Jun 16, 2016

Being Asexual in a Sex-Infused World

In West Hollywood, we had spent so many years hearing that same-sex desire was evil, aberrant, incomplete, faulty, sick, or non-existent that we celebrated it -- a lot.

Most conversations involved who you were having sex with and who your friends were having sex with.

Most leisure activity involved having sex, watching someone else have sex, or looking for someone to have sex with.

Sex was used to introduce new guys into your social circle, to be polite, as a party game, as a form of recreation.  You went to bed with the boyfriends of your roommates and friends, and with the roommates and friends of your boyfriend, without giving it a second thought.

Imagine, in that sex-infused world, simply not being interested.

Turns out about 1% of the population is asexual, not interested in sex with anyone.

They usually (but not always) experience aesthetic desire, finding some people hot and some not.  According to a survey conducted by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, over half have a sexual orientation: 27% are heterosexual, 26% bisexual, and 13% gay or lesbian.

They often enjoy romantic relationships (only 20% are a-romantic, interested in friendships only).

They may even engage in sexual activity, to please a partner or fit in with societal expectations: 12% are currently sexual active.

But they are not into it.  They would rather eat cake.

Asexuals face an uphill battle.  Doctors want to give them hormones, psychiatrists want to treat them for a presumed history of abuse, they're asked "if you've never tried it, how do you know you don't like it?" and told they just haven't met the right person yet.

The same things LGBT people hear from their straight "friends" all the time.

Here are some famous people who were/are probably asexual, although they are often assumed gay:
Politician Ralph Nader
Comedian Janeane Garofalo
J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan
Artist Edward Gorey
Sir Isaac Newton
Jonathan Frid, Barnabas on Dark Shadows
T. E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia"

And Jughead Jones from the Archie comics.  For years he was a "woman hater," not interested in women, so we all assumed that he was gay.  Then, in the 1980s, to assuage suspicions, he was heterosexualized, and given about as many girlfriends as the girl-crazy Archie.  But in his most recent rendition, a reboot  by Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson, Jughead is outed as asexual.