By Jamie Watters, The Guardian
Asexual representation is becoming more common – but the orientation is still widely misunderstood. Not wanting sex is not the same as not wanting romance or intimacy – something, its advocates say, the rest of us would benefit from learning
Yasmin Benoit realised she was asexual around the time her peers in Reading figured out they weren’t. “Everyone seems pretty asexual until puberty hits and then they aren’t. But I didn’t feel the same way. I realised something was up,” she recalls.
But when the then-teenager came out as asexual, no one believed her. “They were, like: ‘You don’t look asexual, you’re probably just insecure, or you must have got molested or you must be gay… Maybe you’re a psychopath and can’t form proper connections with people.’”
Everyone had a theory about what was “wrong” with Benoit; no one accepted the simple fact that, by nature, she didn’t feel sexual attraction towards others. And she’s not alone. Today, as well as being a fashion model, the poised 24-year-old is the world’s most prominent activist for asexuality, an orientation estimated to apply to 1% of the global population, although some think the number is higher.