A third year Philosophy and Theology student has featured in the BBC Three series “How Sex Works”, broadcast on Monday night.
Jenni Goodchild, from Mansfield College, appeared in the second episode of the series, entitled “Playing the Field”, discussing living as a self-described asexual in modern society.
Asexuality is defined as “not experiencing sexual attraction”. Goodchild told Cherwell, “Whilst I still find people pretty, one of the best comparisons I’ve heard to how that works is that just like a straight girl can appreciate how pretty another girl is, I can appreciate people’s aesthetic qualities without feeling sexual attraction to them.”
The interview consists of Goodchild talking about her experiences of asexuality in Oxford, and her relationship with her boyfriend.
When asked how he had found the interview, Goodchild said, “He’s fine with it (well, secretly really pleased because he’s on TV) – he told his workmates and family about it, so it seems good. He actually agreed to do it when we’d only been dating a month, and I figured that was a good sign.”
Goodchild commented, “There hasn’t been any especially noticeable difference in my life since being on TV. All of my friends and the people I spend time with know I’m asexual, and knew I was doing the documentary – I’ve done other things to raise visibility in the past, and so it wasn’t really a surprise.
‘People have been talking to me about it mostly in the ‘I saw your interview, well done’ sense, because any questions they’d have have probably been answered. Saying that, I wouldn’t mind if anyone I knew did have questions based on it – it’s only the briefest of introductions, and it’s not always the easiest of ideas for people to grasp.
‘For those who’ve commented since the interview (and there’s always some) that they feel sorry for me, or that I’m missing out, it’s not like I’m missing something I used to have – I’ve never experienced sexual attraction, so it doesn’t feel like anything’s missing. It took me until I was 16/17 to notice that other people felt something I did, and a year or two after that to find out the word ‘asexual’ – partially why I did the interview, since it would have been nice to hear of it earlier.”
Goodchild added that she has met other asexual people in Oxford, both by accident and via the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), which conduct semi-regular meet-ups.
There are an estimated 1% of people in the UK who have identified themselves as asexual.