Seven questions and answers about asexuality

Photo: Pride Flag of Asexuality.

What is asexuality?

“Asexuality is a sexual orientation,” says Paul Enzelin, professor of sexology at the Interfaculty Institute for Family and Sexual Science at KU Leuven. Based on the research a PhD student did with me a few years ago and the related literature, this was our conclusion. You have heterosexual people who are attracted to the opposite sex. Homosexuals are attracted to same-sex and bisexual people of both sexes. They are all attracted to someone and are sexually active with the goal of finding sexual gratification. There are also people who have risky interests and are therefore drawn to non-standard things or actions that others find strange. Asexuals are not sexually attracted to anything or anyone. Being sexually active does not lead to that sexual satisfaction that is often central to them and not related to sex.

Science has long believed that there are other possible explanations for asexuality. Isn’t asexuality just a form of poor sex drive? Could these people have sexual desire disorder? Quite a few people diagnosed within the ASD spectrum are also asexual. Does this have anything to do with her? Those were important questions. So attempts have been made to find other explanations, but in general, it is true that more and more people are convinced that it is a sexual orientation.

How many asexual people?

“A large British study in 2004 found that about one percent of the population is asexual.”A valid estimate, because other studies have also shown about one percent. Perhaps if we conduct a prevalence study like this today, more people will dare to admit that they are asexual, due to the strong social debate in which more attention is paid to diversity. Then that percentage could go up, but that’s just a matter of time to consider.

Does an asexual have sex?

People often think that asexual people simply don’t get into a relationship, and therefore they don’t have to worry about sexuality. this is not true. Some asexual people have sex to satisfy the sexual needs of their partner. Then they definitely wouldn’t masturbate, that’s often the logic. However, we see that asexual people masturbate to the same extent that sexual people do. They just give it a different meaning. They do it for drowsiness or to de-stress, for example. There are also asexual people who have sex just to try it out. Just to see if that’s them. But then gradually they notice that it is not working.

Do asexual people have an aversion to sex?

‘This is almost never the case. What you especially notice is that sex does not have a positive meaning for them. Many people make love because they want sexual gratification and because it is a pleasurable experience for them. Asexual people do not want to have sex because they do not feel sexual attraction. They do not have problems with sexual function, such as erection problems or vaginismus. It is sexually functional and can also reach orgasm. Many people also tend to feel more connected to their partner. This is something asexuals don’t know. Making love does not help them feel closer to their partner.

An asexual person cannot suddenly become sexual. Just asking the question betrays many people’s prejudice that sex is normal and that asexual people can recover. We have to accept that it’s a sexual orientation and let it go. If someone is asexual, that’s fine. Then we have to see how that will affect their lives and how they can deal with it.

What is the difference between asexual and aromatic?

You can feel sexual attraction to a person on the one hand, but also emotionally on the other. A person who is romantically attracted to someone wants to connect emotionally with that person. In our survey, eighty percent of asexual people wanted to connect emotionally with someone. They want an affectionate and warm relationship like most people. Only then without sex. There are asexual and aromatic people, these are the people who like to live alone and do not feel the need to enter into a romantic relationship. There are also asexual and romantic people, who want to connect emotionally with someone, but have nothing to do with sex. You have sexually fragrant people, they are very interested in that sexual thing but they don’t want an emotional connection. And you have sexual and romantic people, who want sex as well as emotional connection.”

What is the difference between asexual, bisexual, and sexual gray?

We are talking about the sexual spectrum, in which there are people who have no sexual desire at all, people with low libido and people with hypersexuality. Asexuals would then be on the far left of this spectrum, feeling no sexual desire at all. Homosexuals can develop sexual desire over time once they have developed a very deep emotional connection with someone. And the gray sex are people who can sometimes feel a little sexual desire, but in fact very little. These are the three main forms of asexuality.

Can the relationship between the asexual and the sexual person work?

Ideally, two asexual partners find each other. This is the easiest option. Because this means that these two people have nothing to do with sex, but want to connect emotionally. Then there is something beautiful that can grow. The relationship between an asexual person and a sexual person will undoubtedly be difficult. Because you’re sailing on a ship one wants to go in one direction and the other in the other. Many asexual people will not take a step to help because they have come to terms with asexuality. Asexuals often seek help because they are in a relationship with a sexual person. It is important to see what the boundaries are within the relationship and what is possible and what is not. Some people feel very emotionally attached to their asexual partner, but still need more sexual activity themselves. They can then take the step towards an open relationship. But it really depends on the couple. In any case, the topic should be open to discussion so that people can learn how to negotiate existing boundaries.

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