Asexuals Push for Recognition and for Change in DSM
Asexual activist, David Jay, is pushing for change in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which currently considers asexuality a mental disorder.
Jay says it's his choice not to engage in sex. To be sure, there are millions of other people who have no interest in sex or are unable to perform sexually who are not at all happy to be members of this club. For them, a variety of psychiatric and medical procedures are available.
But asexuals like Jay are perfectly happy to take a pass on sex. Today, Jay is one of the most prominent voices in the asexuality community. In 2001, he started the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) with the aim of providing a community for people who identify themselves as asexual.
And he said that while one of the primary aims of the group is to foster a greater general understanding of asexuality, this does not mean that there should be less talk about sex. In fact, he believes more such talk is needed.
"The problem is not that there is too much discussion about sex; 99 percent of the world really, really likes sex, so it is something that should be talked about openly and honestly," Jay said. "But we need to have more discussion about how people can not have sex and still be happy."
Recently, Jay and others within AVEN began lobbying for greater understanding of asexuality among the psychological community as well. Their message is simple: they want increased recognition of asexuality among psychological professionals -- while ensuring that it is seen as a legitimate sexual orientation rather than diagnosed as a mental illness.
The group's current goal is to foster greater understanding among the architects of the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is scheduled for release in 2012. The DSM, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders.