An anonymous series where real people share their interesting life stories and experiences.
Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction to others, or low interest in sexual activity. Asexuality is not celibacy or abstinence from sex. It simply is a low or complete lack of desire in sex. For many, romance means sex, but this isn’t true. Sex is just one way to achieve romance. Taking a walk, holding hands, seeing a movie and cuddling with your partner are all romantic. In the same vein, asexual people may or may not be romantics. Bri, for As/Is says “When I see someone, I’m not like ‘woah I wanna have sex with them’. I’m like ‘wow I want to deeply get to know them and learn everything about them’. There’s not a thought in my mind that’s like ‘woah I want to kiss them or something’, I’m like ‘let’s walk around town’.
Asexuality in itself, is a spectrum. Gray Asexuality is considered the gray area between Asexuality and sexuality in which a person may only experience sexual attraction on occasion. While some Asexuals never feel the need to have sex, Gray Asexuals do on special occasions. Demisexuality is a kind of Gray Asexuality. So Demisexuals for example only experience sexual attraction to people they are emotionally connected to.
In such a sex crazed society, it may never occur to people that not everyone enjoys sex, but Asexuality is a thing and Asexual people exist. Asexuality is also more common than you might imagine – within our communities and families. This is why we are grateful for people like Modupe*, who are committed to sharing their experiences in the hope that other Asexual people might find validity in them.
How old are you now, and old were you when you realized you were Asexual?
I am 20 years old and I realized just this year that I am Asexual. I have never really felt the rave about sex like most people do but I must admit, the PR for sex is really impressive. It was so patronizing that I decided to try it a couple of years ago. I was hugely disappointed. I didn’t feel any of the things I was supposed to – exhilarated, mind blown, on top of the world. I was like Is this it?
I then concluded that I didn’t like sex. I only found out this year that there was a word for my lack of interest in sex – Asexuality.
What did it feel like being able to finally put a word to your feelings?
It felt amazing! I was elated to know I’m not the only one going through this. There were times I told guys I wasn’t interested in sex and they thought I was weird or worse, dismissed my feelings by saying I just wasn’t getting the right d*ck.
It was really frustrating explaining something that had no word.
I’m happy you finally found the word to describe your feelings. I’m sure that was relieving.
Thank you so much! There’s very little awareness on Asexuality. At a point, I concluded that I just wasn’t into men.
I learnt that Asexuality is not a single feeling but a spectrum. On what part of the Asexual spectrum do you fall under?
I am a Gray Asexual. I experience little sexual attraction, and this has been a recurring problem in my previous relationships. There were times my partners wanted us to have sex but I wouldn’t feel up to it.
What is the general reaction of people when they learn of your Asexuality?
I have only told my current partner of my Asexuality and he has been very understanding. It sometimes gets challenging for him, but we are able to work around it. I am so proud of him.
However before I learned that it was a thing, I simply told people I wasn’t interested in sex and they mostly thought I was lying. One guy out rightly told me that I don’t trust that he has a big d*ck, which was really offensive. Ew.
You have fleetingly mentioned that your Asexuality has been a problem in previous relationships. Can you elaborate on that?
A true story: one time during my previous relationship, I hadn’t seen my then boyfriend in a long time so when I finally saw him, I was ecstatic. I was genuinely happy. One thing led to the other and we were going to have sex but I wasn’t feeling like it. He got angry and accused me of cheating while he was away. He said I wasn’t happy to see him because well, after a long time of us not seeing each other, he expected me to be excited to sleep with him. I kept explaining that I just wasn’t in the mood but he wasn’t willing to understand. It led to a big fight and we didn’t talk for a long while.
After that incident, there were times in our relationship when I didn’t want sex but because of the situation, I agreed – I didn’t want him to get angry. There was no emotion attached to the sex, which made me sad – that I displeased myself to please him. Consequently, I started actively avoiding situations where I might become involved in sex.
What was your current partner’s initial reaction to your Asexuality?
He handled it so well. When I initially told him I wasn’t interested in sex he didn’t put any pressure. We didn’t even have sex for a year! Then I found out about the term “Asexuality” and we studied it well, together, to understand me better.
I love that for you! What would you say are peculiar experiences of being Asexual and being a woman?
Well in our society, women are expected to be sexually readily available to their men. As an Asexual woman, you will most likely have sex with your male partner out of necessity, rather than out of choice – primarily in order to fulfill their needs. I found myself crying during sex one day. I wasn’t forced, it was with my consent but I just wasn’t in the mood. It was really frustrating.
Men are also physically stronger than women and can force themselves on unwilling women. Additionally, women are easily persuaded and cajoled. If she can help it, no woman wants her man unhappy so she will agree to sex, just to please her man.
This is so insightful. I wonder how many Asexual married women are indulging in non-pleasurable sex, solely to satisfy their husbands.
I am very grateful to have understood this at an early age. I mean, at a point I dabbled in homosexuality. I tried dating women but it didn’t feel right. It really is simple: I am straight, I just don’t like sex. It was a tough struggle trying to understand what it was. The importance of naming things cannot be overemphasized. It is my greatest wish that other Asexual girls and women everywhere will find the language to express themselves.
What misconceptions about Asexuality will you like to debunk?
It is not a sickness. If I weren’t Asexual myself, I can imagine being told about Asexuality and then asking ‘have you seen a doctor?’. When I initially told my boyfriend he suggested I go to the hospital but I explained to him that Asexuality is normal and natural. It is who I am. And Asexual people are not lying about having no interest in sex. Saying that Asexuals just haven’t gotten the right sex is dismissive and flat out rude.
Is there anything else, at all, which you would like to add?
Just to put it out there – Asexual men exist too. Most of the stories I have heard and read are from women. It is not as easy for men to speak because of the belief that men should naturally desire and enjoy sex all the time.
And, I see Asexuality as a blessing!
I have learnt a lot from conversing with you and I am sure many people will, too. Thank you for sharing your story, so that other Asexual women may draw clarity and strength from it.
Thank you too!
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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