Asexuality is A-okay

Asexuality is A-okay

An exploration of asexuality

Asexuality is a sexual orientation that the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) defines as “a person who does not experience sexual attraction.” This means that people who are asexual do not desire to have sexual contact with others.

A person who is asexual is not to be confused with someone who is aromantic or someone who is celibate.

Someone who is aromantic does not experience romantic attraction. People of any sexual orientation can be aromantic. And celibacy is the choice to abstain from sexual interactions.

Asexuality is often misunderstood. Some perceptions of asexuality include that asexuals have different emotional needs, are late bloomers, are frigid or broken, or that their lack of sexual attraction is a phase. None of these perceptions are accurate. It is also inaccurate to say that people who are asexual just have low sexual desire.

Although asexual people do not experience sexual attraction, some do still engage in sexual activity with a partner or alone, but the frequency tends to be low. The reasons that asexuals engage in sexual activity is generally not sexual, but instead may be to please a partner or as a way to relax.

Sexuality research has often left out those who identify as asexual.

Alfred Kinsey identified asexual people in his research in the 1940s and 1950s, but did not include the category when creating his sexual orientation scale — the Kinsey Scale.

In 1979, Michael Storms created a model of sexuality that included asexuality. Other models of sexuality have been created since then, often trying to include various aspects of sexuality, such as attraction, identity, behaviour, and variability, but these models often leave out asexuality.

More recent research, however, has started to investigate asexuality. Dr. Anthony Bogaert at Brock University has played a large role in this area. In 2004, Bogaert published a paper on asexuality, and has been working in the area ever since. Bogaert found that approximately one per cent of the British population is asexual, with more women than men being asexual. He found many factors related to asexuality that indicated both biological and psychosocial components.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via CC0

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