How I Have Sex: ‘I Don’t Enjoy the Feeling of Penetration, Even With a Finger’
In How I Have Sex, we bring you candid retellings of people’s sexual lives that explore the multidimensional nature of this human experience. In this installment, 34-year-old V. talks about intimacy and attraction as an asexual.
I knew I was a lesbian at a very young age. However, I never thought about being sexual with women at all, except for very specific instances.
The first time I remember thinking about sex was in the 8th standard, the Biology teacher was taking us through reproduction in humans. I asked her in front of the entire class as to how sperm enters the ovary and she told me I would know when I was older. I asked my brother the same question about sperm entering the ovary and he told me about penetration. My first reaction was disgust — I could not imagine that this was what sex was.
Like any Indian household, these topics were not discussed or came up; if they had, I could have avoided my traumatic sexual abuses during my childhood.
But my sexual abuse did not change how I look at things. I am still a sex-positive individual; however, I don’t feel sexually attracted in all instances. I grew up thinking romance, love, and any form of intimacy was gross to some extent. This was not a result of my childhood experience — but more like I associate it to who I am, asexual queer, and to some extent, aromantic.
I tried to date for the first time last year and I identify as a demisexual, gray asexual lesbian. A demisexual would need emotional bonding to feel sexual attraction and it is possible for them to feel intense attractions too. However, I am gray asexual too, which pivots how I feel attraction — and sexual [desire] is not the only way you have to feel attracted to someone.
I am not repulsed by sex entirely; I have [just] realized I am not into penetrative sex. [And while] I have always felt drawn to women, penetrative sex of any form is not my preference. If my partner prefers penetrative sex I would always be up for a discussion since I would not want to impose my preferences on someone else. Sex, in the end, gives pleasure to most people, and I, as an asexual, would not be insensitive to that aspect.
I see this as attraction vs desire — I feel that unless one is a sex-repulsed asexual the desire to have sex without attraction due to various reasons still stands valid. The desire to perform on my partner precedes my attraction when I feel close to them.
The circumstances in which I may or may not feel sexually attracted is what the grey area is. If it were clear, I might be only a demisexual or identify with any other label.
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I don’t enjoy the feeling of penetration, even with a finger, and did not really enjoy the moment I was close to getting an orgasm. But, I enjoyed performing oral and penetrative sex on my partner. I am attracted to women, conversations, and to some extent cuddles and closeness. As a gray asexual person on the spectrum, what arouses me is a gray area. Penetration in any form in lesbian sex turns me off; kissing to some extent is good, giving pleasure to my partner and holding hands also helps.
I don’t have any sexual fantasies however I find shibari to be aesthetically pleasing. I am not sure if it could evolve into fantasy at a later point. I do like to masturbate and I have tried a vibrator. However, I have not used it much as much as a clitoral suction toy.
I feel sexually attracted only when there is an emotional bond and I might not feel attracted to everyone I form a bond with. I had sex with someone I met on a dating app and she was pretty understanding and guided me. However, I knew I was not really into everything that was performed on me.
In all of the instances where I have felt attracted, I knew them for a while and it was the vibes and the bonding that we shared. Women are amazing in general there is no wonder I am a lesbian and want to be only with them. I am still learning how attraction works for me.
With my ex though it lasted only for a short time, I got a taste of what it means to be cared for, liked, and celebrated by someone — and that was new. Until then, I had only looked at the attraction from my point of view and never thought for a moment that they would also feel all of this for me because they like me.
What I see in the mainstream and even among the queer community is a lack of awareness about asexuality. There is a large misunderstanding about sexual orientation, as if it is a choice they choose to be queer because of traumatic experiences — the same goes for asexual people.
Asexuality is not a lack of sexual attraction or libido it is just that people who identify might not feel sexually attracted. Asexuality is a spectrum on its own and each individual experiences attraction or none depending on how they feel.
My personality and self-awareness make me feel sexy. I have recently been diagnosed to be on the autistic spectrum, [and] knowing that I have been defeating normativity just by existing, that is sexy for me.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.