Let’s Not Forget About the Asexual Among Us? They Want us to Know They Don’t Care About Sex…or Something Like That.
It seems everyone these days is interested in sex in some way. Whether we’re talking about heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual or transsexual; everyone is interested in sex in one way or another. Everyone except for…the asexual person.
Asexuality is defined as follows:
“the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. It may also be an umbrella term used to categorize a broader spectrum of various asexual sub-identities.”
Most of us will have a hard time comprehending a life where sex is of absolutely no interest. We can’t begin to understand what it would be like to live with no attraction to anyone. And in our highly sexualized culture the idea that someone is entirely unconcerned with sex is even harder to understand. But there may be value in understanding this sexual orientation sub-culture and what part, if any, they play in the ongoing discussions of gender, sexuality, and marriage.
According to at least one article, potentially 1% of the British population is asexual. This means approximately 640,000 of Britain’s estimated 64 million people is asexual. The number is obviously a very small part of the population, and yet it seems much larger than I would have imagined. If 1% of the American population was asexual it would mean over 3 million people would identify this way. If 1% of the world claimed to be asexual it would be about 70 million people; more than the total population of Britain.
As you can see, even just 1% is a rather stunning number. And it means we need to understand this sub-culture of sexual orientation and what part they play in the culture clash of sexual orientation.
In the article referenced above, the author, Robin Dibben says that it can be difficult explaining asexuality to people. Some will understand while others have a hard time grasping the concept. But it’s his understanding of asexuality that I find interesting. He writes:
“Not everyone got it. Some people asked me if I needed therapy, and others wondered if I was a repressed homosexual. I’ve been asked if I was abused as a child and was pretending to be asexual as a coping mechanism. The truth is I am simply wired this way, just as gay and straight people are wired their way.”
Here again the idea that people are “wired” to be homosexual or asexual surfaces. To date not a single credible source has concluded that there is anything genetic to predispose people toward homosexuality. And yet the “born that way” premise has become so ingrained in our culture that people will cite it as “fact” without being able to support it. But now we are going a step farther with the thought that people are born homosexual, and asexual.
I’ll be the first to say that I am not a scientist. I don’t have an expert grasp of all the particulars related to how people are wired and their biological predispositions. What I do know is that there has been little evidence to suggest people are born any way other than heterosexual. And the evidence that does exist is shaky, at best. Despite this fact Mr. Dibben wants us to believe that he and every other person identifying as asexual were simply “born that way.”
Where this could have a greater impact is in the area of marriage. As Mr. Dibben suggests, should he decide to involve himself in a relationship it might be with a woman, or a man. From his perspective it doesn’t matter who he decides to involve himself with because he has no romantic feelings towards anyone. He writes:
“I wouldn’t rule out getting into a non-physical relationship later in life. That person could be a man or a woman, it wouldn’t matter which gender they are… I’d like to adopt children, too.”
The purpose, it seems for Mr. Dibben’s future relationship is nothing more than companionship. That makes sense. He would like to go through life with another person rather than experience it alone. I don’t think anyone can fault him for that. But I’m curious as to why he would choose to do that with a man. Obviously the person he chooses as a partner would have to be asexual as well because a typical heterosexual person would want to have sex regularly and he has already said he is not interested in a sexual relationship. For that matter even a homosexual person would want to have sex. So he must be planning to find another asexual person to be a life partner.
Furthermore, he plans to adopt children. By choosing a man as his life partner and adopting children he gives the impression that he is gay and has simply married and adopted kids. (And he would deprive those kids of a mother.) This could be avoided if he was intentional about being in a relationship with a woman and adopting kids. To everyone around him he would appear to be a “normal” man with a wife and kids. But he doesn’t seem as interested in that as he does making sure everyone knows he is asexual.
Once again sexuality has become the paramount focus in the life of a person. As in the case with much of our culture, sexuality has become the most important and defining factor. It’s almost a badge of honor, or a symbol of pride that must be worn on the sleeve and everyone must take notice. I’d really like to ask Mr. Dibben why anyone should care that he is asexual.
From my perspective, this seems to be yet another trumpet of support for redefining marriage. Because marriage has become so malleable in our culture the idea of engaging in a long-term relationship with a woman and adopting kids is only one of the options Mr. Dibben feels he can choose. If Mr. Dibben was more intentional on finding a woman to share his life – and kids – with it would be less about his sexuality and more about sharing his life and raising kids.
Maybe it’s time we focused less on a person’s sexuality and more on qualities that matter: honesty, integrity, and character. A person’s sexuality says little, if anything about them as a person. Why do we continue to emphasize it?