I'm Sexy — But I Don't Want Sex: What It's Like To Be An Asexual Woman

Photo: courtesy of the author
I'm Sexy — But I Don't Want Sex: What It's Like To Be An Asexual Woman
Sex

If sex is the goal of all romantic couplings, then I fit in nowhere. However, I do not believe it’s that limited. What’s important for people like me is that we find each other.

We’ve been living our lives and playing our part in a world that revolves around sex ... that’s fine. Sex is cool if you dig it. I just don’t happen to.

I do not like sex, nor am I interested in it. I never have been, and I don’t think I ever will be. It’s not due to some mental breakdown, nor is it about pain, self-esteem, menopause. I’m not a mental case who is in denial, nor am I lacking in having good sex as an example.

I’ve had plenty of "good sex." It’s boring. I did it because it was expected of me and I didn’t know I could say no. In the same way that a gay man or woman might have straight sex because it is expected of them — before they felt safe and strong enough to be openly gay — so it is with the asexual; many of us pretend to be sexual just to be accepted. 

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I don’t give a s*** about having an orgasm. I have so much more to draw from in my every day experience; my art, for example. There is no sexual orgasm that can even ring close to the experience of living in the paint, working a canvas for weeks, night and day, creating more and more and more beauty. Beauty on top of beauty! Your orgasms last a few seconds because they are sexual; mine last for hours, weeks and months, because they are creative.

I am asexual, I always have been, but I can never truly place a label on anything I am. My preference for no sex is simply that — and crosses over into nothing else, in terms of love and romance. I dare you to just accept me, but you probably won’t. You’ll try to change me. You’ll try to diminish my reality to fit your own. And then, you’ll decide what an asexual is, and try to squash me in that box of whatever your asexual fantasy looks like.

And while I’m content using she/her as my pronouns, I’m far from cisgender. I have never once felt my body fit my mind. Probably made that pretty clear when I was 18, rockin’ the Village in New York City, dressed in drag every single day.

Coming out on National Coming Out Day is interesting, as I’m coming out asexual. Oh, it’s real. I don’t need to be healed by dick. I don’t need to be told that my asexuality is a result of not having the right lover. I’ve had the right lovers; I’ve had the right orgasms.

Here’s the reality: none of it makes me happy or interested. And none of it ever made me want to come back for more.

I know all the cool kids who have sex look down on me, and I get it. Sexual people tend to think they have the best thing in the world, and why would anyone not want to participate in this glorious act? For someone like me, I say, great. Have your great sex. Go wild, I’m happy for you. But this idea that an asexual person is really just a sexually repressed person is ridiculous and wrong. I’m not repressed, obviously. I express my feelings very, very easily.

When people hear that sex doesn’t interest me, the usual comments occur. “Oh, a challenge!” “Oh, you haven’t had the right lover!” “You weren’t with a guy or gal who could please you, then I could!” “Maybe you should get a dildo!” “I could change your mind!” It’s as if being asexual is a joke. No one could possibly be asexual, and if they say they are, they just haven’t had the right sex.

All this is the same as conversion therapy. When people tell asexuals that they are lying to themselves, that “of course they’re sexual, they’re just repressed!”, what’s going on is that they are instantaneously invalidating the asexual person, in the same way conversion therapy invalidates the experience of a gay or lesbian person.

We are born this way. Telling me that your mighty penis is what I need in order to be a full, functioning person is basically screaming to me at the top of your lungs that you haven’t listened to a thing I’ve said. And not only that: you’re intentionally ignoring it. I don’t need to be converted into something I’m not. I know who I am — you don’t. You know you. I know me. That is the rule.

As I said, I’m not a typical asexual. In fact, I’m not a typical anything. And I certainly don’t need to have sex to be sexy.

This is what a 60-year-old asexual looks like.

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I was dating this guy a few years ago. I told him right up front, "I’m not going to f*** you, so it’s now up to you if you want to proceed." He was all go-go-go. He was hilariously funny, so I liked being with him. He asked me to go away with him for the weekend. Sleep in the bed, cuddle, be nice to each other, yada yada. I said, “Sure.” As soon as we hit the hotel, he downed his Viagra and presented his four-hour long erection to me. I left and never saw him again.

I met another guy online. I told him I wasn’t into sex. He told me he wasn’t into it either. Then came the 4,000 dick pics. You see?

Sexuality has to be respected. Monogamy has to be respected. Polyamory has to be respected. You have to be truthful about who you are and what you want, and don’t want with your lovers. It’s unfair otherwise.

Asexuality doesn’t mean “Please save me from my dull, sexless existence with your penis.” It means, to me, “I don’t want the act of sex, penetration, oral, nothing.” That’s all.

I like flirting, teasing, cuddling, snuggling, sleeping together, even being naked and warm in a bed with another person. I like trusting another person to the point where I know that if we cuddle, it doesn’t mean a prelude to sex. I also want to know that if we don’t have sex, cuddles are still given in abundance.

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Softness, kindness, sweetness — this can’t always mean sex is coming. I just want kindness and kisses, and I don’t want to have to pay for them with sex. It’s cool with me if you find me hot. Knock yourself out, make yourself orgasm while thinking of me. As long as I don’t have to have sex with you, it’s all good.

Women can do this. As friends, we can cuddle and tease, flirt and delight; we don’t have the goal of getting off, we just want to love each other and make each other feel loved. Hetero men can’t. Not with women, that’s for sure.

A man can’t get into a bed with a naked woman and not want to have sex with her. If she so much as kisses his shoulder, to the man, it means sex is on. So, a woman can’t have cuddles and snuggles without it leading to sex. Unless her man is asexual — the dream come true.

And yet, I can still hear the shudders of women my age, reading this, thinking, “Shhh, don’t say this! Don’t tell people you’re asexual, you’ll never get a man!” That’s right. I never will get a man, not unless he’s fully prepared to love me as I am. And honestly, I know there are men out there — albeit few — that can love me without sticking their penis in my ear.

It would just be nice to not have to have sex. I’m glad I don’t. But for someone like me, there is no partner, because no one wants a woman who doesn’t want to get laid.

So, I’m out. I did it. I came out of the closet as asexual. Only took me 60 years. I’m here, I’m queer. Get used to it.

RELATED: Being Asexual Or Aromantic Doesn't Mean You're Broken

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

This article was originally published at Wordpress. Reprinted with permission from the author.