I know a few people who are asexual. They are fantastic people and I really enjoy them. I did not know there was such a thing as asexual until recently when one friend came out. Looking back, I realize that the ideal Christian date is asexual.
Growing up I heard through Christian radio, magazines, books and sermons all about dating. Abstinence was such a huge part of dating that it was talked about way more often than healthy relationship markers. In fact, abstinence was seen as a sign of a healthy relationship.
“True love waits”
“If he really loves you, he’ll wait.”
“If she really respects him, she’ll stay pure.”
We were told not to steal from our future spouses, even if we were sure the person we were dating was that future spouse. As a result, church culture told us the most desirable dating partners were asexual or sexually repressed. We were told their was no difference between sexual objectification and loving someone with body and mind. Intimacy was somehow disrespect?
Some of us couldn’t live with being sexually active because of all the guilt that went with it and some of us couldn’t live with being sexually inactive because it made us crazy and cranky. Those people had short engagements. My lover and I were engaged for 6 months, most of which we lived in separate provinces an 8 hour drive away. We only dated a few months before we got engaged. Some of my cousins dated (other people) 3 or 4 years living in the same city. I have no idea how since they claimed to agree with the bizarre restrictions on physical intimacy. “Even short kisses could lite a fuse…”
A friend I have lost touch with since her marriage was considered the perfect Christian girl. Not only was she jaw-dropping gorgeous with long strawberry blonde hair and the most joyful smile, but she was gentle and had a reputation for being very pure. She had an ability to deeply connect with people of all backgrounds. She ran the youth drop-in centre at her church almost single-handedly from high school through University where she was always at the top of the class. I met her since we had so many pre-med classes together and became study buddies.
A Christian boy in one of her easy classes took notice. Well, it seemed like everyone took notice of her, but this guy was aggressive and used to getting everything he wanted. She wanted to be a doctor and work in marginalized communities. He wanted to play hockey and make a lot of money. She loved to learn and laugh. He loved to win. There is nothing wrong with loving hockey and winning, but I suspected she was part of his to do list under find attractive wife. That is all I know of him since he preferred to spend time with this girl alone and not with her friends.
However, she began to change. She looked more tired and less bubbly. She changed career directions from high demand medicine to dietitian but still talked about medicine. She changed churches and stopped working at the drop-in. She stopped spending time with me. Perhaps my perceptions are tainted by the fact that I missed my friend as this boy took up more and more of her time.
The last time I talked to her, she was engaged. It sounded like they were spending every possible minute together. I asked how they managed to ‘keep pure’. (This was considered a loving question among Christians, and not the invasive ‘tell me about your sex life that I’ve already determined is dirty’ that it looks like now.)
She laughed and said it was no problem since she really did not want to do anything. She said that she did not mind kissing but had no desire to do anything else.
I was really surprised. My limited dating experience had taught me that my body wanted to do more than kissing, even if it didn’t know what. I had had very little interest in sex as a teen but thought everyone became more aware of it in their 20s. Maybe my friend was tired and after they were married it would change? Maybe this guy was not right for her so she had little attraction for him? I began to feel really sorry for her fiancee. What if she never wanted to do something else? Was that fair to him?
Why were the kids with high sex drives told they were disrespectful to others and needed to change if they wanted to be good spouses? Why were the kids who had low or non-existent libidos exalted as perfect spouse material?
I tried so hard to appear sexually pure (read: uninterested) thinking it was showing respect. My lover did the same, and I realized a few months before our marriage that I had no idea if he was sexually attracted to me. I need not have worried. We’re ok. But what if one of us was asexual? We would not have known until too late. How many asexual people were seen as prime marriage material and now in a relationship where they feel pressured to be someone they are not with someone who feels rejected? Also, is the fundy preoccupation with sex ruining the chance for asexual people to have emotionally intimate relationships with people since it is inconceivable that someone could live with another person, share their life, and not want sex?
For more info on asexuality see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/26/among-the-asexuals?fb=native