Sex and physical intimacy dominate much of the mainstream conversation about modern relationships, but what if the act of making love moves you no more than filling in tax returns?
For someone who identifies as asexual, this lack of desire may well be a hurdle they have to navigate if they wish to seek a romantic partner.
Asexuality is a multifaceted orientation that describes a person who does not experience sexual attraction.
There is a spectrum of ways people can identify as asexual, from bi-romantic – a romantic attraction to both men and women – to grey-asexual, meaning someone who may experience some sexual attraction but at a lower intensity or on very rare occasions.
It is by no means a new phenomenon, but it has experienced a surge in interest recently thanks to greater awareness around sexual orientations and fluidity.
The most commonly cited figure for the prevalence of asexuality among the global population is 1%. This came from a 2004 paper by Canadian psychologist Anthony Bogaert, in which he asked a large sample of people who they were sexually attracted to.
Furthermore, community sites such as the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), which shares information about asexuality and offers a space for people who identify as asexual to arrange meet-ups, is reporting higher numbers of registered users than ever before. Since 2010, it has grown from having 22,460 members to over 100,000 in 2018.
Here, three women who identify as asexual tell us exactly what it is like to date and have relationships without wanting to have sex – and the perks and pitfalls that present themselves during the process.