Global Health Asia-Pacific Special Issue | Page 26

Holistic Health

It ’ s fine if you aren ’ t interested in sex

Asexual people should know there ’ s nothing wrong with them

The idea that everyone desires sex to varying extents is so widespread that those who aren ’ t interested in it can struggle to come to terms with it . But this shouldn ’ t be the case as little , or complete lack of , interest in sex is just one sexual orientation among others .

“ Asexuality is often erased or pathologized ,” according to The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity ( CCGSD ), with sexuality often considered a spectrum ranging from heterosexual and bisexual to homosexual desires — people who don ’ t experience any of those desires are simply ignored .
For this reason , the CCGSD says it ’ s paramount to raise awareness that asexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon , with estimates suggesting one in 100 people could be asexual . Not everyone will have the same experience though , as some might never experience sexual attraction , while others might feel it only in certain circumstances .
This lack of awareness was evident in the reactions British model Yasmin Benoit got when she came out as asexual . “ They were , like : ‘ You don ’ t look asexual , you ’ re probably just insecure , or you must have got molested or you must be gay … Maybe you ’ re a psychopath and can ’ t form proper connections with people ,” she told the Guardian .
An asexual activist and cofounder of International Asexuality Day , Benoit aims to empower asexual people , bring their identities into the mainstream , fight for their inclusion , and dispel misconceptions about them . Her goal is to help people realise their lack of interest in sexual relationships is a normal human
experience instead of a defect .
“ I ’ ve spent my life battling misconceptions about it and so have many other asexual people . Now , I try to use my work as a model and activist to raise awareness and change the way our society perceives asexuality and asexual people ,” she wrote in Teen Vogue .
Asexuality is a form of sexuality like heterosexuality and homosexuality but isn ’ t oriented anywhere , she added . Asexual people do have hormones . Some of them masturbate , while others have sex for a variety of reasons . Some can feel romantic attraction for others but not sexual desire for them .
Another myth she dispels is that asexuality is a disease , either a physical or mental disorder , but there ’ s no hormone deficiency or physiological abnormality in asexual people . Similarly , the experience can ’ t be considered a mental problem akin to female sexual interest / arousal disorder — a controversial psychiatric diagnosis attached to women who are bothered by their low libido — because asexual people don ’ t feel any distress about their lack of sexual desire .
She also stressed that it was wrong to assume asexual people weren ’ t capable of finding the right person to have a meaningful relationship with .
“ This assumption ignores and invalidates all of the asexual people who have found the ‘ right ’ person — the asexual people in happy , fulfilling , loving relationships … This statement also plays into the notion that asexual people are “ missing out ” on something and haven ’ t truly discovered our entire selves , that we are incomplete because of our innate characteristics or our life experiences . This isn ’ t true either ,” she wrote .
Asexuality is a form of sexuality like heterosexuality and homosexuality but isn ’ t oriented anywhere ,
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