Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lust-free

It seems that asexuals, or people with no interest in sex, have a lot of difficulty getting others to accept their disinterest.

In a world preoccupied with sex and finding sexual partners, where the media is awash with scantily clad women and advice on seduction techiques, those who're naturally indifferent to sex are still regarded as oddities - or suffering some sort of psychological problem.

An estimated one per cent of the population are thought to be asexual, and one asexuality website has over 50,000 members. There are plenty of couples who're perfectly happy without any love-making.

Yet whenever they "come out" to other people, sooner or later it'll be suggested that they're not really asexual, that actually there's something else going on.

They haven't found the right person, they're sexually repressed, they've been abused, they're secretly gay, it's a temporary phase, they're late developers. And so on and so on.

But why shouldn't people simply be uninterested in sex? Is that really so strange? It's just one sort of pleasure among a thousand others, and not everyone finds it essential. Life won't come to a grinding halt if a few people don't share the universal obsession.

And obsession it certainly is. Asexuals say they find it extremely tedious listening to workplace conversations that so often revolve around sex and the sexual attractiveness of workmates. They're mystified by the time and effort devoted to the topic.

But in our sex-sodden world, someone who never feels the tug of lust or the frisson of a naked body can be hard to comprehend. What, lacy underwear or rippling biceps do nothing for you? Nothing at all? What's WRONG with you?

28 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

The spectrum of human(non) sexuality has many permutations, this being just one of them. Haemaphrodites are also shoved into a box, sometimes at birth - you must be male or female. Well, know, you can be both. And there is a growing movement for them as well. Why are we so keen to label people? Or to shove them into a sexuality they do not desire?
We are a weird species.
XO
WWW

John Gray said...

my dogs ( apart from the vampish bulldog) are not interested in sex....... never bothered them never bothered me... so why would my reaction to asexual people be any different?
we are too preoccupied with what others do "beneath the sheets"
what I do sexually is the LEAST interesting thing about me

coughs erm

Nick said...

www - I think the problem is not so much the labelling as the desire to make someone "normal" i.e. gagging for sex. Just like the desire to turn gays into heterosexuals.

John - Indeed, what people do in bed (or in this case don't do in bed) gets far too much prurient attention.

Grannymar said...

Some do, some don't.
Some will, some won't.
Then there are others who never get the chance! ;)

Nick said...

Grannymar - There are many permutations of sexuality, including indifference to the whole messy business. There is precious little "normality", whatever that may be.

speccy said...

This was the subject of a sub plot on 'House' this week. Who knew that medical drama would keep me up to date with matters of hot debate?

(Thank you for getting rid of the illegible guards)

Bijoux said...

Interesting topic, Nick. I'd be curious as to the percentage of asexuals who are male or female and if it fits into the stereotype of females not being as interested in sex as males.

Macy said...

Could easily be a life stage thing, Nick. At some points life and stuff just take over...

Liz said...

What a lot to catch up with! Great posts as always. As a cross-dresser myself (almost always in trousers) I am not in the least offended.

Asexual - I wonder if my young friend's boyfriend could be that? I hadn't considered it as a possibility. Set me thinking.

What else? Please don't burn down my church. At least not when I'm working in it.

Nick said...

Speccy - Goodness, it's suddenly the flavour of the month (well, for the journos and scriptwriters anyway).

Bijoux - Neither that article or another one I read on the same subject give any indication of the male/female breakdown. There's still this lingering assumption that women are less interested in sex but I doubt if it's true. They just don't shout about it the way men do.

Nick said...

Macy - I think it's true that both women and men can lose interest in sex when they're overwhelmed by work, children, dependent parents etc. But it's probably only temporary.

Liz - You, a cross-dresser? I'm shocked. Get back into that skirt immediately....

Your young friend's boyfriend could be asexual? What makes you think that?

And I'm terribly sorry, but your church is due to be burnt to the ground tomorrow night.

Jenny Woolf said...

It IS a strange idea that people may be like this, but there are so many variations on the way that humans are. I'm not totally convinced by some of the people on the website, though!

tattytiara said...

Life is driven by sex. A chicken is just an egg's way of making more eggs and all that. It is normal to be driven by sex. Does that mean it's *abnormal not to be? Well yeah, it is. So it's no surprise a person not driven by sex would have some degree of difficulty relating to the majority of people who are. Fortunately there are 7 billion people and the internet now, though, so thankfully I expect it's getting easier for asexual people to find people they relate to better. *not to be confused with wrong or bad

nursemyra said...

To each their own

kylie said...

there is no chance i am asexual but i know it is possible to live without sex. people need to get these things in perspective

Nick said...

Jenny - I wasn't totally convinced either. You're asexual even if you wank?

Tatty - Hey, long time no see, how's everything going? That's the big advantage of the net, instead of thinking you're uniquely peculiar, you can find loads of people on the same wavelength.

Nick said...

Myra - Absolutely. Why do so many people feel the need to stand in judgment?

Kylie - It's very possible. But hard for someone totally addicted to sex to understand.

Rummuser said...

Lack of interest in sex is quite a common phenomenon here and no one gives a hoot if some one is like that, except the poor sod who is married to the other poor sod in an arranged marriage. It is after that kind of marriage that all kinds of hell breaks loose and the skeletons come tumbling out and repairs or accommodations are made. I suspect that there are millions more of that ilk than the article would suggest.

Nick said...

Ramana - I hadn't thought of the implications of an arranged marriage to an asexual spouse. That would certainly throw a spanner in the works.

Roses said...

I think I'm fairly obsessed by relationships and sex, so it's a completely different mindset to my own.

But then I feel that way about gay sex too.

And actually, what someone does or doesn't do with or without a partner of which sex, isn't really mine or anyone else's business.

I think we should worry less about other peoples' sex-lives (or lack thereof) and worry more about the quality of relationships we have with them.

Nick said...

Roses - Well said. Whatever the sexual (or asexual) component, the important thing is the relationship and whether it works or not.

Nick said...

Hmmm, this new comment box takes a bit of getting used to....

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sadly, we live in a mindless society which discourages and fears nonconformity of any kind. As for sex, it is so often misused and abused that it's a wonder anyone still wants to do it. If only it could be accepted as one of many aspects of life, not the main one, but maybe that is easier to do past a certain age.

Nick said...

Heart - Yes, I think it's easier as you get older, there's less pressure to prove yourself sexually and more emphasis on the other aspects of relationships. As you say, it's astonishing people are still so keen on something that's so often debased.

blackwatertown said...

Much in the way other faculties develop to compensate for sensory gaps elsewhere - I presume these guys are heavily heavily into drugs and raaaaawk'n'roll.

Secret Agent Woman said...

First, I've never seen "who are" as a contraction, and first read that as "whore." Which was especially funny given the topic.

I think asexuality is abnormal in the sense of being not the norm, as tattytiara suggests, but I do believe there are folks just wired that way. And I don't think it's an either/or thing - I think there are also people who are sexual at one point in their life and then not. But it's hard for me to imagine, quite honestly. Sex is an astoundingly powerful drive and a great source of pleasure. But maybe you don't miss what you never know?

Baino said...

Of course it's possible to live without sex. Even not to think about it but man, when you get it, you just want more of it. I'm sure it's a legitimate condition, I'm just glad I don't have it. (Aight I'm going now)

Nick said...

Blackwater - I guess there might be some sort of compensation, but more likely it's just an on/off thing - either you crave sex or you're indifferent to it.

Agent - Well, of course there may be whores who are basically asexual but just do it for a living....

I think you're right that some people want sex for a while and then go off it for a while. It's certainly hard to imagine a person who simply doesn't feel such a strong desire.

Baino - You can live without sex but that's not the same as being asexual. That's merely celibacy.