Kerewin's Asexuality

Added by George P.Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

Kerewin explains that she knows no explanation for her asexuality, which appears to provide another example of her characteristic isolation from other human beings:

"I haven't been raped or jilted or abused in any fashion. There's nothing in my background to explain the way I am." She steadies her voice, taking the impatience out of it. "I'm the odd one out, the peculiarity in my family, because they're all normal and demonstrative physically. But ever since I can remember, I've disliked close contact. . . charged contact, emotional contact, as well as any overtly sexual contact. I veer away from it, because it always feel like the other person is draining something out of me. I know that's irrational, but that's the way I feel."

She touches the lamp and the flaring flame stills.

"I spent a considerable amount of time when I was, o, adolescent wondering why I was different, whether there were other people like me. Why, when everyone else was fascinated by their developing sexual nature, I couldn't give a damn. I've never been attracted to men. Or women. Or anything else. It's difficult to explain, and nobody has ever believed it when I have tried to explain, but while I have an apparently normal female body, I don't have any sexual urge or appetite. I think I am a neuter."

He picks up the painting again, considering it.

"Maybe you have so much energy tied up in this, you have none left for sex." He doesn't sound doubting, or horrified. "Sublimated is the jargon, eh." He looks at her. "I'm not being funny, but that's a Maori thing in a way... I used to carve a lot, and one of the old prohibitions was, while engaged in a carving, you did not lie with a woman or spend your seed, as the euphemism goes. It wasn't that sex was bad, but because all the energy was tied up in a tapu thing, was needed for it."

"Maybe so," says Kerewin heavily. "I don't know." (Keri Hulme, The Bone People, NY, Penguin, 1986, pp. 265-67).

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Last Modified: 15 March, 2002