Even though we can’t turn on the TV or flip through a magazine or drive down the highway without being bombarded by sex, believe it or not, not everyone is doing it. And not everyone wants to be doing it. The asexual movement is growing, and whether it’s because people are rejecting our society’s obsession with sexuality or because they are truly just not that into it, “tens of thousands” of men and women are perfectly fine living a life without sex.
Self-proclaimed asexual, David Jay, says his life has never revolved around sex, according to a recent article in The Atlantic. Not even in high school when most boys’ hormones are raging out of control. That’s because, like approximately 1% of the population, Jay identifies as asexual. And there’s nothing wrong with that, he says. So much so that he’s now a popular asexual spokesperson, appearing on everything from The View to MTV, and even starting an online community which now reportedly attracts tens of thousands of other asexual people.
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) is a site dedicated to raising awareness of asexuality and giving a sense of belonging to others who have felt alienated from the hypersexualized culture we live in today.
Asexual people are not the same as celibate people. Basically, asexuality is the absence of sexual attraction–it’s not necessarily a choice like celibacy is. As The Atlantic stated, some asexual people are married or in a relationship, some aren’t. Some are even sexually active just to please their partners, but admit they have no interest in sex. Some think sex is disgusting, some are indifferent, and some have never even kissed another person.
But it’s not because they are cold, unsociable people without a desire to have any relationships. They just don’t have a desire for a sexual relationship–like Jay (and thousands of others), even though he says for years he just assumed he was “broken”. But now he realizes it’s just who he is.
He also realizes that sex today has gotten so far away from what it should be:
It’s not that we talk about sex too much. It’s that we celebrate sex in a way that is inauthentic. If we were to have a widespread, accurate discussion of sexuality — all the things that it means and doesn’t mean to people — that would include a discussion of the fact that sex is not interesting to everyone at some points, and that’s okay, and sex is not interesting to some people all the time, and that’s okay. Instead, I think what we have is a dialogue that fetishizes and celebrates sexuality, and equates it with the sum of our value and relationships.
Mark Carrigan, a researcher at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom told the Atlantic that sexuality is different for every person–even if that means a lack of it. He calls it “the sexual assumption”–a notion that is embedded in our society “the idea that everyone has sexual attraction, that it’s this powerful force inside of you, and that it is experienced the same way by every person.”
But not everyone agrees that a life without sex is normal. On a blog by sex columnist Dan Savage, one commenter wrote:
People who are “asexual” are not the norm. Being not the norm most likely means there is something either mentally or physically wrong. Guilt, shame, hormones and physical deformity probably play major roles. Why else would somebody forego one of life’s most pleasent experiences? There is nothing wrong with sex.
Someone else commented:
The idea of there being NOTHING inside, no juice, no drives at all … well, to my mind that is the ULTIMATE FREAKINESS, the one eternally unfathomable kink.
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