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August 2, 2015 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Saying Grace

Earlier this year I dated this guy for a few weeks. Things were going pretty well and we’d moved through a few early dating stages—hugging and kissing as well some slightly more intimate things. However, we were never going to progress much further than that. When he realised that things had hit a kind of standstill he asked a few questions. “What’s wrong? Are we moving too fast?” “Do you have a low sex drive?” “Am I being too full on?” “Are you scared?” The thought didn’t seem to ever cross his mind that maybe sex simply wasn’t something I had any interest in with him.

The truth is that sex isn’t something I have any particular interest in with anyone.

The fledgling stage of our relationship was, while nice, uncomfortable for me. It consisted of me being happy with where we were and him constantly, gently pushing to take things further (never did anything happen without my explicit consent though, he was a lovely guy).

This was the first time I had ever gone on more than one date with someone, and it was my first time attempting to navigate this kind of relationship. Slowly (much more slowly than he would have liked, I think) we began to get more intimate as I also tried to get a grasp on how fast I was willing to take things and how far I was willing to go. Everything was fine until we engaged in some foreplay of a much more serious nature. It happened and it wasn’t the worst thing, but I realised with sudden clarity that this was it, this was the line and no fucking way was I crossing it.

I had a plan to just tell him, explain the whole situation as well as I could and let him decide whether it was worth us continuing things.  However, one suggestion he made had me absolutely flipping every single shit that I had. “Hey, you should come over next week and we should get drunk together.” A fair suggestion, and a suggestion I could have simply refused, but my brain went into panic mode and a few hours later I had ended things.

The suggestion of being drunk and therefore not in full control of myself around him terrified me beyond what I could have anticipated. I had no way of knowing what his actual intentions were, but I automatically assumed he thought I might “lighten up” or “relax” while drunk and give him what he wanted. I knew that in an inebriated state I was almost certain to do things that at the time might seem like something I could put up with or maybe even enjoy, but thinking about it after the fact would fill me with regret.

“Sex isn’t everyone’s end game. Sex isn’t a certainty. Sex shouldn’t be assumed as a desirable outcome.”

I think the point of telling this story is simply to try and get across the fact that sex isn’t everyone’s end game. Sex isn’t a certainty. Sex shouldn’t be assumed as a desirable outcome. I think I would have had a much easier time talking to that guy about what was happening with me (rather than dropping him in a moment of panic) if I was sure I wouldn’t have had to fend off more questions and ignorant remarks if I did. “Is it me?” “Is it something I did?” “Do we just need to slow down?” “Maybe you just haven’t had sex with the right person yet.” “You’ll like it once we get going.”

Not once during my sex education at high school was asexuality or grey-asexuality mentioned. Never was not wanting to have sex or not liking sex offered as an option for anyone. It was all about waiting to see WHEN you would be ready for sex and what to do WHEN it happened, not IF you would ever be ready or IF you would ever want to. Because of this I suffered through sexual experiences that I did not want or need to have. I suffered through them because I felt like that’s what I was expected to want to do and that something was wrong with me if I didn’t. Impatiently waiting for unwanted sex to be over that I may have even initiated is not something I ever want to do again, or something anyone should ever feel like they have to do.

I am grey-asexual (also known as “grace”). For me personally this means that I feel sexual attraction but unless it’s with a person that I love, trust and feel totally comfortable around, sex is not a thing I am likely to ever want—and maybe not even then.

Asexuality, just like gender and other sexualities, comes in an endless amount of shapes and forms—from people that feel no sexual attraction and will never want to have sex (asexuals), to people who only feel sexual attraction towards and want to have sex with people that they form a strong emotional connections with (demisexuals), to people who do feel sexual attraction and do want to have sex (colloquially, sexuals), and everything in-between.

Just like all matters of gender and sexuality, there is no singular way of being. Every individual is different and people’s minds should be open and ready to accept whatever comes their way. That’s not to say if you’re dating someone and they tell you they’re asexual that you have to stay with them and give up sex for the rest of your life or you’re an awful person. It just becomes an easier issue to deal with for everyone when there is plenty of open discussion surrounding the topic.

Keep asexuality in mind. If you’re getting intimate with someone and they don’t seem to be keen to take things any further sexually, don’t assume that there’s a barrier preventing them from wanting to have sex with you that you can simply take down (being nervous or inexperienced, having a low sex drive, things moving too fast etc.) Open your mind to the fact that there are indeed people out there who just don’t enjoy sex and don’t see it as a necessary or wanted part of their relationships and life.

If people on the asexuality spectrum knew that they could simply state their sexuality rather than having to explain it, it would make communication between them and the people in their lives much, much easier. If you’re confused about any of this or don’t understand, look some shit up—Google is your friend. A little bit of time spent by everyone educating themselves on issues such as these (and many others) would make life just that little bit easier to handle for a great number of people.

Whether you love it, hate it or you’re indifferent to it, remember that your way is not the only way—everyone feels differently about sex.


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