This guy is WAY better than us!
David Jay was in middle school when everyone around him grew suddenly obsessed with the same all-consuming impulse. It wasn’t sex per se, but it was its nascent beginnings. While his classmates talked non-stop about which movie stars they thought were hot, eyed each other in the hallway, and made their first, awkward attempts at dating, Jay was left feeling distinctly out of the loop.
“I just didn’t get it,” he recalls. “I didn’t have a reference point to understand what they were going through. And that’s really terrifying, because everyone assumes that’s what should be happening for you. Sexuality is a really big deal for almost everyone, from middle school on. It’s a really central part of a lot of people’s lives.”
But sex was not a central part of David Jay’s life: not in middle school, not in high school, and not now. That’s because, like approximately one percent of the population, Jay identifies as asexual. Not only that, he is America’s best known asexual person, serving as the emergent sexual orientation’s attractive, articulate spokesperson on everything from The View, to MTV, to France 24.
Jay launched the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), an online community dedicated to raising awareness of asexuality and providing support to people who identify as asexual, in 2001, when he was 18 and a college freshman. “I had spent the past four years struggling to realize that I was okay, and I didn’t want other asexual people to have the realize the same thing,” he says. The website soon became a rallying cry: first for hundreds, then thousands, and later tens of thousands of people who felt alienated from the sexual stories and imagery that dominate our culture.
At its most basic, asexuality is defined by an absence of sexual attraction. Some asexual people are in romantic relationships, others aren’t. Some are outgoing, others are shy. Some are sexually active for the sake of their partners or social pressure, some have never so much as kissed another person. Some think sex is disgusting, some are indifferent, and some think it’s great for other people but have no wish to “go there” themselves.
But what all asexual people have in common — and what defines asexuality as an orientation — is that, while they may have a desire to connect with other people, asexuals have no desire to connect with them sexually. Asexual people are not the same as celibate people: it’s not that they are purposefully or unintentionally abstaining from sex they would otherwise like to have, but rather that they have no interest in it.
We understand that asexuality isn’t a “choice” per se, but damn! How don’t you like the feeling of poppin’ the “Big O” and releasing all that glorious energy???
Image via AVEN