Asexuality And The Brain Essay

1473 words - 6 pages

Despite the large collection of literature of sexuality that has been accumulating, human asexuality has been largely ignored. Asexuality is controversially considered to be a sexual orientation and people who identify as asexual are people who typically do not experience sexual attraction (Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, 2013). Though research on sex and sexual orientations has been done for centuries, the first real suggestion that there might be people who fall outside of the heterosexual – homosexual orientation spectrum came from Kinsey and colleagues in 1948. These individuals were put into a separate category and were identified as having no erotic response to hetero- or homosexual stimuli, but otherwise they were largely ignored by the researchers (Kinsey, 1953). Later, researchers linked asexuality with negative traits and pathologies, including depression and lower self-esteem (Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny, 1986; Nuius, 1983). An issue with these studies, however, is that the researchers defined asexuality in a way that most current asexuals do not agree with. For example, in a study done by Bell and Weinberg (1978), there were references made to asexual homosexuals who simply hid their homosexuality. Many asexuals, otherwise known as Aces, would struggle with this definition because homosexuality implies a type of sexual attraction: attraction to your same sex. Because Aces typically do not feel sexual attraction to anyone or anything, they should not be classified under the same label as a closeted homosexual. Another issue is that none of these studies actually focused on asexuality. Instead, they were added on the side and generally ignored.
In 2004, Anthony Bogaert became the first researcher to actually focus on asexuality. Bogaert got his sample by looking at research done in 1994 on changes in sexual behavior due to the increase in AIDS (Johnson, 1994). Bogaert found that roughly 1% of the sample were identified as asexual based on their answer to the following question: “I have never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all” (Johnson et al., 1994, p. 185). Unfortunately, this number has been widely contested for various reasons, including using only one item to identify asexuality and using preexisting data that was not specifically connected with asexuality (DeLuzio Chasin, 2011; Hinderliter, 2009; Pause & Graham, 2007). It is also possible that because asexuality is now a more recognized orientation, it is possible that more individuals would feel comfortable admitting to their lack of sexual attraction, whereas before they may have felt shame or hesitance. Unfortunately, this is the percentage that is widely cited, despite the several objections other researchers have made.
Asexuality is often met with skepticism by the general, sexual population. They hear “no sexual attraction” and many assume there is a medical problem to blame. For example, hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is a...

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