Way too many prejudices have been spread about asexuality, generally because of lack of information. This news article has been made for the sole purpose of - hopefully - eliminating them, and let everyone know what asexuality really is, and what it is not. It also aims to promote sites and links that can be useful to asexual people, to make them feel alright with themselves and part of a whole community.
What's asexuality? Asexual people are people who do not feel sexual attraction. This does not necessarily mean they are averse to sex, though: while most asexuals may prefer to not have it, some are just plain indifferent to it. Those who do choose to not have sex do not do so because of religious, moral or personal beliefs; they choose not to do it because of their lack of interest in it. But a complex matter such as asexuality could never be run out so easily, so let's precise a few, important things about asexual people and asexuality in general.
First and foremost, asexuality is NOT a pathology. And please do not mistake asexuality with being sexless. Sexless beings have, or have had, biological problems throughout their growth, which eventually led them not to develop their sexual organs in full. Asexuals are not like that - they are completely normal biologically speaking, and their only difference with the rest of the population is the lack of sexual attraction. Just like homosexuality, bisexuality and other sexual orientations, asexuality exists in the animal world as well. Researches have been made on sheep and muttons; by mixing them together in one same environment, it was observed that a small percentage of muttons (around 5%) didn't show any interest in sheep at all, while others tried approaching other muttons.
Also, as said before, asexuals DON'T fear the sexual act in itself. Most asexuals will obviously be against having sexual experiences themselves, but a few of them are just indifferent to it, and might even compromise with hypothetical sexual partners by satisfying their desire every now and then.
It IS possible for a person to be asexual and masturbate. Sexual attraction and libido are two different things. An asexual person may resort to self-eroticism for many different reasons: pleasure, stress relief, curiosity, getting sleep... this fact is unrelated to how the person themselves experiences sexual attraction towards other people.
Human sexuality isn't black and white, so there are mid-ways between sexual and asexual people. For instance, there may be people who only feel sexual attraction in very specific circumstances, or people who feel sexual attraction yet do not experience sexual desire, or even people who only want to experience some parts of sexuality and not others. We call them grey-A. A specific kind of grey-A people, called demisexuals, only experience sexual attraction after forming an emotional bond with a person, and only for the person (or people) they have formed said bond with.
Asexuals CAN fall in love, and even marry. Not feeling any sexual interest toward anyone does not mean one cannot find any romantic interest in any other person. Asexuality in itself should be considered a sexual orientation like any other; and every individual has, alongside a sexual orientation, a romantic orientation, that may or may not match their sexual orientation. In this case: some asexuals are aromantic, meaning they do not feel romantic attraction toward people of any gender; others are heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, transromantic, panromantic, or polyromantic just like the corresponding sexual people, except they still do not feel sexual attraction. Romantic (as in, non-aromantic) asexuals who are not willing to compromise and have sex with their partner may either choose to remain single, find an asexual partner, or find a sexual partner willing to give up sex for them.
The non-sexual nature of an asexual person's relationship does not make it any less affectionate and close. Asexual people can feel strong intimate ties as much as sexuals do, and go as far as marrying just like non-asexual couples. Click here to read an interview with Paul Cox, an asexual man now happily married to an asexual woman!
If you want more scientific information about asexuals and/or asexuality, please visit the Wikipedia page on asexuality. Do not expect it to be the ultimate source of knowledge, though: the implications of asexuality are much more socially and emotionally important, than scientifically.
If you are reading this article and you are asexual (or you think you might be), then the following links are for you!
AVEN: Asexual Visibility and Education Network official site - A worldwide resource for both asexual people and asexual people's friends and family. Contains a lot of useful information concerning asexuality, FAQs, tips and suggestions for the indecisive ones, to help them find out whether they are actually asexual or not.
Asexual sites and links - Lots of asexuality-related links of all kinds.
Asexuals and relationships - From AVEN's site, a section which is entirely dedicated to asexuals and some ways in which they develop relationships. Also includes FAQs for non-asexuals who are in a relationship with asexuals, or suspect to be so.
#Club-of-Aces at deviantART.com - Don't feel like leaving the cocoon yet? Fear not - part of the asexual community is on this site too!
So, to sum it all up...
If you are a sexual person, please do inform yourself before judging. Asexuals are neither "strange" nor abnormal, we all need affection and most of us are seeking a romantic relationship with someone. We're all humans and, just like sexuals, we want to be loved!
If you are an asexual person, then now you know you are not alone. Hang around on sites, forums and/or chatrooms. Chances are there are many more asexuals than you could ever think of, and not even so far away from where you live. Strong bonds have developed throughout the years between asexuals, even on online communities, and meetings are held periodically in various countries all over the world. Open up and do not be shy about your feelings, there will always be someone who will understand you, and perhaps even share your very life experience.
A final question for all of you: what's better than sex?