A New Kind of Sexual Orientation: Asexual

| by Michael Allen

We've all heard of heterosexual, homosexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals, transsexuals, transgender but now it's time to add a new classification.

Asexuals are people who feel romantic feelings towards people, but no sexual attraction. These folks are an estimated one per cent of the population and some are saying this classification should be added. reports:

Professor Anthony Bogaert's book, Understanding Asexuality, argues that a growing number of people consider themselves asexual. He believes asexual people are "an under-studied population" who can feel excluded from our "very sexualised culture". He said our society, "can place expectations on both sexual and asexual people, but particularly asexual people."

Bogaert, an associate professor at Brock University in Canada, defines asexuality as a complete lack of sexual attraction. "There are two forms: people who have some level of sex drive, but don't direct this drive toward others (so they may masturbate); and other people who have no sex drive whatsoever."

The first non-academic conference to tackle asexuality took place at Southbank University, London, last month. Michael Doré, organiser of the World Pride conference, said: "We want asexuality to be recognised as a valid sexual orientation, rather than a disorder or something people have to hide."

The term asexual became popular in 2001, when David Jay launched the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network – or Aven – website. There are now more than 50,000 members worldwide.