sky wrote:hey, horriblegoose! i gots a question. so today i had to get shoes and i ended up getting them for like 40% off and i was like oh my gosh i feel more with this than i’ve ever felt kissing or touching people or people touching me (not more than holding hands tho! i love holding hands it’s my favorite thing idk why). is that weird? normal for somewhere on the ace spectrum?? also why do i feel like an animal for sex sometimes but the thought of me doing it still makes me freak out. why can’t i just be normal!?!
Hi, sky. New account/new name - this is horriblegoose, though. I'm really sorry. I know I left you hanging, and I've been feeling bad about that, so I just had to come back around and finally address this now that I feel able to.
There's a reason cake is considered a symbol of the ace community. Ever heard the sayings "I'd rather have cake" or "cake is better than sex"? These kind of jokingly became mottoes of some (sex averse/sex indifferent) asexuals years ago, and today we still use cake as a symbol to represent asexuality and in a lot of ace pride art and ace jokes.
you can enjoy and be passionate about things other than sex! Of course
you can enjoy and be passionate about things more
than sex! It makes a lot of sense that you bought these shoes and realized "oh, this is something I actually enjoy! This made me feel happy and feel good about myself."
That's what the cake analogy is all about. Finding satisfaction in things that really satisfy you, like doing something for yourself by getting yourself shoes you like.
This has been big in the ace community because, though there are sex favorable aces, sex is a lot different when you don't have sexual attraction (even when you do
still have libido/sex drive). It's about seeking out what you really desire and finding happiness that way.
And it's totally awesome to enjoy handholding! We all have things we enjoy and things we don't. There are aces who like cuddling, aces who like kissing, aces who like handholding, aces who only enjoy these if they're platonic, aces who only enjoy these if they're romantic, aces who enjoy some of those, and aces who enjoy none of those. I've always been rather touch averse and sex repulsed (and romance indifferent), but for some reason, I really
like making out. You don't have to have some underlying reason or explanation for why you like the things you like. You're allowed to just like them! You're allowed to really like shoes but not really kissing but also like handholding. What's more important than what you do or don't like is giving yourself the freedom and the room to express and create boundaries about what you do and don't like.
Finally, your struggle with wanting sex/sexual intimacy but being freaked out about the realism of it actually occurring could be due to many things. From some of the things you've said, I highly suspect a large part of your struggle is due to coercive heteronormativity and internalized anti-asexuality. Society is constantly sending us the message that we all have to monogamously pair up in cis man x cis woman couples and commit to each other romantically and sexually and enjoy sex and romance (but never talk about it - especially the sex part, because it's shameful to be open about it! that should be private!) and have children and make a family in this way. If you have feelings that go against any one of these ideas (being polyam, being ethically nonmonogamous, be queer, not be in a cis man x cis woman relationship, not enjoying romance, not enjoying sex, proudly enjoying sex, not wanting children, wanting to adopt, even having infertility problems, etc.) then you are shamed for that and it's treated as not normal. It's incredibly hard to come to terms with who you are and how you feel when you're made to be ashamed of it any time you speak about it. It's incredibly hard to come to terms with who you are when you've been constantly told from birth that it's wrong to be that way. Even if no one out right says anything to you, then you still have to deal with having taken in and internalized these messages and feeling as though you are doing something inherently wrong just by existing.
However, another part of your struggle could also just be that you have a sex drive and/or you enjoy the thought of sex in theory but genuinely aren't interested in it in reality. The disconnect between these two things can be really hard to come to terms with the fact that this is okay
to feel! Think of it this way... I think it would be cool to be an astronaut and get to go to space. However, I have no actual desire or motivation to make these dreams a reality. I think the training would be too much for me, I don't know that I could really deal with the impacts of space and being both isolated and yet never really alone, and I think trying to follow these dreams could limit me from other, bigger dreams I have. But I'm still gonna dream sometimes and think about what it would be like to go into space. I don't need to beat myself up for thinking it would be cool all while knowing I'm never going to seriously pursue it. I can just feel my feelings and accept that they are what they are.
I think the most important thing you can do regarding this is work on just accepting that you're allowed to feel your feelings. They may not always make the most sense, but you're still allowed to feel them. You don't need to beat yourself up for having feelings, even conflicting feelings. You don't need to call yourself names and put yourself down for having feelings, even conflicting feelings.
normal. Even non-aces have different levels of libido and different relationships to sex and sexual activities. Even non-aces get freaked out by sex. Even non-aces get horny but don't want to actually have sex every time they get horny. Even non-aces can desperately want sex and yet get freaked out if an actual opportunity to have it comes up.
You are normal. The difference between you and some(!) others is that you're beating yourself up for how you're feeling instead of just letting yourself feel the feelings and ride them out.
I hope you've been well and are taking care of yourself. <3
Just as a head's up - I will try to come back again if you ask me specifically another question, but I don't plan on resuming my regular activity here. ^^
You may be interested in AVEN (asexuality.org) as a resource for more information and a larger community on asexuality, though! I also suggest swankivy's YouTube channel. She actually wrote a book "The Invisible Orientation" that's an asexuality 101 introduction. I don't know if her book would actually be helpful to you (I haven't read it), but when I was first coming to terms with my asexuality, I really liked swankivy's videos detailing her experiences and taking down common anti-asexual myths and beliefs. They were really helpful to me to process my own feelings and know that the things people said that hurt me were okay to find hurtful - and why I found them hurtful.