From time to time, I read on Facebook questions on what makes a person asexual. Let me pose a different question: is asexuality a genuine sexual orientation? I pose this question because I can’t help but wonder if it would change discussion within the asexual community.
According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is defined as: “sexual orientation refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted” (American Psychological Association Help Centre). The article then goes through the orientations, with the exclusion of asexual and pan sexual.
So, if sexual orientation is defined as above, and we can agree that asexuality is a genuine sexual orientation (or non – sexual orientation if you want), then what’s with the arguing that can occur in asexual circles? If someone feels like they consistently lack sexual attraction, then he or she should be free to identify as asexual. Of course, this gets complicated when you consider that there is often a huge grey area when it comes to sexuality in general, and even asexuality.
A question that I find that is often asked, especially by newcomers into Asexual Facebook groups is: “Am I asexual if I…..?”. Frankly, I think if we define asexuality in such a way, then we will end up having a warped view on what asexuality actually is, unless, controversially, we end up saying that asexuality is NOT an orientation per se. I think I can say that the majority of asexual people (myself included) would strongly argue that it is an orientation, even though, like the other orientations, can become a little complicated.
I think it’s important that the asexual community comes into some sort of agreement of what asexuality actually is. Then hopefully, science and society in general will catch up.