(A)sexuality

This week at Strange Horizons: Sex With Ghosts by Sarah Kanning.

This is the first story that I can recall reading whose protagonist is explicitly asexual–that is, not hermaphroditic or ungendered, but simply lacking any sex drive. And of course she gets paired with a robotic double who consists of nothing but sex drive, and hilarity ensues.

Well, not quite hilarity. The story winds up being an interesting reflection on the nature of sexuality and personhood and the interplay between them. There is a suggestion that the sexless narrator is lacking something, and that the encounter with her hypersexed robot twin is necessary to teach her about herself and humanity. There’s a more explicit suggestion that the woman and the robot are mirror images of each other, and are so equally equipped to do the job of interviewing the robot brothel’s clients–the one because she’s completely indifferent to the clients’ behavior, and the other because she’s pruriently interested in all of the clients’ needs.

I find that an intriguing idea, though I don’t know if I’d actually apply it to life. In particular, I have known one or two people in my life who were asexual or close to it, and I don’t think that they are incomplete for it. And if I knew someone who was suffered from monomaniacal nymphomania in the way the robot does, I’d consider it deeply unhealthy. The story was nonetheless thought-provoking.

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