`Asexuality. Is it a real thing? If so, what does it actually mean?
In an article by David Jay in American Sexuality Magazine, he explains what asexuality is, and how a person can have a satisfying relationship while identifying as an asexual individual. Jay should knowâheâs speaking from first hand experience.
âOne of the quirks of being asexualâ? Jay says, âis that classifying and prioritizing relationships becomes a mite tricky.â? In his article, Jay explains how he sees himself as a bit of an âintimacy hoâ. Unlike some asexuals who prefer a solitary lifestyle, Jay admits to desiring relationships (sans the sex) from many, many different people.
Upon learning early on that a meaningful relationship had to include sex, Jay rebelled. There had to be a way, he thought, to feel what he wanted to feel without the socially inflicted constraints.
âIt wasnât long before my close friendships started to look and act like dating, and it wasnât much longer until they broke away from that and started to become something else entirelyâ? he writes. âRelationships, I realized, can be fun, in much the same way that I imagine sex is fun for sexual folk. New types of pleasure started popping up all over, and it seemed like there would never be time to explore them all. They ran the gamutâfrom the intellectual to the physical, from the deeply empowering to the utterly frivolous.â?
Jay makes a rather revolutionary argument about intimate relating when he states âwhen everything else works, sex just isnât as importantâ?, completely flying against everything weâve come to learn about why we fall in love with certain people and are just friends with others. Considering how much we focus on sex in this country, Iâm not sure I believe the argument he makes about its inconsequence, but Iâm willing to listen, because itâs a statement you almost never hearâespecially coming from a man.
âFor some sexual arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Some will occasionally masturbate, but feel no desire for partnered sexuality. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal.â?
Jay is very nonchalant in both his personal article and website, seeming perfectly happy in his body and desires. Iâm not sure what I imagined when I heard the word asexual, but the picture certainly didnât include a happy-go-lucky personality. Because Iâm decidedly not without sexual desire, the personality accompanying my imagined thoughts was depressed, confused, and for some reason, completely miserable. Obviously, Jay proves this isnât the case. Most likely I was doing what any sexually charged Twenty-Something would do when urged to consider such an orientation: projecting my own feelings of sexual frustration onto a individual whoâs never had to go through such torture.
I donât think Iâd ever want to trade places with David Jay, and I doubt heâd ever want to trade places with me. What you grow up feeling is who you are, who youâre comfortable with, and who youâll always want to stay. Jay may never be able to understand the amazing feeling of being intimate with someone he cares about, but heâll also never have to suffer the stupid mistakes a libido can cause.
Other than the sex thing, Jay and I donât seem so different. Weâre optimists, enjoy spending time with lots of different people, and donât mind examining ourselves for the reading pleasure of others. Someday weâll both fall in love, albeit differently, and the person we fall for is going to be okay with our character complications.
Hopefully youâll find someone who doesnât mind cuddling for hours and nothing more, Mr. Jay. Hopefully Iâll find someone who doesnât mind my penchant for eating popsicles for dinner while watching horrible TV. Either way, I wish us both luck.