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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Questioning/asexual: help please?

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Author Topic: Questioning/asexual: help please?
Narvinye
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Okay, so before now I've considered myself anything but heterosexual. Now, I'm wondering if I might be asexual (or something along those lines).

I'm definitely attracted to guys, but in the handful of crushes I've had, I never envisioned things going further than kissing, if even that. And I've never told any of my crushes that I liked them, so I don't know if I would have wanted something more sexual. But I've also never felt anything romantic towards other girls, so I don't think I'm bi or lesbian. I have a general curiosity about what sex is like, but not really enough to act on that curiosity, or to feel like I'm missing something by not acting on it.

So there's where I'm at, which, now that I write it out, makes me pretty sure I am asexual. Except now I'm conflicted on how I feel about that. I have absolutely no problem with asexuality itself. In fact, I'm pretty happy that there's an orientation for the type of relationship I'm interested in: general intimacy (closeness, not sex) and non-sexual physical contact. I'm just worried that since asexuality is one of the less common/lesser known orientations, it might turn people away (such as, but not limited to: they assume I don't want any relationship instead of a non-sexual relationship).

...I dunno. I'm just generally stressed out about relationship and social stuff and looking for people to talk to, because I don't feel ready to discuss this stuff with people I'm close to (which is rather ironic, but whatever). Any thoughts, advice, insight, etc.? Sorry this is kind of long and rambling... thanks for reading.

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI Narvinye and welcome to Scarleteen,

It can certainly feel isolating when we don't feel like we fit into the socially accepted patterns of attraction and relationships. It can be helpful to remember though that while people are very vocal about highly sexual relationships, the actual realm of human experience and desire around sex in relationships is much more diverse. IN other words, intimate relationships vary a lot in how much or little, and what kind of, sex is involved.

Am I understanding correctly that you've never been in a relationship or gone out on a date with someone? Can you say more about what has you stressed out around relationships and social stuff? That is, are there other things stressing you out besides wondering how people will react to the form your sexuality takes?

You didn't mention whether you are sexual with yourself. Do you masturbate or engage in other solo sex activities--such as reading or viewing erotic material?

Sex means different things to different people. Our sexualities also tend to change over time. This isn't to say that yours will or should, just to say that changes often do happen for people, even if they're small or subtle changes. It's certainly important, when getting to know a partner, to tell them if there are things you're just not ever going to do sexually, or otherwise.

Another example of something that is pretty loaded for a lot of people is having children. Some people know with absolute certainty that they never want children. This is going to impact who they engage in relationships with, and is something that they'll want to tell a partner if things are getting serious. In dating, however, they don't have to limit themselves to people who don't want children. IN other words, asking that big question, or sharing that big thing about oneself, doesn't have to be a prerequisite for a first date.

I think we can also apply this to sexuality. While we're not going to want to go on a first date with someone who wants to engage in sexual activity right then and there if we're not interested in that, exploring the world of dating doesn't require serious long-term conversations about sexuality, only a statement of one's current boundaries around sex.

These are just a few thoughts to get you started. WE can definitely talk more about the things that concern you here.

It sounds like you're pretty familiar with the concept of asexuality. IN case you'd like to do more reading though, here are some links on that, as well as a couple of articles on the nature of sex and sexuality in general:


http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/am_i_asexual

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/im_asexual_but_my_partner_wants_to_have_sex_should_i_just_compromise_and_do_it

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/politics/space_exploration_what_sexual_people_can_learn_from_asexual_communities

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/whats_sex

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Robin

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Narvinye
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Shoot, I just lost a reply I spent so long formulating... Stupid computer. Let's try this again...

Yes, I was unclear about what social stuff freaks me out. Basically, I'm shy, introverted, self-conscious, and just abut anything that's NOT conducive to forming close relationships. And you're right, I've never been in a relationship or on a date. So some of my anxiety might come from the fact that I've never had the chance to experiment or explore. Or it could be that since social stuff stresses me out so much, that translates into my not being ready for a sexual relationship now, and I just overreacted by assuming I was asexual. Maybe my responses to your second set of questions will help figure some of that out.

Let's see... I've tried masturbating a few times, but nothing I did felt good, so I just sort of gave up. I don't feel unhappy or unsatisfied about giving up; just that I stopped doing something that wasn't comfortable. I'm not interested in straight-up erotica. I've read some erotic scenes in books that focused on other subjects. A few years ago they interested me probably because I was curious about sex. When I read them now, I don't care one way or another. I don't know if that's desensitization or asexuality.

Semi-related, another huge social problem I have is that I feel like I need physical contact. For example, I was sitting next to a friend on the bus, and I just wanted to lean on his shoulder. The issue is that most people I know (including my friend) would think we were in a relationship or that I wanted to be in a relationship with him, which wasn't the case at all. Being as shy and self-conscious as I am, I REALLY did not want to explain all that to him or anyone else. So I guess my main problem is that I don't know how to satisfy that need without embarrassing myself and others by sending signals I don't mean to.

So I don't know where all of this is going, but I figure it's more constructive to talk it out here than to try and reason it all out with myself. [Smile] Thank you so much for talking with me!

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, one thing we know is that basic touch and physical contact is a human need, period. One of the absolute biggest there is. It's obviously (well, I think it's obvious) unfortunate if and when people have lives where the only way to get that is via sexual contact, or physical, affectionate contact with sexual partners, since that need for touch is hardly just about sex.

So, no friends or family members in your life where doing something like giving a hug or cuddling on the couch is okay and just kind of a given?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Narvinye
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Well, my stepmom is sort of into hugging and cuddling. Not as much as I am. My cat likes to cuddle, although that's not quite the same. [Smile] No cuddling friends, though. And that seems kind of hard to change because my friends know me as someone who is quiet, keeps to herself, and is awkward about physical contact. I think that awkwardness comes from my worrying too much about crossing other peoples' personal boundaries, so I err on the side not doing anything instead of doing too much. So that then makes it weird if I suddenly start looking for hugs or a shoulder to lean on, and I'm back to the original problem and still extremely frustrated. And when I'm frustrated I feel like cuddling even more, and so the circle goes.
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Narvinye
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I also want to add that I might have put this thread in the wrong place... I didn't see the "Support" forum at first, and I think this thread has morphed into something that really belongs there... Sorry about that.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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No worries, happy to move it there if you'd like.

Do you want to talk about some steps you can take to change the patterns you've established around basic touch? That seems pretty major to you, and it also seems to me that with that basic need better met, not only would you probably feel a lot better in general, it might make figuring some of this other stuff out a bit easier.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67055 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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