Hello all! My name is KT, and it wasn’t until I turned 30 that I even heard of the term asexual and demisexual, and in honor of Asexual Awareness Week (Oct. 24-30), I’m featuring my own story on being asexual for MissRubyReviews. Not only do I hope you all learn a little more about the “A” in LGBTQIA+, but maybe it will resonate with some of you out there and help you, as it did me, come to terms with who you are.
“Sometimes I feel like a girl trapped in a woman’s body.”
“I feel broken. None of my friends understand my feelings about dating.”
“Omg, if I ever met [actor], I would totally want to sleep with him!”
“Honestly, I’d really just want to have a conversation about his craft.”
“Ahhh! You are sooooo into him!”
“I don’t think so. I was really into his piano playing. He’s incredible. That was sexy.”
“When I go out with a guy, I wish I had a chaperone, like in the Victorian era.”
“He is sooo into you.”
“If you want this date to go well, I would suggest keeping your hands to yourself. I need to feel comfortable first.”
“Look, I’m following the rules! I’ve been good. I’m not touching you.”
“This is uncomfortable for me.”
“Come on, you can’t avoid touching forever… I just want to hold your hand during the movie.”
These are all very real conversations I’ve had or things I’ve said to myself over the years.
There’s quite a common metaphor for asexuality. It goes like this: imagine a three-tier gorgeous wedding cake, but it’s made of something you don’t like (zucchini cake, for example). It looks incredible, and you might consider having a piece, but the thought of the zucchini cake makes you think, “Nope, I’m good.” Or perhaps you like zucchini cake sometimes, or you decide to eat it because it’s a special occasion, but you’re not going to go out of your way to have zucchini cake again. Still another facet might be, perhaps you like zucchini cake, but you’d forgotten it was a thing, and then promptly forget about it again after your sweet tooth is satisfied.
All of these scenarios can be applied to how some asexuals feel about sex and sexual attraction.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the asexual spectrum. One person’s truth isn’t necessarily another’s. The fact that I enjoy talking about sex and enjoy masturbation does not mean that everyone who is asexual is the same, and vice versa.
There are so many different facets to asexuality, as well. I identify as demisexual (someone who doesn’t feel attraction unless they also have a strong bond or connection to someone else) and aegosexual (also known as autochorissexual: ‘identity-less sexuality;’ someone who doesn’t have a desire to participate in sexual activities or fantasies, but finds arousal from fantasies, erotica, or pornography), but there are so many more nuances and I would be remiss if I didn’t attach these two useful graphics:
I’ve always found it hard to connect with or feel attraction toward anyone I tried to date without some kind of emotional connection first. Hint: this makes dating apps very hard to use, and even more difficult when all guys ever do is ask you questions about yourself and never share about their own lives and personalities. On top of that, it’s been fictional characters, rather than real people, that I’ve found attraction and stimulation from. If I fantasize, I’m not part of my fantasies. My aversion to participating in sexual situations and fantasies goes even further to reading erotica written from a first-person point of view, or where the relationship is written between a character and the reader. I am uncomfortable when I’m put into the picture.
I think I have experienced an actual crush on someone only one or two times in my life.
If you really think about it, our society is so sexualized. I would watch movies and tv shows, read magazine articles and books and think, “I don’t feel that same attraction to others. How can that character feel so comfortable making out or sleeping with someone they just met? I don’t get it!” It felt like there was no one out there like me. No one who hadn’t had a million crushes growing up, who thought it was weird to stigmatize people who hadn’t had sex before graduating college (spoiler alert: I’ve still not done it with another person, and there’s nothing wrong with that).
Kissing is okay, but he expected it every time we said goodbye.
I watched movies like Clueless and had idols like Britney Spears and the Spice Girls: every woman was hypersexualized. I can still remember being in fifth grade and all the girls in my class talking about how “Did you hear? Britney Spears slept with all of the guys she toured with!”
The older I got, the less I connected with my peers when it came to dating. Eventually, I started to tell myself there was something wrong with me. I was immature. I was too particular. I was too nervous. I talked too much. I was too inexperienced. I tried turning it around, too. He was too pushy. He expected things from me that I was uncomfortable with. I felt pressured to consent. Kissing is okay, but he expected it every time we said goodbye. I don’t want to see him ever again. I’m embarrassed.
All these things would swirl around in my head.
At the same time, I had a very active imagination when it came to stories and pleasure. I would read fanfiction and watch Japanese animated pornography (hentai). I would imagine my favorite characters from books and shows and movies and feel that tell-tale jolt in my belly. If I could experience these things, why didn’t anyone real make me feel the same way? Scrolling through endless photos on a dating app, I’d feel nothing for the faces there and began to wonder if it was even worth it. I still feel this today.
From my limited dating experience, I’d decided kissing was gross and difficult to feel comfortable with. Holding someone’s hand was okay when I wanted to, but if my hand got sweaty, or it was just uncomfortable to continue holding hands, I wanted to stop, and it wasn’t always met with acceptance. Intimacy became a chore, and not one I was ready for most of the time. To reference Big Bang Theory, I’m far from Sheldon Cooper, but I’m no Leonard, either.
“It felt so affirming to discover that I wasn’t unusual or weird…”
When I finally heard about asexuality and demisexuality from someone I’d met randomly online, it was life-changing. Not only that, it felt so affirming to discover that I wasn’t unusual or weird when it came to attraction and dating and pleasure. I was different, and there were plenty of ways to enjoy and celebrate those differences.
I started with looking for other groups of asexual people, just to finally have a base that understood where I was coming from. That helped me immensely, as it gave me friends to confide in and learn from. Many other asexuals I met were just as dirty-minded and raunchy as me, and we could enjoy being that way together without the pressure of acting on anything we discussed. We bonded over a shared love for characters and movie/tv franchises, finding healthy ways to enjoy sexual intimacy all by ourselves.
Even though I don’t feel attraction towards other people, I do experience pleasure and enjoy sexual scenarios.
Have I complained about being alone and not dating anyone? Of course. But have I felt like I was missing out on something by being demisexual? Also yes, haha! However, the more open I am with my allo (non-asexual) friends, the more they tell me I’m definitely NOT. I’ve not felt sexually unfulfilled. In fact, I think I have a more open and kink-positive view than many people I know, outside of the internet. I’m very free with my sex toy use, I love reading erotica, and coming up with role-play scenarios between characters I’m into.
Even though I don’t feel attraction towards other people, I do experience pleasure and enjoy sexual scenarios. As you saw from the graphics, there are so many factors and feelings behind asexuality. It’s not just a fancy term for being broken, and we are 100% part of the LGBTQIA+ community. You might never feel attraction or have an interest in sex, but also have a high libido. You may find you are sex averse with a low libido. You don’t ever want to even think about genitals.
All these things are possible and there’s nothing wrong with any of them, so long as you are happy and comfortable with how you feel. That was the number one thing that learning about asexuality did for me. It gave me comfort and confidence in the person I was, instead of being worried about what I wasn’t.
Nothing that involves personal feelings towards attraction, libido, sex favorability, and sex-positivity will ever be wrapped up neatly in a box, or be one-size-fits-all. What’s important is what resonates with you as an individual. Your feelings are valid, just as my experiences and feelings towards all these things are valid. If any of this resonates with you, don’t feel nervous. Do a little research! You may find that it helps you feel more comfortable in your own skin and more prepared to date, be intimate, and/or accept this part of yourself than it was before.