As an asexual person, I think sex is overrated. It never ceases to amaze me how completely single-minded some people can be about sex.

Asexual (or ace) is a sexual orientation that means a person doesn’t experience sexual attraction. There are shades of gray when it comes to gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual and nothing is ever as neat as the label implies. Asexual people experience their asexuality on a continuum that encapsulates everything from not experiencing any sexual attraction and never wanting to have sex to experiencing sexual attraction occasionally or after establishing an emotional bond and being interested in sex.

Once I had sex a few times, that burning need to have it went away.

While I’ve grown tired of the need to have a label to describe my experience of things, my experience of asexuality best aligns with demisexual. Demisexual people experience sexual attraction after having an emotional connection with another person. What does this mean? Well, for most of my adult life I could take or leave sex. Oh sure, there was a period where I thought about sex all the time, but once I had sex a few times that burning need to have it went away.

For me, sex was more like a movie that gets a lot of hype by friends, and then when I finally saw the movie I thought, “well, that was just okay.” For the most part, I’d hook up with people on cruising groups on social media once every six months or so. Just like some Christians only go to church on Christmas and Easter, I’d have sex once or twice a year.

I frequently told my partner that the amount of sex we were having took me by surprise.

Then I met the person who would become a long-term partner. It’s hard to say what made me fall in love with them, but fall for them I did. Suddenly we were having sex all the time. I frequently told my partner that the amount of sex we were having took me by surprise. There was never anything wrong with my sex drive, but rather, I just didn’t want to have sex with randos I had had a handful of conversations with on the internet.

Becoming an adult meant an immense amount of freedom.

I smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, watched a lot of R-rated movies, and had sex. All of these things were far more important as an idea, a symbol of rebellion to the authority of my parents than they were things that I would actually want all the time (I watch a lot more kid movies and television as an adult than I did as a teenager).

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have or having sex. It’s fun, it feels good, and with safer sex practices it can be a harmless recreational or intimate experience. The obsession with sex in society probably has more to do with politics, religion, culture, and underneath it all it’s always going to be cisheterosexist patriarchy.

If we define manhood by getting laid, purity by the absence of sex, and women’s empowerment by how much uninhibited sex she’s having, then sex suddenly becomes a moral signifier for a person’s worth.

If LGBTQIA+ people are criminalized for who they have sex with and how, then, of course, sex will be held up as something more valuable than gold. And white people have a long history of hyper sexualizing Black and Latino men, de-sexualizing Asian men, fetishizing/exoticizing Asian, Latina, and Black women.

Once the pressure to have sex was no longer an issue, I quickly found there were far more important things to work on: what do I want from relationships? What boundaries do I have for myself and how do I effectively communicate those? It gave me time to reflect on all the things in my life that I needed to work: mental health, personal and professional goals, and spending time with friends.

And those are things that everyone can benefit from reflecting on regardless of whether a person is ace or not.

  • Jamie Saoirse O'Duibhir

    Jamie Saoirse O'Duibhir is an ordained minister and contributor for the ENnie award-nominated project Uncaged Anthology with a BA in Social Science from Shimer College. Jamie does everything while listening to some variety of metal, folk, or Disney Showtunes.