A Story About You
You've never been all that interested in sex, at least not like other people.
Maybe you spent your teenage years waiting for the spark of desire to kick in, but it never did. You watched everyone else start pursuing sex, but your turn never came.
Maybe you faked an interest, because you felt like you were supposed to be interested. You played along, maybe you even gave it a try, but the whole thing felt like a lie.
Maybe you've never really felt straight because men never did much for you, but at the same time, you knew you weren't a lesbian because women never did anything for you, either. You weren't sure where you fit, because none of the possibilities made sense to you.
Maybe relationships have been a problem for you. You've fallen in love, possibly even gotten married and had kids, but even after all that, your partner thinks you don't love them because sex has never been as important to you as it is to them.
Maybe you've never had a relationship at all. You've never bothered, because what's the point?
Maybe you've been to therapy for how you feel about sex. You listened to what they said, tried what they suggested, yet nothing made a difference.
Maybe you've been baffled by the seriousness and excitement that other people have when they talk about someone who's "hot". You've never understood what the appeal of a shirtless cowboy is supposed to be.
Maybe you feel lost and broken and alone. You think something is wrong with you.
But maybe there's nothing wrong at all.
Maybe you're just asexual.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like being straight or gay. When someone is straight, they're interested in people of a different gender. When someone is gay, they're into the same gender. But when someone is asexual, or "ace" as it's called, they're not really into anyone in that way. They simply don't experience sexual attraction. Asexuality isn't something that needs to be "fixed" or "cured", it's just a part of who you are.
Asexual? But I...
Many women dismiss the thought that they could be asexual because they mistakenly believe that all women are like that. There's a dominant narrative that women aren't supposed to like sex, or that they'll only become interested once Prince Charming rides along. Because of this, many asexual women are unaware that they are any different from anyone else. A quick glance around demonstrates that this stereotype is false. There are countless books and TV shows featuring the sexy adventures of the modern woman, there are calendars which feature a different smoking hot fireman every month, and there are endless "Top Ten Guaranteed Ways To Have Mind Blowing Sex!" lists in women's magazines. If every woman actually was asexual, those books would feature their heroines playing video games with the man of their dreams, those calendars would have twelve pictures of firemen in full protective gear rescuing kittens from trees, and those magazines would have "Top Ten Guaranteed Ways To Get Out Of Doing The Deed!" lists. Clearly, most women are not asexual.
On the flip side, some women don't believe they could be asexual, because they feel it's in some way a betrayal of sexual liberation. They've been told "Sex is awesome, women are allowed to want sex too!" their whole lives, and it's tough to admit that they just don't see the appeal. They worry that they're not interested because they've internalized the conservative message that claims that sex is wrong and that women are supposed to remain virgins or all manner of horrible things will happen. It's important to remember that the key ideal of sex-positive feminism is that women are allowed to have as much sex as they want, even if the amount they want is none at all. It is not a betrayal of feminist principles to not find anyone attractive.
Some women believe that asexuality means that you never become aroused and never masturbate. That is not the case. Asexual people might get wet. Asexual people might masturbate. Asexuality is an orientation. It's about how you feel. It has nothing at all to do with whether or not you have a functional clitoris or vagina or what you might do with them.
What If I've...?
A lot of people doubt that they're asexual because of something they do or have done. Usually, this doubt is silly. Asexuality is about attraction, not action. In other words, it's how you feel, not what you do.
- You can be asexual even if you think someone is good looking. It's possible to think that someone is cute or beautiful without being sexually attracted to them, in the same way it's possible to think a puppy is cute or a painting is beautiful.
- You can be asexual even if you're dating or are married. Romantic attraction is separate from sexual attraction. Many asexuals are interested in relationships, even if they're not interested in sex.
- You can be asexual even if you have children or want to have them. Sexual orientation has no bearing on a person's fertility or whether or not they want to have kids.
- You can be asexual even if you've fallen in love. Love and sex are not the same thing. Being in love with someone doesn't necessarily mean you're interested in sex, as well.
- You can be asexual even if you get aroused. Getting "wet" is just your body doing what it's supposed to do. Getting aroused doesn't have to mean you're sexually attracted to someone or something.
- You can be asexual even if you masturbate. Maybe you do it to relieve stress. Or maybe you do it because it feels good. Whatever the reason, masturbating does not mean that you can't be asexual.
- You can be asexual even if you look at porn or read erotica. Some asexuals look at porn and may even find it arousing. Some asexuals read erotica. This does not require sexual attraction any more than watching a cop show on TV requires a desire to join the force.
- You can be asexual even if you've had sex. I know, it sounds strange, but having sex doesn't mean you can't be asexual. Some aces are curious. Some aces think it's what they're supposed to do. And some aces even like it.
- And you can be asexual even if you haven't done any of those things. Some asexuals are aromantic, meaning they don't experience romantic attraction. Some asexuals don't masturbate. Some asexuals never want to have sex.
If the information here sounds like it describes you, then you might be asexual. Don't worry if you're not completely sure at this point. You can think about it for as long as you like. And don't worry if you don't fit neatly into every little thing I wrote here: There's no one "correct" way to be asexual. You might even find that related things like gray-asexuality or demisexuality describe you better.
There are many places online where you can learn more about asexuality, and most social networks have a group of aces who are often more than willing to answer any questions you might have or to just listen to what you have to say. However, only you can decide whether or not you're asexual, because you know how you feel, and no one else does.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. There are others like you out there, even if you haven't seen them yet. At least 1 out of every 100 people is asexual, which is a lot bigger of a number than it sounds when you start to think about it.