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ThaHoward

Article about Asexuality in Norwegian student paper

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ThaHoward

So yeah I (and another Norwegian) were interviewed about asexuality for some who wanted to write an article about asexuality. It look pretty good with even professional opinions about asexuality (backing up that it is real). So yeah, I will translate it later. In the meanwhile here is the article, for those generally interested or understand Norwegian. Interestingly enough it look like it is the main article. You'll find it at page 20. It also have an interview with the leader of the Norwegian LGBT, which is quite skeptical to asexuality and doesn't want to include it. They did something nice as telling about that asexuals are organizing themselves at WorldPride and also including that we want to be a part of the LBGT movement.

http://dusken.no/media/publications/2014/UD03.2914_1.pdf

Translation. Keep in mind tha I'm translating it from the form of Norwegian that is not native to me, and that some sentences will become clumsy and some will become lost in traslation. For simplicity I'll reffer to myself as Howard and not Håvard.

The main article:

Table of contents:

Asexuality

Around one percent us don't get sexual attracted.

Page 20-21, article front:

Love without sex

Around one percent of Norwegians are asexual. Howard (19) never think of naked girls.

Facts, pictures and quotes:

Fact boxes, page 22:

Facts about Asexuality

  • Asexuality is defined as no sexual attraction.
  • In contrast to celibacy, which is an active choice, asexuality is a natural part of one self.
  • According to numbers from SSB [government's bueara for that gathers statistics and numbers] 1.3% of the [Norwegian] population have 0 sexual desires[attraction].
  • No one in Norway have currently said they are asexual in public.
  • It is different kinds of asexuals, one example is heteroromantic asexuals. That is one get romantically, but not sexually, attracted to the opposite sex [and/or gender].

Facts about AVEN:

  • Asexuals primarly use the internet as a meeting place and informational medium.
  • The internet forum AVEN (The Asexual Visibility & Education Network) is the biggest and was founded in 2001.
  • AVEN have around 60 000 members.
  • Nationalities from the entire world is represented, as well as Norwegians.
  • The topics include: sexuality, gender identity, love and daily interests.

Page 23, quote and picture:

""You can fake it and make it" for a while, but after a while it becomes so [swearing] that you don't want to do it anymore" - "Stian" (33).

Picture: Sex isn't for everyone: Howard have experienced to be laughed at/mocked when he was on AVEN at school. He say he have been met with little understanding from other sexuals.

Picture and quote, page 24:

Picture: Expert at love: Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair believes believes that having sex with something that "just lays there" evetytime can get boring in the long run. - The best would be to find someone who are as little interested as yourself, he says.

Quote one: "It is perfectly normal to not want sex,but it is not usual". Leif Edward Oteesen Kennar. Psychologist and scientist at NTNU.

Quote two: "People say it doesn't exist, that only losers are asexual, and that I am mentally ill". Howard (19) Asexual.

Page 22-23:

"Sex just feel unnatural and foreign. I dont want to do it, something tell me to stop".

Howard is 19 years old and is on his last year in Highschool. He likes to play football [soccer], go to parties and is wearing jeans and a big winter jacket with fur. A normal school boy, apart from one thing: he doesn't experience sexual attraction.

-I've had a few crushes on girls, but I've never had sexual feelings for them. The difference is that I get attracted to their personality. I think of how I would like to spend my time with her.

Have to watch porn all the time.

Howard is a heteroromantic asexual.

Asexuality is defines as experiencing no sexual attraction. Around one percent of the Norwegian population doesn't experience sexual attraction acording to numbers from SSB. No one have publically come out as asexual in Norway to this date.

Howard have said he have had sex, but it didn'nt make him want more of it. Howard thought it was something that would change over time.

It never did.

-"At first I didn't want to accept it, and believed it was something wrong with me. I have pushed myself to have sex, since I felt it was expected of me, both from the partner and society", he tell us cautious.

The voice is low. He tries to distance himself from the topic. Talks about himself indirectly. The exceptations that one is supposed to have a lot sex have been difficult for Howard.

-"In the sexual education classes in school, we were thaught that all all boys want sex and watch porn all the time, which it was something I never did. I never understood what was so special about it. I felt like I was not a real boy".

-Sex is not my interest. "Stian" (33) is running his own business in Oslo. He was around 26 years old when he found out he was asexual.

-" I asked around with my buddies when I found out I was different. I asked them: "When did you find out that you're hetero?". Everyone else appereantly had a clear idea of when they became interested in the opposite sex, but it have never been there for me".

"Stian" have sex once in a while, maybe one time each year. He tries to do it often enough so he won't forget the experience, but it is never something he really wants to do. Sex and masturbation is just something physical for him, without erotical fantasies. It isn't in his interests, as he say it himself.

-"Society expects that sex is a service one have to deliver. People start to think about it very early on. They think "here I can get lucky"".

Earlier "Stian" felt an emptyness by doing something which was very important and important for the other part., but for him it was more mechanical.

-"It was a terrible experience. I felt like sex was something I shouldn't do. Now I have managed to conquer that feeling. If it is something I am fond of [or love], I may have sex with her because because I think it is pleasant/nice.

Have sex with the duvet. Many with lack of sexual desires come to the clinic to the sexologist Gro Isachsen to get help. She have helped some who haven't sexually "awakened" yet.

Some seldom times she have gotten persons who define themselves as asexuals.

-"With a closer look retropersepctivley, they have often had a sexual life with themselves afterall, however they don't define it as sex. For example by having their legs around a duvet and contracting their pelvis muscles. It have been a purely physical experience without any erotical fantasies. Others may have problems with having sex with others, but are doing splendenly by their own".

Isachsen believes the increasing sex press today are to blame for that many young ones have prestation anxiety at that field.

-"Sex is supposed to be something everyone have og is easy to perform. It is not normal to not have sexual desire. When one then have this problem, it leads to an evil circle with even less desire.

Fascinated, but not in love. "Stian" had in a relationship in the start of his twenties which lasted for five years, but he have never been in love.

-"She was beautiful and smart, and simply the best way to spend your time. Of course it was love. I can become fascinated of humans, but to be in love [have a crush] I really don't know what it is like".

For him intimacy and sex is two completely different things. After a while it became a challenge as the one part expected something which the other couldn't live up to.

-"Sex became a problem after a while. "You can fake it and make it" for a while, but at some point it become so [swear word] that you don't want to do it anymore. I didn't manage to perform in relation to the desires and needs of another human, I got exhausted of it", he explains.

To avoid sexual pressure, many asexual choose to meet others like them on dating sites instead. Here you can find groups for those who are in the gray-area, those who want to marry, and those who love to bake cake. For the aromantics, the homoromantic, the panromantic, sapioromantic and the demi-heteroromantics.

Page 24-25:

Would rather play bridge. Love gets obviously different without sex, states psychologist and scientist Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair at NTNU.

- "Picture yourself a very close friend of the opposite sex which you could go on vacations with and shared a bed with, but still get your fingers to yourself. It could be your best vacation memory, but it would be entirley different if you had spent the time without someone you were so horny after that you would be on your knees".

Kennair beleives it can often become too much either or mentality.

- "Even if you're not horny in the moment, you can still be fond of/love your romantic partner. That feeling one can have all the time".

He calls it companion-love.

- "They are together in their lives og share common interests, for example that both like to play bridge. It is a person that is important to you, which you want to be together with, but you don't get sexually attracted to them. It isn't necessairly that what one think of being in love".

It is many explenations for asexuality, but Kennair think it is important to not make the individual look sick.

- "It is perfectly normal to not want sex, but it is not usual. Not everyone have the desire for sex with other humans, and that is totally okay. Just like someone see colors, while others don't".

New years resolution to have more sex. "Stian" have promised himself that in the next years he will try to have more sex, and be positive to it.

- "I have to challenge myself by doing things I'm not motivated to do. It can be compared to a new years resolution to excercise more in the new year".

He is open about his sexuality to his friends and family, but he doesn't like to define himself as asexual.

- "They label me. By saying I'm asexual, I'm also saying that I'm going to be it [sorry, I really don't understand what they say]. I only know that I'm different. I like to say that I'm just not interested".

He often come with funny one-liners to describe himself. "Stian" is confident with his orientation.

- "I've realized I've good time because I don't think about sex all the time. 98% of my brain capacity are liberated to think of other things", he says and laughs.

"Stian" have a hard time picturing himself in a relationship and have no plans of getting a family. Even if he's a social and extroverted guy, he picture himself ot be alone for the rest of his life.

- "I was very scared of being afraid for a while. But I have never been without friends, so why should I start with that when I'm 70? you will yourself stop to involve other humans in your life".

From disease to identity. "It is diffiult to get the numbers of asexuals, because it is no research that include questions about asexuality" says miniority and gender researcher/scientist Randi Elin Gressgård at the University of Bergen.

- "On the other hand it is many who say they have troubles with sexual desires. A small portion of these would say that they may be asexual".

Gressgård explains that most of those that identify as asexuals are between 20 and 30 years old, something that is related to that young people are active users of social media, and that contact between asexuals are primarly going thorugh the internet. The internet community AVEN (Asexuality Visibility & Education Network) was founded in 2001 with 1200 members, now it have tens of thousands of users..

- "It is important to remember that it is a great variation in how the members percieve asexuality and how they live their asexual lives. A common goal on the other hand is that they wish to fight agains the common disbelief that asexuality is a physical illness or a result of mental problems", she says.

Gressgård underlines that asexuals don't choose to be so, but something you are - in contrast to celibacy. Gressgård explains that this view on asexuality as an identity and not a diagnosis is supported by more and more scientists in the fields of psychology and sexology.

She believes on the other hand that it can be difficult being accepted as asexual, because sexuality is often associoated with vitality and is percieved as something naturally human.

- "Many feel a strong norm pressure to have an active sexual life. For many who doesn't feel sexual desire or attraction, the asexual identity can therefore be an alternative".

Found likeminded on the internet. It was around year ago Howard realized he doesn't experience sexual attraction. He wondered what was wrong with him. He visited a doctor to check his hormones, but his libido and homronal levels were perfectly normal. Because of his absent of sexual feelings for girls, Howard became more and more certain that he was homosexual. It ended up with him searching for asexuality.

On AVEN he got to know likeminded which had experienced the same as him.

- "I found out that my orientation was a natural part of myself. I have always been asexual, so if it is an illness I must have had it since I was born."

Howard have tried to talk to family and friends about his orientation, but have never been believed.

- "People tell me that it doesn't exist, that it is only loosers that are asexual, and that I am mentally ill. Others have told me that I'm a repressed homosexual, or that I can't get an erection. It may be difficult to understand, because sex have always been such a big part of their life, and will always be. That someboy doesn't want it and can't experience sexual attraction, is just alien for them", Howard believes.

Wants to become a part of the pride movement. Howard believes that a mix of taboo and lack of knowledge is a big reason for why many asexuals have troubles being open about their orientation.

- "It is not much information about asexuality, and that make it difficult for others to know anything about is, something that leads to ignorance on the field".

He thinks it is good to be around likeminded people, and want to strenghten the asexual community in Norway. He believes the future of the community is to become a part of the pride movement.

- "It is important for many asexuals to be a part of the LGBT-movement, and we try to be a part of the LLH [LGBT]. Asexuals are also organizing themselves at WorldPride", says the 19 year old, who look positivley at the future of asexuality .

- Do you see any similiarities between the homosexuals fight/cause and the asexual cause?

- "The homosexuals experience a lot more discrimination than asexuals. But I will say it is many similarities. Before homosexuality wasn't as accepted as it is now, and it wasn't that much of research and science behind it. It isn't before modern times that asexuality have started to emerge. It is a long process", he says.

Once asexual, always asexual. Some asexuals are sexually repressed. Howard doesn't have it like that. Eventhough he doesn't have any desires for sex, Howard doesn't have any problems with physical contact. He can hold hands and kiss, but that is his limit. He doubts he will ever get sexual desires.

- "It is my orientation. Just like some are heterosexual, while some are homosexual. This is who I am, and I can't change that.

Howard doesn't miss [desire] sex in his life, but he admits that it might have been easier if he was sexual.

- "Sometimes I reflect over if it would been better if I could experience sexual attraction just like everyone else".

"Stian" is curios about how sex is experienced for others [sexuals].

- "Everyone explain how fantastic it is. I get fascinated that it is such a strong influence on toher human beings. But of course I don't miss it. I don't know what it is like".

The interview with the LGBT movement, page 25:

- Not a topic.

Neither the LGBT movement or the politcal leadership have asexuality on their agenda.

- "Asexuality is not something we work with in our organization.

The leader of the The National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH) is quite clear in his statement.

Why not?

- "We fight for humans that are discriminated because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. As far as I know none of our sister organizations are international work on the behalf of asexuals.

Today it is no organization for asexuals in Norway. Nylund claims that he have an understanding for the challenges asexuals can face when they are different than others.

- "To be different is something that LGBT people also experience. We cheer for everyone who wants to be those who they are, independently of sexual prefferences and gender.

At the same time Nylund say that heteroromantics as Howard is not welcome in the LGBT.

- "Asexual can of course fit in the the LGBT movement, but only as long as they are homophil, biphil or trans persons".

Also the government organ of Childrens, gender-eqaulity and inclusion the answer is short: "The politcal leadership isn't interested in the interview". When the department get the question once more, they answer.

- "Asexuality is a topic that neither we, our knowledge/education center for sexual orientation and gender identity, the LGBT center, have in their portifolio", they answer in an email.

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Lambda Corvus

Thanks for posting this Howard, and good work with the interview. Always good to see some positive and professional-backed visibility. I look forward to the translation.

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ThaHoward

Translation posted. Split between the article itself and the interview with the LGBT. Also picture descriptions, facts boxes and quotes are in it's own spoiler.

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Guest member25959

Open link

See New Norwegian

Hnnnnnnnnnnnnng

Edit: Oh I hadn't noticed that they've split the article into lots of different sections. My Norwegians are terrible but they seem to be emphasizing a lack of desire and... well meh. I guess I should read the English translation first

Edited by Raccoons & Arca N.H.

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cavyX

Think is is a really good article! Seems really well done as well.

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Mio

- "Asexuality is not something we work with in our organization.

The leader of the The National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH) is quite clear in his statement.

Why not?

- "We fight for humans that are discriminated because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. As far as I know none of our sister organizations are international work on the behalf of asexuals.

This upsets me so much. But at least it's honest.

However: "We fight for humans that are discriminated because of their sexual orientation and gender identity"

Does that not include asexual people??? Lulz no wait I am never discriminated.

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ithaca

- "Asexuality is not something we work with in our organization.

The leader of the The National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH) is quite clear in his statement.

Why not?

- "We fight for humans that are discriminated because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. As far as I know none of our sister organizations are international work on the behalf of asexuals.

This upsets me so much. But at least it's honest.

However: "We fight for humans that are discriminated because of their sexual orientation and gender identity"

Does that not include asexual people??? Lulz no wait I am never discriminated.

This has been discussed at length, even recently. If you use "discrimination" to mean "people are ignorant and sometimes rude to me", then yes, asexuals are "discriminated". If you mean in a legal way, asexuals are not denied any rights on the basis of being asexual. If they're homo/biromantic and want to marry someone of the same sex, the issue isn't that they're asexual, but that theirs would be a same-sex marriage, so still a LGBT fight. But please let's keep this discussion in the following threads (after reading them, if possible): :)

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/96759-does-asexual-discrimination-exist/

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/98533-why-do-some-people-want-us-to-stay-in-the-closet/

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/98652-do-asexuals-deserve-specific-legal-rights/

I've read the first part of the article and it looks great :cake:

I have to run now, but I'll read the rest tonight :)

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ThaHoward

Open link

See New Norwegian

Hnnnnnnnnnnnnng

Edit: Oh I hadn't noticed that they've split the article into lots of different sections. My Norwegians are terrible but they seem to be emphasizing a lack of desire and... well meh. I guess I should read the English translation first

Lol :p Yeah they focus much upon lack of desire for sex. But they clearly say that asexuality is defined as experiencing no sexual attraction. And the relationships they focus on are those without sexual attraction. So I think the message goes out clearly enough. Of course it could have been better, but I believe that is having too high expectations. We should be glad that someone actually takes interest in asexuality and try to soread visibility. They said they wanted to write it since it is so little knowledge, articles and research on asexuality.

Think is is a really good article! Seems really well done as well.

Yes I agree! :)

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Mio
If you use "discrimination" to mean "people are ignorant and sometimes rude to me", then yes, asexuals are "discriminated". If you mean in a legal way, asexuals are not denied any rights on the basis of being asexual. If they're homo/biromantic and want to marry someone of the same sex, the issue isn't that they're asexual, but that theirs would be a same-sex marriage, so still a LGBT fight.

Point taken, you're right about discrimination in a legal sense.

Anyways Howard, glad to see you contributed! And although I agree they focus a bit too much on the lack of sexual desire (rather than attraction), I still think it's well written and I plan to read the entire Magazine-thingy.

I've been asked to be interviewed for a paper by a sociology student and have agreed, so I hope to be able to publish something here by the end of the semester.

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ThaHoward

Anyways Howard, glad to see you contributed! And although I agree they focus a bit too much on the lack of sexual desire (rather than attraction), I still think it's well written and I plan to read the entire Magazine-thingy.

I've been asked to be interviewed for a paper by a sociology student and have agreed, so I hope to be able to publish something here by the end of the semester.

Thanks! :) Oh that is great! Make sure to post it here - if you want to of course.

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