Life isn’t all about sex. Recently, ex bond girl Britt Ekland confessed she hasn’t had a physical relationship for about 20 years. She’s just not interested. She’s happy on her own without having anyone snuffling on top of her at night!
Meet R. Varsha, an investment banker. She too admits she’s not physically attracted to anyone. “I love people, enjoy their company... but I am not attracted to anyone,” she says, adding, “Being asexual is really hard, considering it’s only now that even LGBTQ people are being recognised properly. Imagine when people like us could finally be understood? As a teenager, especially during my early college days, it was traumatic. I used to pretend to be straight. Took me years to own up.”
These are the “asexuals” or aces. Sexologist Sharmila Majumdar, senior consultant sexologist, Ramayya Pramila Urology Hospital, explains, “Asexuality means a person feels no sexual attraction. The important thing to remember when trying to understand asexuality is that people who identify as such are not different from you. Just that that they don’t experience sexual attraction. They can become sexual later in life.”
Stressing the need for society to start considering romantic orientation as something separate from sexual orientation, she further describes, “Asexuality is a sexual orientation that means a person feels no sexual attraction to people of any gender. However, an asexual can choose to have sex, be involved with a romantic partner or get married, and can still engage in normal relationships.”
This community comprises of just one percent of the world population. Dr Mihaj Nasirabadi, consultant psychiatrist, Apollo Hospitals, says, “Parents bring their young children for counselling, as they are not ready for marriage. When probed many a times it comes out that the young one is asexual. The next question is, ‘Is it treatable?’ Then in turn I have to counsel the parents.”
The vastness of this spectrum can be confusing even to sex therapists, clarifies Dr Sharmila, “Asexual people often partake in romantic partnerships or relationships, but whether a person is open to physical or sexual intimacy depends on the individual.”
There are many reasons why people are not interested in sex. “Asexuality isn’t a problem or disorder, and it isn’t caused by abuse or violence. People who identify as asexual don’t need to be fixed and aren’t going to change based on the person with whom they’re in a relationship with,” explains Dr Minhaj.