Asexual = without sex drive. A person who does not experience sexual attraction or sexual desire
For many people, a lifetime without sex would be seen as something undesirable. For an asexual, however, that is exactly what they desire. Asexuals have always been around but have only recently begun to emerge as a group in their own right, with their own identity. The continuing sexualisation of our society leads an asexual to increased feelings of isolation and such pressures make it difficult for us to really gauge how many people are asexual. However, a recent UK survey of sexuality (Bogaert, 2004) included a question on sexual attraction. Tellingly, one percent of the respondents replied that they ‘had never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all’ and this is despite our sexual climate with its pressures to conform.
Some who misunderstand asexuality believe it is due to past sexual abuse, sexual repression, hormone problems or simply not having met the right person. However, many asexuals do not fit into any of these categories. More importantly, unlike in cases of repression, abuse or inability to form relationships, an asexual’s predicament does not cause them distress. An asexual is truly happy and content to live without sex and some, especially those who are religious, see it as a gift rather than a hindrance.
Many asexuals prefer to live alone rather than struggle in trying to find someone who will accept them as they are, but it would be wrong to think that asexuals are devoid of emotion or that they cannot fall in love. Whilst some choose to distance themselves from relationships and the possible complications this might entail, others crave love and affection and long to be in a relationship with someone who will love and support them for who they are. A sex-free relationship is by no means akin to a relationship devoid of love and commitment.
Recently, some individuals and groups have made up their own definitions of asexuality, based on people identifying as but not truly being asexual. This makes things a little confusing for those seeking information on asexuality. Misleading websites have appeared that suggest asexuality has much in common with homosexuality, some going so far as to say that one can be homo-asexual. However, a person identifying as such is more likely to be a homosexual practicing celibacy. Of course, asexuals often have an aesthetic attraction to either one sex or the other, but this is not the same as a sexual attraction. Generally speaking, in terms of sex drive and desire, the homosexual and the asexual could not be further apart.