Archive for October, 2009

Good lord

Warning: straight off my head onto the page – I reserve the right to feel totally differently about this tomorrow.

I’ve just run into* the concept of asexuality. Why am I only hearing about this now? All this time I’ve been trying to figure out why I don’t have sexual feeling the way other people do, and it never occurred to me that that might be a thing in and of itself, rather than some kind of broken.

I’m not saying, ‘Yes! This is me!’ I don’t know. I need to think about it. Clearly, I do have sexual feelings, and I do find people attractive. But a) it’s something I’ve kind of learnt over the years, and b) it’s a largely intellectual attraction. The more I think about it, the more I feel that everything that interests me sexually is basically intellectual, emotional, psychological – it’s all about story. Drama. Narrative. The idea of sexual passion gives me the electricity; actual sexual activity does very little for me.

Asexual is a label that would describe my younger self very well. Very well. I had crushes even as a young child (5-7), and I still get crushes, but they have always been mostly intellectual crushes, emotional crushes, not physical at all. When all my friends were starting to get interested in boys, around 11-12, I had nothing. It felt very alienating. The only vaguely crushy feelings I had at that time were a brief infatuation with Christine Cagney. And again, non-physical.

And when I started actually having sex, I felt nothing. Nothing. How freeing it would have been then to be told that that can be a ‘real’ thing, not a disorder of some kind.

As I say, I’ve kind of learnt, in a Pavlovian association kind of way, to feel sexual feelings in a sexual situation, and for bodies, and physical sensation. Even so, my response is very muted, like the volume’s been turned way down. My friends find this very hard to get their head around. I’ve assumed so far that there must be something fundamentally wrong – some fear, perhaps, that intervenes and prevents me feeling my own sexual response, even when the physiological response is present.

But perhaps it’s the other way round. Perhaps by nature I’m just not a sexual being. Perhaps I’m an asexual being who has developed some limited sexual feeling.

This concept opens up so many new ways of looking at things that it’s slightly blowing my mind right now. I’ve always felt a great psychological desire for sex. But perhaps what I’m craving there is not actually sexual fulfilment at all. Perhaps it’s other kinds of fulfilment. I’ve simply assumed all these years that a fabulous sex life was the goal. Because, you know, that’s what all of our culture throughout all of history tells us. Perhaps there are other things I want, and other ways to find those things.

Perhaps it’s even possible to find people who are like me to some extent. Who might be interested in the way narrative makes things hot, and not remotely interested in a storyless grinding of bodyparts together. Who might want something from sex that isn’t sex. Perhaps we might be able to find other ways of being intimate and excited about each other.

Is it possible to be both dominant and asexual? If it’s possible to be straight and asexual, or gay and asexual, I don’t see why not. Am I dominant? Or do I just love drama? Am I dominant? Or is that feeling just a desire to never again do anything I didn’t actively want to do, resulting from years of doing stuff that other people were more excited about than I was, and the feelings of alienation that result? Am I asexual? Partly asexual?

And all those intense psycho-emotional crushes I’ve had on people I knew I had absolutely no desire to sleep with at all. There have been many of them. Many. People I admired and adored, and would have loved to be allowed to interact with with the kind of intimacy and passion you have in a relationship, but in a non-sexual way. (These passions have caused people to consider me a flirt, over the years.) Imagine, if those people identified as asexual, or even simply knew of the concept, how things could be different. I might be able to express my passion for people without having to worry that they would feel I was ‘leading them on’, promising something I wasn’t going to deliver (the cardinal sin for a woman, far worse than promiscuity).

I have no idea if this label really fits me. I may be way off base. But just knowing that it exists makes it possible for me to think in all kinds of new directions. And there are certainly parts of me that it fits, and making room for those parts makes me feel much less broken, and much less hopeless.

Sometimes I’ve got so angry about the sex thing. It’s felt as though it’s something that every other person on the planet gets but me. And like a complete barrier to the possibility of a loving relationship. Apparently neither of those things are true. Hurrah.

*Via Male Submission Art, to MayMay‘s, which led me to Dev‘s (post love – I *hate* kissing from the bottom – I get pretty bored kissing from the top, but then noone would ever let me bite them) and asexy beast‘s, and thence to AVEN.


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