published at Freedom Democrats 3/28/2006
Asexual Americans, like many dispersed minority groups, are using the Internet to form a community. Browsing the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network website
Instead, I bring up asexuality as a conceptual framework that can help us to think about the role of sexuality in our society, and in particular, the role of the state in defining sexual norms.
How does a person live in a predominantly sexual society if that person has no sexual desire? I suspect such individuals are commonly frustrated as they develop intimate relationships with others, only to find that those others expect sexual behavior to be part of those relationships. If such confusion doesn't exist, they still find that the importance of their (asexual) relationships is minimized by comparison and competition against sexual relationships. I suspect they have trouble finding others who share similar views towards intimate and committed relationships. When they do find a person to form a committed relationship with, half of the time they are frustrated by society (including the state) declaring that their relationships are less important, and less respectable than (hetero)sexual relationships.
Thinking about these asexual relationships can help us clarify what we want from socially sanctioned relationships and why state promotion of heterosexuality is so deeply offensive, even for those who comfortably fit the heterosexual mold. We support "homosexual" marriage not because we like gays, nor because we want to promote homo-sexual activity. We simply want to remove sexuality from the definition of marriage. We want the state to stop thinking of us as sexual objects, and to start thinking of us as independent humans with a right to our own bodies and a right to define our own relationships.
If you'd like more information on asexuality, I recommend the Wikipedia article. The article presents a range of views and issues regarding asexuality
With those thoughts, I'd like to refer you to two articles that have caught my attention. The first is a libertarian perspective on how to reform state policy regarding marriage:Tully's Page: As the Free State grapples with gay marriage...
The second is a bit more radical analysis of state-sponsored sexuality from the New Times in Russia:WHAT COMES AFTER A MAN AND A WOMAN
"The state did not care a whit about the thick book which priests showed to people from time to time. A state...needed statistics and control.
"To be more exact, it demanded two things: a population census with a view to collecting taxes and calling up young men for military service....So it would be no exaggeration to say that heterosexuality as a norm derived from certain functions of power, namely, the registration of the population, tax collection and the formation of a regular army.
"Heterosexuality was a general standard of behavior toward one's own body (and soul) forced by the state on its citizens, inasmuch as their bodies and souls were, if not its full property, then at its disposal."