one of the sexual orientations that seems to often fall between the cracks in the discussion on sexual identity is asexuality. some people have no sexual desire, or no desire to act on it. whether there is something “wrong” with that or not is a matter of controversy. be that as it may, more people than one would think (about 1% of the population, according to new scientist) see themselves as asexual, and that’s enough for me to count that as a sexual orientation.
here’s a clip from AVEN, the asexuality visibility and education network:
The important distinction between sexual and asexual people is that sexual people’s attractions tend to include the desire for sex, whereas asexual desires tend toward other kinds of intimacy. Of course, sexual people can form asexual relationships and attractions and asexual people can realize that they are asexual or become asexual after they have had sexual experiences or even when they are involved in a sexual relationship.
partly because since this orientation flies so much under the radar, it is also, like most invisible phenomena, not entirely acceptable in our society. (of course another reason is that sexuality is such an easy hook for anyone who wants anything – so understandably, nobody wants to give up this great tool of manipulation). this invisibility and lack of acceptance only adds to the difficulty in relationships where only one of the partners is asexual.
what are the solutions in such situations? as an incorrigible polyanna, i think that there are solutions to just about everything. but how easy are they to find, and how can they be put in practice? i think of one of my all-time favourite books, alice walker’s the temple of my familiar, where such a situation slowly, over many, many painful years, turns into a loving friendship; or of the french solution, where it’s quite acceptable for people to be married and have other relationships on the side.
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