I mentioned in a comment a little while back that I should more properly describe myself as an asexualist than an asexual (as I had at the end of that post - well, I used the word 'asexuality' about myself). Indeed, 'asexualist' was a derogatory description once applied to me by old Oxford buddy, Mr B.
This was, however, a veiled reference (one that only Mr B and I and The Bookseller and a handful of others back then would get; one that today is perhaps all but forgotten) to another of my great Unsuitable Role Models, the satirical writer Auberon Waugh. Bron, as he was familiarly known, had despaired of trying to escape from the shadow of his famous father Evelyn, and thus abandoned an early career of novel-writing to become a newspaper and magazine columnist. I discovered him at a tender age (tipped off to him, I think, by my favourite subversive Classics teacher), fell immediately for his caustic and deliciously un-PC wit, and devoured every written and spoken word of his I could find for the next dozen or more years: in the New Statesman, Books & Bookmen, The Literary Review (his own, quixotically odd magazine, which he started up just after I entered University); but mostly through his semi-fictitious 'Diary' in Private Eye and his often wilfully offensive but rarely less than hilarious 'Another Voice' column in The Spectator.
Amongst his ongoing crusades was his insistence that the use of the adjective 'homosexual' as a noun was quite unnacceptable; the proper term for a person exhibiting homosexual proclivities, or indulging in homosexual practices, or espousing the 'homosexual lifestyle', was..... homosexualist.
In grammar, he was indisputably right. After all, we have the reasonably common example of the word 'sensualist' meaning a person who venerates sensuality. Everyday usage, however, is a damned hard thing to overthrow. Poor old Bron never seemed to make any progress in this campaign - except for the dutiful adoption of the term 'homosexualist' by a coterie of young fans such as myself (and Mr B and The Bookseller).
Ah, I still have a huge soft spot for Bron; I was just reading his obituary in The Guardian (he died a year or so before I came out to China), and it almost made me cry. A very fine piece indeed, and well worth a read.
All of that, however, is mere preamble.
What I had wanted to say in this post is that perhaps a leading reason (the reason of all reasons?) for my ongoing girlfriendlessness, one that I somehow omitted from the (comment-frenzy-provoking!) post below (although, if you have by chance found this Asexualismo piece in isolation via a search, here's the link), is that I am essentially - as my 'friend' Mr B so shrewdly, so witheringly put it all those years ago - an asexualist.
Scoff, if you will. Sneer, jeer, and entertain your doubts. I assure you it is true. Sex has never been a central part of my life, a major motivator of my actions. That is not to say that I haven't from time to time become sexually obsessed with a woman - and, on a few occasions, even enjoyed having sex with the object of one of these obsessions.... and accordingly been driven to make a fool out of myself. But these incidents are very much the exception rather than the rule of my life. Sex is not part of how I define myself. (I always suspect it of being a bit of a political soapbox thing when our gay brethren proclaim their sexual preference as the core of their being. I scarcely even understand the term 'preference' in this context. "Erm... indoors, with the lights off?" I mumble shyly.) I could far more easily give up sex than books.... or a key friend..... or running, probably...... or possibly even blogging (now, that is a sad reflection).
Indeed, I have given up sex for far longer periods of my life than most people would suppose humanly possible. Sometimes this has been by necessity; more often, perhaps, it has been the result of indolence, or mere inattention. Chastity has become a kind of habit with me, and I can quite often go for a year or two at a time without so much as attempting to chat a girl up - and not even notice the passage of time, the length of the drought.
And I'm really not too unhappy about it. I have attained a certain kind of inner peace through following this path (and saved myself a heck of a lot of money, and left myself a lot more time for reading books, and....). Perhaps I should try to convert others to this outlook, to develop it into a creed which could ease the frustration and disappointment of humankind, and lead us all into a more tranquil way of living (albeit one that would doom our race to rapid extinction). Come, my brothers (and sisters), take up the cause, join with me in celebrating the benefits of Asexualismo. You know it makes sense.
I am often reminded of the words of Socrates on this topic (though, admittedly, he spoke them only in old age):
"I am heartily glad to be rid of sex - as a slave that has escaped at last from a brutal and tyrannical master."