Sexuality comes in a variety of flavors, and one of the most oft-overlooked niches is asexuality, an orientation that applies to only 1 percent of the population. David Jay, who dubs himself asexual, founded the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) to raise awareness of asexuality, the Atlantic reports.
First, what defines asexuality? Having zero desire to connect with another person sexually:
At its most basic, asexuality is defined by an absence of sexual attraction. Some asexual people are in romantic relationships, others aren’t. Some are outgoing, others are shy. Some are sexually active for the sake of their partners or social pressure, some have never so much as kissed another person. Some think sex is disgusting, some are indifferent, and some think it’s great for other people but have no wish to “go there” themselves.
Jay has appeared on media outlets from The View to MTV to talk about asexuality and, through AVEN, to support people who identify as asexual — a tough label in a sex-sells culture.
In a culture in which sex is believed to be central to who we are, what we care about, and how we relate to other people, a person who doesn’t care about sexuality can seem like a non-person. Jay doesn’t believe that it is the lack of sex that confuses people, but the perceived absence of all the things we associate with it: intimacy, passion, connection with other people.
“Freud originally defined libido as lust for life, not lust for sex,” Jay says. “He talked about libido manifesting in sexual desire, but not exclusively. For a lot of people, sexuality serves as an essential metaphor for that desire to live or desire to connect.” As for those who believe that asexual people are lacking in some essential life force? “They clearly haven’t hung out with me and my friends,” Jay quips.
Here’s to sexuality in all its forms.
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