Module 5: Asexuality
Definition: Asexual persons are those who do not experience sexual attraction. Asexuality does not make their lives better or worse, there is just a different set of challenges than that of sexual people.
•There is much diversity in the asexual community when it comes to experiences like relationships, attractions, and arousal.
•Asexuality is not: celibacy, impotence, androgyny, repression, fear of intimacy, inability to find a partner, hating sexual people, or being anti-social.
•Asexual persons can: experience attraction, form partnerships, experience arousal, orgasm, and be from any background.
•Asexual persons may or may not experience romantic feelings.
•Approximately 1% of the population is asexual (Bogaert, 2004). It may not sound like a lot, but it means that there are approximately 67 million asexual persons in the world.
Issues that come with Asexuality:
- Not recognized - very few people understand what it means. This can make it difficult for a person who is asexual to find support when nobody talks about it.
- Not considered to be legitimate. Some people do not believe in asexuality, and confuse it with celibacy or repression. They do not consider it to be an orientation in of itself.
- Broken - people often assume that an asexual person has something wrong with them such as: being raped as a child, having a hormone imbalance, needing a partner who is good enough at what they do to make the asexual person want sex.
- Confusion of romance and sex - for a lot of people, romance and sex go together like corn and Iowa; they are close to inseparable. Asexuals do not see the two as related. Some asexuals are romantically inclined and will identify as a (hetero, homo, bi, pan)-romantic asexual. Still others consider themselves to be aromantic asexual meaning that they experience neither romantic feelings nor sexual attraction.
- Idea of owing sex to someone - it can be difficult to find a relationship in which the level of sexual activity is acceptable to both individuals. Sometimes asexual individuals feel pressured to have sex in a relationship. It is important that people discuss this issue with their partner(s). People need to respect the boundaries of others and themselves.
- Do asexuals belong in gay-straight alliances such as UNI Proud? This is up to the individual; it depends a lot on how (s)he feels about the group. Despite being new to many gay-straight alliances, some asexuals find that they have a lot in common with the members of such a group.
- HSDD (Hypo-active Sexual Desire Disorder) is listed on the DSM-IV. People think that HSDD and asexuality are the same. Although they are similar, HSDD is listed because it causes "personal distress." Many asexual people are perfectly fine with their feelings.
Important Information for allies:
•Be willing to listen.
•Remember that sexuality is only one aspect of life.
•Remember that if someone discloses this information to you that they are still the same person that you always knew.