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'Many don't know much about asexuality but there are still stereotypes attached to it' - Meet the men and women living asexual lives

In a society as hyper-sexual as ours, sometimes, saying you have no interest can be the hardest thing of all. Yvonne Hogan examines what it means to be asexual, and talks to men and women who claim the label as their own

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Yasmin Benoit

Yasmin Benoit

Student Derek Moore describes himself as a homoromantic asexual Photo: Frank McGrath

Student Derek Moore describes himself as a homoromantic asexual Photo: Frank McGrath

David Jay, from San Francisco, set up the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network

David Jay, from San Francisco, set up the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network

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Yasmin Benoit

"I remember being in the library and someone mentioned that two people our age had had sex at a party. I thought, 'Wow, people do that. This is real'."

Susan, a 22-year-old from the west of Ireland is recounting an incident that occurred during her Leaving Cert year. The then 17-year-old was aware that sex was a hot topic with her peers, but this was the first she had heard of people she knew actually doing it. The first tangible example she had come across that sex might actually be a real thing in real life, and not something dreamt up by marketing executives or Hollywood scriptwriters. Previous to this, she would watch sex scenes on TV and in movies and think, 'That's nonsense, no-one's actually doing that for fun'.

Susan was 11 or 12 when she noticed that her peers started to find others attractive and that it wasn't happening for her. "I wasn't interested in anyone; I wasn't really getting crushes. The narrative was that it would happen for me eventually. By the time I was 15 or 16, it still wasn't happening. I had no sexual feelings at all."