We may be adding yet another letter to the LGBT alphabet soup as asexuals are coming out of the closet and joining Pride parades to announce that they are perfectly OK with their lack of interest in sex.
“It does raise questions about the nature of love,” said Anthony Bogaert, a sexologist at Brock University in Ontario who estimated the prevalence of asexuality in 2004. He analyzed an earlier survey of Britons and found that 1 percent reported that they had never felt sexually attracted to anyone. David Jay [pictured], a 27-year-old San Francisco resident, put the movement in more personal terms, saying, “We need to know we’re not broken. I’ve been told my whole life that people need sex to be happy.” The Pride Parade was a milestone for Jay, who is studying for his graduate business degree at Presidio School of Management. Nine years ago, he essentially started the movement by founding the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN, as a teenager who couldn’t fathom why everyone but him was hell-bent on shedding their virginity.
Jay and his online community, which he said has 30,000 registered worldwide members, aren’t seeking to create new civil rights. What they want is respect in a sex-obsessed culture. Asexuality has only occasionally been studied, but the few researchers who have given it a close look in recent years say it may be a sexual identity similar to being straight, gay or bisexual. Dr. Lori Brotto, an expert on sexuality at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said she was once “extremely skeptical” that asexuality existed as an orientation. But in 2007, in surveys of AVEN members, she found not only low sexual desire but low distress about it. “They’re not bothered by the low levels of arousal,” Brotto said. “That’s what makes them different from someone with sexual dysfunction, who wants to seek treatment.”
Visit the Asexual Visibility and Education Network to learn more.