misunderstood, but it exists.

Comments

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    • profile image

      jonnycomelately 

      13 months ago

      I feel it would help this discussion along if people were willing to drop the guilt-factor from anything to do with sex.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad 

      13 months ago

      Anna

      If asexuals masturbate for whatever reason then sex is a choice.

      when LGBT keeps adding x to it, then we are dealing with another 1%.

      And there is no common denominator between the L G B T other than they want assurance that what they are doing is OK.

      The most distinct example are the bisexuals, who have a Choice and that is what puts them in that category. Transgender has no connection to any of the others. L and G are total opposites there is nothing in common except that all of these categories are failures to reproduce the necessary ingredients to conform to the standard.

      These are simply defects, and they are no different than people being born with 6 toes instead of 5, or conjoined twins, or babies born with horrible genetic defects.

      As for the 1% result of various surveys, it doesn't constitute a fact or even a medical or scientific reason for its existence. There was a hub on hp that was titled how to seduce a straight man and it had a picture of 2 men kissing. If that title is true, then the answer is a choice.

    • profile image

      jonnycomelately 

      14 months ago

      Anna, thank you for broaching this rather obscure topic. I am intrigued that it's gained no other comments so far.

      In my now older-age, asexuality is perhaps a cop-out, when the chance of an intimate connection with the young man of my dreams is 100 to 1 against.

      I still have that dream but, to save myself from too much remorse, I say, "Oh, forget it. Not interested anyway."

      But in reality, the thought of having to get through the strenuous learning curve of my own and the other's likes/dislikes puts me of even entering the chase.

      A recent experience of having a really nice, caring and sensible young man come and stay for a few weeks, whom I honestly did not fancy and he was not gay; and enjoying the company, companionship and assistance he gave me ....this was beautiful and I could do with more. It was more to do with his innate "goodness" than anything sexual. And I think he loved the grand-fatherly attention!

      So....honour and respect to diversity.

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