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20 MINUTES, MARIE CLAIRE, LA DEPECHE (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - This doesn't sound very French.

A group has declared Friday "Asexuality Day" in France. Organized by the AVA (Association for Asexual Visibility), the goal of the celebration is to inform the public about this little-known category of sexual identity of those people who do not like sex, reports the Paris-based daily 20 Minutes.

Like straight or gay people, asexual people are attracted to men or women (or both), fall in love and marry -- but unlike most people, do not feel sexual desire. Most of them have tried sex, but just don't like it, even though some do experience pleasure from the act.

Contrary to abstinence, asexuality is not a choice, and asexuals are therefore often misunderstood. Many have difficulties in finding partners, reports Marie Claire.

“We want asexuality to be recognized as a fully fledged sexual orientation," said an AVA spokesman who gave his name as Paul.

Asexual Pride flag

Thus on Friday, all those who identify with this orientation are encouraged to participate in some kind of public way, through a Facebook post, or by wearing a black and mauve shirt, or even just talking about it with friends. The association's tumbler account is collecting testimonies, poems, pictures and more.

Asexuality remains largely unknown to the general public. The only serious academic study was conducted by psychology professor Anthony Bogaert , who concluded that 1% of the population was indeed asexual, notes La Dépêche. No doubt, new awareness would be needed in France, a country with particular pride in its 99%.

The first-ever French Asexuality Day coincidentally arrives the same week that France became the 14th country to legalize same-sex marriage.

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The southwestern regions of the Central African Republic and the northern Republic of Congo are home to the Aka, a nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers who, from a Western point-of-view, are surprising because male and female roles are practically interchangeable.

Though women remain the primary caregivers, what is interesting is that their society has a level of flexibility virtually unknown to ours.

While the women hunt, the men care for the children; while the men cook, the women decide where to settle, and vice versa. This was observed by anthropologist Barry Hewlett, a professor at Washington State University, who lived for long periods alongside the tribe. “It is the most egalitarian human society possible,” Hewlett said in an interview.

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