Possible Signs of Asexuality – Part 3: About Others

This is the third 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 day was all about thoughts you may have had about yourself and your identity, the second day was all about thoughts on sex and sexual activity, and today is all about thoughts about other people and other things.

Links to the posts in this series:

You’ve never wanted to “jump someone’s bones”.  You’ve never thought “I’d hit that”.

This is one of the more common reasons people discover that they’re asexual.  At some point in their lives, they’ll look around and realize that other people say things like that and mean them.  That straight out of the blue, one person will look at another, often a complete stranger, and think, “I would like to have sex with that person”, and that, in some cases, this thought will drive people’s actions.

Some asexuals may even look at this and think that’s bizarre.  Why would anyone do that sort of thing?  The whole concept is so different from how they look at the same scenario that it may be impossible for them to process those actions into something that makes sense.  For some asexual people, the thought “I would like to have sex with that person” could seem as random and unexpected as “I would like to paint that person blue, cover them with twigs, and dance around them in a circle all night”.

You don’t feel that anyone is “hot”.  “Cute”, maybe, “pretty”, maybe, but not “hot”.

Some asexuals don’t connect with the word “hot” and other words describing someone’s sexual desirability.  We’re able to judge and rank subjective beauty on a scale from “ugly” to “pretty”, we may feel that some people are “cute”, but “hot” can be a word that some asexuals avoid.  It’s not that we don’t understand it.  We can usually point at someone and identify whether other people might classify them as “hot”.  It’s that we don’t feel it.  When other people use words like “hot”, we can sense that there’s some innate internal buzzer going off inside their mind, and that the word is not just some synonym or sub-category of words like “cute” or “pretty”.  The word means more to them than “visually appealing”.  There’s something behind it, some sense, some response that’s driving them to choose “hot” over “pretty”, and we don’t experience what that sense is.

Additionally, the word “sexy” is also not within your realm of understanding.

You thought that everyone else was just pretending to be interested in sex.

Many asexuals describe having a sort of “Emperor’s New Clothes” view of sex at some point in their lives:  That everyone else is just pretending to like it simply because everyone else seems to like it, and they don’t want to be the only one who speaks out and says “No, I’m not really into that.”  In this view, a sexually charged culture enforces conformity.

This view often comes about during the teenage years.  The asexual’s friends all start talking about boys or girls, but they don’t feel anything yet themselves.  Puberty strikes different people at different times and in different ways, so at first, they’ll just think they’re not there yet, but as time goes on, they’ll realize that they never started getting all that interested in boys or girls.  This may lead to thoughts like, “Well, I never got interested in sex, so maybe no one else really did, either.  Maybe they’re all just faking to fit in.”

Which brings us to…

You just pretended to be interested in sex.

Sometimes, some asexuals will feel pressured to pretend to be interested in sex in order to fit in.  All your friends get caught up in what they’d like to do and who they’d like to do it with, but you don’t feel that way about anyone.  So, you just smile and nod, until…

“So, who do YOU like?”

…and you sputter out something about Johnny or Sally, not because you’re actually interested in them, but because they seemed like acceptable options to use to hide how you really feel, because if you told your friends how you really feel, they’d just laugh at you and think you’re a freak.

And so, you lie and go along with it.  Eventually, you may even end up in a relationship and…

You pretended to like sex so your partner wouldn’t think you didn’t love them.

For many people, love and sex are inextricably linked.  A sexual rejection is taken as a rejection of the person as a whole, a sign that they’re unloved, rather than just an indication that their partner has an activity they’re not all that interested in.  This can pose a challenge for asexuals in a relationship.  They can be truly, madly, deeply, and endlessly in love, yet just not care for sex.  They fear that letting their partner know how they feel would mean that their love would be doubted and the relationship would be destroyed as a result.  “If you really loved me, you’d want sex with me.”

It’s even possible that the asexual partner does enjoy sex, but are afraid to let their partner know that they don’t find them sexually attractive.  And so, they put on an act of attraction and will say things like “You’re so hot” or “You turn me on so much” when that’s not actually the case.

Sex is not love, love is not sex.  It’s possible to love someone you’re not sexually attracted to.  It’s possible to have and even enjoy sex, even if you’re not sexually attracted to the person you’re involved with.

Conversations about sex aren’t interesting.

Friends and coworkers like to talk about sex.  They like to talk about what they’ve done, what they’d like to do, and what they’ve heard about other people doing.  They boast about bachelor(ette) parties or one night stands.  They discuss who’s hot, how hot they are, and what attributes make them hot.  They make suggestive comments about the delivery person or the receptionist or the wait staff at the restaurant.

And you couldn’t care less.

If they’re talking about other people, like how “hot” the waitress is or how “steamy” the delivery guy is, there’s a good chance that you didn’t even notice them.  If they’re talking about parties or one-night stands, there’s a good chance you don’t have any comparable experiences to discuss.  You just zone out when they start talking about these things, and let the conversation run its course.  Sometimes, people may notice that you’ve gone quiet and think that you’re offended by where the conversation has gone, but that’s not necessarily the case.  You’ve gone quiet because you’ve got no input, no commentary, no questions.

You often find sex scenes in books/TV/movies to be out of place or boring.

You’re watching a movie when suddenly the male and female leads start going at it for no reason:  [fast forward!]

You’re reading a book when suddenly it turns to “heaving bosoms” and “love’s juices”: [next chapter!]

Perhaps it’s a sense of “Ew, icky”, but it doesn’t have to be.  More often, it’s a sense of “Why are they doing that?  What’s the point?  Get back to the story!”  Half the time, the sexual encounter is unforgivably contrived.  Sometimes you can even imagine the writers meeting with their editor or producer and being told to “sex it up a bit, the ratings are off this year”, and the writers just randomly drawing character names from a hat to decide who should go at it.

Bad acting and lame stories in porn really bug you, because, after all, what’s the point in watching a movie if it’s no good?

“Oh, come on, if that sort of thing happened in real life, she’d have that doctor arrested.  That guy is a terrible actor, it’s like he never even bothered to look at the script.  And don’t even get me started on that set and how cheap it looks!  It’s supposed to be a doctor’s office, so where’s the blood pressure thingy and the jar of tongue depressors and the bed with the paper stuff?  I mean, that looks like a cheap Army surplus cot from the 50’s!  That can’t possibly be sterile!  What’s this now?  Why is she moaning?  He’s not anywhere near her!  What is supposed to be happening?  She keeps looking directly at the camera, too.  And that guy keeps getting in the way of the shot..  Didn’t the director plan out the scene with the actors ahead of time?  Why am I even watching this?

You feel like sex comes naturally to everyone else, but you have to work at it.

You look at other people, and they seem to instinctively understand sex, and how to play the game.  Your partner handles it effortlessly, while for you, sex ends up more like a poorly-choreographed attempt at a secret handshake that no one taught you than a spontaneous expression of intimacy.  It’s like everyone else went to some sort of intensive training camp and knows everything inside and out, while you have to pick it up on the job.  Even so, there’s some secret that everyone else seems to know, the key to understanding the whole thing, and you know that you will never learn that secret, no matter how hard you try.

If given the hypothetical chance of a no-strings, no-regrets, no-consequences sexual encounter, you’d have to think about it.

Usually, this comes in the form of a hypothetical situation:  “Random Hot Person X appears in front of you and says ‘Let’s get it on’.  Would you go for it?”  For many people, the response is an unequivocal and immediate, “Yes”.  For others, it’s “No, I can’t, my boyfriend wouldn’t let me”.  But for you, it’s something more like, “Well, I don’t know…  It’s Friday.  Fringe is on.  I guess I could record it, but I was looking forward to watching it all day.”

You never initiate sex.

It’s not that you dislike sex.  It’s not that your partner isn’t any good.  It’s that you just never think about it.  It’s never on your mind.  So, as a result, you never think, “Hey, I’d like to have sex right now.  I should go see if my partner is up for it.”

This, of course, can cause problems in relationships.  Your partner may end up feeling like they always do all the work and may even begin to think that your lack of initiative is an indication that you’re not really in love with them.

You don’t catch it when people are flirting, even when you’re the one doing the flirting.

I’ve seen this one pop up in asexual discussions a couple of times.  It’s happened to me, and I just thought I was completely oblivious.  I’ve been told that I’m good at flirting, even though I just thought I was having a normal conversation.  And whenever someone is flirting with me, I won’t notice.  (And probably wouldn’t know what to do, even if I did.)  Only hours later, when I think back on the conversation, will I realize that something was off.

I was once on vacation, in a park, taking 3D pictures with a homemade stereoscopic camera.  A woman called me over and started asking questions about the camera, and telling me how she was a photographer, too.  We spoke for a minute or two, then I continued wandering around the park.  On my way back to my car, I passed the bench, and she loudly lamented to her friend “Where are all the good men in this town?”.

I was literally in the next state when I realized that she probably wasn’t that interested in my camera.


I know that I didn’t discuss every possible indicator of ace-ness, and I’m sure there’s some of these that that you’ll have your own take on.  I’m even starting to come up with more things I should’ve written about, but I know that if I keep adding and adding, I’ll never actually get this out the door.

I sense a part 4 in the future…

Links to the posts in this series:

(BTW, in case you’ve been wondering about it this whole time, this is a XONOX.  It has absolutely no relation to anything else, I just needed a nonsense word and that’s what popped into my head, because that’s just the kind of nerd I am.)

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:

Possible Signs of Asexuality – Part 1: About You

A lack of experiencing sexual attraction is the only thing that all asexuals have in common.  That’s what the definition of asexuality is. But that definition doesn’t help people who are trying to figure out if they’re asexual.  It’s a definition through negation, which isn’t useful if you’re not sure what’s being negated. It’s like saying “You’re unxonoxian if you’ve never seen a xonox.”  How are you supposed to know if you’ve never seen a xonox, when you have absolutely no idea what a xonox is?  Maybe you’ve seen one, but just didn’t know that’s what it was called.  So you ask someone how to know if you’ve seen a xonox, and the best answer they can give is “Well, if you’ve seen a xonox, you’d know.”

Because of this, figuring out if you’re really asexual can be a challenge.  How do you know if you’ve never felt sexual attraction when you’re not sure what sexual attraction even is, and no one can satisfactorily explain it to you?  What I’ve found is that most asexuals don’t come to the realization that they’re ace from reading that definition. Instead, they read what someone else wrote on a blog or in forum posts, or they see a news article or YouTube video on asexuality and think, “That person just described me.”

Even though a lack of sexual attraction is the only thing all asexuals have in common, there are clusters of shared experiences, similar things that some asexuals have felt.  It’s these shared experiences which often make people come to realize that they’re asexual. In this series of posts, I’m going to explore some of them.

(Please note:  These aren’t universal ace traits, so don’t worry if you don’t fit into them all.  I haven’t even experienced all of these myself. This shouldn’t be looked at like a checklist or “Am I Asexual?” test or anything like that.  You can still be asexual even if you’ve experienced none of the things on this list and you may not be asexual even if you’ve experienced most of them.  There’s no diagnostic test to confirm if you’re asexual, there’s no twenty-seven point checklist, and you don’t have to pass an initiation or be referred by someone who’s already in the club.  The only person who can truly diagnose your sexual orientation is you. 

Also, I want to note that these thoughts or experiences should not be taken as some sort of manifesto of the unquestioned and unified belief system of all asexuals.  They’re not necessarily the right experiences or the wrong experiences, and certainly, some of them may be misguided or born out of ignorance.  I am writing about them here because some asexuals have passed through these thoughts on their way to discovering their identity, and I felt it was important to mention them for those people still making the journey and who may currently be thinking the same thoughts.)

In this first installment, I’m going to talk mostly about personal thoughts, thoughts about yourself and your identity.

Links to the posts in this series:

You don’t think about sex.

When thinking about activities you’d like to do with a romantic interest, sex rarely makes the list.  You might not catch the punchline to a dirty joke, because you’re not operating in that frame of reference.  When other people start talking about sex, you have to take a second to remember that other people think about that sort of thing.  When you hear that old statistic that people think about sex every seven seconds, you only think about how wrong that statistic is.

You realize that everyone else thinks about sex in a completely different manner than you do.

This is the one that finally tipped me over the edge.  One day, I was talking with a friend about some sex scene on a TV show I’d seen the day before.  I was trying to figure out the positioning and mechanics of what was supposedly going on because it didn’t make sense to me.  As the conversation went on, it became apparent that I was focused on the wrong thing, that it wasn’t meant to be about the impossible and/or uncomfortable contortions required to make the scene believable, it was meant to be about the sex.

This, in itself, wasn’t weird.  I’ll often find things odd about scenes in movies or TV shows and try to sort out the problems afterward.  What was weird is that at no point in the conversation did I ever think anything like “Oh hey, sex!  Yay!”  I realized that I never really did think that way.  Ever.

So I started rewinding my life, going over various sexual situations from my past.  What struck me was how, in almost every single one of them, there was something that made me feel different.  One or two things over the years might have just been a fluke.  A handful of things bunched together during one summer might have just been a phase.  But here, in event after encounter after situation, consistently, for close to 20 years since the start of puberty, there was something different.

I don’t find people “hot”.

My girlfriend had to be very persistent to convince me to have sex with her.

I find most porn to be boring or unappealing.

I’d zone out of most conversations on sex.

I never had “urges”.

I never saw the point of a bachelor party.

And on and on the list went.  It became absolutely clear to me that my views on sex were completely different from anyone else I’d ever talked to.  It wasn’t some isolated thing.  There was something fundamentally different about me.

It was because of that realization that I went out to try to discover exactly what it was that was going on with me, which is how I discovered asexuality.

You think of sex in anthropological or scientific terms, rather than romantic or erotic terms.

You might be interested in sex, but interested in the same way one is interested in geology or zoology.  You see it as an object of study, rather than an object of participation.  You might want to know everything about it and read everything you can about sexual activities, practices, variants, and combinations, yet at the same time, you’re not really interested in actually doing any of them.  You’d rather watch a Discovery Channel documentary on sex than a porn movie.  You’d rather read the Kinsey Report than Penthouse.

Sometimes, because of this, you may forget that others don’t typically look at sex as an intellectual curiosity, and you may talk about things in a context where other people are shocked or embarrassed by your openness.

You don’t understand what the big deal is.  You haven’t had sex for [insert significant amount of time here], so why are other people so worked up about going without for two weeks?

In general (although not universally speaking), asexual people don’t have a problem going without sex for long periods of time.  If you told an asexual person that they couldn’t have sex for ten years, their response will often be something along the lines of “Okay, whatever.”  If you told a non-asexual person that, their response will often be something along the lines of “That’s impossible!  I’d explode!”  (And again, not universally speaking.)

I’ve felt this way before.  I’ve seen people moan about how terrible it is that they haven’t had sex in two months.  There was a big story about a DJ who went without sex for a whole year as a publicity stunt, and everyone was shocked.  I’ve seen men make it sound like their genitals will literally explode under pressure if not emptied in, on, or by someone else within a timely manner.  But I haven’t had sex in years and I don’t miss it at all.  The concept that someone could be so affected by a lack of sex is totally alien to me.


Sex is totally alien to you.

There’s this thing that everyone else does.  It’s on TV, it’s in movies, there are magazines devoted to it, songs about it, books about it.  It’s everywhere, all the time.  Some people are obsessed by it.  They can spend their whole lives chasing it, and sometimes it ruins them.

And you just don’t get it at all.

It’s not that you’re naive, it’s not that you’re sheltered, it’s not that you’re uninformed.  It’s just that it’s impossible to fathom why this thing is so important to pretty much everyone else in the world.

And whenever people talk about sex, they might as well be speaking in a foreign language or talking about the intracacies and nuances of macroeconomic theories or 17th century French literature for all you care.

It’s a bit like everyone else is a fan of a sport you’re not interested in.  You can watch a game, you can read the rules, you might even try playing once or twice, but in the end, it still doesn’t make any sense why people are so excited about getting to third base or scoring a touchdown.

You’ve thought, “I’m straight (/gay/bi/etc), but not very good at it”.

I felt this way for years before I discovered asexuality.  I’d had a girlfriend, and the occasional persons of vague interest had all been women, so clearly that means I’m straight, right?  But at the same time, I never really thought about sex.  I never went looking for it, I never felt like I needed it.  Whenever I thought about these women, I thought about things like going on vacation or scouring the local thrift stores for retro video games with them, but I never really thought about taking them to bed.  One day, I decided that meant that I was straight, but I just wasn’t very good at it.

Later, when I discovered asexuality, I mentioned this on an asexuality forum.  I was surprised by the number of other people who said that they had felt the same way.  Some of them had even used the same phrase to describe themselves.

You’ve thought, “I must be straight by default”.

I’ve seen a couple of people say that they felt this way before they discovered asexuality.  The assumption is that someone has to be straight, gay, or bi, no exceptions, no alternatives.  Everyone has to get placed in one of those buckets, there are no other options.  Clearly, since they didn’t experience attraction to the same sex, they couldn’t be gay or bi, therefore they had to be straight by default, since that was the only bucket left.

I think this makes a good thought exercise for people who don’t believe in asexuality.  If those three groups are the only options, where do you put someone who knows they’re not gay, because they’re clearly not attracted to the same sex, but at the same time, there’s not any evidence that they’re straight, either?  The only reason you’d put someone in the “straight” bucket is because “that’s what most people are”, which is a ridiculous reason to assign an identity to someone.

It’s a bit like saying there are people who like chicken, people who like steak, and people who like both.  You come across a vegetarian and you try to fit them into your limited worldview.  “Do you like chicken?”  “No.”  “Well, therefore you like steak by default.”  “No, I’m-” “You have to like steak, because most people like steak, and you said you don’t like chicken.”  “But-“  “YOU LIKE STEAK.  END OF DISCUSSION.”  There’s clearly a “none of the above” option here which needs to be recognized.  Some people don’t like steak or chicken, and some people don’t like men or women.


Tomorrow’s post will focus mostly on sex and sexual activity (So you might want to skip tomorrow, if that’s not your deal), while the third day will be about things outside of yourself, like other people.

Links to the posts in this series: