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What is Asexuality?

When discussing sexual orientations, we need to remember that a sexual orientation is who one is, not what one does. For example, teenagers may have gay, straight or bisexual orientations, even though they have not had sex yet. A few mature gay men are married to women and have never had sex with another man. A bisexual woman might have had sex with a woman, but not with a man. An asexual person may have had sex, but that does not make an asexual person any less asexual.

Asexuality can be challenging for people to understand. In time, our personal and societal understandings of asexuality may change. The most important thing to do when talking to a person who identifies as asexual is to accept the person and the person's sexual identity. It is important not to challenge the person's identity. At this stage, I would tend to describe asexuality in the following way:

Asexuals feel very little desire to have sex with another person. While asexuals may feel an intellectual, emotional or social attraction to men, to women or to both men and women, asexuals do not want to have sex with the people to whom they feel an attraction. Some asexual people will describe themselves as straight asexuals or gay asexuals, meaning they feel attracted to members of the same gender or the opposite gender, but they do not desire to have sex. In the case of asexuality, the attraction that is missing is a sexual attraction. Asexuality is not caused by having a low sex drive and should not be confused with having a low sex drive.

Asexual people are no threat to Christianity and to churches. Asexual people should be treated with respect and dignity. A few things we can remember that will help us treat asexual people with respect include:

•Not challenging an asexual's orientation.
•Not attempting to change an asexual person's sexual orientation.
•Understanding that spirituality is not limited to only one sexual orientation.
•Not continually asking asexual people when they are going to get married. This behavior is quite offensive to any single person.
•Not trying to arrange dates for asexual people.
•Recognizing and affirming the value and contribution asexual people can make to the church and to society.
•Understanding that a person's value to the church and to society is not determined by marriage or by the number of children a person has.
•Helping include asexual people in the social and spiritual life of the church.

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