Is It Possible That You're Asexual?


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

sex drive, sexuality


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elfis... elfishpirat're abusing the word. Organisms that reproduce asexually sprout or "bud" another organism off of their own body. Humans cannot be all. It's not a sexual orientation. Hello basic science

Samal... Samallama

Meh. People are differen't. While I'm not asexual (or whatever the word for it would be, elfishpirat), I do seem to have a lower sex drive than a lot of people. Just doesn't interest me as much. It doesn't seem like it should be a medical condition...just that some people are different than others. 

jagam... jagamama0710

elfishpirat - The author isn't abusing the word. AVEN would be. She's just writing about them. 

Anyways, no way. I have always had a high sex drive.  I'm temporarily not having sex because my husband is deployed and it's driving us both nuts. lol Thank goodness for sexy skype dates! I don't think I would want to be with someone who didn't have a sex drive at all either. 

Scarl... Scarlett82

No, that is the term and it is correct. Tim Gunn, Emilie Autumn, and Janeane Garofolo are asexual. It is also called nonsexual. Look it up.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Saying that asexual isn't the correct term because it's used in another context is like saying gay can't possibly mean homosexual because it also means happy or that rose can not be the past tense of rise and the name of a flower.

nonmember avatar Aurastar

Some people just aren't interested in sex. Why do you guys care? Mind your own business!

nonmember avatar Dallas

Hi Jamye, I sat next to you at the award luncheon at the AASECT conference in San Francisco, and in case I never mentioned it then, I'm ace- I'm also on the committee for Asexual Awareness Week so I'm very pleased to see that you've written this! Just to complicate the issue: Some aces (people who's orientation is asexual) do have a sex drive and may indulge that with a partner or alone (to complicate it further the person may or may not consider what they are doing to be sexual- which makes studying aces kind of tricky, but fun an informative).

I've had romantic relationships without sex, but I will say that I find sexual activity of one type or another to be a good way to bond, though obviously that's not an option for everyone and many people do have happy romantic (or, as I've recently learned "wtfromantic" relationships - when there's a blurry or non-existent boundary between a romantic relationship and an intense friendship) without sex.

nonmember avatar Tollerant

I am asexual. Don't say it doesn't exist. I have never looked at another person and thought "oh i want sex." I have a daughter whom I love, but it wasnt because i desired sex. I have sex because it is part of relaitonships but i have zero sex drive. Read that again. ZERO. It does not feel good to me and I do not enjoy it. I enjoy cuddling, kissing, affection. from either gender. I am what is called a panromantic asexual person who identifies as female (i am physically female, but have no male/female gender preferences).

AngiDas AngiDas

Thank you for writing this. Asexuality is very real and many of my friend of ZERO interest in sex. It is very normal and should not be looked down on or considered odd.

Marjc... Marjchaos

I actually recently read a fiction story where the main characters were in a romantic relationship.  Both were male, but one was asexual and the other heterosexual. The heterosexual one had his sexual needs met outside the relationship, but both were committed to thier sexless (although not entirely nonphysical) romantic relationship. It was an interesting take, and one I hadn't considered. I have known people who seemed to have no interest in sex, but it hadn't occurred to me that no interest in sex didn't translate to no romantic interest.  Although I don't think Asexual is ever going to be a common sexual orientation, it was an eye-opening read.

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