Hmm...not really sure how to say this without it sounding strange, but here goes. Not even sure if this is in the right forum, feel free to move.
I am a twenty-two year old girl who is slowly coming to the conclusion that I flat-out have no interest in engaging in sexual activity with a partner. I have had three boyfriends over the past five years. I was physically attracted to all three of them, enjoyed hanging out and spending time with them, but when it got to so much as kissing, it was a complete turn-off.
So, recently, I have been engaging in casual sex with a male friend. I think that he is a great guy; I have never been able to communicate so comfortably and openly with anybody about sex, desire, arousal, even contraceptive choices, etc. The thing is that when we are actually having sex, despite the open flow of communication, I feel only minimally aroused. Nothing--oral sex, manual sex, intercourse--does it for me. I am calling him up in a couple of days to let him know that I wish to terminate the sexual aspect of our relationship because of this.
I have indentified as bisexual for years, and for a moment, I considered the notion that I might actually be a lesbian. It is so hard to explain: I look at people--men and women--and know that I am physically attracted to them, but just completely, *completely* lose interest when the idea of actually engaging in sexual activity with them surfaces in my head. I have never been abused in my life, and I love touching and being touched, just (apparently) not in a sexual way.
Honestly, masturbation is the only activity that (I feel) fulfills me sexually: it feels good, I love doing it, it makes me happy. I went for quite a few years where I engaged exclusively in masturbation. During those years, I felt like a "normal" person: I had an active social life, I was doing so-so at school, I was writing, I had financial goals, career goals, plans for the future, etc.
It was when friends and my sister began really getting on my back about partnered sex that I started to feel less like myself, and started to wonder what all the noise was about doing it with somebody else. I feel right now like wanting only to masturbate, and being disinterested in sex with either men or women means that there is something psychologically wrong with me. Is there? I mean, at the risk of sounding peer-pressured, I do not know anybody else who feels the way that I do. It is so, so awkward when I go out for drinks with friends or something, and they start talking about sex, sex, sex, and how great it is *with a partner,* while I sit there peeling the label off my beer and smiling blankly.
I just feel really "othered" right now, and when I have brought up a disinterest in sex and romantic relationships in general, I have gotten all sorts of strange, presumptuous, and outright rude comments and questions: "So, you're effectively a lesbian," / "I think you're just afraid, is all," etc. It has thrown me so completely off balance, I don't even know what my sexual orientation is anymore. Can you still call yourself bisexual/gay/straight/pansexual without the desire to actually engage in sex with anyone? Is this a form of asexuality?
Sorry for the long post! I am just a tad frustrated and confused right now.
First of all, there's nothing wrong with you, I promise. Not wanting to engage in sexual activity at all, or not wanting any partnersex is something that a lot of people experience - some people feel this way for the majority of their lives or the whole of their lives (and may identify as asexual), for others, it may be only a few months or years. You might find that at some point in the future you do want to engage in partnersex, you may not, but either way is perfectly fine. I know it can be hard to feel like you're the only one, different than everyone else, but you aren't the only person on the planet who feels like this, honestly.
In terms of what other people are saying to you, do you have some sort of response you usually give? It sounds like you know yourself and what you want/feel comfortable with really well, but you shouldn't have to explain the way you feel to anyone unless you want to (no one should), so do you have a couple of phrases that make that clear? Something that lets the other person know that your sex/romantic life is not up for discussion and is really none of their business? For example, a few years ago, I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days dealing with very severe depression and anxiety. My friends were supportive, but some of them kept asking me questions about my experience in hospital, how I was feeling, etc. and it got to the point where I just needed not to talk about it for awhile (and not be called fragile/delicate/unbalanced by people who didn't understand), so I started saying "This isn't something I'm comfortable talking about right now. If I ever do want to talk about it, I'll let you know, but for right now it isn't a topic I'm going to discuss." Then I started on another subject of conversation, and it was pretty clear that a discussion just was not going to happen and I wasn't going to respond to any more comments or questions. Do you have a few phrases like that you feel comfortable using when people start asking you about your orientation or making rude comments?
Per orientation, you get to choose which label or way of identifying feels most comfortable to you. If you don't want a label at all, that's totally okay too. You might decide that "asexual" feels right to you, or it might be that bisexual still feels like a good fit, or something else entirely. Orientation is pretty fluid, too, and can shift pretty dramatically over a person's lifetime, so it may turn out that how identify now isn't how you identify in 5 or 10 or 20 years.
(For the record, many asexual people do say that they feel physical attraction to other people, it's just that they have no desire to act on that attraction. If you want some reading on all of this, give a shout and we'll hook you up with some resources.)
-------------------- "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy Posts: 5633 | From: Canada/Australia | Registered: Sep 2004
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Thanks so much for your response; you have no idea what a relief it is for me just to be told that I am not the only one in the world who feels like this!
When people comment or ask questions, I have a really hard time stopping myself from becoming very emotionally engaged with those comments/questions. Rationally, I know that this is not something that I should have to explain or defend, but I get incredibly riled when say, someone asks me why I "have a problem with 'real' sex." I have always considered masturbation per se to be "sex," and hearing things like that ticks me off to no end.
Also, I have been finding that sex with a partner, for reasons that I do not understand, completely derails my focus in other areas of my life, and that I am coming to resent. I am tired of people, my sister especially, attempting to psychoanalyze this, asking what I am afraid of, assuming wrongly that I experienced some form of sexual trauma in the past, etc. I get extra irate and snarly when that happens, which I know does not help. I have not actually tried simply stating that the topic is not up for discussion. I probably should; I am a little afraid that it might create more tension, but this is really something that I do not feel discussing at school, at home, or at social events.
I definitely agree that sexual orientation is a fluid thing, and I think that it *might* do me some good to let go of frantically trying to label myself as something...? I don't know, I just feel like I have to come up with a stable word (gay, bisexual, straight) to be able to present to friends and family in order to shut them up. I do come from a *very* conservative SE Asian, Catholic family whose values have always clashed with mine, and being able to label myself as something has always felt like a solid wall to put my back against.
I would love to get my hands on some reading material regarding asexuality! All knowledge is a good thing.
Sorry for two long posts! It feels great to finally be able to let off some steam.
I also want to add that being/identifying as asexual doesn't mean a person doesn't have a sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation isn't just about sex, after all: it's also about romantic/loving feelings. As well, you having masturbation be the sex you like and that works for you, solely, doesn't mean you don't have your own sexuality. So by all means, there are asexual GLB people out there.
Per reading on asexuality, it is limited, because it's a very new way people are identifying, so there has been limited study. But AVEN is a great place to start, and is a solid and well-moderated community: http://www.asexuality.org/home/
By the by, the "real sex" thang is annoying for a LOT of people, not just asexual people, for a whole big host of reasons, but primarily because anytime anyone says any one kind of sex is "real" and another isn't, they're always rendering someone -- usually large groups of someone -- invisible and usually are also exercising some kind of privilege.
-------------------- 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: 66622 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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While I do feel the desire to be sexual with others, and indeed I am in a relationship that includes sex at the moment, I don't think there's anything wrong with you either, and I really relate to what you're saying about masturbation being considered "not real sex", it's always made me feel really happy to do it, but I'm still trying to get over all sorts of ideas about it being, if not wrong (and I'm getting over that one too), a poor substitute for partnered sex, the notion that if I find it to be genuinely satisfying then I must have something wrong with my emotions and how I think about social interaction.
-------------------- Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see. Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008
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For what it's worth, I know how it is to have little to no sexual desire and have people on your back about it. My sister too tends to try to psychoanalyze me when I say I don't necessarily like men and that sex doesn't interest me/grosses me out. (She tries to convince me it's something that will DEFINITELY change) I don't have friends I'd be close enough to to talk about sexuality related things, especially since I have technically been a virgin up until now. (It wasn't really something I wanted to advertise at school, I don't want to talk about it, nor do I want anyone to make a "game" out of it or try to "fix" it.)
So I can relate. Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me, and I worry that I'm wasting my sexual opportunities and I'll regret when I'm older, but really, I just don't want to have sex for most of the time. (This lack of libido is a bit of a headache, too, because I am in a relationship where sex is present. But it's complicated.)
Posts: 239 | From: Europe | Registered: Oct 2009
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