True confessions

Asexuals talk about the woes of living in an overly-sexualized society

Man holding a sign that reads: "It's not that you're not sexy, it's just that I don't care"

A recent study found that asexuality isn’t some bizarre form of “psychopathology” or the result an extremely low libido as once declared by zoologist/sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Instead, researchers say, “available evidence points to asexuality being best conceptualized as a unique sexual orientation.”

In other words: Having no sexual orientation is itself a sexual orientation. Just like being gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, etc., etc., etc.

Now, a group of self-identifying asexuals recently sat down with the BBC to discuss just what it’s like living in an overly-sexualized society.

Related: It’s time to stop joking and start taking asexuality seriously

35-year-old Matt explains:

[I] have only just realized I am asexual. I have always been attracted to people, form romantic feelings very quickly and have always dated. I would fancy someone, enjoy the kissing and physical contact, but when it came to sex, my body would just switch off.

In the beginning Matt says he felt “huge embarrassment” and worried he would be alone forever.

He continues:

But recently I have seen a lot of articles about asexuality, and I can’t begin to describe the relief that I am now able to label what it is about me that is different. I can even begin to dream about finding someone who could understand.

Related: Do you exhibit ‘asexual microaggressions’ and not even know it? (Hint: Probably)

42-year-old Ian had a similar experience. It wasn’t until very recently that he realized he’s asexual.

I never really enjoyed my first sexual encounters, though they were interesting as a kind of fact-finding mission. Pretty much every encounter since, regardless of my relationship with the person in question, has been unsatisfying to the point of unfulfilling.

Ian is currently in a committed relationship with a woman, but, he says, they aren’t intimate.

 I call her my partner because it doesn’t really feel right describing her as a “lover” or “girlfriend” as we’re not, by normal standards. Although we regularly share a bed, we don’t even kiss, never mind do more intimate stuff. I don’t think she’s ever quite got to grips with my lack of sexuality and tends to assume I’m gay.

Related: These asexual guys are madly in love, they just have zero interest in having sex with one another

Meanwhile, 52-year-old John says he has been “repulsed by sex for as long as I can remember.”

In my younger days I was always sexually active, but I never got any satisfaction from it. Other than seeing my partner receiving pleasure, I pretty much hated it. I have been in a few strong, loving relationships through my life, and even happily married once, but they all failed as a result of one thing, my total disinterest in sex.

John says he found satisfaction in things like cuddling, but sex just didn’t do it for him. His lack of interest is what eventually ended all of his relationships.

He continues:

I’ve now been single for 11 years and, although I don’t particularly enjoy being so, it is far easier than trying to find one of the other 1-3% of people who are the same as me. I just hope that more young people become aware of and open about their asexuality so they can find a similar person and enjoy a normal, loving, non-sexual relationship.

It’s estimated that around 1% of the world’s population is asexual. So out of 7.5 billion, that’s about 75 million people.

Related: This married gay asexual is not interested in having sex with you, his husband, or anybody else