Asexuality: The 4th Sexual Orientation?

What if sexuality was removed from the equation?
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asexuality

Another responded:

“I’ve already got a friendship that feels a lot like my ideal relationship. We have a ton of common interests…We laugh, we think the same, we never fight or cause any burdens to each other…That’s all I want, just great friendship. I don’t need attraction or anything physical.”

Read The Right Way To Reject Him

Scherrer isn’t the first to explore asexuality, however.

Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the realm of human sexuality research, did not pay too much attention to asexuality, but there was an acknowledgement that it existed (even thought it didn’t fit on the Kinsey Scale.)

In “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female,” he explored the idea of asexuality and identified the category as people who “do not respond erotically to either heterosexual or homosexual stimuli, and do not have overt physical encounters with individuals of either sex in which there is evidence of any response.”

In other words, some people just don’t like sex.

So, does this extend to cuddling with someone, romancing another person, or masturbating? Some say yes, some say no.

Another participant in Scherrer’s study had the following to say about masturbation:

“I do not have any desire to have sex with another person. I masturbate at times but I don’t connect it with anything sexual. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but it’s just something I do every now and then.”

Some stated that they enjoyed cuddling and being romantic, while others had no desire for that, either. It seems as though asexuals are as rich and varied a community as the heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual communities, as well.

While asexuality may seem unnatural to some, it probably only feel that way because it challenges what we assume to be shared experiences by us all. By showing that there are a large group of people who do not feel any sort of sexual attraction conflicts with our shared notion that sexuality is a given and what defines our humanness.

By expanding our definition of what it means to be in a romantic relationship, we can expand our minds and open our hearts to the idea that there are many ways to love, many ways to live, and many ways to experience intimacy that don’t involve getting sweaty between the sheets.

Natalie Bencivenga explores the world of love and relationships on twodaymag.com.


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

  1. ChattyCathy says:

    I don’t understand it.

  2. violetgal says:

    Asexuals have just been sexually abused, and have completely lost their interest. It isn’t possible to be born without the need to touch, kiss, etc.

  3. alicat says:

    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.

  4. phantomspots says:

    @alicat: Epic, epic THIS.

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