The Top Ten Responses to Asexuality
Asexual. Nonsexual. Antisexual. Celibate. These terms have different connotations depending on who you talk to, and at different times all of them have been applied to me, correct or no. But no matter how you define it, my “condition” can be summed up in one sentence:
I don't want to have sex.
Plain and simple.
It is not a case of avoiding sex out of fear, or as a result of a perceived moral obligation, or out of disinterest in starting a family. I just seem to have been spared the development of sexual inclination--maybe I have a biologically nonexistent libido, or maybe I have a psychological disinterest in physical intimacy, or maybe some of both . . . but the end result is simply that I have no interest in sex, and I like it that way.
In all the usual ways, I'm a healthy young woman. I have the usual primary and secondary sex characteristics, and while I was maybe on the late side when I went through puberty, I am easily within normal parameters. I consider myself to be possessed of above-average attractiveness, and have nothing "wrong with me" unless you count my lack of sex drive (which many people do). I've had many offers from many people (mostly men), from horny jerks to genuinely good people, all hoping to "help" me overcome my supposed condition. The fact is, I don't want to "overcome" it--I don't see it as a problem. I happen to be pyschologically independent enough to feel I don't need to define myself or complete myself by getting a partner, and because my body craves sex about as much as a three-year-old's does, I don't feel physically deprived because of not "getting any."
Despite my obvious contentment with my situation, many people over the years have attempted to change my mind.
As a teen, I had a whole two boyfriends. The first was just a social curiosity; I'd never been asked out before, so I said yes. There was no physical aspect to our relationship, and we broke up after six months because I was moving. The end. The second was more complicated; I had realized that I was unusual in that I had not developed the longings and interests my peers described, and was reluctant to accept this second boy's advances. Eventually, because I cared deeply for him, I attempted to fill a hole in his life by becoming his girlfriend, but that led to sexual offers that I was not willing to tolerate. Because of my belief that giving in somewhat to this guy would help him with a deeply-rooted case of inferiority complex, I allowed him to perform a few intimate acts with me (from kissing to full contact petting), but everything we did not only left me cold; it bothered me because I did not have the usual emotions one associates with such things, and without those emotions the acts are quite disgusting. Tired of being unable to satisfy his needs without sacrificing my own, I agreed that we should go our separate ways, though we are friends to this day.
Before going off to college, my mother took me to the doctor--partly for a routine exam, but partly because she was concerned for my lack of hormones. She was concerned that my "condition" might indicate another physical problem, but the doctors never found anything; they just said that because of my nonexistent libido and less-frequent-than-the-norm menstrual cycle, I probably just had low estrogen levels. It wasn't a concern, they said, and I was left to go on with my life.
I've come to realize that my lack of interest is sometimes regarded by others as a challenge. Some of them want me even more than they would if I was single and looking; it's this fantasy they have of being able to turn on even the most hard-to-excite girl, being the one that not even I can resist. Many of these types have tried to change my mind. Doesn't work. In recent years I've been very honest about my lack of interest, and almost everyone who hears it offers some sort of explanation for it, or attempts to diagnose me. In another article, I offered what I call "The Nonsexual Top Ten," and I will reprint an abridged version of it here. These are simply the ten most often-asked questions in my experience of telling others about my sexual orientation, or lack thereof.
#10: "You hate men." This is not true. Most of my friends are men. And if it WERE true, I don't see how it would make me asexual..
#9: "You can't get a man." This is not true either. I have had many propositions for everything from sex to long-term relationships, and I venture to say a line would form if I announced I wanted a man THAT way.
#8: "You have a hormone problem." I'd rephrase that to say "I have a low production of hormones," and it might be true. I do not consider it a problem. If I WANTED to have the opportunity to become twitterpated, I might request a libido-enhancing drug, but I don't see any PROBLEM here.
#7: "You're overly involved in your own busy life." I accept that "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" (John Lennon). I AM very busy, but what takes up my time varies from month to month. It could easily vary in this direction if I was so inclined--I would never turn down the possibility of happiness if I did indeed think a situation promised it.
#6: "You just never had me in your bed." A fairly common comment cocky males make. Stupid people really do think that I just haven't been tagged by the right stud, when in fact the "problem" is that I don't find studs attractive. They seem to answer this by drawing attention to . . . how studly they are. It's a vicious cycle that leaves them standing there flexing their muscles and me running to my computer to write an article mentioning how stupid they are.
#5: "You are afraid of getting into a relationship." I should probably point out that I have many close relationships with other people, many of whom are male. I don't have intimacy issues. I just don't appreciate sexual relationships and consider myself outside the whole phenomenon.
#4: "You were sexually abused as a child." A very common suggestion. An entirely untrue suggestion. Next.
#3: "You are a lesbian." For some reason people can understand that I'm not interested in penises, but only if they can project my hypothetical feelings onto a buried desire for vaginas. Being gay is fairly acceptable these days--actually, much more so than being nonsexual--so I venture to say if I WAS a lesbian I'd come out. It just isn't the case.
#2: "You just haven't met the right guy." Maybe I haven't. But it's not fair to assume that there is one, or that my life won't be complete unless I do meet him.
#1: "Aww, did you just get out of a bad relationship?" That's the most common suggestion--I've obviously been hurt, scarred by a bad experience, and have sworn off men as a result. No.
I've been served with many other suggestions, such as the accusation that I'm just trying to be weird, that it's all right that I'm "saving myself," that I'm denying the proper plan that God or nature has for my body, that I ought to have therapy, that I'm a big freak because I don't get horny. Overall, I don't see why so many people can't believe that I don't want sex, or think that it's such a big deal. To me, it would be a non-issue except for the fact that everyone MAKES it an issue. So everyone's making it an issue is an issue for me.
Sometimes they try to take issue with me as if I have a crusade against sex, but to tell you the truth as long as it doesn't involve me, I am all for sex. I don't like when people behave irresponsibly with it, of course, but I am not disgusted or offended by its existence. I have no interest in stopping others from having sex, and I'd like that to be clear. My status as a non-sexual person is a description of my personal feelings and inclinations, not a message of "seek and destroy" for the sexual people of the world.
I'd like to state here and now that I think my sexual orientation is an unrecognized fourth categorization, along with heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. It isn't an "undecided" or a "none of the above"; it is actually a legitimate fourth choice--it is not "no sexual orientation," but rather a "sexual orientation of 'no.'" No thank you; please pass the potatoes. I propose that if a person has no interest, it does not necessarily indicate a psychological issue, a physical problem, or an active sexual orientation that has just been buried. It is a fourth option, and I am tired of choosing *C) bisexual* just because it is the closest to describing me (yes, I like both sexes in my bed equally--not at all!).
I don't have any interest in us getting our own parade or awareness week, but while I'm not out for conversion, I do certainly have "pride." I'd like others out there to know that I exist, that others of my kind exist, and that they may actually not be damaged or disturbed; they may just be one of us. A normal fourth sexuality.
Asexuals/Celibates/Nonsexuals/Antisexuals of the world, I invite you to choose D).