This is my submission for the July 2014 Carnival of Aces, which I am hosting here on my own blog. The theme is sex-aversion & sex-repulsion, so this is my attempt to write something related to the matter.
Content Note: I discuss some sexual stuff in detail later down. So trigger warning if that applies to you… My own sexual experiences in explicit detail. So at the very least, this should be considered NSFW. It’s certainly not erotic or “sexy” in the descriptions, though.
I started writing like 3 different versions of this and then deleted everything I had written to start over.
My main problem is that I have a lot of complicated thoughts on the subject for this carnival, and they’re kind of all over the place. Part of me is quite confused about myself, which only further complicates matters.
Okay, let’s start at the beginning.
I’m probably 13 years old, but only a few months into that age. I got my first period a few days before my 13th birthday in January, and now it’s near the end of the school year – I’m in 7th grade, and they have done the sex-ed unit. It’s over. And I still don’t know what sex is. The curious side of me is pretty bothered by this fact. You’d think sex-ed would’ve explained it. But no. They tell you about what puberty does to your body – they did that in 5th grade too. They tell you how the reproductive systems of our bodies work. They talk about sperm and eggs, fallopian tubes, and they answered that one girl’s question in class about “wet dreams” she’d learned about from her brother with an answer about the officially termed “nocturnal emmisons”. But they won’t get to even discussing contraception or STDs until 9th grade, and that’s 2 years away for me. It’s after school one day and my 11-year-old brother who’s in 5th grade is with me. He’s had his 5th grade sex ed already too. We’re watching a re-run of Friends and enjoying it, but of course the characters bring up sex in some plot, and that gets me to thinking, once again, about the subject. During the commercial, I turn to my brother.
“So… I’m pretty sure sex must involve a penis in a vagina,” I comment, the realization only having just dawned on me.
“But like… how does it… work?” I ask.
“Does your body just… like… magically know what to do when the time comes?”
I don’t think my brother knew any more than me. Probably less. But we were satisfied that we’d probably figured out the basics of sex.
Skip to a few years later… high school… and I really haven’t learned anything more about it. I learned some stuff from my 9th grade Health class sex-ed unit, but I didn’t learn more about the actual process of sex though. The idea of checking out porn was certainly not crossing my mind. When I would watch episodes of TV shows like 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, and Smallville around that time in my life, episodes that sometimes happened to deal with teenage characters and the prospect of sex… I was fascinated. I never was tempted in the slightest, and I didn’t get what the big deal was. I knew, early on, that I’d at least wait till I was college-aged to have sex. I just felt SO FAR from “ready” for sex, but I figured by the time I was, idk, 20, I would feel ready. Right?
Wrong. Long story short, turns out I’m asexual. I don’t know that until I’m 23, though.
Around age 18 I started watching Six Feet Under on DVD, and the HBO series deals with sex much more bluntly, and shows more, than anything I had seen before. I was interested in all of it from a curious perspective. I was interested in what these various sexual activities that people seemed to enjoy were.
At age 20, I started reading Gilmore Girls fanfiction and stumbled across some M-rated Jess/Rory (heterosexual) stuff that I actually read and found really fascinating. However, this was the first medium I ever came across where I was being asked to actually visualize people’s genitals. And… it made me uncomfortable. That might be the first sign that I am at least slightly sex-averse.
Honestly, I think it was really in the far back of my mind/my subconscious, but in middle school, high school, and college, that aversion was always there. If I came across the concept of a girl finding a guy sexy to the point of wanting to see the guy naked (usually a hot actor), I would try to visualize the guy naked just for the sake of trying to understand the appeal. And I would immediately feel really… weird. I couldn’t actually picture it, not really. Or I’d be like halfway through forming an image in my mind when my thoughts would immediately have a knee-jerk shift to “um no, let’s look at his face”. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Basically I couldn’t picture it. It wasn’t like it was causing me enough emotional distress for me to think much of it. I just thought I was too inexperienced, or too young, or something, but I figured one day I’d be able to enjoy the sight of naked men.
The thought of someone else finding me sexy? That made me more uncomfortable, and in retrospect I think it was because now I was being asked, in an abstract sense, to picture myself actually in a sexual situation. If I’m sexually attractive, that means people want me to be having sex. It means they could potentially be having a sexual fantasy about me. And if I tried to imagine what in the world said sexual fantasy might be, my mind shut down even harder than it did when trying to picture a naked man.
I’ve mentioned once before that I’m pretty sure, in hindsight, that the reason I made a point to inform my college roommates that I was a virgin and hadn’t even kissed anyone yet was because I probably was deep down so asexual-without-knowing-the-term-yet and I didn’t want anyone to be thinking of me as being a sexual being, when I wasn’t one. But it might be more my sex-aversion than my asexuality that made me so uncomfortable with the thought of being a “sexual being” in other people’s eyes. I didn’t like the idea of being in a sexual situation, and the thought that other people would think of me as in one, whether in a masturbatory fantasy of theirs or just in an abstract thought about who I am as a person, bothered me, especially when I literally couldn’t picture it myself.
Once I finally had a boyfriend at age 23, and we tried kissing… I think I became more averse to the act of kissing the more times we tried it. It was like at first, I went into kissing with the full expectation that I’d feel “sparks” and all would be happy butterflies and rainbows. Then as I had a “boring” kiss, or a few, I was indifferent to the act. It wasn’t positive, but it wasn’t negative. I would try to move my tongue around. I’d pay attention to the sensation. I’d be curious about my boyfriend’s feelings toward kissing. He described it as “not really amazing or anything, but certainly pleasant”. I… knew it wasn’t pleasant for me. And the more we tried it to see if maybe I’d find it pleasurable, the more I was tired of trying. The more I was forcing myself to go through the motions. The quicker I started pulling out of the kiss. The more I felt frustration at my likely asexual status and the fact that nothing got me aroused, ever. The more I worried I should see a doctor because even asexual people seem to masturbate and I couldn’t. And kissing… taking like 30 seconds to try kissing was starting to ruin my otherwise really pleasant dates with my boyfriend where we’d cuddle on the couch and watch Breaking Bad or Arrow.
I suggested we try… kissing other parts of our bodies, and see if I liked that more than mouth-kissing. It felt awkward and silly when we tried kissing each other necks with our shirts still on. I thought maybe we needed to get at least partially undressed for that to work. He suggested “Right now”. I freaked out. Okay, I just quickly found myself so much more okay with the concept in theory than in reality. I said I wanted to wait maybe a week. And yes, the next weekend I was more prepared… I needed time to prepare for this action… and taking off my shirt, and even my bra, in front of my boyfriend was not so scary. We ended up getting completely naked with each other. And at first, I was so relieved that it turned out I was comfortable with my boyfriend. I had worked myself up to be all scared of sex and while I kind of was finding it hard to know what to think about seeing my boyfriend’s erect penis, I was mainly feeling pretty “this is happening, whatever” about the whole thing. I basically was sex-indifferent at that moment, I think.
He kissed my nipples and I liked it. It was moderately pleasant. Kind of boring, but it felt kind of good, which is more than any other experience I had with kissing had felt.
And then my boyfriend moved down, with my permission, got a good look at me and was really excited to see a naked girl in real life for the first time. To see me naked. He was so happy and seemed to find me beautiful and it was cute and it was nice, although I couldn’t relate, and I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for not being able to have the same sexual attraction for him that he clearly had for me.
Then he said to me “Are you sure you’re not aroused? You’re pretty wet down here.” I told him I thought that was just cervical mucus from me ovulating or something. 😛 I was sure I wasn’t aroused. When he’d said that… I… I started to immediately feel more uncomfortable. And I was okay with him fingering me, gently, with one finger, so he did. But it hurt anyway. And I told him, gently, “actually, um, that kind of hurts. I mean, not that badly… just… it’s a little uncomfortable,” and he was quite surprised that such a little action would hurt, and stopped trying before long because it wasn’t… it wasn’t working, and he didn’t want to hurt me, even just a little.
He asked me if I wanted to do anything for him and I… I wanted to be able to give him an orgasm. I really did. There was no way in hell I was gonna ever orgasm in my life, I felt resigned to that at this point. I couldn’t get aroused. He wouldn’t be causing me much pleasure this encounter. But maybe I could provide him with some! 😉
But I looked at his erect penis… and I… I couldn’t help but tell my boyfriend “not really”. I didn’t really want to touch that thing. I couldn’t imagine performing oral sex on him, that seemed really really… well, I suppose “repulsive”. Touching him seemed like something I could do, I could see myself doing it and it being no big deal… but I just really didn’t want to.
He suggested him masturbating while we were naked in the room together and I loved that idea, in comparison. I wouldn’t have to touch him there. Whew. What a relief.
I think he also suggested us making out (kissing with tongue) while he did it, and I probably shrugged and thought that’d be okay, since that was something I’d done with him before. I’d never actively “liked” kissing him before, but I knew it was something I wouldn’t mind too terribly doing, especially if it could make his masturbating experience extra special this time if we did that while naked.
And at first it was very interesting. He moaned and his whole body shook as I kissed him. I opened my eyes and saw that his were closed. But before long… I found myself feeling really tired of kissing. But I didn’t want to stop kissing him, for fear of ruining his experience. So I forced myself to keep kissing him for what felt like forever. It was by far the longest period of time we’d ever spent with our mouths locked, and I couldn’t help but start to think, “I really never want to do this again. I’m not enjoying this. At all. I’m… I’m kind of really uncomfortable. I’m wishing we were doing anything else right now.”
Just thinking that “cake is better than sex”, to reference the cliche, doesn’t mean I’m sex-averse. I might just be sex-indifferent. But… but never wanting to have even that much of a sexual experience again? I feel like that makes me sex averse. That makes it so that when someone asks “so asexual means you don’t like sex” I kind of want to say “Yes, that’s what being asexual means for me. And for me, that even includes kissing. I don’t like it.” (Really, I do 101 “no, it means you don’t experience sexual attraction… etc.” stuff though. I try to be accurate when representing asexuality to new people.)
Nowadays, when I come across erect penises in fanfiction or if people make sex jokes or if a TV show has a passionate kissing scene that is about to lead to some off-screen sex or whatever… I feel… I feel kind of like I’m sex-averse. Like I’m more sex-averse than I was before I tried getting naked with my boyfriend last year. Like I’m more sex-averse than I was before I actively identified as asexual. I… I feel almost a resentment that the world is sexual when these things come up, sometimes. I feel kind of sad that I just can’t ever “Get it” when it comes to sexual desire. But I mainly just feel awkward, uncomfortable, and in a fanfiction setting, like I kind of both can and can’t picture what I’m supposed to be picturing.
I would not be comfortable compromising and having sex for the sake of a partner one day. I decided I’m never gonna have sex. Or even have that much of a sexual experience again. And that decision made me think I am sex-averse. I’m not repulsed. I don’t think of myself that way. I think of myself as closer to indifferent than repulsed. But I think of “averse” as being in the middle.
It’s still confusing for me. But I think the more I read about other people’s experiences with sex-aversion and even sex-indifference, the less alone I feel in my own experiences. So I’m glad I was able to host this carnival of aces theme. And I’m glad people are starting to talk about this stuff a bit more.