Will sex ever be free for men?

Taboo subject: when people just don't want sex

Manuela (25) has never cared about sex. As much as it bothered her friends, they didn't care. She wasn't surprised: "I was always different from other girls." Even as a child, she preferred to play with boys. Girl games and girl themes just weren't for her. That didn't change as she got older. The boys remained just buddies and like-minded people for her. That she wasn't interested in sex seemed to be the only logical consequence for Manuela. "At some point - when I was 17 - I did have a one-night stand," says Manuela. "I wanted love." Then she already suspected: "That wasn't it."

Again and again she had friends, was tender with them and sought the closeness she needed. But as soon as it came to sex, she blocked it. "I then said that it was still too early for me." At 22, she fell in love for the first time in her life. But there, too, sex was "just an act. Like washing windows. I was always happy when I was through." Your friend didn't notice. It was two years before she told him. "At some point I was just afraid of losing myself. I started to hate myself and my boyfriend for doing something I didn't want to."

Not an isolated case

For Dr. Jakob Pastötter, sexologist and president of the German Society for Sex Research in Düsseldorf, Manuela is no exception. In a survey of 18,000 British people, one percent of those questioned said they had never felt sexually attracted to another person. Converted to Germany, it would then be a few 100,000 people who do not feel like having sex.

The causes of so-called asexuality can only be guessed at. "We know that some environmental toxins lead to a dramatic change in sexuality," said Pastötter. This could ultimately lead to a severely restricted libido. "There is no sense of pleasure and with it the desire for sex." According to the sexologist, asexuality is innate and "does not change in the course of life either". But diseases such as diabetes, certain medications, mental disorders or trauma such as rape can also lead to asexuality.

Ben (20) and Stefanie (21) also describe themselves as asexual. Like Manuela, they recognized early on that they were different. "I've always been the loner type," says Ben. Stefanie can still remember that friends had to persuade her in 9th grade to read the "Bravo". "I wasn't interested in anything." The two only found out over the Internet that their lack of interest in sex has a name. Almost at the same time, the student from Jena and the trainee from Neustadt / Hessen came across the Aven Internet forum (Asexual Visibility and Education Network). That was at the end of last year. The website, which sees itself as a sub-forum of the American network that was founded six years ago by the Californian David Jay, has only been in operation in Germany for two years. "Since then, the term 'asexuality' has only existed here," says Maurice Köster, media officer at Aven Germany.

Sex - healing and disgust

The uncertainty of those affected is great. In desperation, Stefanie sought a conversation with her gynecologist. "I always thought there was something wrong with me." But the doctor just said: "Practice, practice, practice, that'll come later." And the changing friends - "I always hoped the next one would be better" - couldn't help her either. But on the contrary. "They only tried to heal me with what I was disgusted with - namely with sex."

It was only through Aven that she realized that she was not alone with her problem. But every asexual has a slightly different story to tell. For example, Ben always had a girlfriend. "The first few times I thought sex was really good, but at some point it just evolved." The relationship with his last girlfriend was a disaster. He crawled into the Internet and sought contact with other asexuals. Because like Manuela and Stefanie, Ben doesn't want to be alone. It is different with many asexuals. Even a hug is too much for them.

Proximity and withdrawal

The search for a partner is therefore extremely complicated. Stefanie currently has "a good friend" with whom she was in love, but the closer they got, the more she withdrew. In the meantime she has initiated it. "He accepts that and doesn't expect anything from me." The only question is for how long. Stefanie: "Of course I'm scared of losing him." When looking for a partner, Ben prefers to rely on the steadily growing number of asexuals. “But there are still very few, the selection is very small. According to Aven, there are already 3000 registered members, but they don't want to see themselves as a contact exchange. "We are initially only a point of contact for those affected," says Maurice Köster from Aven. There is enough need for clarification. "Many don't know anything about their asexuality and outwardly live a completely normal life with a partner and maybe even one or two children," says Köster. Others believe they haven't found the right one ..