An Asexual’s Guide To … Having Sex

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What is sex?

I don’t know, something about birds and bees and flowers and trees?  I’m not exactly sure how the moon up above is supposed to be involved, but there are some things I’m probably better off not knowing.

Um…  Let’s try that again.  What is sex?

There are a lot of possible definitions and gray areas and legal decisions about what sex is and is not, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to go with this definition:

Sex is an activity that involves more than one person and a deliberate involvement of the genitals of at least one of them, with an intent to arouse and/or cause pleasure/orgasm.

What are some of the types of sex?

There are many activities that can be considered “sex”.  Here’s a few of the more common ones.  These aren’t presented in any particular order, and although it’s common for a session of sex to include more than one of these items, it doesn’t have to.  I strongly recommend that you become familiar with the health risks of any activity before you take part in it.

  • Foreplay:  Not exactly a type of sex, this encompasses any activity used to “warm up” or get ready for the main event (whatever the main event is), so that participants are sufficiently physically aroused or “in the mood” enough to proceed.  It can involve hugging or kissing or stripping or touching your partner.  It can even involve activities such as manual or oral sex, if they’re a prelude to something else.
  • Manual Sex/Mutual Masturbation:  This involves using your hands or a toy to stimulate your partner’s genitals.  This is also known as a hand job or fingering.
  • Dry Humping/Frottage:  This involves rubbing your genitals against your partner’s body.  This can be done through clothing, so there is no direct skin to skin contact (hence the “dry”).
  • Oral Sex:  This involves using your mouth and tongue to stimulate the genitals of your partner.  This is also known as a blow job, cunnilingus or eating out, depending on the equipment involved.
  • Vaginal Sex:  This involves penetration of the vagina, typically (but not always) by a penis.
  • Anal Sex:  This involves penetration of the anus (butt), typically (but not always) by a penis.

What if I don’t want to do it?

You don’t have to have sex.  Ever.  If you’re not interested, if you’re not into the concept, if the thought of it makes you ill, even if you just plain don’t want to, whatever the reason is, you don’t have to have sex.  No matter what your friends say or what the TV says or what “society” says, you do not have to have sex if you do not want to have sex.  You don’t even have to justify why not.  If you don’t want to have sex, you don’t have to get anyone else’s approval.  No means no, and if anyone else has a problem with that, that’s their problem to deal with.

What if I want to do it?

Then go for it.  You’re allowed to have sex, even if you’re asexual.

If you decide to have sex, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.  Basically, the right reason is “I want to do this”, regardless of why, specifically.  There are countless reasons why you might want to.  You might want to see what it’s like.  You might want to give someone pleasure.  You might want pleasure yourself.  You might want to conceive a child.  You might be doing research.  You might just be thinking “It’s Tuesday, I’m bored, why not?”  And so on.  There’s no universal list of acceptable and unacceptable reasons for an asexual to have sex.  It’s about whatever is right for you.

If you force yourself into having sex when you don’t really want to, it’s almost certainly going to be a miserable experience.  If you feel that it is not the right thing to do or is not the right time or right situation, then don’t do it.

You shouldn’t feel compelled to have sex to “prove” that you’re asexual or to try to “cure” your asexuality.  Sex isn’t likely to change your mind.  Most aces that have had sex report that they’re still just as asexual afterward.  I’m unaware of anyone who’s said “Oh, hey, I was wrong about myself this whole time!”  Most people who offer to sleep with you in order to help “cure” you probably just want in your pants, and have very little interest in anything else.

How do I get aroused if I’m not attracted to my partner?

Some people think that sexual attraction is required for sexual arousal, but that’s not the case.  Many times, the thought of having sex or the actions involved in preparing for sex will get you physically aroused.  If that doesn’t work, then physical stimulation of the genitals will often lead to arousal.  This is one of the primary intents of foreplay, even for non-asexual people.  If you are able to become aroused for masturbation, then the same techniques will likely work in a partnered scenario, as well.

If you’re still unable to become aroused, there are artificial ways of helping.  Wearing a cock ring on a penis will constrict blood flow and often lead to an erection, and there are prescription medications which might also help.  Personal lubricants can replace or enhance natural vaginal lubrication.

And if none of those work, either, then there are still ways to have sex that do not require arousal on your part.  You can perform oral or manual sex on your partner, or use a sex toy on them.

What is “Protection”?

“Protection” is a blanket term for something used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy.

Learn about it.  Use it.  Use it correctly.

Protection is important regardless of genital configuration.  Most people just think of protection being used to prevent a pregnancy in a situation that involves a penis and vagina, but several types of protection will offer disease prevention benefits in any situation, even in the cases of oral sex or sharing toys.

The following is a very limited list of forms of protection.  You should not use this list as your only source of information, only as a starting point for further research.

  • Condoms will help prevent both pregnancy and disease transmission.  Condoms are typically placed on a penis or a toy and should not be reused, and they should be changed between partners if sharing a toy.
  • Dental dams will help prevent disease transmission, but are not used to prevent pregnancy.  Dental dams are typically used to cover the vulva or anus during anal sex.  You can make a dental dam out of a condom, but you should not try to use a dental dam as a condom.
  • Gloves can be used during manual stimulation to prevent disease transmission.
  • Birth control pills, IUDs, diaphragms, and spermicides may help prevent pregnancy, but will not prevent disease transmission.

You should never use anything made out of latex with anything made out of oil.  You should only use water-based or latex compatible lubricants with latex condoms, dams, or other items.  Oil will break down the latex and render it useless.  Things like hand lotion, Vaseline, mineral oil, or cooking oil may seem like a good lubricant, but they should never be used on latex.

And finally, if you want to use protection, for any reason, and your partner does not, say no.  That decision is yours and yours alone.  Don’t let any talk about “raincoats” or “it feels better without it” or “the test I took ten years ago said I was clean” or any amount of other whining convince you otherwise.  Remember, the words “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful” have never prevented a pregnancy or STD transmission.

Am I still asexual if I’ve had sex?

Yes.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation.  Sexual behavior does not change that.  Remember, it’s about attraction, not action.

Will it be as good as I’ve heard?

“Sex is the best thing ever!  It’ll rock your world and blow your mind!”

Despite what people say, this generally isn’t actually the case.  Sex is probably not the best thing ever, it’s probably not going to rock your world or blow your mind.

In particular, your first time is likely to be awkward and confusing and potentially even painful.  And you should know that’s a possibility going in.  Don’t expect to wake up the next morning to a new understanding of the universe.  Don’t even necessarily expect to have an orgasm.

Additionally, for asexual people, sex tends to be underwhelming.  It’s not uncommon for aces to feel disconnected, out of place, or even bored while having sex.

How fast should I go?

If you’re jumping straight to the “Let’s have sex now” step, you might want to slow down and get there in stages.  Heading straight to sex without working up to it can be a little daunting.  Smaller steps will help you find your footing and be more comfortable with what you’re doing.  Have a set goal in mind for a given day and don’t worry about trying to do too much, too fast. ”Today, we’ll kiss”, ”Today, we’ll strip to our underwear and cuddle”, “Today, we’ll get naked and become familiar with each other’s body”, “Today, I’ll watch as you masturbate”, “Today, let’s have sex”.  Something like that, although not necessarily those specific tasks.  That way, when you get to the sex, everything won’t be so overwhelming.

Then again, if you feel comfortable going straight to the “Let’s have sex now” step and skipping the rest, go right ahead.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

Be comfortable with your partner.

It’s very important to be comfortable with your partner.  You will probably want to discuss the situation beforehand.  If you’re not sure you want to have sex, but are thinking about trying it out, talk to them in a non-sexual situation about any concerns you might have and about what you might be willing to do.  Having a partner who is patient, understanding, and willing to guide you if you want can be a huge help.  Having a partner who is part of the process will also help ensure that they know what your goals are, and they won’t pressure you for more or be frustrated or overly disappointed if you back out.

Speaking of which…

It’s okay to back out.

At any time, for any reason, it is absolutely okay to back out.  It’s okay to stop.  It’s okay to turn your yes into a no.  It is your body and yours alone.  You are allowed to say no at any point in the process.

You are allowed to say no and stop when the subject of sex is first brought up.

You are allowed to say no and stop after agreeing to have sex.

You are allowed to say no and stop on the way to the bedroom.

You are allowed to say no and stop during a pre-sex make-out session.

You are allowed to say no and stop when they reach for a zipper.

You are allowed to say no and stop during foreplay.

You are even allowed to say no and stop during sex itself.

Sure, your partner may be frustrated or upset by this, but that’s their problem.  No matter how frustrated or upset they are, it does not give them a right to do something to you that you do not want done.

Is there a “right way” to have sex?  Do I have to perform a checklist of things for it to be any good?

Porn often gives the impression that sex has to be a complicated series of different actions in a certain order, as if there’s rules that say:  “You must perform at least three activities from list A, in at least four positions from list B.  You must not remain in any combination of activity and position for any longer than 90 seconds.”

Porn is like that because there probably are those rules for film production.  By changing things up and showing a number of different things, it gives the viewer something they like to see and keeps them interested.  But it’s just another way that porn is unrealistic.

When you have sex, you don’t have to work off a checklist.  You don’t have to change what you’re doing based off a timer.  Do what works for you for as long as it works for you.  If that means two minutes of missionary and then you call it a night, that’s the right way to have sex for you.  If that means more moves than the Olympic gymnastics competition, that’s the right way to have sex for you.

Changing up activities and positions can lead to different sensations and the excitement of variety, but it is in no way required.

How much sex should I have?

Some people never have sex.  Some people have it twice a day.  Some people have it once a week or once a decade.  Those are all perfectly fine amounts of sex.  There’s a misconception that you must have at least so much sex in order to be in a happy relationship.  The reality is that if you’re in a happy relationship, then you’re in a happy relationship, regardless of how much sex you’re having.  And if you’re in an unhappy relationship, it probably won’t matter how much sex you’re having.

What about fluids?

One of the biggest concerns people have about sex are the fluids involved.  Yes, there are fluids.  Several types, in fact.  Various forms of sex often involve one body part moving across another, and many of these fluids help to lubricate and decrease the friction present in that motion.  It can be uncomfortable to have sex without adequate lubrication.

If you dislike the thought of fluids but want to try sex anyway, there are three things to keep in mind:

  1. The volume of the fluids is probably less than you expect.  Usually, just a few milliliters.
  2. Urine is typically not one of the fluids.
  3. Most forms of protection will block or contain fluids, because that’s precisely what they’re designed to do.

Here are the more common fluids you may encounter:

  • Saliva:  Found in the mouth.  Also known as spit.  Usually encountered during kissing or oral sex.
  • Sweat:  Sex can be a form of exercise, and with all forms of exercise, participants may break a sweat.
  • Blood:  At “that time of the month”, there may be blood present within the vagina.  (However, blood appearing anywhere else or at some other time is probably a sign that something is not right.)
  • Vaginal lubrication:  The walls of the vagina will often release a lubricating fluid when aroused.  This fluid is somewhat slippery and can aid in penetration.
  • Precum/Pre-ejaculate:  After a period of arousal, the penis may begin to produce a small amount of a clear, slippery fluid from the urethra.
  • Personal lubricant:  This is artificial lubricant, for cases when the natural lubricant is insufficient.  This can be bought at most drugstores or the pharmacy aisle of a supermarket.
  • Semen:  Usually during orgasm, semen will be expelled from the penis.  It is usually a somewhat thick, whitish substance, but it will vary in color and consistency.  Semen contains sperm.  For people who find fluids disgusting, this one is usually viewed as the worst.  There are several things to note:  The owner of the penis can usually sense when it’s about to happen and can therefore direct where it goes (to some degree).  Also, the ejaculation will be entirely contained within a properly worn, intact condom, since that’s what they’re for.

There are also activities that will limit the presence of or contact with fluids.  Frottage or “Dry Humping” is an activity where one partner rubs against another while remaining fully clothed.  There is no direct genital contact and all fluids remain within the clothing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and say no to what you don’t want.

Even though you’re asexual, it’s perfectly fine to have preferences about what you want to do or don’t want to do when having sex.  If there’s something you like to do or want to do or like to have done to you, tell your partner.  And if there’s something you absolutely loathe, tell your partner.  Many people have a misconception that there shouldn’t be any talking during sex, and that all communication will be non verbal and clearly understood. That’s complete nonsense.

Is it okay to dislike or not want sex?

No one expects everyone to like roller coasters.  No one expects everyone to like sushi.  No one expects everyone to like hiking.  No one expects everyone to like reality TV.  No one expects everyone to like cute, fluffy puppies.  There is absolutely nothing that everyone likes.  So no one should expect everyone to like sex.

It’s okay to not like sex.  It’s okay to not want sex.  You’re not broken, you’re not missing some fundamental part of the human experience.  You’re just not a fan of a recreational activity.  Big deal.

Is it okay to like sex or want it, even if I’m asexual?

Asexuality is not “I hate sex”.

Asexuality is not “I don’t want sex”.

Asexuality is not “I can’t have sex”.

You’re allowed to like sex and want to have sex, even if you’re asexual.  Your orientation is about attraction, not action.  What you do doesn’t matter.

Do I have to compromise?

Many people seem to think that “compromise” is a dirty word when it comes to sex and asexuals.  The reality is that sex is pretty much always a compromise, no matter who is involved.  Compromise isn’t limited to asexuals.

Often, one partner will want sex more often than the other.

Often, one partner will like certain things more than the other.

Often, one partner will want it to last longer than the other.

Often, one partner will want their partner to do things their partner isn’t interested in doing.

And so on.

That’s where compromise comes in.  You say “I’ll do that, if you do this”.  You say “Not tonight, but maybe later”.  You say “I’m not a fan of that, but I’ll try this”.  Compromise should be fairly balanced, it’s not about one person getting their way entirely.

And compromise should never involve you feeling forced to do things you absolutely refuse to do.  If you do not, under any circumstances, want to do a certain thing, then do not do it.  And if your “do not, under any circumstances” thing happens to be having sex at all, then don’t have sex.

As with any negotiations, there may be deal breakers that cause the parties involved to walk away.  If you do not want to have sex at all, or do not want to have sex in the way that your partner desires, and that’s a major issue for your partner, then you may have a fundamentally incompatible relationship, and everyone involve might be better off with a break up.  You shouldn’t have sex just to save a relationship, because relationships that need sex to “save” them usually can’t be saved.

Do I have to know what to do?

Despite the myths, no one is born instinctually knowing how to have amazing sex.  Even non-asexual people are generally clueless about exactly what to do when they first try it.  Your partner probably won’t mind your inexperience.  You should feel free to ask them for guidance or have them tell you what things they like.  You’re allowed to need to figure things out.

You’re also allowed to do research ahead of time.  There are a number of trustworthy websites that provide information and advice on sex.  You don’t have to memorize the Kama Sutra and the collected works of Dr. Ruth, just get familiar with some of the basics. You can also talk about what to expect with your partner.

Which brings me to…

It’s okay to plan ahead of time.

Sex does not have to be some completely spontaneous, unplanned event.  Some people find that they’re more comfortable with what’s going on if they have some idea of where it is leading and what will happen next.  You are allowed to plan as much or as little as you want.  You can pick the date and time.  You can pick the location.  You can decide what you’re interested in doing.  You can decide the sequence of events.  You can involve your partner in this planning, or keep it to yourself, if you’d rather.  And you’re allowed to change your plans after you get started.

Will I have to make noise when I have sex?

Porn and pop culture often make sex out to be a noisy scream-fest, with all sorts of moaning and exclamations going on.  It doesn’t have to be like that.  Sex can be as quiet or as loud as you want it to be.  If you’re uncomfortable with moaning, screaming, or “talking dirty”, you don’t have to do any of that.  Sounds can be used as a way for communicate with your partner, but a simple, quiet “yes” or “mmm” is often enough to get the point across.

Is it okay to give myself a “helping hand”?

When having sex, you are allowed to stimulate yourself if you want to.  In some cases, the actions of your partner may not be getting the job done, or you might want to be stimulated in a certain place in a certain way.  There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.  It does not mean that your partner is inadequate or that your asexuality prevents you from feeling something.  Many non-asexual people will also stimulate themselves during sex.

Is it okay to have an orgasm during sex, even if I’m asexual?

There’s a strange misconception that if an asexual person is having sex, that they can’t get anything out of it themselves.  Like if they have an orgasm, it means they’re not asexual.  As a result, an asexual having sex is supposed to simply lie there and do whatever their partner wants and not feel any pleasure from it.

Nonsense.

If you want to have an orgasm while having sex, then it’s okay to have an orgasm during sex.  Have two or three or fourteen if that’s what you want.  Orgasm is an experience of physical pleasure that has nothing to do with your orientation.

But do I have to have an orgasm?

On the other hand, if orgasm isn’t your thing or you don’t want one at the moment, you don’t have to have one.  There’s another misconception that sex is a failure unless everyone has an orgasm, but that is not the case.  Sex can be satisfying and successful even if you don’t get off.  If you don’t want one, clearly communicate to your partner how you feel, and let them know that it’s okay if you don’t have one and that you’d rather not have them try.

Do I have to try it to know for sure that I’m asexual?

If you don’t want to have sex, you don’t have to try it in order to “prove” that you really don’t want to.  You know you don’t want to, and that’s enough.  Think of it this way.  You don’t have to go rock climbing to know you’re not interested in rock climbing.  You don’t have to stick your hand in a vat full of spiders and millipedes to know you’d find that unpleasant.  It’s possible to know that you don’t want to do something without doing it.

For the most part, having sex won’t change you.  It won’t make you taller, it won’t make you stronger, it won’t make you smarter, it won’t make you smell like honeysuckle, it won’t give you the ability to fly or see through walls or turn invisible.  You’ll get a few experience points, but that’s it.  You’ll still be you and you’ll still be asexual.

I’m not aware of anyone who has had sex and suddenly decided that they’re not actually asexual after all.  They may decide that they enjoyed it.  They might be willing to do it again.  But it’s unlikely that it will fundamentally change you and make you not ace anymore.

If I try it once, to I have to keep doing it?

If you have sex once, it doesn’t permanently flip a switch inside that makes you obligated to have sex over and over again.  If you try it and realize that you’re not a fan, you don’t have to do it again.  If that upsets your partner, that’s their problem to deal with.  Having sex with someone once does not guarantee a repeat in the future.

Will my partner understand that I’m asexual?

Your partner will probably want sex more than you.

Your partner may not understand why you’re not interested in sex.

Your partner may decide that a lack of sex is a relationship deal-breaker.

Your partner may want to do things you’re uncomfortable with.

Your partner may wish you felt differently about sex.

Your partner may feel that you don’t love them because you won’t sleep with them or because you don’t find them attractive.

Here’s the thing:  All of those issues can happen in any relationship, not just one where one of the partners is asexual.

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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.

Asexuality Questionnaire #3.3: Sex

IMPORTANT:  If you are under 18, skip this questionnaire.  Return to the main questionnaire page and answer some others instead.

If you have not already done so, please stop off at the main questionnaire page for important information about the intent of these questionnaires.

Thank you for your interest, but this survey is now closed!  We are no longer accepting responses at this time.  If you’re curious, here’s what the questions were:

  1. Do you have a libido?  How would you describe it?  Do you enjoy it?  Does it make you uncomfortable?  If you do not have a libido, explain why you do not feel that you have a libido.
  2. Do you experience arousal?  How would you describe it?  Do you enjoy it?  Does it make you uncomfortable?
  3. Have you ever felt “turned on” or “horny”?  How would you describe it?  Why do you not consider it to be an expression of sexual attraction?
  4. Have you ever had sex or participated in a sexual activity (or attempted to do either) as a “test” to prove or disprove your asexuality?  If you haven’t, have you ever considered it?  Did you feel it was important to “know for sure”?
  5. Do you participate or want to participate in any activity that is generally considered “sexual” by others?  Do you consider it “sexual”?
This survey is currently disabled.

Asexuality Questionnaire #3.2: Sex

IMPORTANT:  If you are under 18, skip this questionnaire.  Return to the main questionnaire page and answer some others instead.

If you have not already done so, please stop off at the main questionnaire page for important information about the intent of these questionnaires.

Thank you for your interest, but this survey is now closed!  We are no longer accepting responses at this time.  If you’re curious, here’s what the questions were:

  1. Have you ever wanted to have sex or participate in a sexual activity for some reason?  What was that reason?
  2. Have you ever been in what you would consider to be a sexual relationship with someone else?  Describe what that was like, being asexual.  Have you ever experienced problems in a sexual relationship because of your asexuality?
  3. Have you ever experienced non-sexual, “more-than-platonic” physical contact with another person, such as hugging, kissing, or cuddling?  Do you enjoy it?  If you never have, would you be willing to do so at some point in the future?
  4. Have you ever experienced sexual contact with another person, such as intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, other genital stimulation, breast play, or frottage?  Do you enjoy it? If you haven’t, would you be willing to do so in the future?
  5. Does it bother you if other people have sexual thoughts about you?
This survey is currently disabled.

 

Asexuality Questionnaire #3.1: Sex

IMPORTANT:  If you are under 18, skip this questionnaire.  Return to the main questionnaire page and answer some others instead.

 

If you have not already done so, please stop off at the main questionnaire page for important information about the intent of these questionnaires.

Thank you for your interest, but this survey is now closed!  We are no longer accepting responses at this time.  If you’re curious, here’s what the questions were:

  1. What are your thoughts on sex?
  2. Did discovering you were asexual change your outlook on sex?
  3. Did you have sex or participate in a sexual activity before you discovered you were asexual?  What was it like?
  4. Did you have sex or participate in a sexual activity after you discovered you were asexual?  What was it like?
  5. Are you repulsed by sex or sexual topics or experience an aversion to sex or sexual topics?  If so, describe what it’s like.  How did you first discover that you were repulsed or averse?  Did you ever attempt to overcome your repulsion or aversion?
This survey is currently disabled.

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:

Can Asexuals Have Sex?

In general, yes, asexuals are physically capable of having sex.  Asexuality is a sexual orientation and has no bearing on sexual ability. There are no physical characteristics inherent in asexuality.  Asexual people typically have functioning genitalia which is indistinguishable from that of a non-asexual person.  It is possible that an asexual person is physically unable to have sex, but if that is the case, then it is the result of some other condition and not the result of asexuality.

Now, that’s not to say that asexual people necessarily want to have sex.  Physical ability and willingness are two very different concepts.  Many asexuals, despite having functioning genitalia, have no interest in using that genitalia with anyone else.

Asexuality: Myths, Misconceptions and Other Things That Are Just Plain Wrong

Since asexuality is rather unknown, it is subject to a lot of misinformation and ignorance. Many of these misconceptions can be offensive and hurtful.  All of these are things that people have actually said to or about asexual people.  It’s time to set the record straight.

Asexuals don’t exist.

I’m asexual.  I wrote this.  You’re reading this.  Therefore this exists, therefore I exist, therefore asexuals exist.

QED.

Asexuality is the same as celibacy.

Asexuality describes someone’s sexual orientation, that is, that they do not experience sexual attraction to anyone.  Celibacy describes someone’s behavior, that is, that they do not have sex with anyone.  Orientation is not behavior, attraction is not action.  Celibacy and asexuality are neither mutually exclusive nor mutually linked.  It is possible for an asexual person to not have sex and be celibate, and it’s also possible for an asexual to have sex and not be celibate.

I do consider myself to be celibate, as I have not engaged in any sexual activity with anyone else in over nine years.

Asexuality is a choice.

Asexuality is not a choice.  It is a sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality, and like those orientations, it cannot be turned on or off on a whim.

I never woke up one morning, thinking, “You know, I’m tired of being turned on by people.  I think I’m going to stop that now.”  I’ve always been this way.

Asexual people can’t fall in love.

Many asexuals can feel the full range of romantic emotions, from a slight crush to true love.  It’s just devoid of a sexual component.  Asexuals are not limited to platonic love, either.  When an ace feels love, it can be every bit as complex and deep as the romantic love that anyone else feels.

There is a concept of romantic (or affectional) orientation, which describes who a person is romantically attracted to.  Romantic orientation is separate from sexual orientation, although in many people, their romantic and sexual orientations do happen to coincide.  Common romantic orientations include heteroromantic (romantic attraction toward the opposite gender), homoromantic (romantic attraction toward the same gender), bi/panromantic (romantic attraction toward both/all genders), and aromantic (romantic attraction toward no gender).

Asexual people don’t/can’t have sex.

Most asexual people can have sex, and some of them do.  I have.  Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction, not a lack of sexual ability.  Asexuals are physically and physiologically indistinguishable from other people, in other words, in most cases, the equipment is all there and in working order.  If an asexual person is incapable of having sex, it is usually due to some other condition, and not necessarily related to their asexuality.

Asexuality is just a phase that you’ll grow out of.

I’m 32 and have never been sexually attracted to anyone, not even a naked woman standing in front of me, touching my junk and inviting me to reciprocate.  How exactly can that be considered a “phase”?  When am I going to grow out of it?

It’s just a hormone problem.

Most asexuals have hormones within normal ranges.  Asexuals who have started taking hormone supplements for some reason have reported no change in their orientation.

That’s not what “asexual” means.

And “gay” only means “happy” and “straight” only means “not curved”.  Words in the English language can have multiple meanings and can change over time.  Deal with it.

Getting laid will fix that.

First of all, there’s nothing to fix because we’re not broken.  Secondly, no, no it won’t.  I was asexual before I had sex and I’m still asexual now.  Many other aces who’ve had sex have had the same experience.  Sex wasn’t some super-awesome life-changing milestone that upended my worldview.

The corollary to this misconception is “Getting laid by me will fix that”, which ranks somewhere up around “Know what’d look good on you?  Me.” on the list of dumbest ideas ever for pickup lines.

You can’t know for sure unless you’ve had sex.

You don’t have to have sex to know what your sexual orientation is.  Most people, when they proceed into puberty (and in some cases, even before then), will naturally start to feel attracted to other people without having to engage in any kind of sexual activity at all.  They’ll know that they’re straight or gay or bi or what have you and they typically don’t have to hold try-outs to know which team they play for.  Asexual people are the same way.  They’ll know that they don’t feel that spark of sexual attraction, that they’re somehow not quite straight or not quite gay, that they’re different from everyone else, and they don’t need to have sex to confirm it.

I’m virtually certain that had I known what asexuality was before I had sex, I would have identified that way without needing sex to be certain.  As it was, I didn’t learn about asexuality for years after I had sex, but I knew that I was different.

Asexual people don’t/can’t masturbate.

In general, asexuals can masturbate and many do.  Asexuals generally don’t have impaired genital function, which means the parts typically work, and when the parts work, they can feel good to use.  Aces who masturbate will do so for reasons ranging from relieving tension to wanting the pleasure of an orgasm.  Of course, masturbation is a personal choice, and while many asexual people will masturbate, many do not.

I masturbate fairly regularly.

All asexuals are virgins.

Nope, sorry.  I had my v-card punched years ago.  Many other asexuals have also had sex.  Some have regular sexual partners, some are parents.  There’s no virginity requirement for being asexual, just as there’s no loss of virginity requirement for being heterosexual.

Asexuals are hermaphrodites.

Being intersex is completely unrelated to asexuality.  The various conditions grouped under the umbrella of “intersex” are all physical conditions.  Asexuality is not physical.  However, it is possible for an intersex person to be asexual.

(By the way, the word “hermaphrodite” is generally considered offensive, so don’t say that.)

Asexuality is the same as being a transsexual or transgender.

Asexuality is not a gender identity issue.  Most aces are cis-gendered, but some are trans, others are agendered, genderfluid, or what have you.  Asexuality only describes who someone is sexually attracted to (namely, no one), and has nothing to do with the gender they are.

I happen to be a cis-gendered male.

Asexuals just haven’t met the right person yet.

This assertion offends many asexuals.  They’ve seen thousands upon thousands of people in their life and have not been sexually attracted to any of them.  This claim acts to invalidate and deny a part of their core identity.  It’s a bit like going up to a heterosexual male and saying “You could really be gay, you know.  Maybe you just haven’t met the right man yet.  Keep trying, you’ll find him someday.”

Everyone feels like that sometimes.

I know that non-asexual people don’t walk around in an endless horny cloud of lust all day, every day, and that everyone feels like this sometimes.  But I feel like this all the time.  I’ve never found anyone attractive.  I don’t know what it’s like to think that someone’s hot.  I’ve never passed a woman on the street and had my mind start turning through all the things I’d like to do with her in bed.  I don’t relate to the manifestations of sexual attraction that I see around me every day.

Ever.

And that’s what makes me different.  That’s what makes me asexual.

Asexuals are really just gays in denial.

Homosexual people are sexually attracted toward people of the same sex.  Asexual people are sexually attracted to neither sex.  Asexual people are not hiding their attraction, they simply do not have any attraction to hide.

I have never felt any attraction, sexual or romantic, toward other men.

Asexual people are just afraid of sex or are disgusted by sex.

Some asexuals are afraid of or are disgusted by sex.  Some non-asexual people are, too.  Such feelings are not tied to one’s sexual orientation.  There are also many asexuals who are sex positive.  They’ve had sex or are open to the idea of having sex in the right situation.  I’m in this latter group.  I’ve done it before and I’d be willing to do it again in the right situation.

Asexual people are victims of some sexual trauma in their past.

The vast majority of asexual people have never had any kind of sexual trauma.  Most asexuals will be highly offended by someone trying to pin their lack of sexual attraction on some sort of unspoken, possibly repressed event.  And if they are victims of some past trauma, they’re generally not going to appreciate it when you bring it up and try to use it to invalidate their identity.

They have a pill that’ll fix that.

They have pills that’ll fix physical ailments, such as hormonal imbalances or blood flow issues.  Asexuality is not a physical ailment.  There’s no pill that’ll make an asexual start experiencing sexual attraction.  It would be like there being a pill that would turn a gay person straight.

Asexuality is caused by a brain tumor.

Hour-long medical procedural TV shows should not be considered reliable sources regarding sexual orientations.  Moving on…

Asexuals don’t/can’t have orgasms.

The majority of asexuals have normal, fully functioning sexual organs.  This means that the majority of asexuals have the capacity to orgasm.  Many asexuals do have orgasms, and often enjoy them.  Certainly not all asexuals have had orgasms, and some do not have fully functioning sexual organs, however, those cases are not due to asexuality.  Asexuality is only a description of sexual orientation, and in no way attempts to describe sexual ability.

I do have orgasms and I like them.

Asexuals are all homophobes.

This is categorically false.  The vast majority of asexuals are LGBT+ friendly.  There is absolutely nothing inherent in asexuality that minimizes, dismisses, invalidates, passes judgment on, or attacks homosexuality in any way.  Asexuality is another sexual orientation that coexists alongside every other sexual orientation.

Asexuals are all super-religious and against sex.

Asexuality has nothing to do with one’s religious beliefs.  Asexuality is not a form of abstinence, it’s not the result of a purity pledge, and it’s not that we’re “saving ourselves”.  It’s equally possible for an asexual person to be a hardcore born-again no-sex-til-marriage brand of Christian as it is for an asexual person to be an atheist who enjoys casual sex with strangers on the weekends.

Asexuals all hate sex and everyone who has sex.

Asexuality should not be confused with antisexuality.  Most asexuals have no problem with sex.  Some don’t like the idea of sex when it comes to themselves, but are typically indifferent when it comes to other people.  Some even enjoy having sex.  Asexuality is merely a sexual orientation, it doesn’t have any effect one’s opinion on sexual activity.

I actually kinda liked sex.  It was a bit boring, but at least it felt good.

Asexuals are naïve and don’t know anything about sex.

Asexuality is not somehow a function of a lack of information about sex.  There are plenty of people out there who know very little about sex besides what goes where, and they’re not all asexual.  Conversely, there are plenty of asexuals who know quite a bit about sex and sexual practices, even though they’re not necessarily all that interested in trying them out.

I happen to have a rather sizable library on the various facets of human sexuality, from textbooks and research papers to illustrated sex manuals.  I have a bit of an anthropological curiosity on the subject, probably from my repeated attempts to figure out where I fit.

Asexuals are just faking it for attention.

How is someone who’s in the closet and agonizing over their identity “faking it for attention”?  Most aces are in the closet or not very open about it precisely because they fear the sort of attention they’ll get.  All of these things in this list are actual things that people have said to asexual people.

Certainly, there are some people who will claim to be asexual because it’s trendy.  But there are also people who pretend to be gay for some reason, and no one tries to use them as evidence that disproves the existence of homosexuality in its entirety.

In real life, I hardly ever mention that I’m asexual, as it’s not typically relevant to the day-to-day experience of a software engineer.  The most attention I’ve gotten from it have been a few awkward (yet positive) conversations with my parents and a guy at work saying “Yeah, we all kinda figured that.”  So clearly, that’s what I’m going for with this.

There are no asexual men.

There aren’t?  Man, and I was so sure that I existed, too…  Do I have to take back my “QED”?

Asexual men do exist, contrary to the stereotypes.  I’m one of them.  David Jay is, as well.  He’s one of the most prominent asexual visibility activists around.  He founded AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, the largest asexual community on the Internet. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

And we’re far from the only two around.

Asexuality is a moral stand against sex.

Asexuality is nothing more than a sexual orientation.  It’s not inherently for or against sex or people who have sex.  When an asexual says something like “I don’t look at people that way” or “I don’t understand why people think sex is so important”, it’s not a value judgment, it’s not an attack.  It’s just a statement of fact. They literally don’t feel that way, they don’t understand it.

It’s also worth repeating that asexuality is not a choice, so it can’t be a decision that one makes to stand against anything.

Asexuality is evolution’s response to overpopulation.

I’ve seen this idea come up several times.  There are so many things wrong with this idea that I don’t know where to begin…  The concept of “overpopulation” is one of sustainability, not of actual, physical, overpopulation.  I have plenty to eat and plenty of space to live in, as did my parents when I was born.  Evolution didn’t come by one day and say “Well, there’s famine thousands of miles away in Africa right now and if you project out the current growth rates and consumption trends, there’s gonna be problems everywhere in about a hundred years, so, you know what?  I think I’m gonna make you not be interested in women.”  That’s just not how evolution works.  There’s the whole bit where advantageous traits are passed along throughout the generations, because they assist in successful reproduction, even if indirectly.  If there’s a trait that makes an organism not interested in reproduction, then that trait doesn’t get passed on, so it can’t become common within a population.  (On top of that, it doesn’t really matter if something was done to lower my effective fertility, since there’s plenty of people with reality TV shows that are more than making up for me.)

If evolution actually were responding to overpopulation, it would probably just make us smaller so we consume less.  Evolution typically doesn’t get much of a chance to respond to overpopulation, though, because famine and disease are far more effective instruments of population control which can eliminate the problem in a single generation.

Asexuals are all just confused teenage girls.

My driver’s license disagrees with this statement on multiple counts. Many asexuals are not teenagers. Many asexuals are not girls. And even those asexuals who are teenage girls tend not to be confused. Most people who identify as asexual do not do so on a whim or because we somehow just can’t recognize what sexual attraction is.  An asexual person generally examines their life very carefully before coming out, so you can be fairly certain that when someone says “I’m asexual”, the last thing they are is confused about how they feel.

You’re just single and looking for an excuse for why you’re afraid to date.

Except for those asexuals who aren’t single, or who genuinely don’t care about dating, or who really wouldn’t mind dating if the right person came along…

Asexuals hate their gender.

Asexuality has nothing to do with gender identity.  There are male asexuals and female asexuals and transgender asexuals and cisgender asexuals and agender asexuals and genderqueer asexuals and neutrois asexuals and all sorts of other gender asexuals that I haven’t mentioned here.  Some of them dislike their gender, some of them are happy with it, and some of them don’t care.  And none of them are the gender they are because they’re asexual and none of them are asexual because of the gender they are.

Tim Gunn on 29 Years of Celibacy

On an episode of a show called “The Revolution”, Project Runway’s fashion guru Tim Gunn talked about his 29 year celibacy streak.  While he’s apparently not asexual, as some people have claimed (Gunn attributes his lack of sex to a particularly bad breakup), the clip is still worth a watch for those celibate aces out there (like me) as a positive affirmation that you don’t have to have sex to have a happy and successful life.

Here’s the clip and article about it:  http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/01/24/tim-gunn-on-his-29-year-dry-spell-its-not-as-though-im-some-barren-forest/

Quotes from the clip:

Gunn:  “Do I feel like less of a person for it?  NO!  Not even remotely!”

Gunn:  “I’m a perfectly happy, fulfilled individual.  And I have feelings, it’s not as though I’m some barren forest.”

Dr. Jen: “There’s a lot of people who are very comfortable with where they are at that point in their life.  Tim, I think that it’s great that you shared that very personal, and that you put the context on it that it’s okay with you.  It’s so easy when you hear ‘I wanna have more sex, I wanna have more sex’, well, maybe you don’t ‘wanna have more sex’, and that’s fine!”

Q & Ace: An Introduction to Asexuality

I wrote this a while back for my friends and family.  I sent it to them when I came out.  It’s intended to be an overview of asexuality for someone who isn’t aware of what it entails and who was a bit blindsided and confused by an announcement from someone they’ve known for years.  Hopefully it’s useful for other people, too.

So, wait, what? You’re… Huh? What’s going on again?

I’m asexual. It’s a bit like being straight except I’m not into women.

Oh, so you’re gay?

No. Asexual. I’m not into men or women.

So, you’re a woman trapped in a man’s body?

No, I’m not transgender. I’m quite comfortable with the factory original parts and don’t see any need to replace any components.

Although, some people who are trans are also asexual.  They’re not mutually exclusive.

Are you missing pieces down below?

Uh, I don’t think so. Let me check…

Hang on a sec…

Ah, found it. Nope. All present and accounted for.

So, then, you’re saying down below doesn’t work or something?

Down below works just fine. It’s just I have no desire to interface my down below with anyone else’s down below.

You can clone yourself then?

No, different meaning of the word. Although, I’d have to say that binary fission would be an awesome trick for parties.

What are you talking about, then?

Asexuality means I don’t experience sexual attraction. That’s it. While other people are on an unending quest to find someone willing to test the repetitive compressive stress tolerance limits of their furniture, I’m on an unending quest to find a complete set of game cartridges for the Nintendo Virtual Boy. I’m simply not interested in having sex, although the customs and practices can be rather intriguing from a scientific or anthropological point of view.

You don’t want sex?

Right.

What, is it against your religion?

No.

Were you abused, then?

No.

Repressed or repulsed or something?

No.

They have a pill for that, you know.

That’s not what the pill is for. The pill is for people who are ready and willing, but not able. I’m perfectly able, just not ready and willing. Saying there’s a pill that’ll fix asexuality is like saying there’s a pill that’ll fix homosexuality. I’m not going to take a pill, feel a stirring in my loins, and suddenly want to sleep with the next woman I see.

What is wrong with you? Sex is AWESOME!

You can keep your sex. Red Alarm is awesome.

More Awesome Than Sex

You should try it some time. You might like it!

“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say!”

I did try it. I didn’t care much for it. I mean, it was okay, I guess, but nothing spectacular. Nothing close to what all of you claim. Kinda boring, actually.

Wait, you had sex? Gotcha! That means you’re not asexual!

I had sex twice. Nine years ago. Call it a youthful indiscretion or whatever. I didn’t know I was ace at the time. I thought I was straight and that sex was what I was supposed to do at some point, and she offered. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation, just like being gay or straight. Orientation is not the same as behavior. A little bit of experimentation in college doesn’t make someone gay. A lesbian who wants a child and opts for natural insemination isn’t suddenly straight. I had sex for the experience and because I thought that doing it might make my libido turn on. It didn’t.

I don’t regret it at all. In fact, I think it’s good that I did try it, otherwise I’d probably have doubts that I’m really asexual because there’d be that chance that I would like it if I just tried it.

Maybe she just wasn’t any good. If you find someone good, you’ll change your mind.

Maybe she wasn’t. I don’t know. I don’t have any other data points to compare. But that’s irrelevant. I wasn’t put off by a bad experience. I never was really all that interested in it to begin with. She could have been the most mindblowingly skilled woman on the planet and I still probably would have said “Meh”.

It’s just a phase. It’ll pass.

19 years since puberty is “just a phase”? Well, I’ll give it another 20 minutes, but that’s it!

You could be a late bloomer.

I’m 32 and I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone, not even a naked woman standing directly in front of me with her hands on my equipment. That’s not a late bloomer. Nothing was planted in my garden.

I’m so sorry for you. It must really suck for you.

No, it’s absolutely fine, actually. I don’t want sex. It’s not like I’m yearning to get laid but can’t, leading me to be a pent up bottle of frustration and sadness. I’m not missing out on anything because I’ve never felt anything to miss out on. It would be a bit like me telling you that your life must suck because you don’t want a copy of a game like Space Squash. You’d give me a funny look and shake your head in confusion over how I could possibly think that you’d be interested in that.

But sex is awesome! Everyone wants sex!

You can’t see me, but I’m giving you a funny look and shaking my head in confusion over how you could possibly think that I’d be interested in that.

By the way, weren’t these supposed to be questions?

Oh, right. So, uh… Aren’t you just putting a fancy name on celibacy?

No, not at all. Celibacy is the condition of not having sex, while asexuality is not feeling sexual attraction toward anyone. Think of it this way: Celibacy is “I don’t have sex because _________.” As in “I don’t have sex because it’s against my religion” or “because I can’t find anyone” or “because I’m in prison”. Asexuality is “Sex? Whatever. Please pass the cake.” So yes, I am celibate, but I’m celibate because I’m ace, not because I made some life choice to never have sex or just haven’t been able to get laid and have given up trying.

Not all celibate people are asexuals, and not all asexuals are celibate.

What you’re saying is that you can’t get laid and have given up trying?

Um. No. I’ve never even bothered trying because it’s just not that interesting to me. When I did have sex, it was entirely my partner’s idea, and it took a lot of persistence on her part to get me to the point where I said yes.

That’s a bit like claiming that I’m not interested in golf because I’m no good at it. No, I’m not interested in golf because it’s golf and it’s not interesting.

(Unless it’s Golf for the Virtual Boy.  In which case I’m all there.)

Why do you hate sex?

I don’t hate sex. I just don’t care about it. As far as aces go, I’m fairly sex positive. I’m not repulsed by it and I don’t have any problem with it. In fact, I find it secretly amusing when someone thinks that I’m offended by a sexual conversation and tries to steer things in a different direction. If I seem offended, it’s probably because I’m zoning out and not paying any attention because I have nothing to add to the conversation.

In the right situation, I might even be willing to give it another go. I just don’t feel any need to find myself in the right situation.

Anyway, go forth and fornicate, just keep your damn kids off my lawn.

So you can’t fall in love?

I can and I have. It’s definitely more than a friendship, it’s just not tied to sex.

Wait, how can you fall in love and still call yourself asexual? If you fall in love, you’re straight, gay, or bi. Pick one.

Sex does not equal love. Sexual attraction does not equal love. Many people are sexually attracted to people they do not love. Many people love people they are not sexually attracted to. And clearly, many people love people they do not have sex with. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction, not the lack of capacity for love.

You’re just inexperienced. If you get out there and keep trying, you’ll come around.

Did you have to “get out there and keep trying” to decide you were interested in sex in the first place? And who knows, maybe you’ll really get into gay sex if you just “get out there and keep trying”. After all, how can you say you’re not gay if you haven’t tried it out?

And that wasn’t a question.

But you’re like totally socially inept. Sometimes you don’t even want to go outside if there are people on the street. Ever think that maybe you’re not asexual, but that you really just have some sort of social anxiety disorder?

I can’t imagine that my social anxiety issues would cause me not to feel attracted to anyone. It’s not a matter of just being too nervous to ask someone out on a date. If that’s all it were, I would still likely feel attracted, but be unable to approach them. On the contrary, I think asexuality and the social issues have a symbiotic relationship going on. I’m not attracted to anyone, so I never feel compelled to break out and try to talk to someone that I’m attracted to.

Then again, maybe both are caused by my deep-seated fear of having to share a closet with someone.

So, uh… Do you feel anything, uh, down there?

Of course I do. There’s nothing physically wrong with my body.

Wait a minute, how do you know that?

A: Like I said, I’ve had sex.
B: Equipment is tested regularly and has been found to be functioning within normal operating parameters.

“Tested regularly”?  So, that means you, uh…? How can you be asexual if you…  you know?

That has absolutely nothing to do with asexuality. Like I’ve said, asexuality is an orientation. It relates to who I find sexually attractive, namely, no one. You don’t need to find anyone sexually attractive for that, it’s a physical response.

Of course, that’s absolutely none of your business, but anyway…

Have you ever thought that maybe you haven’t met the right person yet?

Right, maybe I haven’t. But given that I’ve never found anyone attractive in all the years I’ve been looking and that everyone else seems to find multiple people attractive EVERY DAY, I think it’s fairly safe to say that she’s not hiding behind a tree, just waiting for me to walk by.

Why did you choose to be asexual?

It wasn’t a choice. As the song goes, “baby, I was born this way.” (Of course, the song doesn’t mention asexuality, but whatever. We’re there in spirit.)

How did you realize you were asexual?

Last year, I realized that I didn’t think about sex the same way as anyone else I’d ever met. I started to explore those feelings and came to discover that I wasn’t really interested in sex at all. And I’ve always been that way. During puberty, as a teenager, when I had a girlfriend, and now as an adult. I didn’t really understand it. There weren’t any signs that my hormones were awry and I wasn’t depressed. Perhaps most significantly, I hadn’t had sex in eight and a half years and it didn’t bother me at all. Everyone else seems like they’d go insane if they hadn’t had sex in eight and a half days.

So, I was a mystery to myself, a puzzle to be solved.

I like solving puzzles.

And so I went looking for answers. Asexuality was the one that fit the best, so I took it.

But hey, I’m a scientist. I go with the theory that fits the evidence. Right now, the evidence points toward my being ace. But in the future, I recognize that there may be some new evidence that’ll come along and disprove the theory. Should that happen, I’m willing to go where that leads.

Ace? What’s that?

Ace…xual. It beats “amoeba”.

Why are you telling me all this, anyway?

To spread awareness and hope it’ll contribute to a better understanding of asexuality. I see other aces facing ignorance and struggling with those who are unable or unwilling to understand. On top of that, asexuality is almost completely invisible. I mean, I’ve felt this way for at least 19 years, since puberty, possibly even earlier, and I didn’t even know this was an option until April.

I’ve been a supporter of gay rights for years. It would be hypocritical for me to be open in my support there, yet be completely silent about who I am, now that I know who I am.

I know that one of the greatest factors in someone being willing to accept homosexuality is to know someone who is gay. I know that if I’m open about who I am and how I feel, that all of you will gain a greater understanding of asexuality and be more willing to accept us. You won’t see asexuality as some scary alien concept. You’ll see me. (Granted, I can be a scary alien concept at times, though…)

Were you hiding all this time, then? What took you so long to come out of the closet?

I haven’t been hiding. I really just found out myself back in April. I’ve been confirming the hypothesis since then and trying to figure out how to say anything about it. And it’s not like I’ve been trying to pass or anything. Even before I made the discovery, I never went around claiming to be sexually attracted to anyone. I’m sure everyone who knows me had already figured out that there was something off here. I mean, I have this picture on my desk at the office:

(I’m not really sure aces come out of the closet, though. I think we come out of the pantry, because of the cake.)

Cake?

Yes. We have cake. That’s how we recruit people.

Recruit people?

Of course. Just like any other sexual minority, we recruit people to help carry out our sinister agenda.

Sinister agenda?

Yes. Say, would you like some cake?

 

—————-

Some excellent resources for learning more about asexuality are the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, at http://www.asexuality.org, and the Hot Pieces of Ace YouTube channel, at http://www.youtube.com/user/HotPiecesofAce