“There is more to human sexuality than sex” – From the lost diary of an asexual

The notion of sexuality being a spectrum is one that is yet to fully catch on in Nigeria. If you were to let a random cis-heterosexual Nigerian in on the fact that there are people who feel little or no sexual attraction to others, you are likely to have to help them pick their jaw off the floor if they don’t go into apoplectic shock.

Asexuality too can be a spectrum, notwithstanding the indignance of people who don’t know or choose not to know. If you are the former, this piece is for you.

Yesterday was Asexual Day of Visibility, we thought to curate all you need to know about asexuality. 

An asexual – or ace – is someone who lacks sexual attraction for other people or experiences very little of it. The full spectrum of asexuality includes greysexuality – which falls somewhere between sexuality and asexuality, demisexuality and asexuality in all its many iterations per individual experiences.

Dr. Esther D. Rothblum, a visiting distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, said that asexuality is an emerging identity, and that will be true in consideration of the fact that there has been a tremendous leap in our understanding of human sexuality in the last handful of decades.

 “Given that the majority of asexual respondents were young, we expect that the prevalence and understanding of asexuality will grow as more youth reach adolescence and become familiar with the identity,” she added.

This growing understanding of human sexuality, or the lack thereof, as is the case with asexuals is unravelling even with asexuals. Different people have different experiences with their asexuality, and the tag can mean different things to different people.

Some asexuals do not experience sexual attraction at all while others might – in certain circumstances. However, there is more to attraction than just sexual attraction.

Asexuals can experience romantic attraction, which would have them desiring romantic relationships.

There could be physical attraction, which means that, while sex may be off the table, an asexual person that is physically attracted to you could desire touch, holding, and cuddling.

Asexuals can experience platonic attraction – seeking friendship, emotional attraction – for emotional connection, or simply aesthetic attraction based on what someone looks like.

Some asexuals experience sexual attraction in very limited ways as aforementioned. Demisexuals for instance – who fall under the umbrella of asexuality, can experience sexual attraction when they have a deep connection with someone. 

It is worth noting that asexuals can and many do have sex, because sex is a biological need that is pursued for varying reasons, and this obtains even within the sexuality spectrum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Heterosexual people.

Asexuals can thus choose to have sex for any or a combination of the undermentioned reasons:

  • To make their partner happy.
  • To satisfy their libido.
  • The physical pleasure of sex.
  • To get the sensual pleasures of touch, cuddles and holding that comes with sex.

Just because someone is asexual doesn’t mean they have zero libido. 

Libido, which means the desire that drives the need to have sex, can be independent of sexual attraction, as has been proven by countless human beings through aeons.

A gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual person with a low libido might seek medical help for their condition, an asexual on the other hand will get no help because their experience is the natural state of their being and no more. There is no underlying medical or genetic explanation, in much the same way that a ‘gay gene’ is a myth.

A good take away from this should be that human complexity is a thing of marvel, and we benefit more from healthy curiosity than bigoted antagonism.

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