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What about asexuality?

Published: 8 March 2015 (GMT+10)
iStock photo sex-choice

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 homosexualityhermaphroditism, 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  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.

Helpful Resources

Gay Marriage: right or wrong?
by Gary Bates, Lita Cosner
US $3.50
Soft Cover
Gay Marriage: right or wrong?
by Lita Cosner, Gary Bates
US $2.00
eReader (.epub)
Gay Marriage: right or wrong?
by Lita Cosner, Gary Bates
US $2.00
Kindle (.mobi)

Readers’ comments

Gennaro C.
Thank you Lita to recall to 'everybody' that we are 'much' more than mere sexual beings. We've been astonishingly created in the image of even a GOD (!) - the Creator of the WHOLE universe. What is God's purpose for our creation? Only God knows ... surely not to be a mere sex entities, oriented or dis-oriented! Sex has been such a great gift from God (When lived between the parameters established by our Creator). Sex in my opinion is a sort of metaphor to describe the communion God wants have with us (Jesus and the church). Hoping that Gian may find his satisfaction.
Paul S.
Any sexual orientation except that between one man and one woman is against all of moral law let alone what has been prescribed in the one and only HOLY BIBLE. Creation is the subject of some controversy. But, there is no evidence that anything happened outside of creation. As a scientist with accolades in Math Chemistry and Physics. For example I provided proposed digital solutions to manufacturing problems. I have studied the archeological evidence on which we determine either creation or evolution and have determined that the energy in the solar system was insufficient was grossly insufficient for evolution. This was determined by history, mathematics, and data dependent to Einsteins Theory of Relativity.
Brian H.
Well said. This appears to be a complaint or criticism from Gian's friend designed to trip up a Christian. To undermine our faith, or at least make fun of.
This is a great answer, and I agree. The final statement is so true. Anything that is done in rebellion to God is wrong. When we follow his will, then life in so many ways is good.
Phillip C.
Thanks for declaring your stance on asexuality. I didn't really understand how I could deal with this sort of thing as it relates to the Bible. I'm glad that this article clearly explains how I could deal with this issue in the future.
Marita V.
Well put. Life is not ABOUT sex. It has become a way by which people define themselves. As if that is all a person is. Why should everyone even know what it is that you prefer to do (or not) behind closed doors? People are "coming out" all the time, as if it is in the public interest. But it should be discussed (e.g. by CMI) so that people may understand the problem of the fall.

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