As someone who makes a living writing about, lecturing on, and loving sexual interaction, it's difficult to imagine a world where sex doesn't matter. I'm not saying such a world doesn't exist -- it certainly does.
The closest I came to understanding a no-sex life was when I went celibate two years ago. But that's different than asexuality. Asexuality is a sexual orientation along the same lines as bisexual, heterosexual, and homosexual. Celibacy is an act and a choice, and it can be measured in time. Celibacy definitely has a beginning and it usually has an end. It's different than being born without the experience of sexual attraction or the desire to engage in sexual activity. Asexuals can't turn their sex drive on, or off, for six months, like I did. But could a once sexual being turn into an asexual one?
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network's (AVEN) conducted a survey of 250 people who were asexual and 71 percent of them were female, the rest identified as male. The AVEN was created in 2001 to increase public acceptance and discourse around asexuality. What started with 100 members has grown into the tens of thousands. And there's now an asexual awareness week at the end of October, to shed more light on, and celebrate, this non-sexual orientation.
Every so often I think about what it might feel like if I never had sex on the brain. It's different than not wanting sex because of stress, children, or marital problems. It's never having a sex drive. Perhaps those who once thought they had a sex drive really never did. Sex was just a part of a relationship so you go through with the motions. But when it's not happening, for some people, it's not missed. Not even desired.
The way the medical community feeds into our fears around a lack of sexual desire, they make it sound like it's a bad thing. From female sexual dysfunction to erectile issues, it seems there must be something wrong with us if we don't feel an urge for sex. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. It could be asexuality.
What I've learned in my research is that asexuality is not an issue, or a problem, that needs fixing. It is, like any other sexual orientation, something to accept and even celebrate.
For me, the reminder is a good one. Sex isn't for everyone, and everyone isn't defined by sex.
Could you have a romantic relationship without sex?
Image via davidgljay/Flickr
Something my kids handmade
A fun holiday at home with my family
Some time off!
Something just for me, like a plush robe