I wasn’t sure if I was going to say anything about this to anyone, but after reflecting on the reasons National Coming Out Day exists, I decided to add my voice. It probably won’t mean much to most people, but it could mean a lot to someone and their journey to self-discovery, and that’s worth any discomfort this ends up causing me.

Image originally found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Coming_Out_Day

I am asexual; most likely graysexual.

I’m also questioning.

I see a therapist once a week for several reasons, one being counseling for my C-PTSD. I recently asked my therapist, Amy, if we could start working on how my PTSD from childhood sexual abuse negatively affects my sex life. She said of course and asked me to give her some examples to start with.

I’ve seen the way sex is discussed on TV and in movies. I hear the way my friends have talked about their sex life and their past lovers. My experiences are always so different. If it were different with just one or two lovers, I’d probably write it off as bad chemistry, but it’s every lover and almost every time. 

I love being special to someone. I love kissing and cuddling and holding hands or having their arm around me. I love being affectionate. I’ve never liked the actual sex part. Penetration sometimes feels good for a minute, but after that I’m just trying to get through it, thinking, “I wish he’d hurry up and get off and get off me.” I’d look at and touch the penis only as much as I had to, I’d avoid interacting with it as much as I could. I disliked the sensation of someone going down on me. Sounds like I’m probably a lesbian, right? The idea of having to interact with a vagina disgusts me just as much as a penis does. So why have I had sex all these years? I thought I was heterosexual, and that’s how heterosexuals have sex. I’ve cared about my partner and I wanted to please him and bond with him. And despite going to therapy off and on for 30+ years, I knew one of these times it would work and I wouldn’t be broken anymore.

Amy listened to me ramble on about my thoughts and experiences, gently smiled, and asked me if I knew what asexuality was. Of course I knew what it was  – someone who had no interest in sex whatsoever. That wasn’t me. I enjoyed sex sometimes, especially when I was in love with the guy, and I found masturbation pleasurable. Amy nodded and told me my homework for the week was to google “asexual” and see how it feels when I read about other asexual people’s thoughts and experiences.

The first thing I learned was there are several types of attraction and sexual attraction was only the kind most talk about and think about. Besides sexual attraction, there is also romantic attraction, physical attraction, emotional attraction, intellectual attraction, and aesthetic attraction.

Aesthetic attraction is when you like the way someone looks, but you don’t feel the desire or need to touch them, date them, or have sex with them. We can feel this for strangers we see on the street, celebrities, or even friends we think have a good look to them. Aesthetic attraction can also be felt for a sports car, a painting, etc. 

Intellectual attraction is when you like the way someone’s mind works and enjoy discussions and debates with them because of their intelligent viewpoints and responses. If you’ve enjoyed “picking someone’s brains” before, you’ve experienced intellectual attraction.

Emotional attraction is when you feel close to someone and form a meaningful bond with them that has more to do with their personality and how you two interact. You enjoy sharing with them what you’re thinking and feeling. Most of us feel this type of attraction with our closer friends and family members and our romantic partners.

Physical attraction, also called sensual or sensorial attraction, is the desire to touch someone and interact and connect with someone in a nonsexual and tactile way, like hugging or cuddling. If you look forward to hugging someone, or you like to touch someone’s arm when you’re talking to them, you are experiencing this attraction.

Romantic attraction is when we want to be in a relationship and build with someone. Wanting to date someone, live with them as a couple, get married, have kids, etc are some of the kinds of things we want when we have a romantic attraction to someone. Many people lump romantic and sexual attraction in their mind, but romantic attraction is what we feel when we want to form and maintain a romantic relationship with them separate from any sexual attraction.

Sexual attraction is when you look at someone and feel sexually aroused/excited. It’s a desire for sexual touching and sexual activity with another person.

When talking about asexuality, it is more of a spectrum than it is one single orientation, so there are several forms of asexuality.

Some people think asexuality is similar to celibacy, but it is not. Being celibate is a choice while asexuality is a sexual orientation, like heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and pansexual. Anyone can choose to be celibate, but no one can choose who they are or are not attracted to. Also, there are asexuals who do have sexual partners. Some asexuals are celibate, but not all. 

Some people think an asexual person just hasn’t met the right lover, and some “good sex” can erase their asexuality. That’s like saying some good sex with a woman can make a gay man straight, or some good sex with a gay man can make a straight man gay. If having sex with someone you’re not attracted to won’t change things for you, then it’s foolish to think it would change things for me.

So now you have a better understanding of what I mean when I say I’m asexual, but what do I mean when I say I’m questioning? I know I have very little sexual attraction towards others, but I do have romantic attraction. I do enjoy hugging, kissing, and dating, and forming meaningful romantic connections. So far I’ve only ever been romantically involved with men, but now that I’m understanding the difference between sexual attraction and romantic attraction, I’m not sure who I’m romantically attracted to. I’m not going to force exploration or definitions with this one, and I’ll simply react to romantic experiences when I feel so inclined. Maybe I’ll connect better romantically with women, maybe it will always only be men, maybe someone else on the gender spectrum will be the ideal romantic partner for me; only time will tell. For now, I won’t label myself as heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, or panromantic. I’m simply questioning.

I’m open to respectful and sincere questions.




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