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For most asexuals, 'It’s like a sexual orientation because it’s not a choice, it’s the way most of us have been for our entire lives.’ Jay himself is in a romantic relationship with an asexual girlfriend and they hope to adopt a child in future.
According to Prof Bogaert, one in 100 people is asexual, although many may not realise they are. In one study, using data collected in the 1990s from 18,000 British people, Prof Bogaert found that about 70 per cent of asexual people were women.
I did go on to Friends Reunited thinking once a bloke gets to 65, that’ll be it, we can just be friends. 'If someone is not distressed by their asexuality then, no, I don’t think it is a disorder.
Someone can be healthy and happy as an asexual person.’ It can be stressful, though, to be in a sexual/asexual relationship.
Some asexuals are disgusted by the idea of sex and remain virgins for life, but others may masturbate and be capable of feeling pleasure sexually and having orgasms. They still have a general “sex drive”, but they just don’t connect that drive to anyone. Thus, they are asexual from a sexual orientation perspective.’ In other words, some people are attracted to the opposite sex, some to the same sex, some to both, and some to no one (asexual). I just wanted to be friends.’ Although she could orgasm, she never understood society’s fascination with sex.
Michael Doré, a 30-year-old mathematics researcher at the University of Birmingham, who organised the London asexuality conference, explains it using the 'desert island analogy’. 'It’s never appealed to me, it’s never interested me, it’s a total mystery to me why people are so obsessed.’ At 28, Jean married and had sex for the first time. That was a dreadful thing to hear as a woman.’ She wanted children, so agreed to sex as a 'chore’ ('In the 1970s I don’t think we knew about turkey basters,’ she explains).
Anwen defines herself as a romantic asexual and says she would be open to a romantic relationship with a man or a woman.
So far she has had two relationships, both with 'sexuals’, which didn’t work. Not kissing.’ She does not want to marry or have children because of the sex involved. But she says that because she’s young, fragile-looking and blonde, 'people assume that I’m very naive, that I’m not well versed in the world, and they talk down to me a lot, as if I’m unintelligent.’ She acknowledges that she may change her mind when she’s older, but then again, she says, one of the main issues she struggles with as an asexual is hearing that it’s just a phase she’s going through.
But other people never forget the moment they realise they don’t experience sexual attraction – the moment they discover they are asexual.
'One of the women I work with said, “I don’t think you’ve met the right man yet.” I said: “Trish, I’m 63.
If I haven’t met him by now I don’t think I’m going to.”’ Jean vividly recalls her moment of asexual awakening, eight years ago.
” I try to explain it’s not because I’m interested in someone else; I’m just not interested.’ How would she feel if he had an affair?
She confesses, 'Sometimes I have thought to myself that maybe it would be a good idea.’ Some people argue that there’s no need for a label for every orientation.
I don’t tell people, but I don’t know what “sexual spark” means. 'It’s not like sex is unbearable – there’s pleasure, as such… I like photography, I do sports, I do charity events, I play cello, I write.