Asexuality: The 4th Sexual Orientation?

What if sexuality was removed from the equation?
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Asexuality: The 4th Sexual Orientation?

What if sexuality was removed from the equation?

-Natalie Bencivenga


I remember being 13-years old, standing in a garden at sunset while being kissed by a boy I liked for the first time. I had butterflies in my stomach and a sudden wave of dizziness washed over me. Lightheaded, giddy, overheated…I was definitely experiencing the first moments of what it felt like to be in love. Well, what I thought was love. It was more like puppy love (or a 13 year old’’s version of good old-fashioned lust.)

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We’ve all felt that rush. Well, we assume we have all felt that at one point or another. Whether you identify as gay, straight, or bisexual, we surmise that everyone has felt physical attraction towards another person at some point in their lives. Yet, according to some scientists, there is a fourth sexual orientation in humans, asexuality, which debunks the myths that we are all sexual creatures and that sexuality is fundamental to being human.

“Asexuals are people who do not experience sexual attraction… Asexuality is an intrinsic part of who they are and is not a choice”, according to AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

In order to explain the basics of asexuality, Kristen Scherrer published an article about asexuality in the journal, Sexualities, in 2008. Utlizing AVEN, Scherrer was able to secure 102 asexuals who agreed to answer open-ended questions about their sexual orientation and how it relates to different aspects of their lives.

Many participants in Scherrer’s study stated that they did not experience sexual desire or attraction. One woman said this:

“I am sexually attracted to men but have no desire or need to engage in sexual or even non-sexual activity (cuddling, hand-holding, etc.)”

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0 thoughts on “Asexuality: The 4th Sexual Orientation?

  1. Violetgal, I have never been sexually abused in my life, and yet I am not interested in sex. I had a very normal upbringing — no abuse of any type, wonderful parents, great friendships — and I have been involved in normal sexual/romantic relationships with both men and women. (I’ve also been in non-sexual romantic relationships that were equally if not more fulfilling.) I’ve never even really had BAD sex, or any kind of traumatizing sexual experience. I’ve just never particularly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I hate it, but I’m indifferent toward it. Orgasms are nice and all, but I can take them or leave them. (Also, for the record, I don’t have any medical conditions or take any medications that would cause decreased sex drive.) I am capable of being attracted to people — in the sense that I think they’re good-looking and/or find them interesting — but I just don’t feel the need to do anything sexual with them. I don’t mind hugging, holding hands, or even kissing on occasion but I don’t need that stuff either. I do feel the need for love and emotional intimacy (which I may get from friends/family or from a romantic relationship), just not physical intimacy.

    In fact, I find it hard to understand why others seem to feel so strongly about sex. I don’t get it — but I acknowledge that other people do, and that it’s completely valid for them to feel that way. So why can’t you acknowledge that it’s valid for asexuality to exist in a healthy, normal person even though you don’t understand it?

    I applaud the writer of this article and BettyConfidential for exploring this issue. Hopefully someone out there reading this will learn from it and become a little more open-minded about the subject, even if they still don’t understand it. It’s fine not to understand something. It’s not fine to assume that because you don’t understand it, it isn’t possible or could only be caused by sexual abuse. That’s called stereotyping, and it’s offensive.

    Yes, some people who are abused become disinterested in sex as a result. Some people with mental illness become highly creative artists as a result, but that doesn’t mean all artists are mentally ill. Asexuality is not inherently maladaptive, distressful, or dysfunctional. It’s just another way of being.

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