Getting to Be Myself: A Story of Asexual Liberation
By Kate Pennington
I grew up confused about sex and sexual attraction. I understand this now, at almost 50. I didn’t get it when people talked about kissing a guy or dating a girl. I heard the words, but couldn’t parse their meaning. I’d nod my head and act like it made sense.
And in my confusion I took the path of least resistance when it came to dating. I was born into a body defined as female therefore, our culture said I must date and fuck men. So I swallowed the pain and embarrassment and did what I was told. I said all the things I was supposed to about wanting a boyfriend and bemoaning the lack of a man in my life.
I had powerful friendships with women, almost like I was dating them, but without the sex. Not that I was having sex with men either, or dating them. Men either didn’t like my fat body, or liked it too much. Women I could share my heart with.
Then one day it happened. I met a man who wanted me for me and whom I wanted in return, who’s heart made mine sing. We’ve been married for almost 18 years now, but there was something missing. That magical thing we’re taught everyone has and everyone wants: sexual attraction. I didn’t feel it for this man I loved. And because of that I thought I was broken. Because I wasn’t attracted to him I thought he would leave me.
What I know now is that I’m not broken and that my husband is still at my side loving me and cheering me on. I’m not messed up. I’m just different. I have no sexual attraction. Don’t get me wrong I like sex just fine in small doses, but attraction? Nope. Not there, not to men or women, not to anyone on any gender spectrum. I’m asexual and knowing that, understanding that about myself, is liberating as hell. Scary too because its “new” in the world of sexual identity and not everyone gets it, not even me some days.
For me, sexual liberation means giving myself consent to not have sex. It means accepting that I have little or no sexual attraction to anyone and celebrating the ways in which my view of sex and relationships differs from the mainstream. It means getting to be me, as I am.