Asexual Intercourse

The following post is an auto-biographical stream-of-consciousness account of what was going through my mind the first time I had sex.  I did not know I was asexual at the time, I did not discover asexuality until years later.  It’s clear to me now that most of what I felt was because I’m asexual.

I’ve never read an account like this.  We rarely talk about it, and when we do, we hardly go into this level of detail.  It’s too personal, too private, too embarrassing, too conflicting, too confusing.  And so we stay silent.  And in that silence, we’re alone.

I’m presenting this for multiple reasons.  First, I believe that sharing stories can help us find what we have in common, and let us know that we’re not alone.  The only story we hear is that consensual sex is wonderful and amazing, when it’s not always wonderful and amazing for everyone, even in the best of circumstances.   Second, there seems to be a common narrative out there that having sex will cure asexuality, somehow.  That’s often not the case and I wanted to give an example that people can use as a counterpoint.  And finally, I wanted to provide an example that can be used to potentially help non-asexual people understand what it’s like for an asexual person to have sex.  In particular, some people can’t understand how sex is possible without attraction, or think that there can be no pleasure without attraction.

The story below is my experience .  It is not meant to be representative of how every asexual person experiences sex.  Everyone is different.  Everyone’s story is different.

The following contains descriptions of sexual activity and may not be suitable for all audiences.


I’m lying in bed.  Waiting.  Shivering.

It’s not cold.  I’m not afraid.  I’m not even nervous, really.  I’m just shivering.  I guess it’s the unknown.  This is supposed to be a big deal, right?

She’s in the bathroom, getting ready.  This was her idea.  Do girls actually want sex?  I guess so.

Should I be naked?  I think I should be naked for this.  But what if she wants to undress me as foreplay?  Would that make me seem too eager?  Because I’m not eager.  I mean, I’m not reluctant.  I guess I’m just curious.  I think I’ll keep my clothes on.

Now I’ve gotten hard.  I guess that’s a good sign.

Do I want to do this?  She said I could back out at any time.  That was the agreement.  She’s not forcing me.  Of course I want to do this.  But why don’t I WANT to?  Like really really WANT to?  Wasn’t there supposed to be some sort of uncontrollable urge right about now?  Some kind of irresistible force taking control?  I feel…  I don’t know what I feel.  I don’t need to do this.  No, I don’t WANT to do this.  I’m willing to do this.  Willingness isn’t wantingness.

Okay, am I ready?  We bought condoms and lube earlier today, so +1 for responsibility there.  I’m still hard, so that’s another point.  I read up on what I’m supposed to do.  Is that normal?  Do people generally read up on what to do, or do they just know?  I mean, I already knew WHAT to do, tab A slot B, all that stuff.  I mean the rest of it.  Do people prepare a mental gameplan for this, or do they just go for it and figure it out on the way?  Not like fantasize about it.  I tried that, I couldn’t.  I mean like actually come up with stage directions for what I’m going to do and backup plans in case things go wrong.

What if it just doesn’t work?  She’s mentioned that she’s worried about being too small, too dry.  She said it hurt the other times with the other person.  I don’t want to hurt her.  How would I know if I’m hurting her?  The lube should help.  How deep is too deep?  How do I know how deep I am?  What if I’m too big?  She said I might be.  Or was that some sort of ego-boosting ploy?  Was that supposed to turn me on or something?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  Should I care?  Do other people actually care about their size, or is that all just an act?

Is it all just an act?  It feels like an act.  At least it feels like I’m acting.  Is she acting?  Why would she be acting?  Why would she push so hard for this, if this isn’t something she really wanted?  Because she thinks I WANT it-want it?  It should have been clear that I didn’t.

So why am I doing this, anyway?  If I don’t WANT it.  Um, because she offered, I guess?  Because she wants it?  But that’s not all.  I do want to know what it’s all about.  It’s supposed to be amazing, why wouldn’t I?  It’s supposed to feel good.  Really really good.  Better than my hand, better than her hand.  It’s supposed to be a big deal.  It’s supposed to-… I’M supposed to.  I’m doing this because I’m supposed to.  I’m supposed to WANT it.  Maybe if I do it, I will.  Maybe there’s a slipped gear in my head and doing this will jostle it back into place and I’ll start WANTING it.  Like I’m supposed to.

There’d better not be any babies out of this.  That would suck.  But that’s why we got the condoms.  We practiced putting one on earlier.  So we should be good there.  And I read all about their effectiveness when used properly.  So hopefully no babies.

But about earlier…  When we practiced putting on the condom.  When we were completely naked around each other for the first time.  When she took me in her hand and put me inside her.  “To see if it fits”, I think she said.  I don’t know what that was about.  I guess that means I’m technically not a virgin anymore already, even if it was just for a few seconds.  Was I supposed to do something?  Was I supposed to react?  Was I supposed to get started?  That wasn’t the plan, the plan was to wait until night, just before bed.  Was that a test?  Did she want me to make a move?  It wasn’t the plan.  Why didn’t I make a move?  That could hardly be considered a subtle sign of interest.  I should have made a move.  Any other guy would have, wouldn’t they?

Of course they would.  No other guy would have waited this long to make a move.  Any other guy would have made a move that first night at her place.  Who cares that her parents were upstairs?  That didn’t stop us from doing other things.  But we couldn’t then, no condoms.  But nothing stopped me from picking up a pack on my way up.  Why didn’t I?  And why didn’t it bother me that we couldn’t?

Even this tonight isn’t my move.  It’s her move.  If she waited for me to make a move, it would never happen.  I’m just along for the ride.

The bathroom light clicks off.  The door opens.  It’s time.

She walks out in her pajamas, hair back, a faint minty scent surrounds her.  She climbs into bed.  She climbs on top of me and starts kissing me.

I don’t understand kissing.  I don’t see the appeal.  A peck on the lips is fine, and there’s that spot on my neck that gets things going, but deep mouth kissing?  That does nothing.  “Deep” being the important word here.  It feels like she’s trying to eat my face.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with my tongue.  It’s somewhat unpleasant.  It hurts my jaw.  She pushes harder, trying to force my mouth open wider.  I feel like a CPR dummy.  People like this?

I pull back and kiss across her cheek and down her neck.  I know I like that feeling.  Does she?

I move my hands up and down her back.  She’s not wearing a bra now.  That’s somewhat disappointing.  I kinda wanted to take it off.  Like that’s an important moment or something.

She moves to unbutton my shirt and I reach for her breasts.  The curve.  The nipple.  I caress them through her pajama top for several moments before reaching underneath it.  Shouldn’t I feel something now?  Shouldn’t I WANT this?  I don’t know what I’m doing.  I hope she likes it, because it’s doing nothing for me.

I roll her onto her back and lift up her shirt slightly.  I kiss my way up her stomach, then put my head under her shirt and begin kissing a breast.  She quickly takes off her top.  That’s the cue to take off mine, too.  I resume kissing one breast while fondling the other.  We’ve done this before.  I remember her instructions of “more pressure” when I get to the nipple.  I push with my tongue.  Is that enough?  Is this too much?  Should the pressure be constant or varied?  Is that even what she meant?

Do other guys like this?  I mean really like this?  They seem to be interested in breasts.  It seems like I should be enjoying this more than I am.  They’re kinda round, kinda squishy.  They’re okay, I guess, but I just don’t see the excitement.

Her hands are around my back.

I move up and begin kissing her on the face and neck.  I press my erection against her vulva, and she gently grinds through our pajamas.

I take my hand off her breast and begin moving southward with it.  I slowly cross her stomach, and run my hand down the outside of her leg.  I cross to the inside of the leg and work my way back up.  I cup my hand around the curve and press as I rub.

Am I supposed to talk dirty to her here?  What does that even mean?  I’d mess it up.  Anything I’d say would be ridiculous.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

She reaches into my pants and wraps her fingers around me.  She gently tugs.  Her hand feels numb and foreign.  I’m used to my hand, I’m used to the feedback loop.  She’s squeezing harder than I would.  She’s pressing on places I don’t press.  This feels strange.  It’s okay, but it’s not good.  Definitely not bad, just not good.  Neutral.

I reposition my hand, moving it under the elastic waistband of her pants.  I run it through her hair.  I like that she has hair down there.  I don’t know why.  I find the soft, warm flaps of skin.  I gently part them with my finger, and slide up toward the front, looking for the little nub of skin that I know is there.  We’ve been here before, too.  I’d like to get her off, but she doesn’t help me out.  I press as I trace a circle.  I don’t know if what I’m doing is working.  I’m not even sure I’m in the right place.  I guess she’ll tell me to stop if she wants me to stop.  I press a finger inside, slowly.  Soft.  Smooth.  Wet.  Warm.

She stops what she’s doing to me.  I return to spinning circles for a few moments.

She softly runs her hand across my balls, then moves to take off her pants.  I take off mine in return.

We’re naked again, for the second time that day.  She stops and looks me over.  She focuses on the area that was just uncovered.  There’s a look in her eyes.  Hunger, maybe?  She wants it.  I look her over.  It feels like an in-person anatomy lesson.  All the parts I’ve heard about are there, and I run over them in my mind.  Her breasts, her legs, her pubic hair, the little hint of labia…  But the most fascinating thing is that look in her eyes.  What is that look?  What is she feeling?

What am I supposed to be feeling?  Anticipation?  Sure.  Nervousness?  A little.  Lust?  Desire?  Where are they?  What are they?  Seeing her body is interesting, but it’s interesting in the way looking at a map of a national park is interesting.  I’ve heard about all these places, now I know how they all fit together.  It’s academic, not erotic.

She’s cute.  Her face is cute.  Her breasts are cute.  Her pale skin is cute.  The round tuft of hair is cute.  But not hot.  I don’t know what “hot” is.  She should be hot.  Other people call her hot, and they haven’t seen her like this.  She’s not supposed to be cute.  She’s supposed to be hot.  Cute is something you want to play with and pet.  Hot is something you want to have your way with.  She’s cute.  She doesn’t like that I think she’s cute.  It’s not enough for her.  But it’s all I have.

I don’t belong here.  Something’s just not right.  How long can I keep up this act?  Can she tell?  Maybe everyone feels this way their first time.

I move down and begin kissing her left thigh.  I gradually move my way up, toward the inside.

“Don’t,” she stops me.  I’m somewhat curious to try, because maybe that will make a difference, somehow.  But I move on at her direction, and kiss her stomach, breasts, face.  Was that a test?  Was I supposed to make a move there, too?  I don’t think so.  She talked about it before.  She said it felt good, but that it seemed tiring for the guy.  So maybe that wasn’t a test.

She rolls me over.  She climbs on top of me and presses her body against me as she kisses me.  Soft.  Warm.  I like the feeling as her nipples brush against mine.  My nipples are sensitive now.  I wish she’d pay more attention to them.  I try to guide her hand there, she doesn’t catch on.

She kisses down my neck, and rests her head on my chest.  I run my hands down her back and grab her ass.  My erection presses against her stomach, slightly wet at the tip.

That’s dangerous now.  Fluids and all.  I read about that.  Although unlikely, there could be sperm in that, especially after what we did earlier.  Better make sure that stays far away, until the condom is on.

She pauses as I reach between her legs to rub her.

She makes a move.  I know where she’s going.  I stop her.  Those two areas don’t touch without protection.

She rolls over to grab the condoms and lube.  We take out a condom and open the wrapper.  She takes the lube and rubs some on herself.

My erection is gone.  That’s a bit of a problem.  I know it’s just a temporary setback.  But still…  Moments away, and this happens.  I know it “happens to everybody”, but does it really?

She moves down and puts her hand around me.  She moves her face between my legs, and there’s a warm wetness of an exhale on my scrotum.  Problem solved.

I put on the condom as directed, and she applies a little bit of lube to the outside.  She wipes off her hand as she puts her head back on the pillow.

I move into position.

This is it.  This is the moment.  So why is it so hollow?  So empty?  Other people dream of this exact second for years.  They scheme and beg for it.  It’s nothing to me.

She’s lying on the bed in front of me.  Her hair falls on the pillow.  A faint smile on her lips.  Her eyes close.  Her breasts flatten and flow to the side.

I should WANT this.  I should NEED this.  I should have an uncontrollable urge to go on.  I shouldn’t be able to stop myself now.  But…  I could walk away right now and not feel any different.  Not feel like I missed out, not feel deprived.  Other guys would kill to be here right now.  But I could just go about my business and think nothing of it.

I part the lips with my fingers and guide myself in.

It’s so warm.  And enveloping.  It squeezes every part of me evenly.  It’s so different than my hand.  Better?  I don’t know.  Different.

Don’t go too far.  How will I know how far too far is?

I slowly push in as far as I think I should go.  Then slowly pull back out.  I don’t want to hurt her.  Go slow at first.  That’s what I read.

Pulling back out…  Wow.  That’s better than pushing in.  That’s definitely not something I can do with my hand.

I repeat a few times to get the hang of the motion.  I’d practiced using pillows and a plastic bag full of baby oil, but it wasn’t like this.

This alone won’t be enough for her.  That’s what I read.  I should make sure that I rub her as I go.  That’s supposed to help.  It’s awkward to twist my hand that direction.  I try to encourage her to do it, but she doesn’t take the hint.  She said tonight was about me, but I don’t want her to be left out.

Am I supposed to kiss her?  I think I’m supposed to kiss her.  But am I supposed to kiss her face or her breasts or what? Kissing her breasts seems like it’d require some uncomfortable contortions.  So I’ll kiss her face.  Hand goes to a breast.

There she goes again with the deep kiss.  How does her jaw open like that?  Should I tell her that it hurts right now?  No, that would be a bad idea.  Keep going.

In, out, in, out, in out…

I like the feeling pulling out almost all the way.  The way it softly wraps around the head and squeezes the tip.  The warmth, the pressure.  Yes, I like that.  And I like the feeling of my nipples pressed against her body.  The way they float across her skin as I move.

How long is this supposed to take?  I always hear stories of the first time ending almost right away.  Is that because they were more excited than I am?  I still have a ways to go.

How fast am I supposed to be going?  It seems like I’m going too slow, but it seems like going faster would just wear me out.

She wraps her legs and arms around me.

In, out, in, out, in, out…

I’m getting closer.

I look at her face in the dim light.  Her eyes are closed, her mouth is slightly open.  She’s lost in the moment.

In, out…  Definitely closer.

Should I be making some kind of noise?  I think I’m supposed to?  You always see that in movies.  But what kind of noise?  Aren’t those sounds natural?  Don’t they just come out in a situation like this?  Or are those sounds just faked?  I never make noise when I’m alone.

I’m on the edge now, and still nothing.  Where is the magical spark that’s supposed to wash over me?  Where’s the flame of passion?  Is this really all it is?

In, out, in, out, in, out.  Slow.  Stop.  Oh.  Right there.

My movement changes.  I feel the pressure building.  I push in.  My body goes rigid as a surge of pleasure paralyzes my body.  The automatic pulsing rhythm is the only part of me that moves.

I pause for a moment, still inside her.  I let my muscles relax, still inside her.  She whispers an “I love you”.  I respond, still inside her.

I slowly pull out, careful to hold the base of the condom as I’d read to do.  I roll onto my side and hold her.

Did that change my life?  Was that the best thing that’s ever happened to me?  Did that light a fire an awaken me sexually?  Was that earthquakes and fireworks and rocketships?  …  No.  None of that.

The warmth.  The softness.  The exquisite embrace on the head.  The brushing of the nipples.  The warm exhale.  The kiss on my neck.  The ending.  Good.  All of that.  But all physical.  All mechanical.  Emotionless.  Nerve endings doing their thing.  Felt good, yes.

I should probably take this thing off.  I have to pee, too.

Not mind-blowing.  Not amazing.  Not earth-shattering.  Not far above any other experience.  Wasn’t even the best orgasm I’ve ever had.  Far above average, but not the best.

My body liked it.  My mind?  What about my mind?  Acting in a play without a script.  Does everyone else have a voice in their head, feeding them the lines?  Or do they just improvise?  Why would they improvise?  Why would they make it up?  Why would they all play along?  Why not just give commands to kiss here, caress there, and get exactly what you want?  Why would there be a play at all if no one has the script?  Other people know the lines.  She knew the lines.  Why don’t I?

I don’t belong there.  I don’t know how to be there.

Is that all it is?  Is that what everyone raves about?  I don’t get it.

Maybe next time will be different.

Possible Signs of Asexuality – Part 2: About Sex

This is the second post in a three part series on the possible signs of asexuality.  The items discussed here aren’t meant to be any kind of “Am I Ace?” checklist, so it’s okay if you don’t identify or agree with any of them.  They’re just experiences that I’ve seen pop up over and over when asexuals talk about their lives.

The first part in this series focused mostly inward, on thoughts you may have had about yourself and your identity.  Today is all about sex and sexual activity.  If that’s not your thing, you might want to skip today and come back for the conclusion tomorrow.

Links to the posts in this series:

You’d much rather do X than do sex.

When you think about sex, you realize that there are dozens of things you’d much rather do.  I’d rather read a book, I’d rather watch TV, I’d rather play a video game, I’d rather go to a movie, I’d rather stargaze, I’d rather walk the dog, I’d rather go shopping, I’d rather organize the books on the bookshelf by date of author’s birth, I’d rather go bird watching, I’d rather build a Lego tribute to the Prime Ministers of Canada, I’d rather work on the car, I’d rather mow the lawn, I’d rather learn Esperanto, I’d rather fly a kite, I’d rather eat cake…

Your sex dreams don’t really have sex.

I had a dream with a warning for “adult content and mature themes”.  It was about mortgage payments.  I’ve had dreams where naked women throw themselves on me, and I tell them that I’m really busy and I’m supposed to be somewhere.  I’ve had dreams where women are very obviously coming on to me, and I completely miss it.  I’ve told women in dreams to put their clothes back on, because they look cold.  It’s like the part of my brain that generates dreams didn’t get the memo that I’m asexual, so it still is sending out these prompts for sex dreams, but the rest of my brain doesn’t process them, so they always end up weird.

Many asexuals say that they’ve never had sex dreams of any kind.

You think that “sexy” clothes just look uncomfortable or cold and can’t understand why anyone would wear them.

Tight pants look like they’re going to squeeze the life out of someone, and if it’s a guy wearing them, you know he’s gotta be in pain.  Heels look like a broken ankle waiting to happen.  Shirts that expose the midriff have to be freezing in this weather.  All that lace is just going to leave a weird pattern in your skin.  Thongs seem like they’re going to cut you in half like a wire saw.

And I never got the point of make-up, either.

You don’t really fantasize.

Everyone else seems like they undress people with their eyes.

Everyone else seems like they dream about having their way with the quarterback or the head cheerleader.

Everyone else seems like they would “hit that”.

But not you.  It’s not that you won’t, because you think it’s sinful or something like that.  It’s that you don’t.  Your mind just doesn’t work that way.  It doesn’t spontaneously imagine leaping into bed with someone.  Maybe it’s even that you can’t.  Maybe you’ve tried to devise erotic fantasies and have failed.  You tried to undress someone with your eyes once, but you couldn’t even figure out how to get their bra off.  And if you can make it to the hot & heavy, rather than picturing the perfect mix of ecstasy and passion, you get bogged down in the details and distracted.  You spend so much energy trying to maintain the fantasy that you lose whatever pleasure you were hoping to get from it.

You don’t like sex.

Some asexuals don’t like sex.  They don’t want to do it, they don’t want to see it, they don’t want to hear it, they don’t want to think about it.  At the age when most people were hearing about sex and thinking “I’d like to try that”, they were thinking “You want me to do what with WHAT?  No.  Just.  No.”

While not liking sex is not the same as asexuality, many asexuals don’t like sex, and discover that they’re asexual when they’re trying to find out why they don’t like sex.

A lot of non-asexual people feel this way, too, when they first hear about sex.  Let’s face it, the whole process is a bit icky, after all.  However, for most people who feel this way, those thoughts are pushed aside once sexual attraction kicks in.  But for the aversive asexual, sexual attraction never comes along to override these feelings.

The “ick factor” isn’t the only reason people don’t like sex.  Some asexuals don’t like sex because they find it uncomfortable or boring.  There are thousands of reasons that someone might not like sex.

You like sex, but it doesn’t feel “right”.

I don’t mean this in an “Oh, it’s sinful and dirty” sense.  I mean it in the sense where something seems off, like gears with mismatched teeth or walking with gum on your shoe or using a shopping cart that always pulls to the right.  At first glance, it seems like everything’s okay, but the more you think about it, the more things feel off.

Perhaps you physically enjoy sex.  Maybe you like making your partner feel good.  There are things you might really like about sex, but at the same time, there’s something missing.  When you watch your partner’s reactions, it’s clear that there’s something there that you’re not feeling.  It’s impossible to put your finger on it, but you know there’s something there.  Some intangible spark is behind their eyes, and you’re acutely aware that spark is missing in your eyes.

This was how I felt when I had sex.  It physically felt great, but emotionally, I was not connected to the moment and to my partner.  She wanted it, she was into it, she had been craving that moment for months, while I just didn’t have any of that.

You had sex because that’s what you were “supposed to do”.

You never were really interested in having sex, you never felt a drive or biological desire to have sex, but you thought you wanted to have sex because “that’s what people do”.  Later on, you got a partner, they wanted to have sex and you went along with it because “that’s what people do”.  You kept having sex because “that’s what I’m supposed to do”.  It felt more like an obligation or a chore than the expression of love it was supposed to be.  At first, you may have even wanted the experience, but as time went on, you grew tired of it.

When you encountered the naked body of someone for the first time in a sexual situation, you looked at it like a real-life anatomy lesson, rather than an object of desire.

This one happened to me.  I was in my bedroom with my first (and so far, only) girlfriend.  Following her lead, we were fooling around a bit.  She was wearing short shorts and sitting on my bed.  She sat me down on the floor in front of her, spread open her legs, and pulled aside her shorts.

I think that most young men in this situation look upon it with unbridled glee.  It’s a milestone in their life, something they’d been working toward, often for years.  Instantly, their mind fills with ideas and opportunities and a thousand fantasies, any number of which could come true within the next five minutes.  For many men, a sight like that is like being invited into the playground of their dreams and told to run wild.

So, what went through my mind?

“Oh, so that’s how it all fits together!”

There was no explosion of sexual urges, no endless stream of desires.  I didn’t really even feel compelled to touch it.  Instead, I was busy looking over the terrain like it was a road map, full of places I’d only heard of in passing.  I wanted to identify all of the bits and pieces that I knew were supposed to be down there and see how they were all oriented relative to one another.

Needless to say, I now look at this event as one of the big red flags that should’ve clued me in that I was asexual years ago.

You focus on the motions, not emotions.

When dealing with sex and physical closeness, you put an emphasis on trying to make the right moves, like touching the right place in the right way, instead of focusing on the emotional aspects.  In some cases, the pressure you feel to push all the right buttons may make the experience highly unpleasant.

“If I try it, maybe I’ll like it.”

So, you haven’t had sex.  You’re not terribly enthusiastic about it, either.  It’s not that you’re against it, it’s just not all that interesting to you.  But everyone else seems to like it, so maybe you will too, if you just gave it a chance.  Maybe you just need to try it out and you’ll see what the fuss is about.

I call this the “Green Eggs and Ham” hypothesis:

You do not like them, so you say.  Try them!  Try them, and you may.  Try them and you may, I say.

The idea that maybe you’ll become interested in sex if you try it out is a compelling one.  The thinking goes, how can you really know if you’re not interested if you don’t give it a shot?  Well, the answer is that you really can know.  After all, you don’t actually have to hug a saguaro cactus to know that would be unpleasant.  So, if you’re certain that sex is not for you, then don’t feel pressured to prove that you don’t like it by going a few rounds.

On the other hand, if you feel this way, you’re open to the experience, and the right situation comes along, then go for it.  Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, it doesn’t really matter, either way.  I felt this about myself, and I did try having sex.  Of course, what it lead to was…

You had sex and thought “Is that it?”

That’s it? That’s all there is?

Weren’t there supposed to be fireworks and standing ovations?  Wasn’t my life supposed to be changed forever?  Wasn’t it supposed to be the single greatest experience of my entire life?

What was supposed to be so great about that?  Why do some people devote their entire lives to pursuing that?  How could that possibly be responsible for ruining the careers of so many politicians?  How could so many people consider that to be the very meaning of life?

I don’t know, I guess it was kinda fun, a little bit, sorta.  Bit boring, though, too.

I mean, seriously?  Is that really it?  What’d I miss?

Meh, whatever.

You don’t like masturbating.

Maybe you’ve tried it before, but it didn’t work out and you didn’t get anywhere.  Maybe you never saw the point.  Maybe you do it, but you look at it like any other bodily function, like a sneeze or a shiver.  Maybe you think it’s gross or disgusting or repulsive.  Maybe you do it and wish you could stop.  In any case, you don’t look at it as something pleasurable and fun.  And it’s not out of a sense of guilt or shame or anything like that.  You just genuinely don’t enjoy it.

You masturbate, what would you need anyone else for?

You might look at other people and how they talk about sex and about what person X did for them last night, and think, “Huh, I can do that by myself.  I don’t need any help.”  You’re perfectly fine taking care of yourself and really don’t mind reservations for sexual pleasure as a party of one.  When other people talk about masturbation as if it were some sort of consolation prize for a distant runner up, you’re a bit confused, because it certainly doesn’t seem like a terrible thing to you.

When you think about having sex with someone else, you may think that a second person would just get in the way and complicate things.  Maybe you’ve even had sex and didn’t think that it was really any better than what you’re capable of by yourself.

You think arousal is annoying.

Instead of looking at arousal as a sign from down below that you need to get all sexed up as soon as possible, you just find it annoying.  It’s distracting.  It’s random.  And, for some people, it literally gets in the way.  If you could shut it down, you would.  It’s never directed at anyone, you don’t really want to do anything with it, it’s just kinda there.

————

Tomorrow’s conclusion is all about other people and things.  Hope to see you there.

Links to the posts in this series:

“But asexuals can’t masturbate!”

Do asexuals masturbate?

Maybe.

“Maybe” isn’t an answer.

But it’s accurate.

No, really, do they?

No. And yes. It depends on the person.

So some asexuals masturbate?

Correct. And some don’t. It’s perfectly fine either way.

Do you masturbate?

That is an extremely personal question and is quite rude to ask. Just because I’m asexual doesn’t mean that it’s somehow okay to ask me that.

But do you?

Yes. And I’m good at it, too. But if I weren’t writing a post about asexuality and masturbation, that little tidbit would be absolutely none of your damn business.

How can an asexual masturbate?

For the most part, they just kinda rub until-

No, I meant, how can someone who masturbates be considered asexual?

Simple. Masturbation has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A gay person doesn’t engage in some sort of homosexual masturbation. A straight person is still straight even if they don’t touch themselves now and then. It’s no different for asexuality.

But masturbating is a sexual act. You can’t perform sexual acts and still be asexual.

Certainly, masturbation is a sexual activity performed using sexual organs and it produces a sexual response. There’s a misconception that an asexual must be devoid of all sexual properties and sexual responses and cannot experience sexual pleasure. I used to believe that myself, in fact, before I discovered what asexuality really is. I used to think that I couldn’t be asexual because I masturbate. But not the case at all. Asexuality is all about attraction, not action, it’s an orientation, not behavior. Being asexual does not mean one cannot or does not take part in sexual activities. Being asexual means one does not experience sexual attraction. Asexual people generally can and sometimes do take part in sexual activity. Masturbation is the most common.

Why would an asexual person bother to masturbate?

  • Sometimes they do it to relax.
  • Sometimes they do it as a stress reliever.
  • Sometimes they do it because they’re bored.
  • For women, it can help with period pain.
  • For men, it can help with embarrassing issues like spontaneous erections or nocturnal emissions.
  • Sometimes they consider it a bodily function.
  • Sometimes they do it because their libido wants them to.
  • Sometimes they do it to prevent prostate cancer.
  • Sometimes they do it because it’s like “scratching an itch”.
  • Sometimes they like to perform a self-test to make sure everything is in working order.
  • Sometimes they just want to.
  • And, oh yeah, going out on a limb here, but could be because orgasms tend to feel good.

In other words, asexuals masturbate for pretty much the same reasons non-asexuals do. (Please note that this is not meant to be a complete list of possible reasons.)

So, it’s okay to be asexual and masturbate. It’s okay to like it, too. It doesn’t cancel out your asexuality, it doesn’t minimize your asexuality, it doesn’t mean you’re faking your asexuality.

How can someone who has an orgasm still claim to be asexual?

Having an orgasm does not, in any way, invalidate someone’s asexuality. An orgasm is a physical response to stimulation. It’s not related to one’s sexual orientation, it doesn’t require sexual attraction to work. To say that someone who has an orgasm can’t be asexual anymore is ridiculous. When a heterosexual has an orgasm, it’s not somehow a function of a heterosexual orientation. When a bisexual has an orgasm, it’s not a “bisexual orgasm”. So why would it be any different for an asexual? Why would the asexual orientation somehow get canceled out by an orgasm? Am I suddenly turned straight or turned gay by an orgasm? How would that happen? I wasn’t attracted to anyone before the orgasm and I’m still not afterward, so if I’m not asexual anymore, what am I?

Do asexuals enjoy orgasms?

In general, yes. I know I do.

How do asexuals masturbate?

Exactly the same way someone who isn’t asexual does, with all the variants that implies. There’s no such thing as “asexual” masturbation. We’ll use the same methods, techniques, and implements as everyone else. We’ll range in frequency from absolutely never to several times a day.

“Implements”? You mean sex toys?

Yes. Like many non-asexual people, some asexuals will use sex toys to help them get off. In fact, I probably have a larger collection of toys than most non-asexual people.

(And for the record, males can and do use sex toys, too.)

But some of these “implements” are anatomically correct. Doesn’t using them mean the person is attracted to the anatomical part it’s a facsimile of?

Absolutely not. Anatomically correct toys are designed that way because that shape is obviously quite effective at achieving the desired stimulation. Using something that works doesn’t somehow make someone less asexual. Or maybe they’re using one because they liked the color or because it was in the $5 bin. It doesn’t matter. Using sex toys of any kind, from a formless bullet vibrator up to a fully anatomically correct RealDoll does not mean someone is not asexual.

So, if you’re not attracted to people, what do you think about while you’re going at it?

Well, this is certainly different for different people, but here’s some things I think about: Furniture. Vacation plans. The weather. The day at work. Things I did with my ex-girlfriend. Politics. Things I did with myself in the past. Some TV show or movie I watched. Video game music from the 80s. However, for the most part, my thoughts are “That feels good” and “That feels even better”.

Wait… “Things I did with my ex-girlfriend”? How can you think about that and consider yourself asexual?

I can think about that because it felt good. I never found her sexually attractive. However, just because I never found her sexually attractive doesn’t mean that I didn’t find her sexually effective. When I was stimulated by her, it was extremely pleasurable and it did lead to orgasm. The memory of that sensation is extremely arousing. It’s not a memory of her body or a longing to have sex with her again. I was sort of bored when I had sex with her, even though it did feel good.

Don’t you ever fantasize?

Personally, I never really fantasize. I’ve tried, but it never works. My mind always focuses on the details and the stage direction and never on the imagining having sex part. Fantasies always seem to end up more distracting than anything. It’s 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. (Not to mention that the thought of the imaginary naked woman in any pose never really did anything for me…) The one that’s come the closest to working is imagining myself demonstrating how I masturbate to someone else, which isn’t really much of a fantasy and usually just leads to me dropping the other person and going back to just thinking “That feels good”.

Some other asexuals will fantasize while masturbating. Often, they’ll describe it as imagining a sexual situation with a placeholder partner. Essentially a faceless, sometimes genderless prop that’s only there to provide an element that would be missing otherwise. For instance, they may imagine a person with a mouth performing oral sex on them. In this case, their thoughts are focused on the act itself and not any kind of attraction to the person performing the act. Sometimes the placeholder will be there to fulfill a fetish that the person finds arousing, in which case the focus is on the object of the fetish, and not the placeholder.

It always used to seem strange to me that so many people would say that you couldn’t masturbate without thinking of someone while doing it. There’s the religious thought that the reason masturbation is considered sinful is that it requires lust in the form of a fantasy, and I never understood that because I never needed lust, so why did anyone else? I would just grab it and go, without thinking about anyone. It was very mechanical. Fun, but mechanical.

How can you get aroused if you’re not thinking of someone sexually?

You don’t have to think of someone sexually in order to get aroused. You don’t have to be sexually attracted to anyone or anything in order to masturbate. 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! (And sometimes it doesn’t even take that much…) There’s a reward there that doesn’t require sexual attraction. I understand that, for most people, fantasy and attraction certainly helps the process, and I’m not disputing that. But it’s not a requirement.

Why would an asexual start to masturbate in the first place if they’re not turned on by someone?

Any number of reasons. Sometimes they’re told that it feels good and want to try it out. Other times their libido will kick in and downstairs will start screaming out for attention. And sometimes it’s because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do, after all, it seems like everyone else is.

In my case, in fifth grade sex ed (Which was basically nothing more than a vocabulary lesson) introduced me to the terms “masturbation” and “orgasm”. Masturbation was defined as “the self-stimulation of the genitals to orgasm” and orgasm was “an intense pleasurable sensation in the genitals”, and I eventually put the two definitions together and realized that it was something I wanted to try. I eventually managed to work out how it was done some time later.

You mentioned a libido? An asexual person can’t have a libido.

Actually, many asexuals do have a libido or a “sex drive”. They’ll have “urges” and desire sexual stimulation. But while for a non-asexual person, those urges tend to be directed toward another person, for an asexual, they’re often directionless. But that’s a topic for another post entirely…

What about porn?

What about it?

Do asexuals use porn?

You’re just asking that so you can say “Ha, gotcha!” when I answer, aren’t you?

No, not at all. Do they?

Sometimes, yes.

Ha! Gotcha! You can’t be asexual if you use porn!

I knew it…

Anyway, yes, asexuals sometimes will use porn while they masturbate. And no, it does not mean that they’re not asexual.

People who watch porn don’t necessarily find the performers sexually attractive. People who watch porn don’t always want to participate with the performers.

Consider it another way. Watching a cooking show on TV doesn’t necessarily make you want to cook whatever they’re fixing on the show, does it? You might not even like whatever it is. But it’s food, people are eating, and that makes you hungry. So you go get a bag of chips.

With porn, you might not want to do what they’re doing, you might not even like what they’re doing, but you may find it to be arousing simply because they’re aroused. You watch it and think “They seem to be enjoying what they’re doing. I have one of those, too, and I bet that feels good. Now I want to feel good.”

Enjoying porn has no bearing on your sexual orientation. Research has shown that women who are straight will often have a strong arousal response to lesbian scenes. And the very existence of the “money shot” in porn aimed at straight men should put any argument to rest. After all, if straight men didn’t find the shot of another man having an orgasm and ejaculating (Often by his own hand) to be arousing on some level, then why would it be so prevalent? It doesn’t mean that the viewer is secretly gay and repressed. It just means that they don’t necessarily have to feel sexual attraction toward something to be aroused by it.

In my case, I find most porn to be dull, uninteresting, and repetitive. I get more out of the sense that the performers are legitimately having a good time and experiencing pleasure than I do from the way they look or what they’re doing. I am very easily distracted by things in the background, like movies on a shelf or views out the window. And things like poor lighting and poor camera work will absolutely kill a scene. Sometimes I’ll watch porn for educational purposes, to see how other people do things and pick up a few tricks and techniques.

What about asexuals who don’t masturbate or don’t enjoy it?

Then they don’t masturbate or don’t enjoy it. Not every asexual has to masturbate. Not every asexual that does masturbate has to enjoy it. If you don’t masturbate, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If it’s not your thing, don’t worry about it and don’t worry about what other people might think. It’s no one’s business but your own.

Will masturbating make someone not asexual somehow?

Masturbation isn’t suddenly going to make you not asexual anymore, so don’t feel like you have to try it to know for sure that you’re ace. I’m pretty solid evidence that no amount of masturbation is likely to change your orientation. At most, you might discover that you like the way it feels and want to keep doing it.

What about asexuals who are curious about trying it?

If you’re looking for a step-by-step instruction guide, nope, not going there. I do have some other advice, though.

First: Relax.

Second: Don’t turn it into a chore. Presumably you’re doing it because you want it to be fun. It won’t be fun if it’s a chore.

Don’t feel defeated if you don’t get anywhere your first attempt, because you probably won’t. No one does. You’re not a failure and your equipment probably isn’t defective. It’s a learned skill and takes practice. I probably had to try for months before I got anywhere. Of course, those were the days before search engines, so it was all trial and error for me. At any rate, persistence is the key. You need to find out what works for you and not be afraid to try something new. And don’t be afraid of calling in a little bit of artificial assistance. Many people, male, female, or otherwise, will use lubricants or toys to help them get off.

Don’t feel guilty, as if you’re betraying your asexuality. You’re not.

You don’t necessarily need a libido in order to become aroused. It probably helps, but it’s not required. With the right mindset and the right stimulation, you can usually wake things up downstairs. Honestly, I’m not even sure I have a libido. I rarely, if ever, feel “urges” or feel “horny”, or any of the other things people describe as a libido at work. Whenever I masturbate, I usually have to spend a bit of time getting myself ready. However, I have read things which claim that sexual activity itself in some cases may increase libido in a sort of feedback effect. The more you do, the more you want. So you may have a dormant libido that masturbation could potentially awaken.

And most of all, if you don’t like it, stop. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. If you’re not getting anything out of it, don’t do it and don’t worry about it.

Anything more?

I’ll just leave you with this:

If you’re asexual and you masturbate, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you don’t masturbate, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you masturbate to porn, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you don’t masturbate to porn, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you masturbate using sex toys, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you don’t masturbate using sex toys, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you masturbate and you like it, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you masturbate and you don’t like it, then you’re still asexual.
If you’re asexual and you want to masturbate, but haven’t, then you’re still asexual.

(Please also see the companion post I wrote for Asexual Awareness Week, which elaborates more on my personal views on the topic, and where I stole a number of lines from:  http://www.asexualityarchive.com/aaw-day-6-masturbation/ )

AAW Day 6: Masturbation

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?”

(Again, NOYDB.)

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.”

and

“That feels even better.”

An Asexual on Sex

A quick note before I begin: To all the asexuals out there: It’s okay to be a virgin and it’s fine to not be a virgin. It’s okay to be curious about sex and it’s fine to not be interested in it at all. It’s okay to enjoy sex and it’s fine to dislike it. It’s okay to not want to experience sexual pleasure and it’s fine if you want to orgasm by yourself or with someone else. It’s okay to have sex and it’s fine to not have sex. Your experience may be different than mine, and it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong or your broken. It just means that you’re not me, and we’re each walking the path of our own lives.

All asexuals are virgins, right?

No, we’re not all virgins. Some of us are virgins. Some of us have had sex a few times (I’m in this group). And some of us have had a regular sexual relationship with a partner (or multiple partners).

How can you be asexual and have had sex?

Asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Sexual orientations are not defined by who you’ve had sex with throughout your lifetime, they’re defined by who you’re sexually attracted to. Think of it this way: A heterosexual male is heterosexual because he’s sexually attracted to women, even if he’s still a virgin and hasn’t had sex with any women. And if there’s that one night in college where he was young and confused and really really drunk and he went a little bit too far with that guy from the party because it seemed like a good idea at the time, that doesn’t make him gay or bi, because his sexual orientation is defined by his attraction, not his youthful indiscretions.

An asexual who has had sex simply isn’t sexually attracted to the person they’ve had sex with.

But, um, how can you be asexual and have had sex? I mean, physically?

Physically, there is no inherent difference between an asexual person and someone who is not asexual. We’ve got the same parts and pieces in the same arrangement and angles as everyone else, and they’ll work the same way, too. The only difference is emotional: Who we feel an urge to use those parts and pieces with. A heterosexual person wants to use them with someone with different parts and pieces, a homosexual wants to use them with someone with matching parts and pieces, a bisexual or pansexual doesn’t really care, and an asexual doesn’t really feel an urge to use them with anyone else.

Asexual males can get erect and ejaculate, and the sperm is normal human male sperm, it’s not some sort of magic sperm that can grow into a clone of the father on its own under the right conditions.

Asexual females can get wet and engorged and can get pregnant, and a pregnancy requires a male contrubution, they’re not capable of parthenogenesis.

Asexuals of any sex are capable of orgasm.

So, uh, asexual women having sex, that I get. “Lie back and think of England” and all that. They don’t have to do anything. But asexual men… How does that work?

Blood fills the spongy tissue of the penis, causing an erection, and the erect penis is-

I know how it works, but how does that happen?

You mean, how can an asexual man get an erection without being sexually attracted to the person they’re with?

Yeah, what’s the deal with that?

Obviously, the ability to achieve erection and not be sexually attracted to the person the erection will be used with is not an isolated feature unique to asexuals. There are plenty of examples of gay men who have fathered children through natural insemination. There are also plenty of examples of men (gay, straight, or otherwise) who’ve left the bar at last call with whoever was willing to join them. A man clearly does not have to be sexually attracted to someone to be able to have sex with them.

I can only speak for myself here, as I’ve never run a survey of non-virgin asexual males regarding erectile capacity during intercourse, but here goes. Even though I’m not sexually attracted to anyone, my body can and does respond to sexual situations. It’s like downstairs says “Oh, hey, SEX! I know what that is. I’ll go get ready in case you need me.” It’ll react that way to some sex scenes in movies, or to porn, or to knowing that you and your girlfriend had planned on having sex for about a month and now she’s getting into bed with you. It may be a Pavlovian response, where I know that the situation may have the reward of sexual pleasure, so my body gets prepared. Additionally, an erection can be caused by physical stimulation, regardless of the source of that stimulation. Many men have gotten erections from tight underwear, loose underwear, driving on bumpy roads or getting a physical at the doctor, and none of those things are generally targets of sexual attraction. When I had sex, there was a decent period of touching and caressing prior to starting intercourse, all of which was arousing. In fact, immediately after putting on the condom, I required a bit of direct stimulation to make the erection usable.

Some people confuse an getting an erection with sexual attraction. It is very important to note that they are not the same thing. Certainly, an erection can be the result of sexual attraction, but there are many other ways to get one (Like the physical stimulation mentioned above), and most of those other ways will work the same way on an asexual’s penis as on a non-asexual’s penis. Hell, when I was in the 7th grade, I used to get an erection every day in math class. Now, I like math and all, but I don’t like it that much. Sometimes erections just happen and there’s no reason for it.

Oh, and, don’t forget: Despite what President Clinton may have claimed, sex doesn’t necessarily require a penis to be placed within a vagina. So it doesn’t require a functional penis to be involved. It doesn’t even require a penis at all. Hands, mouths, and various devices and implements that may or may not be battery-operated can all be used during sexual activity.

Why bother? I mean, if you hate sex, what’s the point?

As I noted in an earlier post, views on sex vary widely among asexuals. Many asexuals do not hate sex. There are many reasons that an asexual person might have sex. These reasons include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • To please their partner.
  • Because they’ve been told, “Try it, you’ll like it”.
  • To satisfy their libido.
  • Because they’re bored.
  • To find out what its like.
  • Because they want children.
  • To “fit in” with other people.
  • Because it feels good.
  • Because they want to.

I had sex because my girlfriend at the time wanted to have sex with me. She knew that I wasn’t all that interested in sex, but we figured that it was worth a shot because maybe I’d become more interested in it if I experienced it. Of course, I did want to know what it was like, since sex is supposed to be this super-amazing, mind-blowing, life-altering thing that everyone else seems to be relentlessly chasing. Something like that’s gotta be good, right? But most importantly, I did it because I wanted to do it. No amount of begging and pleading would’ve gotten me to do anything if I didn’t want to do it (Anyone who’s tried to get me to eat Thai food knows that). In the end, I wasn’t terribly impressed. It was okay, I guess, but nothing to get all worked up over. It just wasn’t my bag.

What do you do when you have sex?

You know all the different things non-asexuals might do that they’d consider to be sex? Yeah, asexuals might do any of those. It’s not like there’s some ace code of conduct that says asexual women must lie passively and asexual men must thrust in the missionary position and any deviations from these standards are punishable by no cake for a month. During sex, asexual people, regardless of gender, can be as active or as passive as they want to be, and engage in activities ranging from dull to kinky.

But can you feel anything?

We can. Nothing about asexuality prevents an asexual person from experiencing physical sexual pleasure, whether that pleasure comes from a kiss on the cheek or genital stimulation. An orgasm in an asexual is no different than an orgasm in someone who isn’t. Sexual response will vary from individual to individual, just like among non-asexual people. Many asexuals who have had sex have never experienced an orgasm or may experience pain during intercourse (particularly women), however, you’ll find the same issues among non-asexual people, as well.

As for me, do I feel anything? Hoo-boy howdy yeah! Um, I mean, yes, I found the act of intercourse to be quite pleasurable physically.

None of this makes any sense to me. Asexuals having sex. “Asexual” means “not sexual”, so it’s not possible for an asexual to do sexual things. Are you sure you’re ace?

I don’t like the description of asexuality as “non-sexual” or “not sexual”, as I feel those terms carry the implication that an asexual person has no sexual ability or is incapable of doing anything of a sexual nature or is impotent. That’s simply not the case. Asexuality alone has no bearing on physical and physiological attributes and functions. I’ve got a penis and a pair of testicles. I can get erections. I can masturbate, lubricate and ejaculate. I can experience the intense physical pleasure of an orgasm. I can father a child. All the parts down below are present and functional, just like in any other healthy factory-original male. The only difference is that I don’t have any burning interest in using those parts with anyone else, because I’m asexual. Not having any interest doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of doing so.

What was sex like, from your point of view?

Somewhat analytical and disconnected. I was far more into trying to figure out what actions I was supposed to be taking at the various points in the process. Am I supposed to kiss the breast or caress it now? Is the clitoral stimulation too fast or too slow? I distinctly remember being bored at one point, wishing that my orgasm would arrive so that I could stop. It wasn’t the epitome of all life experiences, as I’d been led to believe. But at the same time, it felt good, both physically and emotionally. The whole process felt different and in some ways better than masturbation, the warmth and the varying pressure being notable examples. And I very much enjoyed sharing the experience with the woman that I loved at the time.

Interestingly enough, I have a record of some emails I sent to my partner on the subject in the days following our get togethers. They’re a monument to aceness. Instead of things like “Oh baby, you were so hot last night” and “I just got hard again thinking about what we did”, these mails are full of more practical issues, like the application of lubricant, discussion of technique, and talking about how I wasn’t expecting to be thirsty after sex. Anyway, here’s some quotes from those mails:

“Anyway, yes, I did enjoy it. It was different than I had imagined. It took a lot longer than I was expecting (Must’ve gotten caught up in the rhythm and forgotten to orgasm…). And it felt different, too. The way people always talk, I was expecting more of an electric explosion type of ‘WowWowWOWOW!’ sort of feeling the entire time. Sure, it was nice, but I don’t see why it gets people acting stupid and ruining their lives and such.”

“At the beginning, it wasn’t that much different from masturbation and was fairly dull and repetitive, almost ‘Is that all there is?’ “

“Touching there, kissing here, rubbing there… It doesn’t make much difference. It all feels pretty much the same to me. Stroking your breast does about as much for me as stroking your shoulder.”

“Anyway, I will be willing to do it again sometime. It meets with my approval.”

Your honor, I would like to submit these letters as Exhibit A for the proof of the existence of asexuality…

Um… Yeah. Wow. So, uh… What should I know if I, as a non-asexual person, want to have sex with an asexual?

As I wrote above, asexual people can have sex and still be asexual. There’s nothing physically preventing most of us from doing so. However, just because someone can physically have sex doesn’t mean they will want to. Many aces do not want to have sex. They may be repulsed, they may not be with the right person, it might not be the right time for them, or they may simply not want to. Even those who are willing to have sex are generally less into it and won’t do it as frequently as a non-asexual partner might prefer. Trying to coerce or pressure or guilt an asexual into having sex with you is an officially uncool thing to do. “No” means NO.

Sometimes aces will be willing to work out a compromise situation when they’re in a relationship with a non-asexual person, but it’s important that such a compromise come from a place of respect and that the compromise be honored by both parties. The single most important thing to remember when dealing with a sexual relationship with an asexual person is that you need to talk to them. Communication. Tell them your wants and needs and listen to their wants and needs. And talk. Don’t accuse and don’t demand. Also, not all asexual people will be willing to compromise.

Understand that an asexual person probably sees sex in a very different way than you do. You might see it as the supreme expression of love, joining of two souls into a single blissful passion. They may see it as the rubbing of genitals against each other for a half hour or so. They may not find you sexually attractive, but that’s not a personal rejection of you and there’s nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t mean they think you’re fat or ugly or horrible to be around or they don’t love you anymore. Their minds just don’t work that way. You will need to learn to accept that.

One thing I’ve seen happen again and again is that the asexual person will gradually become less and less willing to have sex. There can be many reasons for this, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re falling out of love. They may have come to the realization that they can’t overcome their repulsion. They may have started feeling guilty that you’re clearly attracted to them and they can’t return the favor. They may be growing less and less comfortable in sexual situations. The novelty might be wearing off. Or they may simply not be as willing to do it anymore. You will never know what the reason is if you don’t talk to them about it.

And again, no means no. If someone doesn’t want to have sex with you, then they don’t want to have sex with you. It doesn’t matter that they’re asexual. It doesn’t matter if they’ve had sex before, even if that sex was with you. No means no.

“Don’t you all hate sex?”

All asexual people think the same way about sex, right? Don’t you all hate sex?

Not at all, actually. The opinions on sex among asexuals are just as wide and varied as the opinions of non-asexuals on sex. Some like it, some hate it, and some don’t care at all. Asexuality is only the lack of sexual attraction. Beyond that, anything goes.

Well, how do you feel about sex?

I am a “sex-positive” asexual. That may sound contradictory, but it does not mean that I want to have sex. What it means is that I’m fine with sex. I don’t hate sex, I’m not repulsed by it, I don’t look down on other people for having it, I’m not ashamed about the fact that I even had sex, once upon a time. I recognize that sex may be important to other people and I do not have a problem with that. I find sex and sexuality strangely fascinating, and I always have. I have a sort of detached anthropological scientific interest in the subject. Although I don’t really have any desire to take part in most of the activities and practices I’ve heard about, I still think it’s good for me to know about them, and I like learning about them. If you saw my bookshelf, you would likely not believe that I’m ace. I’ve got sex encyclopedias, sex manuals, books on masturbation, fellatio, and cunnilingus, even a book that describes 365 different ways to have sex, so you can do it differently every night of the year (Except during a leap year, apparently). I know about things some of my non-asexual friends have never heard of.

(Please note that “Sex-positive” doesn’t mean that I think that all sex is automatically good. There are certainly some aspects of sex which are terrible.)

However, wanting to learn about sex does not mean that I actually want to have sex. When it comes to having sex with a partner, I’m largely indifferent. I don’t actively seek it out. I’ve done it before and wasn’t all that impressed, but I wouldn’t necessarily be against doing it again in the right situation.

Okay, so some asexuals are fine with sex. What about the rest of them?

Not every asexual is sex-positive. Many asexuals are repulsed by sex. Repulsion goes beyond simple disinterest. A repulsed person is generally disgusted by the thought of sex or of sexual things. There are many variations of repulsion among asexuals. Some think that all sex, anywhere, by anyone, is “icky”. Others are only repulsed when it comes to any form of sexual situations involving their own bodies, but are fine with other people having sex. Some repulsed people may be fine with their own bodies and may masturbate, but find the thought of doing anything with someone else disgusting. In some cases, the mere mention of an anatomical word is enough to cause someone to feel sick to their stomach.

Being sex-positive and repulsed are not mutually exclusive.  It’s possible for someone to believe that pretty much whatever goes on between consenting adults is fine and dandy, but at the same time be repulsed about the thought of engaging in sexual activity themselves.  Part of sex-positivity is a sense of “to each their own”, which means respect for how much or how little sex a person chooses to have, whether it’s five times a day or zero times in a lifetime.  There are no “sluts” and there are no “prudes”.

Repulsion, by itself, is not necessarily an indicator of asexuality. Many non-asexuals are also repulsed by the thought of sex. They’ll experience sexual attraction, but once their thoughts turn toward the act of having sex, their thoughts will be blotted out by the ickiness of the fluids and the body parts and other goings on. Some people may even mistake repulsion for asexuality, thinking that because they find sex disgusting, that must mean that they do not find anyone sexually attractive, which is not the case.

Some people have reported some measure of success in overcoming repulsion by engaging in exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is the process in which a person attempts to overcome a fear by gradual and repeated exposure to the thing that causes the fear. For instance, someone who is arachnophobic would be shown pictures of spiders in an attempt to desensitize the person to spiders. For someone who is sexually repulsed, they might try looking at pornographic images or videos, reading about sexual acts, or examining their own bodies as a way to minimize their repulsion. (Of course, your mileage may vary. I’m not a psychologist or therapist and I’ve never been sexually repulsed, so I might just be completely off base here. I would strongly suggest that you find someone who actually knows what they’re talking about before attempting any therapy of this sort. Don’t just listen to me. Also, don’t blame me if you end up scarred for life after you see some of the things out there on the Internet…) It’s also important to note that exposure therapy should only be attempted by those who actually want to change how they feel about sex. If you’re repulsed by sex and don’t really have a problem with it, then don’t worry about trying to “fix” youself, because you’re not broken.

Why do I always hear about asexuals that hate sex and everyone who has sex?

I believe you’re confusing asexuality with anti-sexuality. They are not the same thing. Anti-sexuals believe that sex is bad or wrong, either because of a religious objection, or because they believe that sex is at the root of many of the world’s problems. While it is possible for someone to be both asexual and anti-sexual, one does not have to be asexual to be anti-sexual, and not all asexuals are anti-sexual. (In fact, the majority of them are not.)

So, do all asexuals fit perfectly into one of these groups you’ve mentioned?

It’s possible to be some mixture of the categories I’ve described above, and it’s also possible for someone to fall into a category I haven’t mentioned. However, just because someone is asexual, you can’t know which, if any, of these categories that person will be. You’ll need to talk to them to find out. It’s generally considered rude to assume that they’re a certain way. Furthermore, it should be noted that someone’s general impression of sex may not apply to every specific situation. For instance, just because an asexual is sex-positive, that doesn’t mean they’ll be willing to have sex with you or anyone else.  Just because an asexual is repulsed, that doesn’t mean they’ll flee the room in horror if the conversation turns to sex. Communication is the key to understanding the individual.