This gallery contains 13 photos.
Ace flag themed state maps for the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada.
This gallery contains 13 photos.
Ace flag themed state maps for the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada.
This gallery contains 48 photos.
Ace flag themed state maps for all 50 United States, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
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.
A lot of times, people will say that single people are “Missing Out” on the partner experience. What they generally mean by that is that I do not experience some of the things that have brought them joy. They assume because they want these things, that I must want them too, and must be suffering from their absence.
They think that I’m missing out on having children.
They think that I’m missing out on waking up next to someone in the morning.
They think that I’m missing out on sex.
They think that I’m missing out on someone to share the pain with.
They think that I’m missing out on laughter and love and those hundred little intangibles they couldn’t live without.
I’m not. I’m not missing out on any of those things. I’m not really interested in any of those things. I have to assume that the people who think I’m missing out were driven to obtain those things, and feel that a hole in their life was filled by them. But I feel no such hole.
However, there is one that I have missed out on because I’m perpetually single. It’s stuck with me over the years, and it stands out as the only thing I can honestly say I’ve missed out on because I was alone.
The Jot Dean Ice Cave.
I should point out that I travel. Not travel, as in the globetrotting fly to Europe and take a cruise around the world kind of travel, but travel as in pack up the car and go driving kind of travel. I’ve been to places you’ve never heard of that are down roads you’d be reluctant to drive. I routinely find myself in places that are untouched by cell phone signals. I’ve seen some amazing things and been to places that will stay with me forever. Control room of a nuclear reactor from the Manhattan Project? Been there. Watch the sun rise on the Equinox in Chaco Canyon? Done that.
But the Jot Dean Ice Cave?
No. I turned around because I was alone.
The Jot Dean Ice Cave lies in the backwoods of Northern California, among the lava fields of the Medicine Lake Volcano. It’s halfway between Lava Beds National Monument and nowhere in particular. The partially paved road that passes it is empty. In one section, I drove for an hour and didn’t see another car. If it’s solitude you’re after, this is probably a good place to go looking for it.
There are many lava tubes in Northern California. That’s what Jot Dean is. In many cases, the thrill of exploring a lava tube is enough of a reason to break out the flashlights and put on the bike helmet. But Jot Dean has an attraction beyond simply going underground. Jot Dean is an “Ice Cave”, which means that there’s ice in the cave year-round. Normally, this means that there’s a slightly puddled ice sheet at the far reaches of the cave, but not here. Here, in Jot Dean, there’s a massive ice wall. Six inches thick and eight feet high.
And I didn’t see it.
I didn’t see it because I didn’t go in the cave.
Because I was alone.
I missed out because I was alone.
See, the Jot Dean Ice Cave is not a developed cave, where there’s a nice lighted trail and steel stairs leading from the surface into the depths. There are no tours, there’s no interpretive signs, there’s no gift shops, there’s no elevator back to the surface. The entrance is a hole in the ground, filled with massive boulders, the jumbled remnants of the collapsed ceiling. It’s friendlier than some caves, sure, but I’m an uncoordinated city dweller, not a mountain goat or a seasoned caver. To get to the cave, you have to scramble down into this pit of loose rocks. I started down, reaching about halfway, before I realized where I was.
I was in the mouth of a cave. A bee-infested cave. On a loose pile of sharp boulders. In the middle of nowhere. With no one else around.
Certainly, the likelihood of something going wrong was low. But if something did go wrong, that would not be a good situation.
I could get attacked by the swarm of bees. I could get bit by a rattlesnake. I could twist my ankle or break my leg on the rocks. I could fall and hit my head. I could slip on the ice and dislocate something.
And no one would find me.
There was no one else there. I think I’d passed one car on the road to the place. There was a very good chance that no one else would stop at the cave that day.
I pictured myself lying badly injured in the cave. In the dark. In the cold. Screaming. No one would hear me. Not a chance. Maybe -just maybe- a ranger would drive by, see my car in the parking lot, and check the cave. But would they get there in time? I might have been there for hours.
Even if it’s a less serious injury, and I’m able to crawl back to the road, no one’s driving past to be able to help. And it’s probably a two hour drive to the nearest hospital.
And so I said no. I’m not going in there. Yes, there’s an amazing ice wall. Yes, I’m only a hundred feet away. Yes, I’m probably overreacting. But no, I’m not going to do it.
Because I’m alone.
What’s especially important to notice is that I missed out because I was alone, not because I was alone. I didn’t say, “I’m not going to do this because I’m not in a relationship”. I said, “I’m not going to do this because I’m probably the only person for miles and I don’t feel like dying in a cave while I’m on vacation”. It really wouldn’t have mattered who was there, as long as someone had been. Strangers on the trail would’ve sufficed.
People in relationships have an automatic buddy system. You slip and fall and break your leg in a remote ice cave in Northern California, your relationship buddy will drag you to the surface and race you to the nearest hospital. I am missing out on that aspect of a relationship. Thing is, that’s one of the few aspects of a relationship that I actually find appealing. Other people want to get paired up for the love or the companionship or the sex, but I look at getting paired up as a Fairy in a Bottle or a Second Chance perk.
Here’s the other thing that most people don’t mention. By “Missing Out” on one thing, you often open a window on something else. Had I actually gone all the way into the Ice Cave that day, everything the rest of the day would have been shifted back by about half an hour. That means I wouldn’t have made it to Fleener Chimneys for the sunset. I probably would have been someplace far less spectacular. So, in the end, did I actually miss out at all?
Whenever asexuality gets mentioned in an article or in an interview, there’s always the inevitable remark in the comment section:
Why do you have to talk about this? Who cares that you’re not having any sex? Stop shoving it in our faces!
It frustrates me to see that kind of attitude, to see people who are unable to close their mouths and open their minds long enough to understand that there are people who are different than them. And it’s not just anonymous Internet nobodies who share that view. In his infamous appearance in (A)sexual, that’s basically what Dan Savage says. But really, those people aren’t who I’m talking about asexuality for. Ignorant jerks like that are a lost cause and not really worth spending energy on.
But the questions remain. Why do I have to talk about asexuality? Who does care?
Let me share a conversation that I came across the other day. It’s between a guy in his early twenties and a girl who’s interested in him. It’s a real conversation, edited slightly for privacy and to remove a few irrelevant bits. It’s a bit on the long side, though, so please bear with it.
The Girl> Sorry, Joe and I are having an ass competition… Don’t even bother asking..
The Guy> I wouldn’t ask.
The Girl> Cast your vote anyway!
The Girl> I probably just scared you. :P
The Guy> Are you sure you’re not trying to scare me away?
The Girl> Hey, you scared me multiple times today.
The Guy> Yes, but this is one of those things that’s likely to get me rolling around on the floor beating the scarythought our of my head.
The Girl> I’m winning anyway. I don’t need your vote.
The Girl> Such a wimp. ;)
The Guy> And what gives you the idea that I would’ve voted for you, anyway? There’s only so much psychological trauma someone can take, and I’m well past that limit.
The Girl> Seriously, does that sort of thing actually disturb you?
The Guy> It was a part of the world I was happier not knowing existed…
The Guy> But does it actually have me rolling around on the floor, baning on my head to get the scarythoughts out? No.
The Guy> I’m not that messed up.
The Girl> Guys are supposed to be turned on by that, but I suppose you have all that repressed..
The Girl> And no, I don’t understand why they’re turned on by it either..
The Guy> If you want to call it repressed, sure. But I honestly don’t think of it that way. I don’t feel that I’m holding something down, that there’s something evil lurking inside that I have to keep hidden. It’s just not there.
The Girl> So it was never there?
The Guy> I don’t know if I didn’t get it, or if I just haven’t found it, or if I lost it somewhere.
The Guy> But it’s not bothering me. I don’t see why it should. I’m not excited at the prospect of looking at people’s butts. Somehow, I don’t see that as a bad thing. I like the fact that I’m not turned into a slobbering idiot by that sort of thing.
The Girl> You know, I kind of like that… It’s always bothered me that guys I talk to, and even some of the girls, obviously have other intentions while talking to me, and I know that with everything they say, they’re just trying to get a step closer… It drove me insane with Jake. He’d wine and sulk, and beg, and generally act like an idiot…
The Girl> er, whine
The Guy> Maybe I just take a functional approach to things. “Hey, wow, that looks like that would be comfortable when you sit down.” That sort of thing. I don’t see anything interesting in it. I don’t have a desire to touch it, I mean what would that get me? “It feels like it’s confortable, too.”
The Girl> I guess it’s just one of those things where there’s multiple ways of thinking about it… Not really sure that I could explain the other way, though… or if I would want to..
The Girl> I guess for me, it’s all about trust or something.
The Girl> And now I’ve really scared you…
The Guy> No, no you haven’t scared me. The words are coming, they just aren’t forming coherent sentences.
The Guy> The words… They want to speak, they want to curse society for thinking there’s something wrong with me, they want to ask myself if there is something wrong, they want to dig up my past, see where I went wrong, if I went wrong, they want- …
The Guy> They want to speak, but they have nothing to say.
The Guy> I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I’m just…
The Girl> Just what?
The Guy> You see what an ass competition can do to me?
The Girl> I’m seeing it, but I’m not quite understanding it…
The Guy> I guess you hit a gas line with your digging… It’s not my sexuality that’s repressed, it’s all of that.
The Girl> Now I have nothing to say… I’m still confused, I guess.
The Guy> I’m sorry for letting it out on you.
The Guy> Wow, this is a switch… I’m the one emotional, and you’re the one that can’t find anything to say. Never thought I’d see this side of things.
The Girl> That’s fine… I like it when you talk to me, and you’re talking to me…
The Girl> And I’m also curious, I guess. I know none of this is any of my business..
The Guy> I guess it’s that I have a name for everything but myself. I don’t have a place in the “Normal” order of things, and I’m fine with that. But I’d like a name… “I’m not into women.” “Oh, you’re gay?” “I don’t like men, either.” “Oh. What the hell is wrong with you?”
The Guy> No, if this is anyone’s business outside of mine, it’s yours.
The Girl> Non-sexual. Sounds pretty awful, but I think that’s the word…
The Girl> That’s the way I always assumed you were, too… I mean, even when I barely knew you.
The Girl> I’ve heard “asexual” used, too, but that makes it sound like you’re some sort of single-celled organism…
The Guy> I’m sure there is a name for it. One that no one’s ever heard and doesn’t have a clue what it means. Yeah, it’s probably something like that. Anything like that means “I can’t get none” to Joe Average. But “I don’t want none.”
The Girl> I actually went through times when I thought like that, too… The thought kind of disgusted me. But I realize that I was thinking in the internet porn site way, or whatever which -is- completely digusting.
The Girl> But obviously it wasn’t a permanent thing for me, I guess.
The Girl> Anyway, I just started thinking about it in that trust way, I guess… And it’s really a beautiful thing if you think of it that way.
The Guy> I don’t know if it is for me, either. I don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll wake up and realize “Hey, I’m in love”. Or can I be in love anyway. the way I am now? It’s separate, so why not? Or don’t I have that, too?
The Girl> It’s completely separate, from what I’ve heard and experienced…
The Girl> Well, maybe not -completely-.
The Guy> I never felt any kind of physical attraction to Red. But was it real, or some concocted response to early teenage pressures? If it was real, why hasn’t it happened since?
The Girl> Because it’s “evil” now, I guess… You’re probably afraid of it. I mean, subconsciously.
The Girl> And you know the cliche quote that everyone would use here…
The Guy> Why don’t I think about you or Thursday and think, “Hey, I’m in love”? It’s “Aw, gee, she’s nice.” What’s not connecting here?
The Guy> Thank you for listening. I don’t know if this is going to help me (Or if there’s even anything to help), but thank you.
The Girl> I don’t know… If you don’t think it, then it’s obviously not happening, because you’d know if it were.
The Girl> I guess you should probably get to bed then..
The Guy> Oh, now you want me to leave, do you?
The Girl> No, I don’t want you to be even more tired tomorrow. :P
The Guy> If it’s something in my subconscious, it’s deep. It’s very deep. I don’t think one person could do that much damage. Maybe make me more reluctant to act, but there’s been enough time that something should have happened by now.
The Guy> I almost just said “Statistically something should have happened by now”. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I think too much. I’m probably not supposed to think, I’m just supposed to run.
The Girl> Well, you don’t talk to a heck of a lot of girls… And if you’re not physically attracted to people, you’ve not going to find anyone without talking to them…
The Guy> But every once in a while one gets in my path that I will talk to.
The Girl> Personally, I just can’t be attracted to people I first meet in real life. I guessI’ve just accidently trained myself to want to see what’s insane their mind first… Sometimes I see really attractive guys, and make eye contact, just for fun, but I don’t feel…anything, really.
The Guy> Why would it even necessarily be restricted to girls? I haven’t found Mr. Right, either.
The Girl> Exactly…
The Girl> But you don’t talk to a heck of a lot of -guys-, either..
The Guy> “Insane their mind”? You have been talking to me too much…
The Girl> errrr… inside!#$%
The Girl> They always have to make other words… always…
The Girl> Can I ask what it was that attracted you to her?
The Guy> “Attractive.” I don’t even have that concept defined for myself. There’s “What everyone else says is attractive” and then there’s the “That person looks interesting”, which I guess is supposed to count, but I feel more like I’m judging the look of a painting in an art gallery than being attracted.
The Guy> And people don’t like it when you take them home and hang them on a wall.
The Girl> But what made her different from, well, everyone else you’ve ever knwon?
The Girl> known even
The Guy> I don’t know. Nothing, I guess. The time and place.
The Girl> Did you actually know her? Like was she a friend?
The Guy> Yeah. We had half our classes together. We’d not do anything in PE together, we’d trade book recommendations for the essays in English class. That sort of thing.
The Guy> And my God, she actually liked the Grapes of Wrath. That right there shouldn’ve been a hint.
The Guy> Wait! She’s not the one that’s Evil! John Steinbeck is!
The Girl> So you -did- have a social life at one point, huh?
The Girl> How long did you know her before you started to feel that way about her?
The Guy> If you call that a social life… I call it talking to classmates in school. I didn’t spend often lunch with people, and I never went anywhere with anyone after school. Then again, it was Nevada… Nowhere to go. People hung out at the old gravel pit. Really, they did.
The Guy> I don’t remember. Months, of some sort. Not years or anything like that.
The Girl> What happened when you did? What felt different?
The Guy> I don’t remember.
The Girl> So you don’t remember how you knew?
The Girl> I’m not trying to pry anything out of your, by the way, so feel free not to answer that or anything else…
The Guy> No. I don’t remember the feeling, either. It’s like a stamp in a book. It’s the remains of getting knocked upside the head with an inky hammer.
The Girl> Well, anyway… Just because you think you -should- like someone doesn’t mean they’re the right person, or whatever… There’s plenty of people in the past that I -should- have liked, but there’s just something that wasn’t there… There’s even people right now. Sometimes there’s some flaw I can’t see past, it drives me insane that I could be so shallow. And even when I’m absolutely obsessed with someone online, there can be something that’s just…not there in real life.
The Girl> Anyway…
The Girl> Yeah…Go to bed… I don’t want to feel bad about you being tired tomorrow. ;)
The Guy> I’d probably end up tired even if I had gone at 10…
The Girl> More tired, then…
The Guy> And thank you for this. Normally I’d write these things, but I haven’t written them yet…
The Guy> I probably should, though. I mean, come on, “Coming to terms with an alternative sexuality”? That has Oprah book written all over it. And “Oprah book” means rolling in cash…
That is why I have to talk about asexuality.
That guy… He’s in pain. He’s broken and confused. He’s different from everyone else and doesn’t have the words to explain how he feels. He makes some jokes, sure, but that’s how he tries to deal with it. He’s empty and frustrated and alone.
He’s … me.
That was a chat log of an actual conversation from 2002, between me and the woman who’d later become my first and, so far, only girlfriend (and not too long after, my first and only ex-girlfriend…). It would be another nine years before I’d discover that asexuality was a real thing. It was another nine years of being confused and broken and alone. Another nine years of feeling like that. And I had felt that way for years before that night. Every time someone brought up love or sex or relationships or getting married, there was that emptiness, that confusion, that “What in the hell is wrong with me?”
She even mentioned the word “asexual” in there, and I dismissed it. It was something I’d never heard of and didn’t have a clue what it meant. I couldn’t be that.
But that one word would have made all the difference to me then. Why didn’t I hear it? Why didn’t I know what it was? Why did it take me another nine years to find it? To find me…
So, who cares about asexuality?
I care because of all the time I spent lost in the wilderness, thinking something was missing. I care because of all the time I spent looking at other people and seeing that I was fundamentally different than them, thinking something must be broken inside me. I care because of all the time I spent not knowing where I fit in the world, thinking that I must not fit anywhere.
I care because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.
I have a place now. I have a name for me.
I’m not broken anymore.
But… Someone else is.
I talk about asexuality because somewhere else, there’s another person who is feeling lost and broken and alienated and confused, just like I was. I do it because every person I tell might know that person. I do it because every person I tell might be that person.
It only takes one informed person to be in the right place at the right time to change someone’s life. That is why awareness matters. That is why visibility work is important. That is why I have to talk about this. That is why I care.
There are some topics that I see turn up repeatedly in asexual spaces, yet I rarely see them explored to any great extent. “An Asexual’s Guide To …” was born out of a desire to explore some of those topics. In this series, I aim to go in depth into topics that many aces are curious about, but are reluctant to explore. There are certainly other sites out there that talk about these subjects, but they rarely approach them from an asexual point of view. Often, in fact, these topics are discussed in a manner that is alienating to asexual people.
In the coming pages, I will be direct and detailed about the topics I’m discussing. My intent is to bring these subjects into the open and talk about them without shame or squeamishness or stigma.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Anatomy: This post starts you on a tour of your body.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Female Anatomy: This post takes you on a tour of a body that’s generally characterized as having a clitoris and vagina.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Male Anatomy: This post takes you on a tour of a body that’s generally characterized as having a penis and testicles.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Arousal: This post talks about what arousal is and what it does to your body.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Orgasms: This post talks about orgasms, what they are and what they aren’t.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Masturbation: This post talks about masturbation, what it is and what it’s like.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Male Masturbation: This post talks about masturbation with a male body, including a basic how-to.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Female Masturbation: This post talks about masturbation with a female body, including a basic how-to.
An Asexual’s Guide To … Having Sex: This post talks about having sex with a partner.
Disclaimers and such:
I’ve written much of this series in the second person. This is to make it more conversational and less formal in tone. However, this does not necessarily mean that you, personally, will have all the bits and pieces exactly as described or that you’ll feel everything that’s described. If something says “you”, but it doesn’t match you, don’t worry about it too much. Everyone is different and most variations are completely natural and don’t mean anything is wrong. Unfortunately, these posts can’t cover everyone’s experiences. It’s simply impossible to do that. While I’ve tried to include a wide range of perspectives, there will undoubtedly be some of you who disagree with or feel left out or alienated or are offended by some of what I say. For that I apologize.
In cases where “male” or “female” are used, they are used to refer to physical sex, not gender.
Also, note that the title of the series is “An Asexual’s Guide To …”, not “The Asexual Guide To …”. Although I have invited input from a number of people, the writing and the viewpoint within is still just mine, and should not be taken as the official view of every single asexual ever. I could very well be wrong or uninformed about a lot of things.
And, of course, I’m not a doctor. Don’t use this site as a substitute for a qualified medical opinion on any issue.