A friend of mine came out as asexual this week on his blog. A couple of questions:
1. Part of me wonders if this is a "real" orientation. Is this the result of some sort of trauma or psychological stuff that could potentially be dealt with through a therapist? I realize that sounds close to the whole "ex-gay therapy" thing, and of course I don't want to go down that path, but I guess it's just hard for me to understand how someone can't form a sexual connection with another person and still be 100 percent OK psychologically.
2. How do I react the next time I see this friend? Should I bring it up? Not sure about the etiquette.
Does LGBT Need An "A"?
1. Asexuality, according to asexuals and the people who love (but don't fuck) 'em, is a real sexual orientation ... or lack thereof. Usually. Because, you see, some asexuals do "experience attraction," according to Asexuality Visibility Network (www.asexuality.org), "[but] feel no need to act out that attraction sexually." So it's an orientation. Or a disorientation. Or something. But whatever it is, it's for real.
"I've been where your friend is," says David Jay, the founder of Asexuality Visibility Network. "He wouldn't have come out without spending a lot of time mulling it over, so respect that he's done a lot more thinking about this than you have. If he identifies as asexual or anything in the big wide spectrum, you should respect that, period."
First, I agree 100 percent with Jay.
Second, it's entirely possible that your friend isn't really asexual, just as it's possible that I'm not really gay and Marcus Bachmann isn't really straight. Your friend may have decided to identify as asexual because he can't deal with his sexuality or wants to opt out because he finds the games required exhausting. Or he may actually be asexual. Whichever it is, you're not the sexual identity police. So long as your friend isn't externalizing an internal conflict and making other people miserable in the process — à la Marcus Bachmann — your friend doesn't need to be confronted or rescued. (And for the record: No one is "100 percent OK psychologically," and not everyone needs sex and/or a romantic relationship to feel content and enjoy life.)
2. "Hey, how's it going."
"Good, man, you?"
"Good. Did you see Rise of the Planet of the Apes?"
"Yeah — terrible."
"And James Franco was never shirtless — what's up with that?"
"You know, if you need tits with your science fiction, you should check out Misfits on Hulu. It's like Lost before it went to shit. And it's got tits — lots and lots of tits."
"I'll check it out — and, hey, I saw that blog post about you IDing as asexual. If that's something you want to talk about, I'd love to learn more. But if it's not something you want to talk about, we can talk about other shit."