I don’t find men or women attractive, and have never enjoyed sex. Am I asexual?
- Anyone can have a low sex drive, regardless of their sexuality, but not all asexual people have a low sex drive, according to therapist Rachel Wright.
- Consider whether previous trauma or abuse, in romantic, friend, or family relationships, influenced your lack of interest in sex.
- If you were taught that sex is shameful, that can also create a psychological block for you.
- Your low sex drive could also be related to a health problem, so be sure to see a doctor and rule out thyroid or hormones issues.
- Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously. You can read more Doing It Right here.
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Am I asexual? In high school, I was never focused on the opposite sex like my friends were. I thought that I may be a lesbian, but I've never had a full-on crush on a female either.
When I did start to have sex at 19, I didn't really enjoy it. In fact, I didn't have my first orgasm until I was 30 years old (and that was by myself). I've only had sex with two men in my life, and I have no problem not having sex.
My problem is this: The two relationships I've been in were abusive, which causes me to believe my issue is psychological. But as I mentioned before, I was never really interested in pursuing an intimate relationship with anyone, even before the abuse started.
Having sex is usually something I considered, 'Just get it over with…' so I could be intimate in different ways, such as snuggling, sharing stories, and sometimes kissing.
What does this say about my sexuality?
– St. Louis
Dear St. Louis,
It's understandable you feel confused because, well, sexuality and sex drive are both complex issues.
But before you write off sex altogether, you should consider the ways in which your past relationships influenced your current attitudes towards intimacy.
According to Brooklyn-based therapist Rachel Wright, who recently launched a sex and sexuality workshop series, it's possible you've avoided sexual intimacy as a coping mechanism, even before your abusive romantic relationships.
"Our libido, our sexuality, our sex drive is a check engine light for our entire being," Wright told me.
So before you explore your sexuality, see a doctor to rule out health problems, like a hormone imbalance or thyroid condition, which can lower a person's sex drive.
Wright said it's also important not to confuse low libido, or low sex drive, with asexuality, which is a sexual orientation.
Anyone can have low sex drive, regardless of their sexual orientation. But not everyone with a low sex drive is asexual.
Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction to other people. People who are asexual can still feel attracted to others in romantic sense or on a friendship level, but sex isn't what draws them to another person, according to the Trevor Project. Asexual people may choose to masturbate or have sex too, because they can still experience sexual arousal.
The way you described your previous relationships and views on sex could mean you're avoiding sex to avoid dealing with previous trauma, which is a totally reasonable response.
Wright suggested reflecting on whether you may have experienced trauma or abuse in your childhood, whether from witnessing unhealthy relationships or being part of one.
If, as a child, you were taught sex is shameful or weren't taught about sex at all, that can also affect how you unconsciously react to sex now.
"It can then contribute to low sex drive because they're not thinking about [sex]. And things we don't think about we don't want to do," Wright said. Essentially, your subconscious could be telling you to avoid sex.
A therapist who specializes in sex and sexuality can help you pinpoint these potential events and work through them so you can build a better personal relationship with sex.
You should also consider why labeling your sexuality matters to you, according to Wright.
"You don't need to force yourself to explore your sexuality if you have no [sexual] desire, but we need to figure out if there is naturally no desire, or if this is in response to external events," she said, because a natural lack of desire is sexuality-related, while a lack in response to external events is a psychological issue.
As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it — no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.
Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.
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