I am 20 years old, and I’ve never been kissed. Never been in a relationship, because I’ve never wanted to. Never explored my sexuality, because I’ve never been interested.
When I confess this to my friends, they are baffled. “How come you have never had a boyfriend? You’re cute!”
Every time I hear that I take the compliment with a smile, and try to ignore the truth that I deny at times: I am asexual.
I call myself a progressive female, an ally even though I am straight, and someone who understands the fluidity and complexity of sexuality. Yet it took me years to accept my own sexuality, the lack of sexual interest, and the aversion I feel every time I try to even think about having sex with someone. I guess part of it also came from my ignorance, something I would admit without shame. I am still attracted to cute boys, I still have hopeless crushes, and I still sigh at the romance books I read. Yet anything past that is weird, unknown territory for me.
I feel that asexuality is a very misunderstood concept. Being asexual doesn’t make you a robot without emotions or desires. Nor is it the case of “you just don’t know how amazing sex can be because you’ve never had it.”
(Trust me, I’ve been told that.)
I am not a prude or frigid. I am definitely not incapable of feelings. I am not secretly judging everyone for having sex while mentally living in the Victorian era. I do get attracted to people, I do get aroused, I do find things romantic.
But in the end, it all boils down to one fact: My attraction is not sexual, nor do I have any interest in actually engaging in any sexual activity or physical intimacy.
Even though it took me years to become comfortable with my sexuality, I knew that I was ace since I was 15. For five years, I’ve been bottling down a truth, at first not knowing how to define it, then scared of the reality. Even now, I haven’t come out to anyone, and even though I suspect some of my friends know based on the few conversations we’ve had about sex, love, and relationships, it will take me some more time to actually come out to talk about it.
I guess that’s one advantage of being able to pass, I guess.
There’s also an added layer of being a woman of color, and especially a South Asian, and the stigma and ignorance I would have to deal with if I ever outed myself. Writing these words is probably the first time I am ever expressing my sexuality in any medium, and I don’t even know if that makes me a coward.
I realized that there was something different about me the first time I tried to masturbate. I’ve heard my friends talking about masturbating, I even researched how to do it, being the nerd I am. I chose a night, waited until it was almost midnight, and thought of my crush and reached into my underwear. I tried for five minutes, then 10. Nothing.
Was I doing something wrong? Did I not follow the “instructions” properly? It took me a few days of trying to even feel the slightest tingle. Of course, at that time, it felt like the most pleasurable thing.
It became my new favorite thing. Who am I kidding, it still is.
But once the climax is achieved, and I’ve had the orgasm I need, I would have got all the sexual satisfaction I want, and I have never wanted anything more than that.
Asexuals who masturbate sound like a paradox. But it’s not. I have a joke that masturbation has made me realize that no one would be able to give me as pleasure as I give to myself, and that has sworn me off any other sexual partner.
Once in a while, my fingers meet my clitoris with my underwear between us, and as soon as the deed is done, I roll over and sleep or go ahead with the rest of my day. It’s a constant reminder that I am not devoid of any semblance of sexuality, and that has been a key in my acceptance of who I am.
Now porn, on the other hand, was always a level too much.
I cannot bring myself to watch anything hardcore – I have tried and threw up promptly after.
But I found my holy grail in smutty fan-fiction. Or maybe it’s the reader in me that prefers the written erotica and repulses the visuals, but I find something so fascinating about written words that almost keeps the sex at a distance or treats it like a fantasy. There are also aspects of sex I cannot even think about, with blowjobs ranked number one on that list. But give me a perfectly romantic and erotic trashy romance novel or bodice rippers, and I am happy forever.
Labels are complicated, but in my case, the label made a lot of things clear. I have stopped worrying about whether I should actually start putting myself out there instead of shying away from any form of physical relationship or intimacy. The awareness of who I am and what my sexuality is cleared up all the mist. Now, if I ever have a relationship, I won’t be lying to myself or my potential partner. Sex is awesome, sure – but for now, it’s most interesting just to read, discuss, and gossip about.
I’ll just take the kisses and crushes, for now, thank you.