September 29, 2014

Asexuality: It’s not just for plants anymore.

Nay, it is now a designated sexual identity for humans who aren”€™t horny. But it is much more than merely an individual identity. Because the Internet makes everything exasperatingly social, asexual individuals now also comprise a community. Even more aggravatingly, asexuality is a movement. It’s a moving community. It’s a community that’s moving around, not having sex. It is a living, breathing, moving community of sexually disinterested individuals whose lack of shared attraction acts like a magnet drawing them all together under the same limp, dry umbrella.

Members of the asexual movement are quick to distinguish themselves from celibates. The latter, they argue, are innately horny yet restrain themselves from acting upon their carnal impulses. Asexuals, however, simply aren”€™t interested in sex. Whether that qualifies as a sexual orientation or a sexual disorientation is anyone’s guess.

Asexual activists”€”yes, they exist, and c”€™mon, if they”€™re not having sex they have to be active doing something“€”successfully agitated the American Psychiatric Association to designate asexuality as a legitimate identity rather than a medical or psychological dysfunction in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

“€œIronically, the asexuals”€”who refuse to take it in any hole”€”wind up getting it from all sides.”€

They have also gone to great pains to buttress and legitimize their abject absence of libidinousness and concupiscence with scholarly works such as 1977’s pioneering paper Asexual and Autoerotic Women: Two Invisible Groups and 2008’s Coming to an Asexual Identity: Negotiating Identity, Negotiating Desire. This month saw the release of a full-length book called The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality, which will surely become the Mein Kampf of the chronically un-aroused.

The asexual community boasts an absurdly vast pool of resources for individuals who wish to bond and network with the sexually disinclined. This past June saw the second annual International Asexuality Conference in Toronto. Asexual Awareness Week is coming in late October. There are even asexual dating sites. And Tumblr“€”which is ground zero for sexual insanity on the Web, the crossroads where sexual deviancy and social-justice platitudes converge in one gooey rainbow-colored train wreck”€”is a comic gold mine for hysterical asexual sloganeering.

By far the most prominent organization that propagates and disseminates asexual “€œawareness”€ is the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), which was founded in 2001 and hosts a website that answers Frequently Asked Questions and a forum with over two million posts by people who”€™d much prefer to shove cake in their mouths than someone else’s genitals. AVEN even designed an asexual logo“€”an upside-down triangle with purple piping that tastefully encases a white-to-black gradient.

Like any community, asexuals have developed their own language. I”€™ve considerately decoded much of the arcane terminology they employ to denote the vast “€œasexual spectrum”€:

ACE…shorthand for “asexual”
ACEVAGUE…someone who may be asexual as a result of being autistic
ALLOSEXUAL…those who aren’t asexual, otherwise known as “normal people”
AROMANTIC…those who don’t desire romance, either
AROVAGUE…someone who may be aromantic as a result of being autistic
BIROMANTIC…those who desire romantic (but not sexual) relationships with either gender
CUPIOSEXUAL…an asexual who wishes they were an allosexual
DEMISEXUAL…an asexual who is able to muster sexual attraction only after first forming a romantic bond with someone
GREYSEXUAL…someone who inhabits a space somewhere along the vast spectrum between asexuals and allosexuals
PAN-HOMOROMANTIC POLYAMOROUS GREY-ASEXUAL GENDERQUEER…the highly specific sexual self-identifier of this logo designer
REPULSED ASEXUAL…someone who is actively disgusted at the very idea of having sexual contact with someone else
SQUISH…the platonic form of a romantic crush


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