What about asexuality?
Published: 8 March 2015 (GMT+10)
Given that it is such a huge topic in today’s culture, many Christians have questions about sexual orientation and how to think biblically about it. CMI has written many articles about homosexuality, hermaphroditism, and transsexualism, but Gian G. has a question about people who claim the ‘asexual’ orientation.
What do you have to say about asexuals? These are people who claim they experience no sexual attraction or desires towards a particular person. Asexual advocates differentiate celibacy (I.e:chastity) as a choice and asexuality as part of the individual or born with (that is a way of saying hardwired). I would appreciate you guys giving answers on how to refute the claim, or rather the differentiation of chastity and asexuality. Because let’s be clear, if CMI questions the claim sexual orientation is hardwired or homosexuality is inherited or wired in [some]brains, why not question ultimately the alleged wiring of all sexual orientation, including asexuality? My point is that if homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexualism is not hardwired or something someone is born with, or is a psychological pathology or social disorder or more biblically, a sin, then surely there should be counter arguments that refute asexuality as hardwired and different from chastity.
I would like your answer on this, CMI, to see what you have to say about this.
CMI's Lita Cosner responds:
Thanks for your question. First, I have a fundamental disagreement with this sort of thinking about gender orientation, because it tends to define people based on their sexual practices, or lack thereof in the case of asexuals. No matter who you’re attracted to, it’s incredibly demeaning being defined by such a small part of your personality. Rather, the Bible defines us as creatures in God’s image. That means that there is a moral dimension to our actions and choices. Then it affirms the biological design of “male and female” (Genesis 1:26–27). That means men and women are spiritually equal in God’s image (cf. Galatians 3:28), but functionally and biologically different. Then Scripture places the correct expression of inbuilt sexual desires within the context of monogamous, lifelong marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24–25; cf. Matthew 19:3–6).
Outside of marriage, everyone, regardless of their sexual desires, is to be chaste. For most people, this is a temporary stage of life terminated at marriage. But Paul affirmed the goodness of remaining unmarried and chaste (1 Corinthians 7:8). Paul, Jeremiah, Daniel, and John the Baptist were all single men for the sake of their ministry. There is no indication that they were ‘asexual’ or without the normal desires most have, but they remained single for the sake of the special purpose God had for them. And of course Jesus, who is a perfect man, and the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), was never married (the Church is the Bride of Christ).
Asexuality, if defined as simply lacking sexual desires, is not inherently sinful in the same sense as homosexuality or transsexualism which fundamentally deny the way God has ordered creation. Jesus even affirmed that there were some who were “born eunuchs” (Matthew 19:12) and this could include those who for whatever reason lack sexual desire. When God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply, this was a command to society in general to reproduce itself, not for every person in it to reproduce. But when God first gave this command, the only ‘society’ was Adam and Eve. However, it would still be wrong to define oneself by this lack of desire. Rather, we should be defined by our relationship to Christ.
By the way, there is one context in which asexuality is sinful—in marriage, when one chooses not to engage in intimacy with one’s spouse (this of course does not include various cases where someone is unable to do so). Paul only allows husbands and wives to abstain from intimacy by mutual consent, for a limited period of time, and then only for the purpose of prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5).
More broadly, whenever we assert our right to define ourselves apart from God’s will and purpose expressed in Scripture, it is rebellion and sin. The solution is to trust in Christ and allow Him to define us.