The Hidden Asexuals
In the last and final part of this series, I tackle the topic of Asexuality. A couple of Questions that came to mind include:
– What about Asexuality, how does that work or doesn’t it?
– What exactly is Asexuality? Does it fall somewhere on the queer-straight spectrum?
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) defines an asexual as “someone who does not experience sexual attraction” and stated, “another small minority will think of themselves as asexual for a brief period of time while exploring and questioning their own sexuality” and that “there is no litmus test to determine if someone is asexual.
Asexuality is like any other identity – at its core, it’s just a word that people use to help figure themselves out”. From the last sentence I understood that it could be a timeframe or stage in life but what about people who are asexual? full stop? They have no appetite in the whole sexual activity part of a relationship and they are perfectly able to do all the other things we classify as being in a romantic relationship with somebody. For them it’s like a choice between smoking or non-smoking, eating meat or being a vegetarian, it’s a life choice or just how their feelings guide them.
Some asexual people masturbate as a solitary form of release or have sex for the benefit of a romantic partner, therefore there is some sexual activity but it sounds either forced or an activity that is not to be shared due to either low self-esteem or no interest in being sexually stimulated by others. Asexual people often opt to be single forever or find an asexual partner as this can be less threatening for them and causes less anxiety around the subject.
The Kinsey Institute sponsored a small survey on the topic in 2007, which found that self-identified asexuals “reported significantly less desire for sex with a partner, lower sexual arousability, and lower sexual excitation but did not differ consistently from non-asexuals in their sexual inhibition scores or their desire to masturbate”. They may find self-pleasure satisfying enough and don’t feel that others are needed in this process or feel too self-conscious with their body or their private parts to be able to share this level of intimacy.
Coming out for both bisexuals and asexuals is a parallel process to coming out as gay, lesbian or transgender. However, I do think that there is added pressure as there are less support networks out there that are specifically focusing on this and less people know or understand what it really is. I hope that with this article I have brought some of it to the forefront and will hopefully open discussions and minds.
Most people think that it’s probably a phase. In certain parts of the world coming out as gay is quite normal and trendy as it has become more acceptable but people know less about bisexuality and asexuality. However the gay community are changing that. They are providing more focus on their websites and more inclusiveness in their campaigning, research and documentation. A good place to start is the LGBTAG website who have fully included these as acknowledged sexualities.