Wouldnt asexuality be kind of a mental disorder because it doesnt benefit human evolution? Just biologically speaking, reproduction is essential for any species to keep evolving
I am not sure what post this question is in response to, but thanks for the opportunity to actually put my expensive education to use.
Lets start by talking about what “mental illness” means.
A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.
What do these two definitions have in common?
1) They explain that mental illness involves thinking, emotion, and behavior.
2) They explain that mental illnesses affect a person’s ability to function.
You’ll notice that neither of these definitions include any mention of evolution or reproduction. That’s because procreation and contributing beneficially to evolution is not a requirement of mental health.
A lot of people make the mistake of viewing mental health in terms of “normal” vs “abnormal”. I think that plays a lot into this unfortunately common idea that behaviors that aren’t biologically beneficial are “abnormal” and thus evidence of mental illness.
The truth is that mental illness is about functioning vs impairment.
The cornerstone of every psychiatric diagnosis is that it causes impairment in at least one are of a person’s life. The areas that mental health professionals usually look at are social, work, and leisure.
Now, back in the old days psychologists used to have different ideas about what “functioning” looked like. If you didn’t fit in with the strict social norms of the time, then they would argue that you were experiencing impairment in social or work life. For example, a woman who wanted to work instead of getting married and having children might be labeled as mentally ill because her desires were “impairing” her from fitting into society’s prescribed gender roles.
Thankfully we have (for the most part) moved on from that!
Now we look at functioning and impairment in terms of how well a person can live an enjoyable, fulfilling life. Some professionals also throw the idea of “productivity” into the mix, but that is very much a productive of America’s obsession with capitalism and that is a completely different rant!
Pick any mental illness out of a hat and I can tell you how the symptoms of that mental illness are likely to cause impairment in a person’s life. I can’t do that with asexuality, because asexuality does not have “symptoms” that impair a person’s functioning.
Like all marginalized sexual orientations and gender alignments, Asexuality does not inherently cause any distress or impairment. Any distress or impairment that asexual people experience is a result of society’s reaction to who they are.
Being asexual might (notice I say “might” not “does”) stop someone from having romantic relationships or from having children, but romantic relationships and children are not requirements for functioning and mental health.
You can have a rich and fulfilling social life without ever having a romantic relationship.
You can have a full, healthy, functional life without experiencing any sexual attraction.
Sex is not a requirement for life.
Sex is not a requirement for health.
Asexuality is not a mental illness because it does not cause impairment or distress.
Evolution, natural selection, and procreation have absolutely nothing to do with defining and diagnosing mental illnesses.