Strangely enough, asexuality isn’t really something that’s talked about very often. However, approximately 1% of the population is asexual. This means if there are 34,000 students in Leeds, then there must be approximately 340 students amongst us who are not sexually inclined.
Myths have a tendency to circulate. To clear one or two things up; being asexual does not mean being anti-sex, or having a phobia about sex. No, it quite simply describes people who lack any sexual desire, for both the opposite sex and their own. After a brief bit of Googling, I found the stories of many asexual people who were keen to share how everyday issues can throw up a range of problems. It’s something that we tend to overlook, but our society is largely based around life with conventional relationships at the foundation. Granted, we’re now liberal enough to accept same-sex relationships, but puzzled faces still appear when the subject turns to ‘no relations’ per se. If life throws up obstacles for asexuals, then I imagine that these obstacles must find themselves multiplied during time at university, where aside from relationships being the norm, a shocking majority of people appear to be on a three-year long pulling mission!
This isn’t a point about being single, which is certainly considered normal, even preferable, during our time at Uni. It’s more about the dynamics of our social situations that perpetuate the male-female dichotomy. It then makes sense, for the biggest complaint from asexuals to be the feeling of being misunderstood. Not that sex is the determining factor of all we do; I’m sure we’re not all sex hungry twenty-something’s in the way the stereotype would have us believe, but nonetheless sex is a factor.
Imagine any given social event, and you’re sat talking with friend in a bar. How do you know the friend? Have you hooked up? Have your friends of friends hooked up? When you entered the bar did you comment on anyone attractive? How about the choice of bar? Were drawn in by drinks offers? Cast a thought to the thinking behind drinks offers and how they nicely compliment a range of motives for a night out – i.e/ helping you pull, in case that one wasn’t clear! If the answer to any of these questions was yes, then the idea that society revolves around relationship dynamics may not be totally confounded. And this may be why so many asexuals complain about feeling misunderstood, especially during their 20s.
I’d hate to reinforce an old student stereotype. For one thing, we’re out of adolescence, and the years of hormonal turmoil are behind us. But when a vast amount of social activities involve going out and drinking, asexuality can be something overlooked as alien. Perhaps give a thought to how liberating life would be if we were able to be truly free of certain evolutionary impulses.