Tag: non-libidoist

My Body & My Asexuality

In March 2018 I hosted the Carnival of Aces here on my blog, on the topic of “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”. This was the Call for Submissions: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/physical-health-and-or-our-bodies-the-march-2018-carnival-of-aces-call-for-submissions/

I have a lot of thoughts on physical health and, often unrelated, on my body that don’t feel very directly connected to asexuality. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a post for this carnival theme, even though I myself was hosting this month.

But let me try, a day late, to throw something out there nonetheless.

1) Well a big thing I’m starting to feel a little less alone with is that I have no libido/sex-drive/ability to feel arousal and orgasm, which is a topic people don’t talk about very often in asexual communities since we focus on the psychological experiences and because masturbation etc is a fairly taboo/too “persona/private” topic in many spaces. And because when does the lack of it even “come up” naturally in conversation?

I think the asexual community has more of us who have no sex drive than many of us realize, and I’m constantly desperate to not be alone in whatever I’m experiencing, including that, so I’m glad I’m in a community of people where my experience is some degree acknowledged. I especially appreciate the context of for some of us being a lifelong thing, not a lost sex drive, and that even if it was lost due to side effects of medications or due to other illness, it’s not a “problem to be solved” but rather a plus side for at least a handful of ace folks.

Continue reading “My Body & My Asexuality”

Non-libidoism & Asexuality (aka: I have never had a sex drive, so does that explain why I’m asexual?)

I think this can count as a submission for the September Carnival of Aces on Living Asexuality. This post, below, is largely about how I experience my own asexuality, in a very personal, “this obviously doesn’t apply to everyone” kind of way.

I don’t use AVEN. I never used it much. But before I discovered the asexuality tag on tumblr or the ace community on WordPress I was there, briefly, while beginning to try to figure myself out. And so I still track the two “What is Sexual Attraction” threads over there and get emailed when a new reply is posted on them. Those are literally the ONLY threads I still follow… it may only be one thread at this point (because they may have been merged or one may have died or something?).

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted something that sparked my curiosity. They said,

I apologize if this has been asked a million times but does having no libido make asexuality the default? How can one experience sexual attraction without having an interest in sex?

Personally, I can’t physically have penetrative sex. It’d be excruciating torture straight out of an Eli Roth movie. Is it possible to experience sexual attraction or desire when most acts are associated with pain?

Someone else replied:

I’ve always believed this to be the case, yes. I’ve considered myself “asexual by default” for that reason.

And they said more, but it’s irrelevant to the point I want to make here.

I don’t masturbate. I have never experienced arousal, or an orgasm. I don’t know how these things are supposed to feel. I can see sex scenes on movies/in TV shows, even pretty explicit ones, and feel nothing, regardless of the genders of the participants, and the same goes for reading erotic fan-fiction by talented authors.

I feel like I’m asexual by default, and I never saw that sentiment expressed until that post on AVEN. I really love how validating it felt to read that. I love the idea that yeah, I’m not the only person who is entirely non-sexual in every conceivable way and that is inextricably tied up in our versions of asexuality.

There is an article on the AVEN wiki about Non-libidoism: http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Nonlibidoism and the idea that at any point in the history of asexuality:

Some people considered nonlibidoism the only valid form of asexuality.

Well, it’s hard for me to believe that was the case. The thought is so foreign to me, and such a shock to read. I’m glad we have a community of asexuals now with a variety of experiences, some with sex drives, some without. And with a variety of other experiences too, from types of attraction they experience, including sometimes things that might be sexual attraction. I’m happy to be a part of the asexual spectrum and to acknowledge that we don’t all experience it the same.

But today on tumblr I came across a post, one of MANY that I’ve seen in the past few years, ever since I’ve began looking at asexuality-related posts on tumblr…

And it said at one part,

An asexual’s body is perfectly functional. It reacts to touch just like anyone else’s, meaning, an asexual will experience physical arousal and likely feel appropriate pleasure from sex when touched in a way that feels good to them personally. Asexuality isn’t the lack of sexual functions, it’s the lack of sexual attraction only.

When I read things like that, I have to admit, it hurts. It makes me angry intellectually, but my gut reaction is one where I’m just… sad. Where I feel like even among asexual standards, not just larger society but even among aces, I’m “broken”. It’s not often anymore that I think of myself as “broken”. I was in denial about my asexuality for months after subconsciously realizing it was likely my truth, most likely because I associated the orientation with being lesser, with being broken, with missing out on what it means to experience the joy of being human, or being alive. Once I accepted that nothing would ever get me aroused, that it would be impossible for me to enjoy sexual activities, that I wasn’t even “just” on the asexual spectrum but rather was a 100% asexual person who was also sex-averse and libido-less, I embraced it. I was proud to claim this sexual orientation. I was relieved to finally understand myself. I was able to relax and be happy with my sex-free life and feel a sense of not being alone with my problems because hey, I’m not the only asexual person in the world. I had a new community, a new identity, and it was liberating in a surprising number of ways.

But then people say “asexual people’s bodies function normally” and then explain that of course they have “healthy” reactions to touch, at least, or experience the thing “all people” do that is arousal.

I think back to the Preliminary Findings from the 2014 AVEN Community Census:

Sex Drive

And I think about the how the number of asexual-spectrum who think they have an average sex drive is only slightly higher than the number of people who, like me, marked down that they truly feel their sex drive is 0 — nonexistent.

I know I’ve seen some people in the asexual community cite some study that says that asexual people masturbate at approximately the same rate as non-asexual people, but I’ve never seen the study linked, and I’m not sure what they were referring to. I find those supposed results hard to believe, but if true I am desperate to know, so if anyone can send me a link to look at, I’d appreciate it. I find it hard to believe because I have a strong suspicion that I’m not the only person in the world who has never had a sex drive and then ends up identifying as asexual. Whose lack of a sex-drive might explain my (their) asexuality.

I know some asexual people worry that because they do masturbate, they can’t “Count” as asexual enough, that this alone makes them “Sexual” (allosexual, zedsexual, non-asexual), or worse, they know they’re asexual and accepted into the asexual community, but they’re asked the intrusive question of if they masturbate by outsiders, and if they answer truthfully, that yes they do, they have a real chance of their identities being invalidated!! Of being told masturbating is “too sexual” and that they can’t “Count” as asexual if they do it.

But like the classic problem where it proves impossible to be an “unassailable asexual”, I have the opposite issue. I worry that I’m not really asexual, because clearly my body is broken in some way, why have I never gotten my hormones checked?, because if I just figured out a way to experience arousal and orgasm I’d realize I never was asexual, because I’m a freak who has never even masturbated so how can I know I’m asexual, how can it “just” be “another sexual orientation” for someone like me? It’s more than that. It’s a lack of me having any kind of sexuality at all. I worry that people will believe I’m broken, I’m not the right kind of asexual, that I’m a person that is a super-outlier, abnormal by far even among the asexual community, because even the average asexual has a sex drive, everyone writing their Asexuality 101 posts says that.

I don’t experience a lot of what other people in the asexual community do. I don’t experience any of the forms of “attraction” in a meaningful way, like a magnet being drawn to someone for aesthetic, sensual, sexual, or romantic reasons. I can enjoy cuddling or other forms of touch in a few cases, appreciate beauty, and romantically ship my favorite characters on a TV show together, but I can’t understand what it’s like to be drawn to them. I’m both WTFromantic and now, beginning to identify as aromantic too, and I really do feel like my aromanticsm is inextricably linked to my asexuality. Similarly, my non-libidoism is tied up in all of it. And while whether a person ever feels aroused or masturbates or enjoys orgasms is ultimately a very private thing, it feels oddly important to me that I don’t.

When I come out as ace and someone asks me if I masturbate, I don’t feel offended. I feel like yeah, they get how big of a question that really is, and I want to answer. I feel like it is relevant to understanding me, and my sexuality, and how and why I came to identify with asexuality. I feel like the whole world just doesn’t get me AT ALL if they are thinking I masturbate, even if they know I’m asexual and maybe don’t imagine me picturing anyone/anything while I do. But then I want to make sure they know that people can be asexual and masturbate. It’s just me that… doesn’t.

I don’t know why my non-libidoism feels so important to me, but when I read stories about the women for whom Flibanserin (Addyi) is supposedly designed, when I hear those NPR interviews with women who have lost their sex drives, I just keep waiting for people to bring up the women who have NEVER, ever, in their lives, not even as a teenager, had a sex drive. The 25-year-old like me who hasn’t lost their libido, but rather never had it. I keep wondering if anyone in the entire world — or specifically in the medical community — even knows people like me exist.

I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been going to Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic meetups and 1 person in the group told me he got his hormones checked (and they were normal) because he, like me, also has never had a sex drive. I know there was once an Official Non-Libidoism Society, and that there is a term for what I am because I am not alone. But sometimes it still feels like being a non-libidoist asexual means I’m broken, even among the asexual community. Sometimes it still feels like I’m even more different than the average ace when comparing myself to all of the zedsexual people out there. Sometimes I feel like I need to shout from the rooftops that I don’t have a sex drive and don’t masturbate, because whether it’s rational or not, whether it’s rooted in any reality or not, I just get the feeling that people are assuming, everywhere I go, that I do have a libido and I do masturbate and that I could enjoy sex if only I wasn’t repulsed or something. But my truth is that I’m not someone who physically could enjoy it. I’m averse to even kissing, and my lack of arousal is a huge part of what makes me feel so disconnected from a person when I’m doing it.

Does any of what I’m saying resonate with anyone reading this? I hope so.

And I really hope I haven’t upset anyone else who does have a libido or who feels differently about their lack of libido, feels it’s private or doesn’t matter to them or whatever. I know this is only my own experience, and I would never assume it applied to anyone else.

Identity vs. Description, and How Labels Are Used For Both

This was a post written for the May 2015 Carnival of Aces, which was hosted by elainexe and has a topic of “Identity, Labels, and Models”. For more information on this ongoing blogging carnival, check out the main page by clicking here. Consider participating sometime soon, or even hosting a future month’s theme yourself!

The Wikipedia page on “Identity” in a social science context — specifically in psychology, sociology, and anthropology — is fascinating. The idea of what makes something a part of someone’s identity is such a complex one.

In the ace blogosphere and community we tend to discuss identity fairly often. Mainly, most of us in this community prioritize asexuality as an identity, and if it’s not “identity” worthy levels of importance to a person, if it’s more just a description of how they “don’t find [many/any] people sexy” or “don’t care about/want sex”, then they probably aren’t going to bother staying in this community for long, or may not even search for/find the community at all.

Continue reading “Identity vs. Description, and How Labels Are Used For Both”

I was curious, so I chose to have sex! Then, my curiosity was satiated. I decided never to have sex again.

[Content Note: the following blog post is NSFW and contains very explicit descriptions of sexual situations. I also discuss menstruation/ovulation briefly.]

Elizabeth over at Prismatic Entanglements is collecting as many different articles related to the topic of respectfully approaching sex with asexual people as people are willing to write. In order to do my own small part to help, I’m sharing my experiences below. It is a response to this Tentative Revisions post she put up, and I definitely recommend you read onlyfragments’ post which was also written for this purpose as well. She discusses her journey toward where she is now: enjoying a sexual relationship with her girlfriend. It’s a very different post than what I am writing, below.

I’m a 25-year-old woman, and by one of the most common definitions of the term, I am a virgin. However, I have consented to sexual experiences at two different points in my life – about 1 week apart from one another. I was naked with my boyfriend both times, and he was wonderfully respectful of my boundaries. For weeks prior to us taking off our clothes together, we’d had conversations, mainly over texting, where he’d told me his fantasies, and asked me about mine. I’d told him I had never in my life had a sexual fantasy, honestly. I… wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to be fantasizing about. He knew I’d never seen porn but had read some erotic fanfiction. He of course had seen porn. Again most of these conversations were via text, but we did have a few “real life” conversations too about these topics, and others. It was easier, in some ways, to talk about sexual topics via texting, though. It helped with some of the awkwardness and embarassingness.

We’d talked in person about how I wasn’t “into” the making out with tongue we’d been doing since our first week of dating, and how I thought I might be asexual but I was curious to try more things and see if maybe I’d like other things instead. We also talked about what his experience of kissing me/making out with me had been like, and he’d admitted to me that he had “gotten hard” while we had been cuddling… so by the time we were doing sexual things, getting naked together, we continued to have a very healthy approach to the whole situation. He was careful to keep checking in with me, and to stop touching me when I mentioned that it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. He wanted to be able to provide me pleasure. He had already told me, before the day where we first took off our clothes, that he thought he might already be in love with me. I appreciated him so much, was so grateful he cared so much about me, and I cared about him and his happiness too.

Still… despite all of this… I ended up breaking up with him within a few weeks of all of this. I broke up with him because he wanted to lose his virginity in the traditional heteronormative penis-in-vagina (PIV) way, preferably in the forseeable future, and it may have taken me a while but eventually I figured out that I did not want to be that person for him. I decided that I was sure I never wanted to actually have intercourse, or even ever be naked with anyone again.

After what had been months of anguishing over whether or not I was asexual and hoping I wasn’t, I embraced my sexual orientation. I decided I was sex-averse on the same day I decided yes, I was asexual. I kind of equated the two. I’m not sure why, but at the time I didn’t want to officially call myself asexual if I wasn’t sex-averse.

Also on that same day that I officially decided once and for all that I was asexual, I broke up with my wonderful, loving, sweet boyfriend. I wished him only the best, and that he could find a new romantic partner who this time would be much more compatible with him, sexually-speaking.

Allow me to backtrack.

I’m a 25-year-old white cis-woman from the USA, and by many definitions of the word, I am a virgin. I’ve never had penetrative sex with a man. I’ve never had oral sex with anybody. I’ve never been intimate in a physical way with a woman, nor with any non-binary person. I’ve never even experienced an orgasm. I’ve barely tried masturbating.

Continue reading “I was curious, so I chose to have sex! Then, my curiosity was satiated. I decided never to have sex again.”

My Doubts about Not Wanting to Have Sex (and my journey through the depths of Scarleteen’s sex-positive sex-ed website)

Glossary:  Please note that I use terms like sex-repulsed, sex-averse, asexual, demisexual, allosexual, sex-positivity, AVEN, ace, and more in the post. Feel free to comment if you’re confused about any term, or search Google for a definition of it and hopefully you’ll find the answer you need. I may be bad about making this post fully accessible to a broader audience, because I’m mainly writing it with the ace-community in mind. However if you’re in the broader population and reading my post, thank you, and I hope you get something out of my asexual perspective and maybe even learn something in the process.

Content Note: I decide to talk in-depth about my (relatively limited) masturbation & sexual experiences here, so you may consider this NSFW and/or just uncomfortable to read if you’re sex-repulsed. I figure since it’s my own blog, I shouldn’t be too afraid to share, though. And I feel like details probably help explain my perspective in a way that vague terms probably couldn’t.

Another note: I link to quite a few Scarleteen pages throughout this post, and if you don’t want to get sucked into a Wikipedia-like or TV Tropes-like “death spiral”, proceed with caution. 😛 Most pages have links to other pages and… lol. This blog post of mine also has a ridiculous number of links, so don’t feel obligated to click them all.

Before I ended my first-and-only romantic relationship (over the fact that I felt me and my partner were sexually incompatible), I remember seeing posts on AVEN that asked, “How do you know you’re asexual if you’re a virgin?” and answers like, “people know they’re gay without having sex first, same thing”. I remember seeing people embracing “being virgins forever” and various things.

I knew not having sex was an option before I’d gotten naked with my boyfriend. But at the same time… I felt very compelled to try sex, or something closer to sex than “just kissing”.

I felt like I couldn’t be sure of my new suspected sexual orientation (asexual), because while it’s often supposedly “obvious” that you’re feeling gay feelings once you get your first crush, that sounded different than what my experience of being asexual was like. Nothing felt “obvious” to me.

I felt a lot of pressure (both internal and external pressure) to have sex, in order to make sure I was really asexual. Or at least really a sex-averse asexual. Because while I suspected sex was not and would never be “my thing”, if there was even a small chance I was wrong, I didn’t want to prematurely swear off sex forever.

I couldn’t help but keep thinking that I should maybe see if I could like sex enough with my boyfriend to “make him happy” even if I was asexual. This, in retrospect, is a pretty unhealthy mindset to be in. Too much “should”, too much disregarding my own feelings in favor of someone else’s, etc. Continue reading “My Doubts about Not Wanting to Have Sex (and my journey through the depths of Scarleteen’s sex-positive sex-ed website)”