Do people ‘without sexual desire’ really exist?

Not to sound too Mlian-Kunderaish but it’s hard not to speculate about those ostensibly without sexual desire.Photo by sinabeet from Flickr licensed using Creative Commons
It’s not about success rate: many desire but few are chosen. It’s the question of whether some really have no desire at all (chemical castration and age issues aside) or whether there is some other explanation?

This seemingly abstract question really matters I think because desire drives so many people’s actions out there in the world – how are we to understand the motivations of someone who is ‘without desire’?

In the style of Cosmopolitan I can refer to my friend ‘R’. He has never been really seen in anything approaching intimate embrace with a woman although he definitely personable and can frequently be seen dining with attractive single members of both sexes, but, he is not known to be gay. 

My (unfounded) suspicion is that he has ‘desires’ but for whatever reason does not reveal them or cannot act on them.

My perhaps ignorant assumption (I love it when people correct me please please please!) is that desire is one of those things that is hardwired into us, whether or not we are able to actualize it and that being ‘without desire’ is rare if not non-existent.

To put it another way I guess I am thinking that there are mainly four possible explanations of desire motivations for any individual.

  1. they desire and act heterosexually
  2. they desire and act homosexually
  3. they desire and act in a ‘special interest’ sense (they’re principally and legitimately interested in shoes, reliving breastfeeding, dressing up as sheep etc etc)
  4. they desire heterosexually, homosexually, or have special interests but they do not act because of past traumas: someone told them their body odour was appalling; as men they become impotent under the stress of a new romantic entanglement and so can only consumate desire where emotionally detached; they have never really recovered from desire of ‘one’ other individual where that relationship went badly etc etc

It is the last category (they desire but do not act) that is of course the interesting category.  And it is in that light that we can maybe look at some of our friends and perhaps understand their motivations better.

This article filed under the following 'Interest' categories (click category for more) Unanswerable questions

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Article posted by @Drivelry on January 18, 2009

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