Earlier this summer I was living with a very sexually active transwoman and her wife. She always talked about her sexual preferences, experiences and desires. Whenever we’d watch a TV show or a movie she’d comment on who was making her feel hot. Yet I never could bring myself to come up with any examples of my own.
I knew I was sexually inexperienced. I’ve always known I wasn’t aching to have sex or going out of my way to seek it out. I usually, pretransition that is, told people I was celibate for religious reasons. Of course I was still trying to deflect my own trans identity so I would often go out of my way to try to overcompensate.
Here’s the thing. Looking back on my life I never did really think of people as “hot,” at least not in the traditional sense. That isn’t to say I can’t or don’t find people attractive but I don’t think of them in a sexual way. I always chalked this up to inexperience coupled with repressed feelings. I pegged my lack of libido on my depression and fear of intimacy. When I did reflect upon this subject I would push it out of my mind. How many times have I forced myself to try to think of or imagine sexual scenarios when in reality I wasn’t interested? I lost count.
Going back to my stay with my adopted sister. At the time we were both doing a podcast together. We kept putting the topic of sex and sexuality and their relationship to being trans on our topic sheet Every time we’d try to work out a way to discuss it in a professional manner she would observe my lack of experience was inhibiting my ability to have a discussion. Then one day while trying on clothes and shoes she showed me a product she used to help her decide what breast size she was hoping to achieve while on HRT. She pulled out a very life-like fake boob. I immediately cringed. I withdrew and nearly vomited at the sight of it. She decided right there she was not going to have a discussion about sex with me because she said I wasn’t only unqualified due to lack of experience, she said I probably wasn’t going to have the stomach to get into the kinds of details she would like. So we put it off.
This wasn’t the first time I was in a sexual situation where I felt uncomfortable. When I was 21 I was dating a woman three years older than I was at the time. She already had a 5-year-old daughter so sex was on her mind. She invited me over to her apartment for a sleepover date, she said during the course of the night her intention was to seduce me. While at the time I resisted her advances she accused me of being gay, I thought it was my religious-right upbringing, ultimately it was the start of the end of our relationship.
Over the years I did masturbate. This is what caused confusion within me when I first discovered the term asexual. Much like transgender, I shrugged it off as not quite right because I wasn’t, at the time, willing to explore the possibility. Looking back on it I can see clearly now how I never really did have a fleshed out sex drive. My friends tried to get me to sleep with a prostitute once, even paid for the session for me. I withdrew angrily and left the situation. I never understood why sex felt so foreign to me.
It wasn’t until a few months ago when I was interviewing a trans woman who said she was asexual that I started to really question things. She described her self discovery for an article I was hoping to write on the subject. After a few weeks of processing what she told me I reached back out to pursue a romantic relationship with her. I knew if her and I both could have a relationship sans sex and be comfortable with one another then there must be something there worth exploring.
The two of us have been dating for nearly two months now. During that time we’ve both had intimate conversations regarding our expectations of sexuality. During that time our feelings for one another have grown exponentially along with our trust for one another. Yet we both continue to proclaim our mutual disinterest in seeking sexual pleasure, at least in the traditional sense.
Has this experienced helped me settle on asexual as my sexual identity? I had considered maybe I was demisexual or even grey sexual. The more I read up and the more I look back on my own experiences the more I affirm what I suppose I always knew but never suspected, sex just isn’t that interesting to me, not even at all.
I don’t watch porn. When I was in high school my social studies teacher called me a liar in front of the classroom for insisting I didn’t watch porn. She said I was being modest because of my religious upbringing but that everyone has sex and everyone watches porn even if we lie about it. I went to the principal and complained she made me feel uncomfortable being called out like that in class. He sided with her, insisting it was okay to admit as I was in a safe space. I then was sent to the counselor to help me become comfortable with my feelings. The counselor knew better. Once glance at the look of anguish on my face told her not to push the subject and I was excused from health class as a result of this encounter.
Of course my Baptist parents were always blamed for my awkward discussions regarding sex. However my parents were pretty candid and open about their sex lives. Once I cleared through the fog of lies thrust upon me by the church I realized my desire not to procreate, not to engage in sexual conduct, my aversion to sexually explicit material was in fact due to an innate asexuality I never explored.
So here I am, having another coming out moment where I shed further light on the deepest shallows of my soul. Here I am once again digging into my past trying to fit together the missing puzzle pieces as new information becomes available. The only thing that has thrown a wrench in all this is my intense baby fever, but even that subsides from time to time. Also since having babies the old fashioned way is out of the question for me anyways, I suppose that isn’t a factor in my discovery either.
As it turns out I probably am Ace. I am at the very least on the spectrum no doubt about it. I want to thank my loving and very patient girlfriend Christina for helping me see what was always there. During our conversations I have come to realize I was more like her in that regard than I initially thought. As with all things involving change my instinct is to be afraid. With as much change as I’ve been through in my life it’s understandable new experiences as well as new light cast on old ones can cause me extreme discomfort. The more I discover about myself the more I come to accept life as a quest. I don’t know what the treasure is, but I know this, I’ve taken some side quests along the way. I am ready to be more comfortable in my own skin. So there it is, my discovering I am probably, most definitely almost assuredly 100 percent certain I am very much ace.