July 12, 2005


For Them, Just Saying No Is Easy (Mary Duenwald, New York Times, July 9th, 2005)

But could indifference to sex extend to humans, too? An increasing number of people say yes and offer themselves as proof. They describe themselves as asexual, and they call their condition normal, not the result of confused sexual orientation, a fear of intimacy or a temporary lapse of desire. They would like the world to understand that they can live their entire lives happily without ever having sex.

"People think they need to convert you," said Cijay Morgan, 42, a telephone saleswoman in Edmonton, Alberta, and a self-professed asexual. "They can understand if you don't like country music or onion rings or if you aren't interested in learning how to whistle, but they can't accept someone not wanting sex. What they don't understand is that a lot of asexuals don't wish to be quote-unquote fixed."

Considering the pervasive advertising for drugs to enhance sexual performance, the efforts to market a testosterone patch to boost sexual desire in women and the ubiquity of sexual references in pop culture, it is not surprising that those professing no sex drive whatever have been misunderstood, or at least overlooked. Only one scientific survey seems to have been done. And many experts in human sexuality, when told there is a growing Internet community of people calling themselves asexual, say they have not heard of it. Yet most of those experts find the concept unsurprising.

Three-fourths of the patients who go to the Center for Sexual Medicine at Boston University lack any sex drive, said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, its director, who is also the editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. "We call that H.S.D.D., hypoactive sexual desire disorder," he said.

Can there be any idea more subversive to the modern culture, or more certain to invite the agitated and strident opposition of our opinion-making elites, than the notion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with these people?

Posted by Peter Burnet at July 12, 2005 7:52 PM

Well, it is unusual. Statistically abnormal. And subversive of oj's belief that fertility is everything. But I know several folks of that inclination who are coping just fine, thank you very much.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 12, 2005 10:10 PM

Are they cute? If they're nice-looking females it's a crime, a crime against nature. Otherwise no problem.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 13, 2005 12:08 AM

Since when is this abnormal?


"Now we are in a different world. A young American man of today who found he had little interest in sex would feel ashamed for thus deviating from the norm, and would seek "counseling," or therapy, or medication. A young man who found himself normally or highly sexed, but decided to embrace celibacy as a challenge, would be regarded by most people nowadays as weird, if not mad."

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 13, 2005 6:03 AM

These are the people who traditionally entered the celibate vocations such as the Catholic priesthood.

There is a bell curve to the sex drive in the population just like everything else. On one end are the nymphomaniacs and sex addicts. On the other end are people with no sex drive at all. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, but even here there is variety.

The one thing that can be said for people on that end of the spectrum is that there is no risk of them hurting society or others through their abstinence, unlike the behavior of the other end. The only thing people of lower sex drive need to do is inform potential partners so that there is no false expectations of what marriage would entail.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at July 13, 2005 12:03 PM

Ali - it's abnormal in the sense of being outside of the statistical norms of human sexual behavior (as Chris pointed out)

Chris - while these people do not cause any direct damage like the promiscuous (spreading STDs, ruining marriages, etc.) they have a indirect negative impact. As ghostcat noted, they don't breed.

So why does OJ say there is nothing wrong with asexuals who don't breed but everything wrong with Europeans who don't breed?

And why is OJ so defensive in his claim that there is nothing wrong with these people? Hmmmm ......

Posted by: daniel duffy at July 13, 2005 12:14 PM

These are the people who traditionally entered the celibate vocations such as the Catholic priesthood.

Good point Chris.

But doesn't it strike you as strange that those whose sexual behavior is by definition abnormal should impose their abnormality (an inherent dislike of sex) on the rest of us in an attempt to pass off the abnormal as the ideal?

Traditional RCC sexual ethics went beyond requiring fidelity in marriage to claim that enjoying sex (for women anyways) was inherently sinful. So take a clergy made up of asexuals, misogynists (read some of the early Church fathers and their views of women), and gays (who have always been attracted to - and found refuge in - all male institutions like the RCC) and you have the hypocritical mess that is Catholic sexual ethics.

Posted by: daniel duffy at July 13, 2005 12:27 PM