A while ago I was approached by another magazine to do a story on asexuality. I’ve decided that I want to take these sorts of opportunities to do visibility work about asexuality. Raising awareness by sharing your own intimate life story is a little challenging sometimes, because it really is your own experience that you are putting out there for everyone to see. But if one person can find an article like this in a popular magazine and feel a bit better about themselves, then that’s my goal achieved.
This is the outcome of that last magazine interview. I couldn’t get a high-resolution photo, so I’m transcribing it below.
Proud to Be Asexual
When it comes to sex, Jo simply has no desire.
When Jo Qualmann was younger and her friends had crushes on boys, she pretended she did too. But when things turned to sex, she realised she had no desire at all.
Now she has joined a wave of people – initially united through the internet – who are proudly coming out as asexual, or a person who feels love and intimacy without sexual attraction.
‘For a while I thought I was a lesbian,’ explains Jo, 20, of Yeerongpilly Queensland. ‘I had close relationships with girls, just like most women, and I thought perhaps they were crushes. But I realised that they were just what I call squishes – the excitement of a new platonic friendship. I didn’t want to be sexually active with them any more than I did I guy.’
Around a year ago, happy virgin Jo agreed to go on a date with a friend of a friend to see if she could perhaps trigger a sex drive. But when he made a move at the end of the night, she suddenly felt trapped.
‘I ran outside and spent the next few nights feeling miserable. I started searching the internet for an answer. That’s when I found the term “asexuality.” It fitted me perfectly and I felt a huge relief to know that others feel the same. I’ve become a large part of the asexual community since.’
Jo says one of the main problems she has is being “flirty,” because she has no idea what is deemed as sexual behaviour. ‘I love intimacy,’ she says. ‘I’ll often ask people at parties to give me a back run or hug them when I’ve only known them for a few hours. Some people think I’m flirting with them and get confused. So now I have to be upfront and explain that I like intimacy but not sexual behaviour.’
Jo only recently explained to her parents about her absence of sexual desire. They were both very supportive. ‘I think mum was more worried about missing out on being a grandmother. But I have two sisters to do that and if I do want to become a mum there are a multitude of options.’
Jo says she has no desire for a companion, but is aware that many asexuals pair up and have platonic relationships. For her, the most important thing is to be accepted. ‘I want people to start seeing asexuality as a sexual orientation. I want those out there like me to know it’s ok to be different, and I want everyone to accept us just as they have gay and bisexual communities.’
-An asexual is someone who does not feel sexual attraction. Unlike chastity, in which a person may suppress desire, an asexual has no intrinsic interest.
-In a 1994 UK study, one per cent of the 18,876 surveyed claimed to be asexual.
-A separate study in 1983 found asexuals are more likely to have low self-esteem and depression.
Overall, I am happy with the result of the interview. There are a couple of things I find a little odd, such as the last statistic. Asexuality was not seen as an orientation in 1983, so the statistics probably reflect behaviours more than identities. But I have not read the study. And, inevitably, some of the anecdotes are simplifications. If this is the first you’ve heard about asexuality, or want to see other things I’ve written on this blog about asexuality and my experience, check out my first post here and posts in the asexuality category.