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When it comes to asexuality, there are two different issues that lead to great concerns for humans. These are the biological and social factors of asexuality. Biologically asexuality has its meaning rooted in the genetic makeup of living organisms such as plants, whereas its social capacity is that of a purported sexual identity and lifestyle for humans. We will briefly discuss each aspect (biological and social) in attempts to give a proper overview of asexuality within its respective discipline and advancements, if any. There is a distinction between asexuality as a mindset (or rather an identity) and asexuality as a form of reproduction. Extensive research has been done to show that plants can asexually reproduce. For humans, asexuality is a confessed identity; furthermore in medicine, it is recognized as a condition.
According to the National Health museum website, asexuality in regards to biology is “a mode of reproduction by which offspring arise from a single parent and inherit the genes of that parent only; it is reproduction which does not involve the process of meiosis, which reduces ploidy, or fertilization (Srinivasan, 2010).” These three processes are key for cells to produce asexuality, either male or female. According to Research done by the University of New York, meiosis is a special type of cell division necessary for sexual reproduction. In animals, meiosis produces gametes like sperm and egg cells, while in other organisms like fungi it generates spores.
Asexual and Sexual reproduction cycle
As shown in the image posted to the right, it depicts a good illustration of how the cells identify with one another and come together or separate. Meiosis begins with one diploid cell containing two copies of each chromosome, one from the organism's mother and one from its father, and produces four haploid cells containing one copy of each chromosome. Each of the resulting chromosomes in the gamete cells is a unique mixture of maternal and paternal DNA, ensuring that offspring are genetically distinct from either parent (Srinivasan, 2010). This gives rise to genetic diversity in sexually reproducing populations, which enables them to adapt during the course of evolution. On the other hand, Ploidy is the number of sets of chromosomes in a biological cell. Based off the research, there is a more precise and applicable definition that we can employ for biological asexuality; instead of a process of reproduction that doesn’t involve any blending of the cells, it is a production of a singular gamete rather than two. This is only half of what asexuality entails, there is also a social aspect that involves the sexuality of humans.
We will apply the psychological sector of asexuality, to AVEN (Asexual Visibility and Education Network). They define an asexual as “a person who does not experience sexual attraction,” a definition that does not, as a matter of fact, indicate asexuality as a homogenous group of individuals. As it relates to identity, orientation, and politics, members within the asexual community have given a name and a new understanding to what has commonly been viewed as a dysfunction or a repressed sexuality (Milks, 2010, 651). A good example is a 24-year-old woman who lives a healthy and vibrant life, has a satisfying job as a registered nurse, loves to swim, and is in a new 8-month relationship. What's unique about her relationship is that neither she nor her boyfriend is interested in having sex with each other or anyone else for that matter. They are what they describe as "asexuals," and where many physicians and psychologists would call this a problem that needs to be addressed (Cox, 2008). Monica and her boyfriend feel it is a just a part of who they are and there is nothing wrong with it. Individuals within the asexual community aim to explore and define asexuality as a sexual identity and lifestyle just as heterosexuality, lesbianism, and gay.
Asexual individuals feel that medical professional’s ascription of asexuality as a condition that needs a solution feel this is incorrect, and that is just their effort to tell the individuals something is wrong with them in order to fix them. Asexual individuals seek to break away from the diagnosis that doctors have for them and claim their “condition” as a sexual identity rather than a medical condition they seek to find relief from. “There is a marked difference between those who experience a decrease in sex drive or lack of sexual desire and are distressed by this and those who do not experience sexual desire and are not distressed by this lack...the latter group is interested in establishing a viable sexual and social identity for it” (Milks, 2010, 652). Moreover, it is just out of ignorance that many professionals don't know about this community of people. Slowly things are beginning to change. Concrete research is something most professionals will accept as proof of recognition. In a study conducted in 2004 by Anthony Bogaert, a psychologist and human sexuality expert at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. The results of his study concluded that 1 in 100 adults were asexual. That can be defined as 1% of the population which is not too far behind the 3% of the population who are gay (Bogaert, 2004, sec.4). Not only is this a surprising situation but no one addresses the stress that comes along with being classified as asexual.
An asexual teen
Although asexuality isn’t necessarily a distress to those individuals, studies have shown that people who classify themselves as asexual do, in fact, struggle. Living as an asexual can be extremely challenging. While people are slowly growing more open to a variety of sexual orientations, the idea of being disinterested in sexuality is puzzling to some. Asexuals may find themselves in awkward discussions in which they are told that they will change their minds if they just give dating a chance, or in which their sexual orientation is dismissed by naysayers. It can also be difficult to pursue relationships as an asexual, with most asexual individuals preferring to date other people who identify as asexuals due to expectations which can arise in relationships with “sexuals,” as the asexual community refers to people who do experience sexual attraction. In CNN news report in the town of Boca Raton, there was a young woman that was a life guard and was verbally harassed on her job for many years for her sexuality. The young woman was openly asexual and the men on her job did not really agree with it, she was verbally abused for years before she finally decided to say something. She reported to the government and the court was able to address the case accordingly. This goes to show that even though people choose to be classified according to their sexual preference, it is not right to mistreat them because they have rights as well.
Asexuality can be classified as two determining factors one of which can be viewed on the biological level. This allows cells to reproduce and either be homosexual or heterosexual genes that produce one cell. The other is a psychological factor which individuals either see those people as not having any form of sexual attraction to the opposite or same sex. With this come great judgment and misunderstanding however those individuals who choose this lifestyle should not be treated different from and other human with rights.
Cerankowski, K., & Milks, M. (2010). New Orientations: Asexuality and Its Implications for Theory and Practice. Feminist Studies, 36(3), 650-664. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
King, K. C., & Hurst, G. D. (2010). Losing the desire: selection can promote obligate asexuality. BMC Biology, 8101-103. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-101
Access excellence. (2009, December 4). Retrieved from
Srinivasan, D. G., Fenton, B. B., Jaubert-Possamai, S. S., & Jaouannet, M. M. (2010). Analysis of meiosis and cell cycle genes of the facultatively asexual pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum(Hemiptera: Aphididae). Insect Molecular Biology, 19229-239. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2583.2009.00960.x
Cox, P. (2008, September 08). 'We’re married, we just don't have sex'. Retrieved from
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