In the world of sexual diversity we find all kinds of people. Fortunately, as the society advances, so do the LGTBIQ+ people’s rights, as well as the understanding of sexuality in general. But there are some sexual identities that continue to generate controversy and which remain largely unknown: people who identify themselves as asexual.
One reason for this is that there are several theories on the subject, each one representing different experiences and a scarce agreement. While some professionals see it as a problem which must be solved in therapy, there are others who claim that asexuality it’s not a pathology or disease which requires a cure, but rather a state of complete well-being.
The truth is that, in spite of this, in many occasions the experiences of asexual people are unknown and are not usually heard, for this reason, in this article we would like to give voice to this group of people in order to clarify any doubts we may have about their identity.
Making asexuality visible
For this purpose, we relied on the collaboration of the Asexuals Mexico Association. This association is part of a large network called AVEN, devoted to the visibility and education of asexuality. AVEN hosts the largest online asexual community in the world, as well as a large number of resources on asexuality and the asexual spectrum. In addition, it strives to create an open and honest discussion about asexuality, as well as reach out to all those who demand information or are interested in our community.
Likewise, AVEN members around the world regularly participate in awareness-raising initiatives, including, but not limited to, the distribution of informational brochures, workshops, hosting local meetings, and reaching out to media outlets.
Asexuales Mexico Association focused specifically on the dissemination and awareness in all the Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain and Latin America. Three of its members have offered to participate in our interview. The questions are based on the main concerns among the population about what asexuality is all about. Below you can read the testimonies of A, B and C.
- What does asexuality mean?
A defines it as “a spectrum made up of several sexual orientations, recently accepted and yet poorly understood, ranging from feeling little sexual attraction on certain occasions (grisexual) or certain circumstances, such as establishing a strong emotional bond (demisexual), to totally lacking sexual attraction itself (asexual)”.
- What aspects define an asexual person?
A: It can be pointed out mainly because there is no intrinsic interest in people’s sexuality or sexual issues, that is, while people may “get horny” when they see someone, whether it is an actor or a supermodel with outstanding attributes, asexual people may only express that they think it is aesthetically beautiful…
- What is the percentage of asexual people?
A and C state that “it is estimated that around 1-3% of the world’s population identifies as asexual“. A and C state that in Mexico it is estimated that at least 2.2% of the population identifies with some orientation within the spectrum, while in the United States it is estimated to be 1.7%.
- How can a person be sure that you are asexual?
C explains that “we have no conflict with who we are, and I can tell you that I searched for a long time to find out what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t be the same as everyone else.” For C, talking about asexuality openly with her psychologist was something that helped her to stop looking for an explanation and start feeling at peace.
A adds that “people won’t realise that someone is asexual all the time“, but there are a number of situations that make them aware that they are not at all attracted to engaging in sexual encounters and that many people do it to please their partner, which leads to situations that end up in relationship problems.
- What is the difference between a friendship and an asexual relationship?
For A, friendship is related to family, since eroticism doesn’t normally happen between siblings (for example), except for some cases and cultures. Besides, A adds that “being asexual is not the same as not feeling romantic attraction, or not having an affective need… There are asexual couples who can be happy without sexual relations, but they take care of the romantic aspect…”. Finally, concluded that “there are asexual couples with non-asexual people and it works, because a relationship at the end of the day is based on communication and agreements, not just sex.”
- Is it possible to live without having sexual encounters?
- Do asexual people experience arousal and masturbate? Are they stimulated by watching porn?
C states it flatly, while A further adds that “arousal is a normal physiological reaction to stimuli in the body… Although there are many who are more closed to watching anything that has to do with porn or that has to do with touching themselves, either because of a psychological issue, or because they are fed up with seeing so much hypersexualization.”
In addition, A tells us that “there are many asexuals who like to write erotic fiction, draw or take erotic photos. Some people may watch porn for pleasure or just out of curiosity, and those who masturbate may do so for multiple reasons, such as a way to de-stress, to keep their prostate healthy, or simply to fall asleep.
- Can an asexual person have a different sexual orientation?
A and C explain that in this case it would be understood as romantic or affective attraction. For example, “one can be asexual in their sexual orientation, but romantically or in their romantic orientation be attracted to men (homoromantic).”
- Are asexual people able to have relationships with non-asexual people?
A shares that “in the community you can find all kinds of stories, of non-asexual (alexual) couples with asexuals, under the same terms, who have sex with their partners to please them and have no problem with it. Some suffer because they can’t find someone that understands them, while others enjoy their solitude and some simply have an open relationship.
- Is asexuality a temporary or permanent sexual orientation?
C states that it is permanent, while A adds that it is also a cause for constant struggle and activism before family and partners.
- How do people react when you tell them you are asexual?
For C “depends, many try to normalize their orientation… There are others who directly suggest seeing an endocrinologist, a clinician or even go much further, they send me to a psychiatrist”. Although there is a small sector that is fully sympathetic to the situation.
For A, the situation is not that different, which is why she tries to portray and make asexuality visible whenever she can, not only to fight for her rights, but also for the rights of those people who still feel misunderstood, alone and different. After all, “asexuality is more than an identity”.
The truth behind asexuality
To conclude, asexuality are still identities that is rarely talked about and poorly understood. There is still much debate about the root and development of asexuality but the most important thing to address is that people who self-identify as asexual are not sick nor do they have a mental problem. There are different ways of caring, loving and being intimate and this is only one approach out of thousands. Being respectful of others makes us better people by accepting and understanding human diversity.
Author: Anel Martínez (Sexual Coach at MYHIXEL)
Sexologist specializing in sex therapy and sex education, mental health and human behavior.
PS: Remember you can book a private consultation with me at MYHIXEL CLINIC. Book your appointment here.