Just the Tip offers smart and compassionate sex and relationship advice from queer non-monogamous kinkster Jera Brown. If you have a sex or love question you’d like Jera to answer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or DM Jera on Twitter @thejerabrown.
I am a 25-year-old woman who has never been terribly interested in sex. I will read advice columns about people lamenting their sexless marriages, and these issues are always addressed with such a grave importance that I can’t understand!
I lost my virginity at 17 to a guy who pressured me into it, and I carried a lot of bitterness about it for a long time. Since then, I have had a handful of sexual partners and can think of only one experience that I enjoyed. I masturbate occasionally, but I don’t really enjoy things with a partner.
Also potentially important: I have struggled for the past couple years with depression and alcohol abuse, two things that I know can have an effect on libido.
Am I asexual? Am I just holding on to negative feelings about past experiences? Have I just messed up my brain chemistry? What do you think?
When you envision yourself happy, what do you see? I realize this might be a difficult question to answer when you’re depressed, but my advice is to focus on what will make you the most content. Keep that as your touchstone as you explore this stuff.
Does identifying as asexual feel good to you? Does it feel like a relief? If so, then it doesn’t matter why you are the way you are. You don’t need to fix anything.
We can only really see ourselves and more fully love ourselves when we pull back the curtains of shame and societal expectations. Those two things are not us. We are what’s hiding behind them.
To be clear: What happened to you at 17 matters, and I’m so sorry it happened. But whether your lack of libido has to do with past trauma or depression or if it’s just innate, it’s OK to just accept it.
If you don’t enjoy sex, then stick to other people who don’t put that pressure on you. In the queer community, it’s not all that uncommon. Join ACE communities. Find your folks — people who are OK with the types of affection that you enjoy offering.
And find a therapist who makes you feel proud of who you are.
When you grow more comfortable with yourself and find people who accept you as you are, you will grow and change. Maybe your evolution will include sex, and maybe it won’t. Whatever your future holds, it’s OK as long as you continue to grow into yourself and into loving and meaningful relationships. They can be platonic, romantic, whatever feels good to you.
When people put pressure on you or imply that you OUGHT to be sexual, feel free to get fucking mad. For your sake and for others. Because our standards of what people ought to be keep all of us trapped and unable to accept ourselves.
BTW, many asexual peeps are still sexual in some capacity. Often asexuality is a lower-than-average sex drive as opposed to no sex drive. A label can feel good because it gets rid of expectations, but you still get to define how it fits you.
Bottom line, YOU get to choose who you are and what feels good to you. Fuck the norms of what people think asexuality is supposed to be and what relationships are supposed to look like and how the psychology community would label you. Start with who you want to be.