How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Asexuality
“Though desire for sex is considered one of our four primal drives, I lack such a desire almost completely.”
This is DATA, a monthly column by Angela Chen on numbers, nerdery, and what it means to live an evidence-based life.
Archives of Sexual Behavior
To want sex—to be the kind of person who “takes lovers”—is to be considered liberated, provocative, and passionate. Celibacy can be eroticized because the supposed restraint implies a rich appetite underneath. But lacking even the desire for something so seemingly fundamental is to be less of a person and more of an automaton.
In some states, not consummating a marriage is potential grounds for voiding it; in others, impotence is grounds for annulment. “
Our hundreds of emails ballooned into nearly ten thousand each month. I talked with him more than I had with anyone else, ever, about forest ecology and complexity classes, Susan Sontag’s diaries and my asexuality.
t his apartment, John asked again if he could put his arm around me. It was the first time he had done so since the day by the water; he quickly clarified that he expected nothing more. I said yes, this time reflexively moving closer instead of scooting away. Then I turned to face him.
Angela Chen is a science journalist and the author of Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, which was named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR, Electric Literature, and Them. Her reporting and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, The Guardian, National Geographic, Paris Review, Lapham's Quarterly, and more.
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