When an asexual has sex


I want to be wined, dined, and 69-ed ;)

I just want head!

I want pussy

A number of messages were scrawled in succession below the first, all in agreement, all detailing the kind of sex they wanted, Valentine’s Day or not. I read on, perplexed but amused — at least as amused as I could be while hunched over in a bathroom stall in Buchanan D in November. As a serial bathroom graffitist and an avid reader of accounts of students going at it like rabbits in cubicles — and other daring escapades, secrets and shockers that appear and are habitually scrubbed off of stalls all over campus — this was nothing new. Bathroom graffiti was easily one of UBC’s juiciest tabloids and sex was the column of choice. If I had any hopes of tuning out hypersexuality on a trip to the bathroom, then the writing was literally on the wall.

Uncapping my pen, I racked my brain for the best way to phrase what I wanted to say. After turning a few iterations over in my mind, I finally left my mark.

My asexual ass will gladly take the flowers.

It had been half a year since it occurred to me that I didn’t think about sex and other people in key ways. On the first day of a creative writing class, the girl sitting next to me leaned over and asked if I thought our professor was pretty. I had answered no and was surprised when she seemed disappointed. Whenever I was hit on, I had the urge to stagger-waddle away with my legs glued together and puke onto the sidewalk. Overhearing conversations about hooking up or multiple flings and complaints about dry spells — to my knowledge, garden-variety love lives — confused me. Imagining myself doing the same left me uncomfortable and upset.

Some time later, I encountered the term ‘demisexuality,’ a sexual orientation describing sexual attraction exclusively to those with whom one has formed a close bond. Teetering on the edge of the sexual spectrum was asexuality: the complete lack of sexual attraction. Afraid of being too sure, and confident that I’d warm right up once I found somebody (having never been in a relationship before), I was happy enough to call myself demisexual. That is, until I met Josh.

Laid back, optimistic and endlessly supportive of most of my decisions and especially of my sexuality, Josh did plenty to smooth me over in what was a first relationship for both of us. When it came to sexual attraction, however, there was barely a sizzle. Josh had lovely long hair, warm brown eyes — and that was it. Nothing sparked, nothing set my loins aflame and the creeping suspicion set in: I was asexual after all.

After I left the bathroom, I texted Josh with a picture of the graffiti.

Which do you think I wrote?

A few ellipses, then: The first one.

I rolled my eyes but let it slide. If I was asexual then Josh, while no nymphomaniac, liked to be physically intimate to say the least. Our first date found me up against the backseat of his fogged-up car with his hand already roving over my chest while mine rested on the crotch of his jeans in a poor attempt at reciprocity. I had to ask him to put it there for me. On the second, I learned that I was violently allergic to swallowing. On our first night together, I was almost unable take the initial pain of sex. On his birthday, we fondled in the dark by the Museum of Anthropology and all that came to mind was the cold.

To say sex poses a challenge for me hardly scratches the surface. I’m not attracted to the body on top of or under me and I will never be able to return the sentiment when Josh tells me I’m sexy, as flattered as I am despite not knowing exactly what that means. I don’t have an intrinsic need or even want to be pleasured. While my body is fully functional and responds to being touched in the right places, too much physical stimulation sends me into a panic. One attempt to climax had me almost screaming at Josh to pull away. I bolted up on the couch in his basement, blinking rapidly and dabbing at the tears that had suddenly sprung to my eyes.

“Too much pleasure produces tears,” he observed aloud.

What I didn’t say was that these were also tears of frustration. To be physically incapable of wanting the most basic of human desires stung. I knew some asexual people described themselves as broken and while it hurt to hear, it was occasionally difficult to think of myself otherwise when everybody else chased the very thing I had no interest in. Additionally, I found myself questioning the validity of my asexuality. Was I still asexual if I had sex? Was I still asexual if I longed for the warmth of physical touch? Was I still asexual if I loved the softness of skin, kissing and tight hugs on my tiptoes?

Truth be told, I still grapple with the fluidity of sexuality. What I lack in passion or desire I try to make up for in expertise and the willingness to learn. I periodically ask Josh many, many questions because when I have sex, I gladly do it for his sake. I read up on techniques and sexual wellness. I taste-test too much lube.

While I don’t dream about bodies or orgasms, I fantasize nonetheless — about success, having a cat someday so I can stop bothering Josh’s and sumptuous slabs of cake. Above all, I fantasize about respect, understanding and open communication. Admittedly, I too often weigh the coexistence of asexuality and the act of sex. But when I take a break from my relentless searching for an answer, I find that the closeness of two, however achieved, is enough.