One of the most common question asked of asexuals is “Do you masturbate?”.
The answer: Yes. I do.
(Not all of us do. Some of us do, some of us don’t, and some of us can’t.)
(BTW, it’s NOYDB. So stop asking. Anyway…)
It generally confuses people when we do, though… (It even confuses us sometimes.)
It’s not just “scratching an itch” for me. It’s not “just a biological function.” It’s not “cleaning the pipes.” It’s not a way to calm an undirected libido or prevent nighttime accidents. It’s not some bothersome vestigial leftover of the sexuality I’m supposed to have. It’s none of that for me.
I do it because I like it. It feels good. It’s fun.
And it does not invalidate my asexuality to feel this way.
Asexuality means that I’m not sexually attracted to anyone, it does not mean that my equipment doesn’t function. It functions, and how.
You don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to become aroused. You don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to experience and enjoy an orgasm. All you have to do is touch your sensitive bits in the right way and presto!
I never understood the old religious claim that “Masturbation isn’t necessarily a sin, but lust is, and you have to have lust in your heart in order to masturbate, because you’re fantasizing while you do it.” It just didn’t make sense to me. I never had lust. I never fantasized. When I first heard it, I was young and had only recently started masturbating. At the time, I just figured that I was new and I hadn’t figured out quite what I was supposed to be doing, and that when I got older, something would kick in and I’d start fantasizing and feeling lust and have to confront the moral question then. (And all this even though I was never actually religious…) But all that happened was I got older. The lusting and fantasizing never began.
I don’t fantasize. I just can’t. I’ve tried, though. I tried to picture naked people doing naked people things. I tried to imagine erotic scenarios. It never worked for me. I tried because it was supposed to help. It was supposed to turn on the sexual overdrive and make everything ten times more exciting. All it did was distract me. I had to concentrate so hard on the mental stage direction that I lost focus on what I was doing. It was so much effort to get the imaginary naked woman in the right pose and performing the right motions that the slightest stray thought would kick me out of the fantasy and force me to start over.
If you start to plan out the script of your sexual fantasy because your brain doesn’t do improv in that genre, that’s a pretty good sign that something is up.
That bothered me for a long time. Everyone else fantasized while they masturbated and I just couldn’t. That bothered me more than my lack of interest in dating ever did. Not wanting to ask a girl out could conveniently be explained away by shyness or social anxiety. But not being able to include her in a sexual fantasy that would have stayed in my mind and been free of awkward conversations and fear of rejection? That made me feel broken.
I eventually overcame that, well before I discovered asexuality. I realized that it didn’t do anything for me, I just didn’t think in that way, and it wasn’t actually a problem for me. I enjoyed masturbating adn I wasn’t going to let something like that stand in the way.
So, that brings up what is probably the second most common question asked of asexuals: “If you’re not attracted to anyone, what do you think about when you masturbate?”
What do I think about? Furniture. (No, really. I have planned out how to decorate a room while involved.) My day. The plot of some TV show. Video games. Politics. Music from the 80’s. The next vacation I’m going to take. The weather. But most of all, I think about two specific things:
“That feels good.”
“That feels even better.”