In the biological world, “asexual” means a species that reproduces by cloning or some other means that doesn’t require combining DNA with a conspecific. Some species – like komodo dragons – can reproduce both sexually and asexually.
In humans, though, asexuality is more like a sexual orientation, and it’s quite possibly the most complex and heterogeneous sexual orientation that humans experience. Individual experience of asexuality varies from aversion to plain old lack of interest to highly contextual desire, and it has complex interactions with affection, friendships, partnerships, and love.
It’s also ill-understood, understudied, and, in my experience, the most maligned and disrespected sexual orientation. While gay men in particular face disgust from bigots, asexuals face simple, blunt disbelief from everyone, even people who would self-identify as sex positive – as though people who are not interested in or even actively aversive to sex can’t also be sex positive. But they can; indeed, the asexual folks I’ve met tend to be the most tolerant of sexual diversity of all.
Or as though asexual folks are just afraid of their sexuality or just don’t know what they want. Which… I mean jesus, how would you feel if you told someone the kind of thing you were or weren’t sexually interested in, and they were like, “well, you’re just AFRAID of sex” or “You’re just repressed.”
It’s fuckin’ rude and it pisses me off to see it, especially (I confess) when it comes from someone who identifies as gay, bi, fluid, queer, etc. Asexuals should be welcomed and embraced as part of the rainbow of sexual diversity.
I contributed, and when the film is made I’ll buy a copy of the DVD for my campus. I’d feel terribly proud of a couple of you all helped get them to their goal.
Equal rights are not fully realized without equal respect. Here’s to making the world safe for ALL sexualities.