Many people consider sexuality to be part of who they are and a necessary aspect of romantic relationships. But sex holds no significance whatsoever in the lives of a small number of people. Asexuals have no sex drive or sexual attraction to others. This is different from celibacy, in which people choose not to engage in sexual activities. Asexuals aren't sexually dysfunctional. They're physically able to have sex but prefer not to. They're not bothered by the lack of a sex drive and don't believe there's anything "wrong" with them.
People who are asexual can have romantic relationships and may get married. They often describe their sexual orientation in terms of the people they are attracted to emotionally rather than physically. Asexuals' attitudes towards sex may also range from complete repulsion to willing participation for the benefit of another person. Some asexuals say that they masturbate but consider it a part of their bodily functions, not part of their sexuality.
Studying asexuality in the past has been challenging, especially since many sex researchers haven't included it as an option in surveys about sexual orientation and practices. In recent years, however, asexuals have become more outspoken, formed communities and sought to educate others about asexuality.
The mere existence of asexuality can be controversial, but the controversy associated with our next unusual sexual condition is even more extreme. Read on to find out why.