No, I'm Not Asexual Or Menopausal — I Just Don't Like Sex, Period.

Photo: RUBEN M RAMOS / Shutterstock
No, I'm Not Asexual Or Menopausal — I Just Don't Like Sex.

I have a friend who claims to be an asexual. Asexual is a word that, to me, suggests a single-celled organism. Isn’t an asexual a creature who divides in two — or some kind of dual-gendered seahorse who fertilizes and carries his/her offspring to term?

So I asked her what she meant by this claim and she said, “Well, I just don’t partake in sexual activity.” It seemed simple enough, yet I still couldn’t quite grasp this seemingly unnatural lack of sex-drive.

“Ah,” I said. “So you’ve taken a vow of celibacy?”

“No, it’s not that complicated. I just don’t like sex, so I don’t have it.” 

I was confused.

What on earth would ever make her abstain from glorious, wondrous, ecstatic sex? Did sex cause her pain? Was it an emotional abstinence? Did something happen to her that made her equate sex with negativity? What was wrong with her that she didn’t like sex?

She explained to me that the reason she didn’t involve herself in sexual acts is because she simply didn’t care for it, that foreplay, sex and orgasm were just never as thrilling to her as they seemed to be for other people. 

In short: sex bored her.

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I figured that her reasoning stemmed from the fact that she’d recently gone into menopause and that her loss of interest was do to a hormonal change. I also suggested that she didn’t have to accept this change and that menopause potentially held the promise of an entirely new sexual future — that women no longer stagnate and accept menopause with dread, but that this “change of life” was indeed “the new puberty”.

She looked at me as if I were crazy.

She said, “Are you kidding me? I’ve earned my menopause. I haven’t had sex in years and I absolutely love it this way."

"Why are people always bugging me about this — as if they know what’s right for me and I don’t. Someone is always telling me that I should be having sex, or looking at me like I’m some kind of freak because I don’t want it.

There’s nothing wrong with me — I just don’t want sex. For some reason my not wanting sex disturbs people to such a degree that they feel they need to intervene. Well, after all these years of being asexual, I've finally hit the universally known “age of menopause” where I’m supposed to be able to get away with not wanting sex. I thought menopause was my “out,” that people would finally shut up or at least stop caring about what I do or don’t do in bed.”

“But,” I tried, “You don’t have to go without, you know.”

“I don’t have to go with, either,” she responded. And then added on, “Have you any idea how much sex I’ve had in my life. Trust me, I’ve f***** enough for five lifetimes. I’ve done it - it’s great. Now, I’m on to something else. It’s called ‘shut up and leave me alone.’ ”

Suddenly it occurred to me: Maybe we’re not all exactly the same. Maybe sex isn’t the goal of every human life.

This woman did not appear to be lying, nor did she seem anything less than perfectly content. I did not pick up any vibe that suggested her choice of asexuality was related in any way to rebellion and she certainly wasn’t going to start having sex again because it worked for me.

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Sex simply bored her. Or perhaps, as she said, she’d simply and realistically had enough sex for a lifetime.

When we think about sex, sexual gratification or the idea of an evergreen sex life, do we need to insist upon it as well? Maybe not everybody is playing that reel. Maybe asexuality is just as legitimate as sexuality. And it really made me realize how we are continuously putting pressure on people to live up to some sexual ideal, as if we’re all robots just waiting for higher commands to fulfill.

On one hand, we’ve made fun of older women for years, calling them dried up old prunes, labeling them as crones who have ceased to function as sexual beings.

On the other hand, we jump to conclusions and assume these women couldn’t possibly be content in this natural state, and so now we push a new message their way, like, “Hey, you old bag — now there’s hope! You can have sex again if you use our vag moisturizers and hormone thingees. You too can be a woman again!”

As women, we’re either young and hot or old and not. Did anyone even consider that there might be a middle ground; dare I say a happy medium?

As for my friend, she seems pretty happy just to be alive. Who am I to impose my own set of values on to her?

We are lucky to live in a day and age where one can intend for and maintain sexual longevity.

Women are no longer confined to a cut-off date, and menopause is no longer perceived as an ending.

What we also have to know and accept is that, some individuals march to their own drumbeat. I can’t condemn my friend for being different than me. I want sex. Not only do I want sex; I want to be able to have it for the rest of my life. Just because she doesn’t want it does not mean it has to be my goal to convert her to my way of thinking.

It takes all kinds to make a world.

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Dori Hartley is primarily a portrait artist. As an essayist and a journalist, she can be read in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, YourTango, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, More Magazine, XOJane, MyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon.