October 14, 2004

ASEXUALITY, IT's NOt just for amoebas any more

Nina has linked to dis in the comments box below, but in case anyone missed it... you godda see this one:

'No sex please, we're asexual

Tim Radford, science editor
Thursday October 14, 2004
The Guardian

Some like it hot, and some like it not. A growing number of people are prepared to admit they are just not that into sex, according to today's issue of New Scientist.
Asexuality is not to be confused with chastity, impotence, even good old-fashioned reticence. Monks and nuns take chastity vows, but they choose to repress or sublimate their desires. Politicians condemn sexual obsession, but that does not mean they never indulge. The success of the impotence drug Viagra suggests that for many men, they would if they could. The young American women who launched the "silver ring thing" chose virginity except within marriage. But they left no doubt they had something in mind for Mr Right.

But a new and increasingly vocal class are "glad to be A", according to the magazine. For various reasons - low libido, squeamishness, a sense of distance - many declare they have no desire for sex. One suggestion is that no-no sexuality could be as frequent as homosexuality. Although there are famous cases of lack of enthusiasm for sex - the Victorian art critic John Ruskin failed to consummate his marriage once he discovered his bride had pubic hair - those not gagging for it have tended to keep silent.

But internet forums such as Aven (Asexual Visibility and Education Network) at .asexuality.org are encouraging the naysayers to speak up for their lack of passion. It is not that they have no sex drive, some of them report. They may experience arousal, but they simply do not feel the urge to have sex.

Brian, an asexual navy veteran from Virginia, USA, told the magazine: "The place where we draw the line is the desire to interact sexually with other people." High school student Pete said "I get the feelings ... but my body never made the mental connection to what I should do about it."

Social stress can lower libido and reduce interest in sex -in humans, primates and sheep - said Keith Kendrick, of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. "That can make an individual not only infertile but totally uninterested in sex."

Whatever the explanation, absence of desire appears to be a reality for thousands. As the T-shirts in the Aven online store say: "Asexuality: it's not just for amoebas any more."

Or, as Avril Lavigne sings, don't tell me what to do, don't tell me what to say, I'm better off alone any way....

Posted by mark at October 14, 2004 10:40 PM | TrackBack