Asexual awareness week

Once upon a time, I was young and foolish, and thinking I was so enlightened about sexuality I suggested at a lunch table with friends that Freud was onto something when he said “the only unnatural sexuality is none at all”. Little did I know a friend at that table with me — about whom I think the world, and would never want to hurt — identified as asexual.

I was mortified to learn this a few years later. Such a casual throwaway comment, made thinking I was flip and clever and progressive, that hurt a dear friend.

I’m happy to see this exists. Maybe I can assuage my guilty conscience a bit by helping promote it. Though I am not asexual myself, I know a few people who do identify as such, and in all our talk about gender and sexuality around these parts, it’s only fitting that we avoid erasing an entire class of people.

From their 101 page:

What is an asexual person?

An asexual person is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Most individuals find there are certain people they are not sexually attracted to. For asexuals, this includes everybody!

Is asexual another word for celibate?

Unlike celibacy, which is a lifestyle choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation – just like homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality. Celibacy is a conscious decision not to have sex, regardless of sexual desire. Many asexuals do not consider themselves celibate, as they are giving up no more in abstaining from sex than a gay person is by abstaining from sex with someone of a different gender or a straight person is by abstaining from sex with the same gender. Furthermore, some asexual people do choose to have sex, and therefore are certainly not celibate.

It’s not about simply being celibate — asexual folks can choose to engage in sexual activities with people or with themselves, without necessarily having a sex drive of their own. They can be in romantic relationships. They can climax. They can do everything you can do. They can have an undirected sex drive. They can simply have no sex drive and if left to their own devices, would not seek it out. Or perhaps they even have boundaries that they define with their partners in advance. Or perhaps they have no desire to enter a romantic relationship at all. It’s every bit as varied as every other orientation.

We’d all do well to remember that when trying to be inclusive.

What’s better than sex?

According to a Salon article, surveys are trying to make the answer to that question “everything”.

I had to wonder: Why have these sex-devaluing surveys become so popular?

In part, it’s good business. Take a survey finding that 43 percent of Canadians would choose bacon over sex – it was conducted by Maple Leaf Foods Inc., a bacon producer. Then there’s the one sponsored by the Better Sleep Council, a creation of the mattress industry, which found that 61 percent of American adults would choose a good night’s sleep over sex. See also: a survey by mobile app company Telenav which found that — surprise, surprise – one-third of Americans would rather go without sex than their cellphone. (On a related note, Gazelle, an electronics trade-in site, found that 15 percent of respondents would rather “give up sex than go for even a weekend without their iPhone.”) Sex is the ultimate measure of desire — so why wouldn’t a company try to position its product as shockingly even more desirable?

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