Two years ago, Dan Ritter, 19, found himself spending most of the summer fighting off a girl’s sexual advances. There wasn’t anything wrong with the girl, he wants to clarify. He just wasn’t sexually attracted to her. In fact, Ritter started to realise he wasn’t attracted to anyone. “Slowly, I noticed that I was completely uninterested in sex,” he says. Then, in May 2012, Ritter came to an epiphany: “I’m asexual.”
It’s estimated that 1 per cent of all people have no sexual desire towards others whatsoever. One British study that queried 18,000 people about their sexual practices included the option, “I have never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all.” One in a hundred people ticked the box.
However, that doesn’t always mean a lack of sexual drive. In one study, US sexologist Lori Brotto estimated that half of all asexuals masturbate on a fairly regular basis; some have an aversion to all human contact, others need it as much as anyone else. Determining the root causes of asexuality is tricky, as few studies on the subject have been done. And asking asexual people why they think they’re asexual – is it the result of sexual abuse? Sexual confusion? A biological flaw? Not finding the right person yet? – becomes an exercise in asking the same horrible questions gays and lesbians have copped for years. Some feel they were born asexual; others identify as “acquired” asexuals. “And if we’re happy,” one asexual person told me, “why does it matter?”
- Challenges faced by asexual spectrum survivors of sexual violence (part 2) (asexualagenda.wordpress.com)
- Asexuality, Feminism and Masculinities : an Interview with Ela Przybylo (Part 2) (asexualagenda.wordpress.com)
- I Am Not Straight (theacetheist.wordpress.com)
- The Aftermath of Childhood Sexual Abuse (everydayhealth.com)