Sexless and the City

Sex sells. We all know that, hence the over-sexualised posters plastered all over, over-sexualised characters in video games, heck, over-sexualised everything. We can’t even eat a hotdog and lick some ice cream without making unintended innuendoes nowadays.

It’s fascinating then, to learn that about 1% of the general population actually do not give a single f**k (pun intended) about sex in a society so otherwise fixated with it. They are known as asexuals, and have only just appeared recently — not because people suddenly decided that they were done with the notion of lust and desire, but because there is finally a definite term for this particular sexual orientation, and people are discussing it in public at long last.

If you doubt asexuality has long been a thing, just consider some of the historical figures who were possibly asexual, such as Nikola Tesla, whose only love might have been science; and Isaac Newton, who according to a biography, hated women and was terrified of sex. Even laboratory rats have been classified as “studs” or “duds” according to their levels of sexual interest, although “dud” is a serious misnomer when it comes to asexuals.

What asexuality really means is simply a lack of lustful inclinations towards others. Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction towards individuals of any gender, although their “equipments” work just fine. Some are romantic and interested in intimate but nonsexual relationships, others are more solitary in nature. They may have a sex drive albeit not directed at anyone, or they may not. This complexity is often hard for “normal” folks to wrap their heads around, and as a result, is often perceived as a disorder or medical condition instead of a mere sexual orientation, where sexual attraction is not necessary at all for a person to be healthy.

The irony is that sex researchers have found that asexuals typically demonstrate neither any disability nor distress from their conditions, making them a perfect control group to diagnose the anxiety, risky behaviours and temporary insanity that afflicts the sexualised majority instead. Asexuality also decouples romance and sex, which some neuroscience studies now suggest are the product of different processes in the brain, and draws attention to the obsession we have with sex because of the fact that people just don’t get asexuals.

However, could we be opening Pandora’s box by introducing to the masses a new sexual orientation that is so different from what we’ve known for the past centuries? It’s an important question, and while we might be a tad obsessed with sex (or lack thereof), we wouldn’t have even survived the first 2 million years if we weren’t.

By: Chan Choy Yu