Letters spelling out asexual
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Asexuality: What it is and isn't

By Tolu Omoyeni Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 02:26
"Sex does not make you whole" Jean said to teenager, Florence during a counselling session in episode 5 of the second season of the British television show, Sex Education. Florence had stormed Jean's office exclaiming loudly, "I don't want to have sex". She had made it clear in a previous episode that sex was not her thing and as she painted a picture of her feelings to Jean, describing her lack of connection to the act, one thing became clear, Florence was asexual.

This was her stance and that of about 1 per cent of the UK population, according to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. While there are no estimates of the number of asexual people in Nigeria, there is the likelihood that many asexual people are not even aware of their identity. For them, sex is unappealing and living in a sexualised society makes it almost impossible to share how they truly feel. Some may have been pressured into marriage, leaving them with a spouse who cannot comprehend why his partner never initiates or enjoys sex. Unlike Florence from the TV show, these people have no outlet to express these feelings, and of course, no Jean (counsellor) to guide them through their seemingly awkward emotions.

If any of this feels familiar, you may be asexual. While it is up to you to take the label or identify with asexuality, here are some of the things that are important for you to know:

What is Asexuality?

Asexuality is simply a lack of sexual drive or attraction to any gender. Asexual people, mostly called Aces, are capable of falling in love, engaging in romantic activities and being physically attracted to others, but they do not move to the stage of sexual attraction.

Like lesbianism and bisexuality, asexuality is a sexual orientation and is represented by the A in the initialism, LGBTQIAP+. Asexual people or Aces are perfectly normal and should never be judged for their identity. Yes, it is an identity, not a decision.

Asexuality takes its form in different ways and the experiences of asexual people vary. While some take to masturbation, others end up engaging in sexual intercourse for the purpose of reproduction.

What is NOT Asexuality?

Asexuality is not a decision and thus cannot be likened to celibacy, a decision made by adults to abstain from sex and/or other sexual activities temporarily or for their whole lives. People who choose celibacy are capable of being aroused and can abandon their celibacy vows in less than a split second.

Asexuality is not low or loss of libido. People who experience low libido feel urges that are too low to amount to pleasurable sexual intercourse. This is a medical condition that can be cured over time. Asexual people do not need medical help.

Asexual people can have sex

Asexual people are able to have sex and sometimes end up doing it for a myriad of reasons. In a society like Nigeria's where marriage is practically imposed on people, Aces may find themselves entangled in relationships that require them to have sex, and then continue along those lines to please their partner and to have children. Others have sex to experience physical pleasure or to show affection. Every asexual person is unique and no two experiences are similar.

So what if you are asexual?

It is possible to feel different, or maybe even abnormal. Your feelings may be too heavy to share with friends and family mostly because they will not understand. Romantic relationships may be hard to keep because what partner doesn't want to have sex?! You may be struggling to come to terms with your own identity because you think you are broken. 

All of these feelings are perfectly normal, but you do not have to go through them alone. You can join online communities such as the AVEN Forum that provides a safe space for asexual people to freely express their feelings and connect with other people who feel what they feel. 

Do you have more questions about asexuality? Drop them below or reach out to our Moderators on our Facebook Page and we will respond.

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