Asexuality

Questions and discussion about your sexuality and how it's a part of who you are as a person.
apismellifera
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Asexuality

Unread post by apismellifera »

Hi!

After 5+ years of confusion about my sexuality, I have recently come to the conclusion that I am on the asexuality spectrum.

I (23) am currently in a poly/open queerplatonic relationship with an aroace person. They never experience sexual attraction, whereas I think I would identify more as grey ace or ace flux. The majority of the time, it doesn't occur to me to want to kiss or have sex with someone, even with people to whom I experience / have experienced some kind of attraction (ex. alterous, romantic, sensual, sexual). In very specific circumstances, I feel sexual attraction. This sometimes functions as responsive desire (feeling turned on only after some kind of kissing/sexual activity is already occuring) and sometimes as spontaneous desire, which often (mostly?) occurs when I am drunk or high. This can be confusing and sometimes makes me question if I am making it all up (being ace), because it feels like I want entirely different things when in these altered states of mind.

I am learning to adjust to all of this. It has been freeing to explore this with a partner who is also a-spec. We can talk about this in a way that I never have been able to before with someone I am non-platonically involved with, since before I have always felt like I had to follow scripts of how to engage in sexual and romantic behavior. We can explore things I really like -- non-sexual sensual touching, cuddling, other ways of expressing affection -- that are often bypassed or sped through to get to sex. We talk about if there are other reasons (for us) to engage in activities like kissing, besides feeling sexual attraction, and these kinds of conversations often feel more intimate to me than the kissing itself.

My recent dilemma is this: even if it doesn't independently occur to me to want any kind of sex (i.e. anything involving genitals), I generally feel neutral to positive about the experience: immediately before, during, immediately after, and in the next few days after. However, often starting a few days after, I feel physically repulsed by the experience whenever it comes into my mind (sometimes triggered just by thinking of the person). I don't know why this happens. All of my sexual partners have been people I know and trust, and I have never felt pressured to do anything I am not comfortable with. It is an intense and visceral reaction, and it feels entirely out of my control. I used to just think this was because I wasn't really that attracted to or close with the person, but this has now happened with 4 people (everyone I have had any kind of sexual encounter with) and now seems unrelated to my relationship with the person or my attraction to them.

My first instinct would be that I am a sex-repulsed ace, as opposed to sex-favorable or sex-indifferent. But this doesn't check out with my feelings about sex at other points in time, such as times I have experienced intense sexual attraction or desire.

Regardless about figuring out exactly where on the sex-favorable to sex-repulsed spectrum I fall, this leaves me quite confused about how to approach future sexual experiences. I want to be able to engage in sex without feeling viscerally repulsed. I want to be able to explore my relationship to sex and understand if it something I want to do at all, and if so, in what ways/contexts and with which people/genders. It just seems hard to explore with an open mind knowing that I can't truly trust my present evaluation of a situation. I might think of the same thing I'm enjoying right now a week later and want to vomit.

Beyond theoretical future experiences of this, I have to decide soon if I am going to continue seeing another person who I have had a few sexual/romantic encounters with. I like spending time with him and am enjoying getting to know him. He doesn't know I am a-spec, and I don't know if I should tell him. If I can't even begin to understand all of this myself, how can I go about unloading it onto this person that just wants to casually see each other / hook up?

Thank you so much for your time in reading and responding to this. I really appreciate it!
Sam W
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Re: Asexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi apismellifera,

With that intense, negative reaction several days after sex, has that been something that's always happened? Or is it a fairly recent development? And when those feelings of repulsion pop up, do they seem like they're related to you and the fact YOU engaged in that act? To some kind of sense memory, like the way it felt? To the idea of sex itself? Or something entirely different?

With this partner you're seeing, would you feel more comfortable if you talked to him about the circumstances and what they mean for rather than treating it as you needing to come out as ace? I ask because it sounds like the main thing you need to communicate to him is that you might need to avoid certain sexual activities because of this pattern, and while you sexual orientation may be a piece of that, it's also not the main thing you need him to know. Does that feel like a doable conversation?
apismellifera
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Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:09 pm
Age: 23
Pronouns: they/she
Location: united states

Re: Asexuality

Unread post by apismellifera »

Hi Sam,

Thanks for your reply.

It's been something that's consistently happened, not a recent development.

I would say it's definitely not a sense memory thing. It's hard to say whether it's something specifically having to do with me engaging in the act or the idea of sex itself. I will say that I've never felt such a visceral reaction when thinking about other people having sex, even if that sometimes makes me uncomfortable.

For the second part, that makes a lot of sense to me to treat it more circumstantially than feeling the need to come out. However, my concern is that these feelings apply to any kind of genital sex, so it feels harder to treat it as a substitution of certain activities for others. It kind of feels like I need to make up my mind about where I'm at and what I want before talking with him, since he's not a close friend.

I'm also curious if you have thoughts about how much to validate these feelings of repulsion, especially since they seem to directly contradict my experiences in the moment. I feel like I could go in two directions:

1. coming to terms with the fact that genital sex will not be a part of my life, and changing/breaking off/not pursuing relationships with anyone for whom that is non-negotiable, or
2. trying to interrogate why I am experiencing these negative reactions to sex and attempting to ignore them / become more comfortable with sex so that they are less prevalent???

Thanks,
apismellifera
Latha
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Re: Asexuality

Unread post by Latha »

Hi Apismellifera! I'm responding because I'm on shift, I hope that is alright.

It is interesting that your repulsion isn't related to sense memory. Do you experience discomfort when you think about yourself in hypothetical sexual situations, or when you masturbate (if you do)? Also, how long does this intense and visceral reaction last?

About the directions you mentioned: you have the option to decide that genital sex will not be a part of your life for now, instead of forever. Some time may give you more clarity about the nature of your repulsed feelings.

How have you felt during periods when you didn't have genital sex in the past? Was it comfortable?
Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 9839
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
Age: 32
Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
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Location: Desert

Re: Asexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi apismellifera,

In addition to what Latha asked, I want to say that it's entirely up to you the degree to which you want to try and interrogate where they're coming from and if there's a way to resolve them. It could be you find that clarity useful, but you may also find you never really discover a clear answer.

As far as continuing to try and push through it or ignore it in hopes of becoming more comfortable, that's generally not something I recommend, for a few reasons. One is just that it isn't fair to yourself to keep creating a situation where you're going to feel repulsed by it a few days later. But there's also the fact that certain kinds of sexual activity--or any sexual activity--just aren't for us, and it makes more sense to focus on the things that are rather than trying to get around the visceral reaction we're having to the ones that aren't.
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