Is Asexuality a mental disorder?

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This blog will answer the question, “Is Asexuality a mental disorder?”, and also cover topics like what is asexuality, what are mental disorders, different spectrums of asexuality, how people can identify themselves in this category, and also some answers to frequently asked questions. 

Is Asexuality a mental disorder?

To answer it in a nutshell, no, asexuality is not a mental disorder. But in order to understand it better, we need to delve deep into the subject. 

When it comes to a person’s sexuality, the majority of this society seems to have the same opinion. And that’s sticking to what other people feel is right, and following what they claim to be their religion’s rule. A major part of us has identified asexuality to be a mental disorder or a sexual dysfunction which is not correct in both ways. The source always gets attached to one word and that is ‘Stigmatization of gender and sexuality.

This treatment of queer people has been stretched so long that it leads to their psychological distress like depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

Another question that arises in our minds apart from the abovementioned is whether or not is it categorized under sexual orientation, which, according to many researchers, might be true. There is reasonable support for the thought that asexuality is a unique kind of sexual orientation. For example, there have been proofs that their biological characteristics are connected to homosexuality which is single-handedly also linked to asexuality, like birth order. Gradually, this puts us to a conclusion that asexuality might be an innate characteristic.

What is asexuality?

A person coming under this category is someone who is simply not sexually attracted to another being. These people can be of any age, gender or race.

They can be someone who dwells on the streets or someone who sleeps on gold beds.

A human’s status or background doesn’t define their sexuality. There is no ‘type’ that makes a person asexual rather it is all set inside a person’s biological entity.

When we first heard of the word asexual what came first to our mind is a single-celled organism like our favorite, amoeba. We even made assumptions that they don’t have the ‘male’ or ‘female’ genitals, but guess what? We all were so wrong.

 Let us understand what asexuality is:

●      Asexuality is not a celibacy or abstinence pledge.

●      It is not a gender

●      It is not a mental disorder that makes people think of them as some sort of aliens.

●      It is not a choice that people make after getting inspiration.

●      Asexuality is not a brain injury or an imbalance of progesterone or testosterone.

●      And lastly, it is definitely not developed due to fear of sex.

Like heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality, it is a sexual orientation that should be equally respected and recognized by the rest of the people. It is an identity along with a spectrum.

There is a big issue in our mankind and that is ‘comparison’. Many people fail to see someone’s identity or interests just because a person of a similar identity is doing something different. But, every human being born till date is completely different than the other therefore it is not important for all asexual people to be same.

Some would want to date, some wouldn’t.  Some fall in love, some don’t.

And the list goes on regarding their social life, marital status, sex life, parenthood and personal preferences.

Now, let’s talk about those who find some similar characteristics with that of asexual humans. Some people think that they are ‘nearly asexual’ or ‘somewhat asexual’ which explains the fact they call themselves asexual but without a few features. They are called ‘Gray asexual’

They fall between the line that connects asexuality and non-asexuality.

For example, these people find sexual attraction with someone once in a blue moon.

Signs that can help you tell if you are asexual

Common signs to understand if you are asexual but do remember that it’s just a list, not all asexual people would relate to it so it’s better to talk to other people from the LGBTQIA+ community, queer representatives, mental health professionals, etc. if you have high doubts about your sexual orientation or defining yourself. 

●      Sex doesn’t satisfy or attract you

You may not like being sexually touched or after having sexual intercourse, your arousal intensity would have been near to zero.

●      You don’t get turned on by other people

Asexual people might get satisfied by masturbation but sexual attraction isn’t something they would want to put themselves in.

●      Other people’s sexual orientation isn’t relatable to you

 Asexual people often feel left out or alone when their friends talk about their encounter or desire for sexual intercourses.

●      You feel comfortable with this tag

You feel less alone and comfortable when you find someone who is asexual and with whom you highly relate.

What is a mental disorder?

The term itself is very predictable but again stigmatized by a lot of our population. A mental disorder also having ‘nicknames’ like mental illness and psychiatric disorder is a pattern associated with a person’s behavior patterns that leads to impactful adversity on their daily chores.

These impairments can be persistent, relapsing, or happen in a single interval or episodes.

Types of mental disorders-

●      Depression

●      Bipolar disorder

●      Dementia

●      Schizophrenia

●      Anxiety disorder

●      Attention deficit hyperactivity

           disorder (ADHD)

●      Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

●      Autism Specturm disorder

●      Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Causes of mental disorders

The causes of these mental disorders are quite complicated to explain and even understand as there is no one cause. They are, in a nutshell, connected to how our brain functions, our genes, and our environment. 

If we dig in a little deeper then we come across three sections that can be called as their causes. They are:

  1. Biological factors
  1. Environmental factors
  1. Psychological factors

Biological factors:

●      Genetics: genes have been running down in our family tree since forever basically, and these messengers also carry with them the diseases that a person may or may not inherit. Similarly, due to the genes also being affected by mental disorder, they get transmitted from one person to other but depending upon the susceptibility it is not certain that which generation will get the particular disease or disorder.

●      Infections: our brain isn’t made up of steel that it is highly powerful in terms of its structure. Infections can happen to it and therefore due to the severity a person can develop mental disorders. For example bacteria named streptococcus can also cause OCD to occur in a person.

●      Brain detects: just like an infection that affects the function of our brain, a brain injury or defect can also decide the way it behaves.

●      Prenatal damage: when a baby is inside a mother’s womb it is also likely that they can have brain damage due to abnormalities or loss of oxygen.

●      Substance abuse: addiction to certain drugs and substances can affect the way chemicals work inside your way and disrupt their flow when the intake gets discontinued which eventually leads to severe adversities in its functions.

Environmental factors:

●      Losing a loved one.

●      Divorce

●      Living with a dysfunctional or abusive family.

●      Feelings of being left out, loneliness, body image issues and not being perfect in the eyes of society.

●      Unstable work and school life.

●      Social norms and their expectations that looks at how someone is prettier than the other or richer than the same.

●      Drug addiction by the person or their loved ones.

Psychological factors:

●      Severe trauma faced in childhood or in any part of life like violence, domestic abuse, bullying, etc.

●      Being an orphan or losing parents with an accident they perceived.

●      Elimination from social groups and being called with abusive names because of their features, body shaming, bullying, etc.

●      Being different than others.

Myths and Misconceptions about Asexuality

●      Asexuality is connected to celibacy.

NO, celibacy is often inculcated due to religious purposes or personal issues which do not include a low attachment to sex. Asexuality is not a choice but celibacy is.

●      Asexual people never get into sexual intercourse.

Well, some people who carry asexual orientation do have sex for the sole reason of pleasing their partners or to experience parenthood.

●      Asexuals do not have relationships or romance.

No, some asexual people do have romantic or platonic relationships. They just don’t necessarily feel sexual attraction which is different from romance.

●      Asexuality is a choice.

No, asexuality is an orientation and not a choice, some people might realize it after getting involved in sexual intercourses or some recognize it early in their lives.

 

●      Asexuality is a mental disorder.

No, it is not developed due to someone’s brain function but it is solely dependent on one’s biological orientation.

Different spectrums we need to be informed about

In the abbreviation, LGBTQIAP+ the A stand for asexual

The term asexual has two categories, i.e. Sexual orientation and Romantic orientation.

Some people who are asexual may feel romantic or experience romance in a very platonic way which does not include sexual interaction at all. While others may get involved in sexual practices only to achieve orgasm through their bodily connections.

Some asexuals would hate to have a sexual connection with anyone and other people falling in the same orientation might force themselves in sexual intercourse to feel emotionally connected.

There are identities that fall in asexual and aromantic subtypes as well:

Aromantic

Aromantic falls under romantic orientation which is different from orientation which is based on sex. Some people say that romance and sexual attraction are connected, but it is incorrect. 

People falling in the aforementioned category generally do not fall in love and highly prefer to have friendships and non-romantic relationships.

 Many people in this section make partners for only having kids or other financial and personal needs.

Demisexual

Demisexual are those who feel both sexually aroused and romantically attached only when they highly connect with the other person or have a high emotional attachment.

Graysexual or grayromantic

●      These people, graysexual or grayromantic are those who fall between asexual and sexual orientations. They do feel romantic but rarely.

●      They generally experience rare incidences of sexual attraction, deliberately due to their interest.

●      They are also those who carry a very low sex drive while even experiencing sexual intercourse

●      And at last, some people who fall in this category also get themselves into sexual intercourse due to some specific circumstances.

 Conclusion

We explored asexuality in details, understood what is a mental disorder, and also covered various other things that are often associated with the topic. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) :

Why is asexuality not a disorder?

Asexuality is not a disorder because it depends on biological factors and does not get influenced by brain functions or injury. 

Is asexuality a diagnosis?

Since asexuality is biological and doesn’t not depend on our choice, it cannot have any diagnosis.

Is there a cure for asexuality?

Asexuality is not a mental disorder or a disease that needs a cure. People who are asexual is just as normal and well as a healthy person. We need to accept and create awareness for these kinds of orientation to reduce psychological pressure on those who are asexual.

How do I know if I am aromantic?

If you do not feel any romantic attraction with other people, then you might be aromantic. But it is always better to research more and talk to professionals before jumping onto conclusions.

Can asexual fall in love?

Yes, while many of them may not feel love, some of the asexual people may feel romantic attraction and fall in love with a person. (Which does not include sexual attraction)

Can you be married asexual?

Yes, asexuals can get married and also have healthy parenthood. It is not important to have sex for them only because of attraction or satisfaction but also because of wishes like marriage and having children.

References

https://aceweek.org/stories/asexuality-in-the-dsm
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-single/201609/asexuality-is-sexual-orientation-not-sexual-dysfunction%3famp
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexuality
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327272

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