Updated: Aug 3, 2018
By: Maddie Koeplin
According to the ancient Plato, Aristotle, and PsychologyToday.com, there are seven types of love. Philia is the love between friends. Storge is familial love. Agape is harder to define, usually described as universal love, the love we have for humanity, nature, and life. Ludus is casual, or uncommitted love, usually seen in the beginning of romantic relationships. Pragma is committed and devoted love, usually seen in friendships and romantic relationships that have spanned decades. Philautia is self-love, something narcissists possess in abundance and what people with low self-esteem are chronically deficient in. Then there is Eros, sexual love, the driver of human reproduction, lust, sexuality, and many emotional crises.
When a person is unable or lacks the ability to feel one of these loves, society as a whole is quick to try to diagnose that person. A lack of Eros, sexual attraction, is the definition of asexuality, a label I have come to be proud of, and something that was, until the publication of the DSM V in 2013, called hypoactive sexual desire disorder. In my experience, an individual that lacks Eros seems to worry everyone else except the person not feeling it.
Honestly, I should have figured out I was asexual long before I actually did. I never understood the concept of an accidental pregnancy. I though humans only had sex for reproductive purposes, and I could not understand how sexual activities can be pleasurable. This wasn't for lack of education, I had extremely comprehensive sex-ed, was told correct anatomical names at a young age, and was never under the impression that sex and sexuality were shameful. I also never had true crushes until college. I always convinced myself I had a crush on the guy that every other girl had a crush on. I also never understood why my friends were so boy-crazy growing up, and I still struggle to maintain interest in my friend’s romantic relationships. Even with all of this, and knowing what asexuality was, it wasn't until my school-assigned counselor in the spring of my junior year of high school point-blank asked me what my sexuality was, was that I realized that "asexual" was the label that described me best. I immediately made the asexual pride flag my screen saver.
I have no recollection of telling my parents or sister about my sexuality, which clearly means they a) didn't react negatively, and b) probably knew before I did. Telling my friends wasn't hard, but their reactions were different than I anticipated. Absolutely no one was shocked, and quite a few told me they had suspected it for a while. I had a couple friends tell me that there was no such thing as asexual. The fact that I have had depression since I was ten was commonly used to tell me that I just never developed a sexuality, or that my sexuality is suppressed because of my depression, anxiety, and the left over fear and guilt I have from being raised Catholic. That was what hurt. Someone I trusted telling me something I was completely fine and confident about myself was actually a major flaw.
Romantic relationships are something that kind of scare me. I'm not scared of being in a relationship, I am scared of the other person not understanding that I will not, and cannot, give them the sexual side of a relationship. I want the cuddling and kissing, handholding and being "that couple" in public, but as soon as it gets below the waistline, it's a no-go. That is probably part of the reason I find myself romantically attracted to women, for the stereotypical reasoning that a woman would probably be more willing to be in a relationship that doesn't involve sex, while a man may be completely put off by the idea. Incredibly stereotypical, I realize, but in my experience, seems to be true.
Aristotle, Plato, and the great Sigmund Freud would have much to say about an individual not feeling the need to engage in sexual intercourse, but in the new millennium, it shouldn't matter. I am content with my lack of Eros, as my life is filled with Pragma, Agape, Philia, and three other forms of love that make my life whole.