I never anticipated that having an asexual partner before I was sexually active would be a problem, but to my utter surprise, I was wrong. I mean, at the time, I was wrong about most of my beliefs on sexuality, but that’s a whole other essay.
At the age of twenty, I was still keen to keep my hymen and virginity intact for my future hypothetical husband. The Saturdays spent at church made me learn that our heavenly father hated fornicators and I wasn’t willing to burn in the depths of hell because I was impatient and chose to play sexy games before I was married. My decade of religious schooling prior to that had cemented my commitment to purity, as had all my female teachers who reiterated that all boys wanted "one thing and one thing alone". I was ready to keep that ‘thing’ from them if it was the last thing I did.
Fast forward to my university life: I had practiced saying "no" whenever I was making out with any of my puppy love boyfriends and they attempted to push it to the fourth base, that is, the sexual intercourse base. At some point I was no longer refusing for any clear moral reason. I had just gotten used to doing so. It had become a key part of my personality, the girl who wasn’t unable to moonwalk away from you post oral sex. It helped that I was still getting orgasms.
When Eric and I started dating after a drunken passionate kiss at 4 AM, I was sure ours was going to be a very physical relationship. He was a rough and handsome bad boy so I was ready to say many "nos". So when I, soon after, had to initiate any intimate contact between us beyond holding hands, I was very confused. Turns out, a big part of my sexual confidence had been bolstered by the fact that I was used to being the object of sexual desire that I constantly turned down. Eric didn’t pressure me. For anything. Whenever we kissed, he always made sure our crotches didn’t touch and he kept his hands on my back. I began to feel self conscious about my desirability and it started affecting other aspects of our relationship.
“Why are you looking for a fight with me all the time these days?” He asked one night, obviously getting weary of my newly hostile personality.
“Don’t you find me sexy?” I asked, deeply ashamed to be having that conversation.
‘What are you talking about?”
“Why don’t you ever touch me? Is it ‘cause I’m a virgin? Is it because you are? Are you?”
My beautiful boy was not a virgin. Yes, he’d had sex before. Yes, he found me sexy. But it was confusing for him; it didn’t necessarily translate to wanting to have sex. No, he wasn’t avoiding sexual contact because I was a virgin, even though he didn’t want to pressure me into anything I wasn’t ready for.
But I was ready, I said. I loved him…maybe, I thought.
No, he didn’t want to have sex. It wasn’t me, it was him apparently. He didn’t know how to explain it, but he didn’t really want to have sex with anyone…ever? Maybe because he was too young when he lost his virginity? We weren’t sure. He was worried something was broken.
As we sat on that bed, holding hands, promising to try and understand each other and make this work, without pressure, I could not believe that the roles were reversed! Ultimately, we ended up breaking up because I really was ready to stop saying no for the sake of it. Eric had remained averse to any sexual contact beyond kissing and I could no longer suppress my desires. Perhaps we could have opened up our relationship, or gone to therapy, or met halfway somehow. Perhaps. But we were twenty, and clueless. If nothing else, it opened my eyes to the spectrum of sexuality. I hadn’t fully understood the nature of asexuality, and it was important to experience so early that gender did not determine desire.
Have you ever dated someone who just does not want to have sex?