My Sexuality

Alright, so today is America’s Sexuality Day / International Sex Worker Rights Day

First of all: Sex work should be decriminalized. Can’t people see that when you make police officers your enemy you prevent people who are being trafficked and abused from being able to go to the police? When CHILDREN get caught being involved with prostitution they put the CHILD in jail and charge them with sex work but almost always let the John off the hook, when in any other situation he’d have his ass in jail for statutory rape if not worse and the minor would be getting support and counseling, not being put in cuffs. It makes me sick to think about how much harm is done to people in the name of “protecting women.” Yes, protecting women is a noble cause, but charging women who are engaging in consensual sex work and putting that on their record so that they can’t ever get any other job DOESN’T HELP THEM! Alright… I’ll just rant about this later, on to the post about my sexuality:

So I keep hearing people say “Asexual means you don’t have a sexuality” well I’m here to tell you that I’m asexual and I have a sexuality.

My sexuality is an integral part of who I am and how I conceptualize myself. Here’s a few things that I consider to be part of my sexuality:

I think pale skin on women is beautiful and I find men most attractive when they’re neither too pale nor too tan. I am distracted by people with long, well kept hair and will play with a person’s hair if given the chance. I adore having my hair brushed, combed, braided, whatever, that’s definitely on my list of favorite things I enjoy doing with a partner.

I’m not at all opposed to kissing, though some of my exes were *really* bad at it (seriously there should be a class in high school or something… also, here’s a tip: don’t smoke a cigarette and then try to make out with someone- gross, seriously).

I’ve watched a lot of porn and read a lot of erotica in my day and I’ve even enjoyed some of it. Sex for the sake of sex doesn’t do a thing for me, it’s just not one of my turn ons. Sex isn’t a turn off for me, either, it’s just completely neutral – often yawn-worthy. That’s just part of my sexuality. I was definitely worried about it for many years. As a kid no one seemed interested in having sex and then one day I woke up and all my friends wanted to hop into bed with celebrities and the fact that I didn’t was not acceptable- so I never ever admitted to anyone again that I didn’t have an interest in having sex with anyone- until I came out to an ex and the next day to a room of 30 people. That was an awfully big weight off my chest! Holy shit it feels good to be able to use a word to identify yourself that doesn’t sound like a lie!

Just because I wasn’t interested in having sex with people didn’t stop me from fooling around with boys, and girls in an effort to prove to them and me that I was totally normal. When I think of all the risk I put myself in (hello practically no sex ed in school) just to do things I wasn’t interested in doing anyway just to prove to everyone else that I was “normal” …. ugh! Why did I have to be in my early 20s before I heard someone (David Jay) talk about a model of sexuality that I, at last in part, identified with?

Oh yeah, and I’m kinky- which for me means that I’m a submissive. I get satisfaction, excitement, joy, and sometimes even arousal out of making some people – typically my partners – happy, out of pleasing them in various ways- emotionally, psychologically and physically. If I trust the person enough I love to be tied up or otherwise restrained, having my hair pulled and certain types of impact play and on occasion orgasm-denial (evil bastards) and I can get a lot of satisfaction and an orgasm-like rush of endorphins  even if there’s no actual orgasm involved (unless there’s orgasm denial involved which is all about building you to the point of feeling a physical need for one regardless of other concurrent feelings). It’s about giving up control, it’s about trust and intimacy, about pleasure and pleasing. And it’s part of my sexuality. Since I was so distressed about not being interested in sex I focused on what I did like doing- including various aspects of BDSM. I threw myself into it, fixated on it! I read books and short stories about it, I wrote stories about it, I joined clubs where people talked about it… I accidentally became the president of a club where people talked about it, I joined the adult BDSM scene and all the organizations I could as soon as I was old enough- including being on the board for a major national event. As much as I really do enjoy this part of my sexuality I think I may have been overcompensating a little bit by focusing on it so much that I could ignore the part of me that I didn’t understand and that made me feel broken and insecure.

Now that I can articulate how I feel and what more confidently I want in a way that’s more honest, to both myself and others, I’ve found that I don’t have the same need to focus on and cling desperately too the BDSM component of myself, it’s much more balanced now, which is better.

In my early and mid teens you’d have thought I was a boy for all the time I spent getting off- before school, after school, middle of the night, middle of the day on weekends. Thank God I had my own room for most of my teenage years! The story of the first time I tried masturbating and other activities is pretty interesting, but I’ll save that for another post. (For anyone else who also enjoys masturbating: the NJoy Pure Wand and Wahl 7 are the 2 best material things I’ve ever purchased for myself)  Speaking of masturbating I’ve found that I don’t always have to get to the mind-shattering orgasm level to get a rush of endorphins and feel all good and happy and relaxed and sleepy. I heard a professor say that women who stop after reaching a plateau instead of going on to full orgasm are repressed. I suppose if you *can’t* reach an orgasm maybe there’s a problem but the nice thing about the plateau is that there’s a leveling off of the compulsion to keep going. For me it has always been a tranquil phase that I am often quite content to mellow in. Can I seriously be the only person who does that? I think not, but with all the people out there saying that you must be repressed if you don’t go for the full-out orgasm every time there probably aren’t a lot of people eager to admit it (this is another area where sexologists should probably be listening to women talk about how they experience their sexual pleasure and orgasms rather than telling women that they’re broken if they don’t fit the standard model because maybe the standard model isn’t as “standard” as it seems).

I also have a medical condition which manifests itself in a few ways that has made me question my gender expression and has effected the way I feel about myself and my sexuality. It wouldn’t be honest not to admit that from the time it started to manifest it took me about 8 years to get to a point where I could say that I liked my body and that yes, I’m definitely a girl, and no I’m not any less of a woman just because I have a few quirks. That definitely effects my self image and my sexuality, but it’s part of who I am and if I didn’t accept it and I felt ashamed or apologetic about it then no one else was going to accept it. It’s amazing how much it helps to stop treating yourself like a freak and stop assuming that others will, too.  Be nice to yourself, accept yourself, love yourself and see how much better you feel.

I wish I had been told as a teen that my sexuality was acceptable, that it would go through shifts and phases and trials and that I would learn new things about it and that the only thing that was important was to be aware of what I was feeling and to be honest with myself about what I wanted and didn’t want and whatever that was, that was acceptable, too (provided no one was being hurt). So, let me tell you right now that your sexuality, as long as it doesn’t involve anyone being hurt, is acceptable just the way it is and if it changes or if you discover some new facet of it, it’s still acceptable. If you want to make changes to your sexuality you can see a professional about making changes, about being less disgusted by something, about being able to enjoy something more, but you should recognize that that’s about making changes to your sexuality, not “fixing” your sexuality. Don’t waste time and energy stressing about your sexuality being “broken”- it isn’t broken, you aren’t broken. You’re unique, you are the result of a unique combination of experiences and feelings and hormones and no one can tell you what your sexuality is or what it is supposed to be like.

  1. #1 by Hel_yoshi on August 6, 2011 - 5:00 am

    Hi there,
    I am curious about your definition of “sex”. I find it interesting that you identify as asexual, while talking about enjoying situations that much of my community would consider to be sex, or at least sexual. I am certainly not trying to imply that you are not what you identify as. I am just curious about how an asexual person defines sex and asexuality, and how asexuals relate to their partners.

  2. #2 by asexualsexologist on August 6, 2011 - 7:32 am

    I planned to write this for “American Sexuality Day” specifically because I wanted to have a dialog about it but then I didn’t get around to writing it until very late at night and it came out all rambly so I’m glad you asked. I think for the most part when I used the word sex in this post I meant “penetrative intercourse” or potentially “oral sex” – “sex”, as you’ve pointed out, is a pretty vague term, potentially encompassing a lot of different acts.

    There are sexually active aces (people who’s orientation is asexual). Partly, I think, because it’s difficult to find a) another aces that you like and want to be in a relationship (I was so psyched when I met another ace and fell head over heels for him but then things just didn’t work out, it was very disappointing) or b) maintain a relationship with someone who isn’t asexual who’s totally cool with no sex.

    Behavior and orientation are two (often related, but) different things. Also, a situation or a relationship can be classified separately from the people in that relationship. So, for instance, If Man A is bisexual and Man B is straight and Woman A is bisexual and woman B is a lesbian. If Man A is in a relationship with Woman A then they are in a heterosexual relationship, even though both people in the relationship are bisexual. If Woman A and Woman B are in a relationship they are in a homosexual relationship even though one of them is bisexual and one is is a lesbian. Just because the bisexual woman is in a homosexual relationship doesn’t make *her* gay. As a third example, I know two women who are in a relationship with each other- one identifies as straight and the other as bisexual, but they are attracted to and in love with each other, but for the straight partner, she has only ever been attracted to that one female partner, and never any other women (ie she’s straight with one exception and is not attracted to women as a general rule, so she feels no need to identify as bisexual). Being in a homosexual relationship doesn’t change that she has the right to self identify as straight.

    As far as talking about enjoying situations that much of your community (what is your community, by the way?) find sexual: As far as the things I did as a teenager… that was experimentation, I was trying to find something or someone that made me as interested in having sex as my peers and, obviously, never found it. Lots of young adults who haven’t yet figured out that they’re gay try having relationships- with varying levels of sexual activity- with someone of the other gender as if they’ll be able to find the person who helps them affirm that really they’re straight.. obviously mostly without luck. And that’s pretty much how I’d classify my experimenting- mostly without luck.

    As for the BDSM… well, it just isn’t about sex for me and never has been and I don’t play with people who feel that BDSM, for them, is all about sex (well, that’s not entirely true, that happened once and it ended awkwardly…. this is why I don’t go home with people I met at bars any more… learned that a little late, I guess). But if I have a partner who I trust and who I want to engage in some aspect of BDSM with there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to do what they want me to do. We would outline in advance what my limits are, what I would like to do or have happen and what I would not particularly like to do or have happen but am willing to do or let happen. Sometimes what makes my partner happy is knowing that I’m willing to do things that I don’t particularly like because they told me to. It doesn’t change the fact that my attraction to my partner isn’t sexual, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not interested in having penetrative sex with my partner… that in fact it’s really far down on my list of things I’d want to do with them. Since my partner is not also an ace we have a poly relationship and he has other partners with whom he has sex, which means that when we get our time together he knows we’re not going to have sex and so far, since I came out to him over a year ago, has never pressed the issue. He wants to do things with me that I enjoy, and that’s just not on the list.

    Your post was a little vague, so if I haven’t answered your question please restate it a little more specifically?

  3. #3 by Hel_yoshi on August 6, 2011 - 9:04 am

    Thank you for your reply, and my apologies for being vague. I didn’t want to sound interrogating, so didn’t get too specific.

    When I refered to my community, I meant my friendship network, which consists of a variety of sexual and relationship orientations. My main reason for saying that you seem to “enjoy situations that much of my community would consider to be sex, or at least sexual” is due to your statements about orgasms and orgasm-denial with your partners. My community defines sex as “two or more people, with one or more sets of genitals, with an intention to approach or reach orgasm for one or more participants”, and even that definition is contested by some who think that orgasms and genitals aren’t required for sexual intimacy. I am aware that my community is not the norm, however.

    Thank you for explaining some of how you interact with your partner. It’s great that your partner loves and accepts you for who you are, and that you are happy for him to have other partners. I’m in a polyamorous relationship too. Outside of my current relationship though, I also love someone who doesn’t enjoy sex. We are both women so penetration was never going to be an issue, but she’s generally less sexual than I am. She doesn’t identify as asexual, but I don’t know if she’s ever come across the concept. There are many reasons why she and I aren’t together, but one of them was the discrepancy between our sexual desires. She has every right to not want sex, as you do also, but I would get turned on by her, and not be able to do anything about it.

    So that’s my story, and I’ve become curious about how you can love someone romantically without the sexual attraction. I have some issues regarding the sex itself, but the desire is there, and I don’t know how to be close to the girl I love without wanting to do something about that desire.

    • #4 by asexualsexologist on August 6, 2011 - 9:47 pm

      I’m writing this from my phone because I haven’t been back at the computer all day and want to give you a good response. Just so you know I’m not offended or not answering or anything 🙂 I’ll write a proper response when I can!

  4. #5 by asexualsexologist on August 7, 2011 - 12:36 am

    In regards to the orgasm denial thing… oohh the memories. I don’t know what my deal was but almost every boy I was involved with one way or another in my teens was obsessed with orgasm denial when, really, they probably would have been better suited to focusing on getting their partner to have an orgasm in the first place… it was someone else (and older guy) who taught me about masturbation and how to do it but once I realized I could do it on my own I kind of took that and ran with it. Generally speaking I’m better at it than anyone else and I rarely feel compelled to share that with someone but I do recognize that mutual masturbation and phone mutual masturbation can be a good method of bonding in a relationship… especially since most of my partners aren’t aces and a) enjoy getting off and b) put a lot more importance on me getting off than I do. My current involvement with orgasm denial comes into play with my partner mostly during phone mutual masturbation and it’s mostly an expression of the D/s aspect of the relationship… as in “I know you don’t want to stop, but I want you to stop, so you’re going to.” For me it’s a a combination of two things that I like- masturbating and power exchange… does it get better than that?

    Enjoying having an orgasm doesn’t imply any particular orientation – particularly from masturbation. It’s a physical/chemical response that doesn’t have anything to do with attraction or orientation. There are a lot of aces who don’t like masturbating, who feel no need to have orgasms at all, and so forth, which I suppose is what you’d expect. But there’s also people who identify as orientations other than asexual who don’t like masturbating or feel particularly interested in having orgasms either… but they’re still sexually attracted to other people even if they have no interest in having orgasms on their own/outside the context of intercourse.

    As for your friend that you’re not in a relationship with… I can understand both perspectives. I mean, in many ways sexual advances is how non-aces express their interest in a person. I’ve just never felt compelled to show my interest in someone by having sex with them, including using your definition of sex. It doesn’t mean it never happens, it just means that I’m pretty sure I could go my entire life without being the one to initiate it since, so far, I haven’t experienced wanting to do so based on sexual attraction to my partner, even if I’ve done so for the sake of making my partner happy/maintaining a relationship. If I wasn’t making some concessions with my partner I doubt things would work out.. I think we’d probably just go back to being friends…. but I like being more than just friends and we’ve found a pretty happy medium of what type of advances I’m okay with and how much I’m willing to reciprocate. … does that make sense? I suppose I haven’t really tried to articulate most of this before.

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