DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I don't know whether you're aware of the availability of psychiatric consults in Winnipeg. I will tell you. There is no way that this [Stuck in Cement, the asexual woman wanting a partner] will get to see a psychiatrist on referral, and quite frankly, she does not need nor require one. Free on medicare does not mean there's availability.
I am a family doctor. I beg psychiatrists to see my seriously ill patients that are beyond my scope of practice with no avail. This woman does not need a psychiatrist, she needs an asexual friend and maybe a good counsellor. She does not need a high-priced psychologist, nor a psychiatrist. I wish her good luck. Be sure how you recommend referrals when they definitely are not easily available in our province. -- Family Doctor, Winnipeg
Dear Family Doctor: Thanks for your reality check on availability -- you would surely know. This woman will have to get the help she needs through counselling and an online search, being totally upfront about her asexual situation. Counsellors attached to the Rainbow Resource Centre (204-284-5208) can help people find help and resources for issues to do with the whole spectrum of sexuality.
The situation is dire in Manitoba for people who desperately need psychiatric help from someone who can also prescribe medication. They may also need help on medicare because they can't pay. There are other routes. Sometimes people who need medications for anxiety or depression and/or other problems can get prescription help from their physicians, and counselling help elsewhere. Usually it costs from $25-$75 an hour for a relationship/individual counsellor to as much as $75-$200 an hour for a psychologist. Psychologists can offer pretty much the knowledge and background a psychiatrist does, but can't prescribe medication. Work insurance may pay for part or all of the cost, if the patient actually has a job.
Free drop-in counselling is available five days a week at Klinic, 545 Broadway, and its other office at 845 Regent Ave West (204-784-4067 for hours at both). Clergy will also counsel for free, but might not be comfortable with all topics and will naturally have a religious bias. Universities and colleges offer free counselling if you're a student there. If readers know of other routes to go, please write in.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is for Stuck, the average-looking asexual lady who wrote in. I'm appalled that quite often the situation seems to be "change the way you look." Nobody should ever change themselves physically or emotionally for anybody. The change should be for themselves. I too am quite average-looking, but I have found somebody who loves me for me (and it's a sex-free relationship, too). Don't worry Stuck, you'll find the one! I did. -- 20 and Asexual
Dear 20 and Asexual: Average-looking people do very well in the meeting and mating world if they make an effort to dress well, wear up-to-date eyewear and get nice haircuts. They look pleasant and interested in the game of love, but not so extremely good-looking they're intimidating. What I'm on about, are the people who don't even try -- those who say, "Love me the way I am, and I'm going to make it difficult." They don't wash their hair enough, or make any effort to be stylish, and have a defensive attitude about it, as in: "Love me the way I am when I just wake up and take the garbage out in my oldest pair of jeans." It's like rolling big hurdles in front of people who might be interested.
Yes, there are truly asexual people in the world, but a lot of this number are simply people who have given up. They just don't like the way they look and are scared to get naked with a new partner. These are the people who need some counselling before they give up altogether on having a warm, sexual lifestyle.