“Our desire for connection is tangled up in a culture of sexuality”
-David Jay, The Asexual Visibility and Education Network
It’s estimated that 1% of the population is asexual. ‘Asexuality’ is defined as the absence of sexual attraction to other people. How can a Somatic sex therapist help?
Firstly, by recognising that asexuality is a specific, legitimate orientation. It doesn’t mean that the asexual person is traumatised, or confused, or incomplete. Each of us is entitled to define our own sexual identity.
Within that acceptance, which is counter to so many of the lazy assumptions of society, exploration can take place, free from the expectations of other people, and all the performative expectations of society.
Being asexual doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have sexual feelings. You may have, or you may not. Bodywork is a brilliant way to clarify and explore this, without pressure, and in an open spirit of acceptance, respect and enquiry. Often, it’s not helpful to make a strict demarcation between ‘sexual’ and ‘non-sexual’. The real question should be “Is this pleasurable?”
Sexual attraction, whilst claiming to be natural, is a social construct. As the song goes: “One enchanted evening, you may see a stranger. You may see a stranger, across a crowded room. And somehow you know. You know even then..”
But what if we never have? We might imagine we’re not sexual beings. But what if we’re mistaken? And what if our generally accepted definition of sexuality is too narrow?
There is a set of related metaphors for sexual attraction and sexuality that are very powerful, because they’re never challenged. It’s the idea that sexuality is like a hunger or [to mix it a bit] like a pressure cooker, or like a compulsion. But -again – what if you’ve never felt like that? Does that mean that you’re not ‘normal’?
Our society privileges relational sexuality, and reserves the winner’s plinth for romantic love,which in turn is thought of as centred on sexual intercourse and orgasm, adapted as necessary for LGBTQ+ people, but that’s not the only sexual perspectives. There are at least two other kinds.
One other type of sexuality is absorption. We are just very focused on what we are feeling. It isn’t relational, even if what we are feeling is brought about by touch from another. In a way, it’s our original sexuality, before we get attached to “what does this mean?” and “what am I supposed to do?”
Another type of sexuality is play. The classic example is BDSM, where a lot of the activity doesn’t appear sexual at all, although it clearly is, but, really, it can be anything.
In the safe, boundaried and loving space provided by a Somatic sex therapist, these things can be tried out. You can get away from the need to conform to what you understand you should be, what you imagine you should be feeling, and explore the full field of who you are. And it’s really important to have that opportunity, free from the pressure and expectation of having to be like everyone else. Because nobody is.
If you’re interested in exploring further, you can contact me here
You can read more about my work here
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If you’re interested in reading further about Asexuality, ‘The Invisible Orientation’ by Julie Sondra Decker is a good place to start, along with the website at the top of the article.