In recent years we have seen a flourishing social movement for the acceptance of asexuality. We’ve also seen more asexual characters appear on television shows like heartstopper and Sex Education.
But despite that, asexuality remains widely misunderstood.
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The asexuality refers to low or no sexual attraction. But that doesn’t mean that all people who identify as asexual never experience attraction. sexual or never have sexual relations.
People who identify as asexual may feel intense romantic attraction toward someone, but not sexual attraction. sexual. Others may find the sex pleasant but they are rarely attracted to another person.
There are also variations of asexual identity that fit broadly within the “ace” group. People who identify themselves as demisexualFor example, they experience attraction sexual only towards people with whom they have a strong emotional link.
Across the spectrum of “ace” identities, many people have relations romantic either sexual. For others, the sex It is not part of their lives.
The identity asexual also passes through other identities sexual or gender. Some asexual people identify as queer, transgender, or gender diverse.
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How many people identify as asexual?
The asexuality, such as sexual identity or orientation, has recently been included in large-scale surveys. So the data is limited.
Analysis of data from a 2004 British population survey found that 1 percent of respondents indicated: “I have never felt sexually attracted to anyone.”. However, this measure may not be accurate since many asexual people would disagree that they have “never” felt sexual attraction.
In 2019, a large Australian survey of communities lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) showed that 3.2 percent of the sample identified as asexual.
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, an international online network, has more than 120 thousand members.
When did it become a social movement?
Asexuality has always been part of human sexual diversity. However, the movement to establish asexuality as a sexual identity and build a community around this tIt has its roots in the early 2000s.
The rise of technologies from Internet created a platform for asexual people to connect and organize, following a similar path to that of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists.
Asexuality, as an identitystands alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality as a description of oneself that is determined by the form of one’s desire.
However, the importance of defining asexuality as an “identity” It is often misunderstood or criticized on the basis that many people experience low or no sexual desire at some points in their lives.
Asexuality has not been subject to legal or moral sanctions as homosexuality has been. However, many asexual people also do not conform to conventional expectations regarding sex, relationships, and marriage. Families and communities often do not accept or understand asexuality.
Sexual relationships are fundamental to the expectations we place on ourselves and others for a “good” life. ANDSex and desire (or desirability), not to mention marriage and motherhood, are highly valued. People who are asexual, or who do not want to have sex, are often given the message that they are “broken” or inadequate.
This can be reinforced by medical or psychological definitions of low sexual desire as a problem that needs to be solved. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a category within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.the manual used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental disorders.
While diagnostic categories are important in helping people experiencing distress due to low sexual desire, they can also mean that asexuality is viewed in pathological terms.
Raising awareness of asexuality as a legitimate sexual identity involves resisting the view that asexuality is a deficit.
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By challenging us to rethink everyday assumptions about the human sexual experience, the asexuality movement is far from anti-sex. Rather, affirming and celebrating the legitimacy of asexual identity is largely a sex-positive stance, asking us to broaden our appreciation of sexual diversity.
* Professor and researcher at the Australian Center for Research in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.