Animals

Is Asexuality More Common Than You Think?

One percent of the population identifies as asexual, but what exactly is asexuality?

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Why Do We Have Sex?
How Asexual Reproduction Works in Some Animals

In this episode of DNews, Trace is joined by Cleo Stiller from Fusion to discuss the topic of asexuality. Approximately one percent of the population identify as asexual; and there's a growing body of evidence indicating that it is a sexual orientation akin to homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, heterosexual, etc. By its most-basic definition, asexual people simply do not have sexual feelings or desires towards others. Like other sexual orientations, it's neither a disfunction, a phase, nor is it a choice. It's simply a matter of how you're born.

Asexual reproduction is pretty common in the animal and plant kingdoms and it's been widely documented and closely studied for centuries. Asexuality in humans, however, is a fairly new concept and scientific research on has been limited. At first, asexuality was classified as a psychological disorder (as was homosexuality), but, as long as it's not causing the person distress, it's no longer considered problematic by the psychological and medical communities. It was first described by famed sexologist, Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues in their studies. In one particular study they conducted at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho, researchers were looking for ways to encourage sheep to breed more efficiently. Upon close study of the herd, they found between 5 and 10 percent of sheep were gay, and about 2 to 3 percent were asexual. Obviously, humans and sheep are different creatures, but this does give insight into the possibility of a biological basis of asexuality, giving credence to the idea that it's not just some kind of cultural shift or changing attitude about sex.

Do you identify as asexual? Do you know anyone who does? We welcome you to share you experiences in the comments down below.

Learn more:

5 Ways to Better Understand Asexuality (NY Magazine)
"Asexuality is a mysterious thing to those of us who do not happen to be asexual, and it's not even well understood among sex researchers, argues Anthony F. Bogaert, who is himself a sex researcher at Brock University."

Life Without Sex: The Third Phase of the Asexuality Movement (The Atlantic)
"If we stop defining our significant relationships only as those that are romantic or sexual, being single will take on new meaning."