Love without sex. Any volunteers?

Asexual people are the people who say no to sex voluntarily. Those people have their own reasons behind such an unusual decision. They fall in love and build families. They say that they know exactly where the border is between sex and intimacy. To all appearance, the absence of something in life allows to take a look at that something from a completely different point of view.

David Jay, the 29-year-old star of 2011 documentary "A(sexual)", spent most of his life observing other people's sexual behavior as a researcher. Jay founded the Asexual Visibility and Education Network in 2001 and became a frequent guest at many TV and radio shows. He has to answer the same questions in practically every interview, buy the man is full of patience. A few people may actually realize that it is indeed possible to live in this world without sex.

Most people will be offended with the idea of having absolutely no interest in sex. This concept contradicts to everything that human beings are accustomed to. The concept is actually confrontational. It is very hard for many to believe in asexuality, which raises many explanations to the roots of this phenomenon. People usually try to explain this with a childhood trauma or violence, although there is no evidence to prove that this connection may actually exist.

Moreover, common people are astounded to find out that asexuality has several categories. Like everyone else, asexual individuals fall in love with each other and marry each other in spite of the fact that they do not practice sex. They can receive pleasure from kisses and hugs.

"There's no official line that we draw. It's really about an individual subjective experience. There are things that I do, and that I love doing, that other people would call sexual," Jay says. He likes to cuddle, for instance, and he's "learned" to sometimes enjoy kissing - but he says that as soon as "things get around my own genitals, they stop making sense to my body." He describes it as "neural white noise" - which, understandably, he doesn't find particularly erotic. "What I've found the few times that I've been physical with another asexual person, there's sort of this sense that gravity turned off."

Stephen Elliott, the author of books about BDSM, is one of those who do not understand David Jay, but try to penetrate into their psychology.

"If I have all this desire, how can I be asexual?" That's the thing: he has no shortage of erotic longing, just a disinterest in sexual intercourse. "It's hard to put it together, if you desire someone so much you want to inhale them, and if sex is self-defining, or if what I mean by sex is not what you mean by sex," he writes.

Interestingly enough, many asexuals masturbate and they do it as often as other people do. Jay says that some people fantasize when they do it, others see masturbation as a physiological necessity.

Asexual individuals can make others change their approach to relationship.

"The language that we use to talk about intimacy in our culture is deeply, deeply sexualized. For a lot of sexual people, especially straight people, there's this image of what intimacy should look like and how you're supposed to connect with other people. A lot of that is based around the idea that you're supposed to form a really intimate connection with one person that lasts for your entire life and involves sex," Jay says.

Jay does not urge anyone to join him. He does not think that asexuality is better or worse than sexuality. He admits that the sexual experience that he missed was a very valuable thing.

"Sex is a blunt instrument, a way to monitor and control the intimacy that people create without really delving into the reality of what makes that intimacy happen. But the power that sex has is also fundamentally fragile, he says.

Natalia Sinitsa

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov