Saturday, October 29, 2011

Asexual Awareness Week?

Did you know it was asexual awareness week?   Neither did I.  How did people become aware of things before the internet?

Since I am now aware that there's an official category and stuff, I did a bit of looking at definitions, and it seems that I actually don't really qualify for the asexual category if it is strictly defined as a lack of sexual orientation.  In real life, however, (on the discussion groups and forums), it seems that people who identify themselves as asexual are sometimes indicating a preference or choice to not participate in sexual activity (though some who identify as asexual do have sex usually for the sake of other people), so maybe I still qualify for the label.

Random fact from Wikipedia: "Currently the US states of Vermont[49] and New York[50] have labeled asexuals as a protected class."  Who knew?

Conclusion: Since I've had crushes on boys, I think I'm technically not asexual.  I guess celibacy is the word for me.

Thing is, I don't always feel comfortable with celibate, either, as the connotation is clearly of one who sets aside these desires for a religious purpose, and I don't really think that's what I'm doing.   Wikipedia separates asexuality from it for that reason: "distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which are behavioral and generally motivated by an individual's religious (or other) beliefs. . .."

Not a eunuch from birth and not a eunuch for the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:12).  Then what am I?  And what should I be (doing)?


  1. The FAQ at suggests that a number of asexual people have romantic or emotional crushes, or desire love or intimacy, without having any desire to express any of the above in a sexual way. In the "Identity" section, for instance, it talks about how people may identify themselves as straight, bi, gay, or what have you based on what gender(s) they are attracted to in such non-sexual ways.

    One interesting thing, however, is that on that website (and in the FAQ), it looks as if they view sexual orientation as biological, and gender identity as something people construct for themselves. I'm not sure how this fits with a Christian view of gender and sexuality (largely because I'm not sure exactly what Christians should say about what looks to me to be a much more complex issue than many Christians assume it is).

  2. ". . . romantic or emotional crushes, or desire love or intimacy, without having any desire to express any of the above in a sexual way."

    So more like puppy love/little kid crushes? I wonder if that's what I describe as a desire for intimacy? Though I think a lot of what we call crush behavior in little kids is mostly admiration mixed with desire for intimacy. I wonder how that translates for adults.

    I'm not sure I'm comfortable with sexual orientation extending to non-sexual crushes. That would mean that everyone who wanted to have intimate but nonsexual relationships with both men and women would have to identify themselves as bisexual, and that seems wonky. Why can't friendship/intimate love be allowed to be completely non-sexual?

    As for your second paragraph, there are some posts coming up asking about why I wish the church would talking about a Christian view of gender and sexuality, especially non-mainline Protestant churches, and wonder why they don't. I look forward to some thought-provoking comments from you then. :)

  3. I guess I was thinking of non-sexual crushes as being a general fascination with a person (and desire to be noticed by them, get to know them, develop greater intimacy), in large part driven by novelty. That happens to little kids, but also to adults. I figure crushes wear off over time, either turning into a deeper sort of affection/respect/friendship, or in some cases dying with the realization that the person wasn't what you thought they were.

    I think the idea is that a person could want romantic intimacy, which would somehow be different from the intimacy of friendship (more exclusive, perhaps?), but in a non-sexual way. It sounds like some people would experience this in a limited way, hence the need to identify according to some sort of gender-orientation (?) rather than sexual orientation. But of course it's sexual orientation that is more widely recognized, and that all the usual terminology refers to.

  4. So maybe some new terminology needs to be created? Non-sexual terms for non-sexual relationships? I suspect you're right; otherwise, sex and gender will keep interfering with clear discussions of such relationships. :)