Dear MKE SEX,
I’ve recently realized I’m somewhere on the asexual orientation. I’ve only been sexually attracted to four people in my entire life and my feeling about sex is, “This is pretty much two sweaty bodies moving against each other. Really, I’m just here for the cuddling because I think that’s amazing.” I can find people attractive, but I don’t want to have sex with them. I’m indifferent to porn and view masturbation as just a way to help me fall asleep at night.
I’m struggling to communicate this to people I date. Frequently, I’ll say, “Eh, I’m not feeling very frisky tonight,” and they’ll respect it, but I have yet to say, “Hi, I’m asexual.” I’m worried about doing so because I’m concerned I’ll get the response of, “You haven’t met the right man,” or something along those lines. What’s the best way to explain this to someone, especially since it’s an orientation that largely means I’m not primarily interested in sex?
Anxious About Asexuality
The LGBT+ movement is becoming more inclusive of people whose sexual orientation, sexual practices, or gender identities aren’t well understood (and are even sometimes maligned) by much of the population. As the acronym alphabet soup grows ever longer, asexuals float along in the bowl with us. In this case, your lack of sexual desire has made you feel like you are less desirable as a potential partner because our culture sends very clear messages that it is “normal” for people to want to have sex as often as possible.
As a sexuality educator, I frequently say that there are very few problems that can’t be solved with either communication or lubrication. Your situation definitely calls for direct communication, and right up front. Your orientation is an important part of you, and hiding it doesn’t really serve you. For one thing, like legions of LGBTQ+ people before you can attest, keeping secrets about the essentials of your personhood can lead to all sorts of mental and physical health problems. Additionally, as you’ve already found, at some point you either have to have sex you’re not really interested in (which I don’t recommend), or disclose your orientation. At that point, the person you’re involved with could respond in any number of not-so-positive ways. People tend to take romantic interactions more personally than other sorts, and are often more easily offended or feel betrayed by something they are not expecting to hear.
So what’s an intelligent, sensitive, asexual to do? This is one of those times when we can be lucky to live in the digital age. Thanks to dating websites, you can create a profile and state right up front that you’re asexual. Explain what that means to you, and what exactly it is that you’re looking for. You can say that you’re only interested in meeting other asexuals, or that you’re willing to discuss an open relationship so that you can get your emotional and cuddling needs met while the other person can get their sexual needs met. And don’t be afraid to look outside of the Milwaukee metro area. There are lots of great humans as close as Madison and Chicago, and both cities are easily accessible from here by mass transit.
You can also explore local communities of sex geeks and other sex positive people. There are many people who are very intellectually interested in sex, but who aren’t very into actually having sex. Also, interacting with people who are well informed about sex increases the odds of finding someone who will really understand the basics of asexuality, and will be willing to talk about the specifics of how that translates in your life.
In the end, you have a right to happiness and companionship, and if you’re patient and open with new potential partners, anything is possible.
Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, the East Side’s only sex toy store. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll get back to you with an answer.