Asexuality is a sexual orientation. It’s not something you can switch on or off on a whim, asexuality is not a choice. Most asexual people will tell you that they’ve always been this way and that they’ve never known anything different. You can’t become asexual anymore than you can turn yourself gay or straight. Certainly, you can practice abstinence and choose to become celibate, but asexuality and celibacy are not the same thing.
Do asexual men exist?
Yes, absolutely. Asexuality in males is real. I am one myself.
So, you’re a guy, right?
Last time I checked, yeah.
And you were born that way?
And you’ve got all the guy parts?
And they all work?
As far as I can tell.
And you feel like you’re supposed to be a guy?
I guess so.
So, then, how can you call yourself “asexual”?
Because I don’t feel sexual attraction toward anyone.
But you said your parts work.
That they do.
And that you feel like you’re a guy.
Well, I don’t really care for football and I don’t own any power tools except for a drill, but other than that…
And yet you claim to be asexual?
You’re wrong. Asexual men don’t exist. You’re either straight, gay, or bi, or something ain’t working right, or you’re really a woman trapped in a man’s body and are in denial. It’s impossible for a man to be asexual.
I exist, therefore your hypothesis has been refuted. Please try again with a new hypothesis which accounts for this new evidence. That’s how science gets done.
So… I don’t get it.
That much is clear. Why don’t we start this over from the top, huh?
So, you’re a guy, right?
Yes, I’m male. And “cisgender” as all those kooky kids and their crazy new-fangled words might call it. In other words, I’ve got the factory-original male equipment and the male mind to go with it.
And you’re asexual?
But I don’t understand. How can you be male, with functioning parts, and still consider yourself asexual?
Asexuality does not depend on your anatomy. It’s not a function of gender. Asexuality is simply the lack of sexual attraction toward anyone. It’s just as possible to be asexual with a penis as it is to be asexual with a vagina as it is to be asexual with anything in between, and there’s no requirement that a person disown their privates in order to join the Ace Club.
And by “functioning parts”, you mean that you can get erections, right?
Yes, among other things that would be considered “functioning”.
A-ha! There! You’ve just proven that you’re not asexual!
What, because somehow an erection is an infallible sign that a man is sexually attracted to something?
I hate to break it to you, but erections are not necessarily a sign of sexual attraction. I doubt most men are sexually attracted to the tight clothes that they’re wearing. I doubt most men are sexually attracted to waking up in the morning. I doubt most men are sexually attracted to bumpy roads. I doubt most men are sexually attracted to randomly walking down the street. Yet most men have probably gotten erections from wearing tight clothes, waking up in the morning, driving on bumpy roads, and randomly walking down the street.
An erection is a physical process. Sure, it can sometimes be caused by emotional stimuli, such as sexual attraction, but attraction is not a requirement.
So, why do you think you’re asexual?
Because I don’t experience sexual attraction. I don’t look at women (or men, for that matter) and immediately think that I’d like to get them in my bed. I don’t feel what people mean when they use the word “hot” to describe someone. I don’t really think about sex and how I must get some RIGHT NOW or I’ll go insane.
What about the whole thing about how men think about sex every seven seconds?
I think about how that statistic is wrong every seven seconds.
Are you the only asexual male?
Um. No. There are clearly others.
Well, how come it doesn’t seem like there are?
[I didn’t conduct a survey or anything, so this section is mostly pure conjecture. I apologize if it’s completely off-base. If you have any objections to what I’m saying, please let me know and I can work to improve this area.]
I think the reason that it doesn’t seem like there are more asexual men is that men are less likely to realize and accept that they’re asexual. So much of the stereotypical male identity is wrapped up in sexual prowess that it’s difficult to step back and admit that you don’t really fit in that world. If you’re a man, you’re supposed to be constantly horny, always in the mood and always on the prowl. There’s simply no option for a man to feel otherwise. It’s as if semen is a highly volatile substance and if you fail to get it out of your body before it reaches a critical mass, you will literally explode. (And preferably with the assistance of someone else, too. If it doesn’t end up in or on someone else, where it will be neutralized by their body heat, then it can apparently remain dangerous, which is why masturbation is viewed as an outlet of last resort.) The only thing that can stand in the way of a man having sex is the inability to get an erection, but if you can’t get it up, there’s a pill for that, a pump for that, a ring for that, an implant for that…
But to say “I’m not interested”? Well, that’s just not possible for a man. Clearly, if he gets an erection, then he’s interested, right? In many ways, for a man, sexual attraction is seen as equivalent to getting hard. If he stands at attention looking at a woman, he’s straight, if he’s looking at a man, he’s gay, and so on. So, when he gets an erection and it’s not directed at anyone in particular, then maybe he just needs to sow his wild oats until he finds what does it for him. And there’s the irrational fear that if a man isn’t turned on by a woman then OMG HE MUST BE GAY, so he’ll force himself to believe that he’s attracted to women, even though he doesn’t feel anything in particular for men or women. It’s simply not acceptable for a man not to want to use that erection with someone. If he doesn’t, there must be something wrong with him, he must be broken.
And so, in a world where that’s not just the predominant view, but pretty much the only view, you can see how it’s hard for a man to figure out that he’s asexual. Faced with that sort of overwhelming attitude, he’s just going to hide how he feels, so he doesn’t appear to be weak or broken or damaged. Men aren’t supposed to admit their feelings, especially when those feelings aren’t shared by others.
Additionally, conflating sexual function with sexual attraction can lead some men to erroneously rule out asexuality. “I’ve had sex, therefore I’m not asexual, because I wouldn’t have been able to if I were asexual.” “I masturbate, therefore I’m not asexual, because I wouldn’t do that if I were asexual.” “I like having my penis touched by someone else, therefore I’m not asexual, because I wouldn’t like it if I were asexual.” They’ll take events like those, join them to even the faintest glimmers of aesthetic or romantic attraction and use that as evidence to prove that they’re straight or gay or bi or pan or whatever, when in reality, all they’re experiencing is a physical reaction to stimulation.
By the time a man reaches the age where they’ve gathered enough life experience to decide that they’re just not all that interested in sex, they’re typically at a point where they can say “Well, I’m not 18 anymore, the hormones have died down” or “The fires of passion always die down after a few years, but I still love her”, or any number of other convenient excuses that obscure the truth.
How did you figure it out?
It took me a solid week-long journey of self-discovery to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t simply “straight, but not very good at it” and that I was, in fact, asexual. I’d known for years that I just didn’t think about sex the same way other people did. I had a girlfriend that tried to awaken me sexually, but wasn’t all that successful. I just figured I was shy or that she wasn’t the one. I hadn’t had sex in over eight years and it didn’t bother me at all. I just figured I had a low libido or was just better at masturbating than everyone else or something. It never really occurred to me that I simply was not sexually attracted to anyone. I considered myself straight, pretty much through the process of elimination. After all, I’d never been attracted to a man, so therefore I had to be straight.
But it sort of bugged me. I didn’t fit. Whenever I heard other people talk about sex or about hot women, it was foreign to me. They may as well have been talking about golf.
One day, I had a conversation with a friend about a somewhat baffling depiction of sex on some TV show and as we went on, it became very clear that I was not like everyone else and that there had to be something out there, some reason, something to explain how I felt. It became too much to be able to deny anymore, so I went looking for answers. I went on my journey with open eyes, willing to embrace whatever it was that I discovered.
Asexuality is what I found. Asexuality fit me.
Pretty much everything fell into place at that point. All the things I’d done, all the things I thought, how I felt, it all made sense to me.
I went looking for answers. I went looking for myself. If I hadn’t taken that step, I’d still be “straight, but not very good at it”. Most men who may be asexual aren’t going to take that step. They don’t know that there is that step to take, or they’re afraid of what they’ll find, or it just doesn’t bother them enough to start looking.
And that points to the core issue. The information isn’t out there. For most people, there’s straight, there’s gay, there’s bi, and that’s all. They aren’t aware that there are other categories which might fit better. They aren’t aware that it’s perfectly fine for a man to not be sexually interested in anyone. If more men know about asexuality, more men will realize that’s what they are.