Asexual and in love
A sexual drought can drive the best of us crazy, but for Nick, 19, and Lisa, 23, sex is never on the menu. They tell The Mix what it's like being an asexual couple in a highly sexual world.
Nick’s side of the story
“Sex is everywhere; from billboards to the sides of buses. Most people couldn’t imagine living without it, but I have absolutely no desire to have sex. I’m a young healthy man who happens to be asexual.
My friends at school used to talk about how much sex they had, but I never believed them. It was at college when I realised people were sexual creatures and that I was different. I struggled with my sexual identity, using labels like gay and straight, yet nothing fitted. There was no one I could talk to about it, which left me feeling isolated. Although I would feel aroused, it wasn’t directed at anyone and I never felt the need to act on it. I stayed away from sex, worrying if I did have sex that I wouldn’t like it or would have to stop half way through because I was feeling awkward.
Things fell into place when I found the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). Learning about asexuality finally gave me a name for how I felt. When I realised there were other people who felt the same, it felt as it a weight had been lifted and I started liking myself and taking pride in my appearance. I could finally forget about all the years of hormone replacement therapy I’d been gearing myself up for.
When I met my girlfriend Lisa, my heart raced. I’m attracted to women without wanting to sleep with them, so we still have a romantic relationship and express intimacy in other ways, like kissing, cuddling and holding hands. Life is easier in certain respects; you don’t have to worry about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy and you definitely get more sleep. The biggest challenge is getting others to realise we’re not weird and there’s nothing wrong with us. People often don’t believe you or they try to ‘fix’ you. Someone even said: “If you don’t like sex, you’re not human.”
Fortunately I have very open-minded friends who accept me, even if they don’t fully understand. I haven’t told my parents yet. It’s awkward to blurt out “Hey mum, I don’t like sex“, but if it comes up in conversation then I’ll tell them.
There needs to be more understanding and awareness of asexuality. I didn’t know about it until I was 18, which was far too late. Sex education at school needs to teach you it’s OK not to want to have sex and that asexuality is as legitimate an orientation as being gay or straight.”
Lisa’s side of the story
“I started trying to identify my sexuality when I was 11. I was desperate to fit in and as I got older, I felt increasingly isolated and depressed. Everyone else was obsessed with sex and I began to think there was something horribly wrong with me because I had no interest in it.
My best friend, at the time, was determined there was something physically and emotionally defective with me because I didn’t like sex. She would drag me out clubbing and pressurise me into having sex with men. The whole experience made me feel disgusted and empty and it really affected my self-esteem.
I tried to fit in with the gay community but everyone was still interested in sex apart from me. I had a few relationships, but the experience of sex left me bored. I’d rather have been reading a good book.
I found out about asexuality while surfing the internet. Finding a community of people who didn’t treat me like a freak and react with horror when I told them about my feelings about sex was amazing. Talking to people who understood and felt the same way proved I wasn’t broken and didn’t need to change. I could finally relax and get on with my life.
I felt euphoric at finding the ‘missing piece’ and it helped me get the guts to tell my Mum. We are close and my parents have always been open about sex but telling her how I felt was difficult. Luckily, my family and friends have been really supportive even if they are a little confused by it. One friend said it was like trying to understand someone who doesn’t need to eat because sex is such a natural drive for most people. If my friends have sexual issues though, they ask me for advice. Without any sexual urges, I can give unbiased feedback!
There needs to be more education about asexuality. If young people know about it, they can become comfortable with themselves before they’re pressured into doing things that could mess with their head. While a lack of sexual desire may sometimes be a symptom of a medical problem, for the majority of us asexuality is an orientation. We’re not broken and we don’t need to be fixed. We just need to be understood.”
Written by Marcella Carnevale
Photo of couple posed by models by Shutterstock
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Disability and sexual confidence
Having a disability doesn't mean you can't have a great ...
The pressure on guys to sleep around
Is the number of people you've slept with affecting ...
When a family member has dementia
Living with someone with dementia can be frustrating ...
How to come out
Come out of that closet, we're here for you!
Confused about sexual consent? Help is at hand.