Mom, if you read this, please don’t tell me. I’d like to remain blissfully unaware on that river in Egypt.
Some time last summer, I was having a complete thermonuclear meltdown to one of my closest friends. She’s an online friend and the term “close” is subjective. She actually lives four or five states away, we’ve never had tea or coffee at a local shop, and we’ll probably only ever know one another in the murky world of Internet relationships. I was whining to her about how “abnormal” my sex life is. I explained to her about the “the sex camel” and how I most assuredly am one. And then, I tried to put into words about how I felt about sex, which probably came out completely wrong and convoluted. But, being a friend and being awesome means that she got what the fuck I was saying. And she says to me, “You know, Aubs, it sounds like you might be an ace.” And while I’m scratching my head with images of camels in my brain and camels trying to have sex and then not having sex because it’s all stored in a hump on their back, I started researching asexuality.
Of course, coming into this whole terminology, I started thinking about worms. However, while being able to reproduce without any sexual contact would be really fantastic, although possibly boring because it would probably end up being more like cloning yourself, the term as applied to human sexuality isn’t on the same level. It has nothing to do with being able to, or unable to really, reproduce via mitosis. As Wiki
said, “Asexuality (or nonsexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone or low or absent interest in sexual activity.” Oh. Hm. Yes, I guess that sounds reminiscent of a sex camel.
In the last year, since that conversation, I’ve done limited research on the topic. Outside of Tumblr, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of discussions about it. And I will fully admit that it wasn’t like I was really looking for those discussions. Just thinking about my own sexuality, whether I have one or don’t have one, makes me uncomfortable. Looking into the information as provided by that awesome friend, I had to admit that a lot of what was being said could easily be describing me. However, there are a lot of factors one has to take into consideration before they just jump all willy-nilly onto a little-known topic.
I’ve been on birth control for almost the last ten years, in some form, which has been linked to lower levels of sexual desire. For a long time, I believed that my lack of desire was because of the birth control pills I was on. I figured it was just one of those awesome side effects some women got – some women being, you know, me – and some people didn’t. My best friend, BFMA, is a sexual creature the likes of which the gods have never once seen. And her birth control consumption didn’t seem to impact her sexual desire, but obviously, I was the “lucky one” here because it did effect me.
I’ve taken myself off of hormone based birth control pills. On the one hand, since I’m not having sex, there’s no point in shelling out the money for them, but also because I’ve wanted to test this. I’ve been on and off birth control pills in the past, but never really paid attention to the connection, or not, of my sexual desire. I’m paying attention now. And while I’m not scientist and I have no control group or anything, I can safely assure anyone who cares that I haven’t even remotely been interested in having a self-made orgasm, much less the kind you have with other people.
The thing is that I wasn’t entirely positive about whether or not I was turning to this definition to make my life “easier” or if I was sticking a band aid over my fragile psyche. As a person who has survived numerous sexual assaults, it really isn’t surprising that I have a distinctive lack in sexual desire. Let’s face it: when you’ve been used in that way, it really puts a damper on everything else. The thing is that I have never really considered sex in the way that societal norms dictate how people should view sex. I’ve thought long and hard about my past thoughts on sexual activity and I’ve had to admit that I’ve always been deeply disturbed by the whole process. This leads me to believe that as much as I’m running toward something that may, in a way, make things seem easier, I’ve actually kind of always been this way and it’s only been in the last year that I had a name that fit.
While most of my sexual activity came after my first sexual assault, I’ve been doing some deep digging. It’s hard, sometimes, to analyze your thoughts on sexuality and sexual activity back when you were still playing with Barbie dolls and My Little Pony, but I’m the sort of person that wants to know. I want to be sure that I’m not just sticking myself into a category because it’s easy. I want to be positive that I’m not going to make things easier by subsuming my identity to match whatever I find online. And I’ve had to come to the conclusion that while sex made me uncomfortable post sexual traumas, it also made me pretty fucking uncomfortable prior to those instances. I don’t know what, specifically, my thoughts on it were other than some internal debate about how I would probably like it, you know, but how I really wasn’t interested in, you know, going out to find out.
But, as a teenager with thoughts and feelings and stuff, you go out and explore. I’ve taken as much time as I can, which isn’t a whole helluva lot, to verify the impulses that set me into motion into a previous sexual activity outside of a relationship. And I have to admit that I was doing those things because I wanted to be liked. I was doing those things because it was supposed to be normal. And I think, a big part, was because I wanted the attention. In none of those instances can I say, clearly, that I enjoyed the act. In none of those instances can I say, clearly, that it was good. And in none of those instances can I say, clearly, that a magical box was turned to “on” inside my uterus that said, “LET’S DO THIS ALL THE TIME.” I just did those things because it was expected, honestly, and that bothers me on a different level that I’m probably never going to discuss.
Thing is that I’ve been looking into this for long enough to feel, finally, comfortable with the idea that I may, in fact, be “asexual.” I don’t think I fall directly under that definition, but I don’t think anyone can really define their sexual orientation with certainty. Everything in that category, to me, is kind of shades of gray so I can say, “I fall under this category,” and just not mention that there are “buts” in there. Some of those buts are as follows: I experience self-made orgasms, which would make it seem like I’m just all about myself and not about any of my partners. I can fully say that I find movie stars attractive, though I can’t say if I’d act on that sexual attraction or not. I can tell you that I have a very rich fantasy life that may or may not include a sexual situation.
To put it bluntly, I don’t fall into societal norms when it comes to my sexuality. Point of fact, I don’t think I ever did.
- How Stuff Works: What Is Asexuality?
- Asexuality at AVENWiki
- Asexual FAQ
- Under the Ace Umbrella
- Gray/Grey-A Asexuality