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Ask Miss Meghan: If I'm asexual, will romance lead to uncomfortable sex?

Dear Ms. Meghan,

I’m asexual. I’ve never been sexually attracted to men or women (but I am romantically
interested in men). I would be okay with this asexuality, but my concern is that I will enter into a
relationship and my boyfriend would expect to eventually have sex with me, as is custom among
the human race.

I….really don’t see that happening until I’m married, simply because if I have to have
sex, I want someone who’s committed to me for the long haul and understands that my feelings
about sex aren’t likely to change overnight or over the course of our marriage at all.
I’m really scared that it will come down to my personal sexual comfort vs having a
healthy relationship. So, do I say “It’s not you, it’s really me,” or do I surrender to the norm of
humanity, lie back, and think of good-looking English men I only admire in an aesthetic sense?

-A Worried Asexual

Dear Worried Asexual-

May I suggest a third alternative? “It’s not you, it’s me” is a line best left to cheesy,
somewhat adorable, rom-coms and having sex (that you don’t want to have) just for the sexual
gratification of your partner seems like a worst-case scenario (regardless of how enjoyable your
English-man fantasy is). Do people do this anyways? Yes. Do I think you need to do it? Not so
much. I would say that if you have to compromise you personal sexual comfort, it no longer is a
healthy relationship.

The trick for a person who identifies as asexual is finding a partner who will actually
understand this aspect of your identity. Getting to this point in a romantic relationship takes time
and boat-loads of trust. Being able to be vulnerable, honest about who you are, and willing to
take risks with your emotional safety will eventually lead you to finding a partner who will adore
you. You will probably get hurt numerous times, but no more or less then anyone else in this
world. The ability to pick yourself up, learn from the experience, and keep looking forward is a
struggle for all of us.

You may also want to consider a compromise if you find a partner whose level of sexual
desires is not in-line with yours. There are plenty of sexual behaviors that you and/or your
partner can participate in that will result in your partner’s pleasure which will not compromise
your lack of desire (self-pleasure, oral pleasure, digital stimulation). You can also explore the
possibility of your partner finding sexual satisfaction outside of your relationship (but this
required an incredibly high level of trust and communication that most folks struggle to obtain).
The most important aspect of this compromise process is knowing what you need to feel
romantically intimate with a person. You may have a high level of skin hunger that can be met
through cuddling, holding hands, or frequent massages. Or you may find intimacy in
conversations and desire sharing of deep thoughts and emotions.

While you are waiting for the (British) man of your dreams to come along, find supports
for yourself. There is a very large asexual support network on the internets, and AVEN
(asexuality.org) has chat rooms and resources for people who identify as asexual.

Finally, I want to say welcome back to SMCM! I’m excited to be writing this column for
you all again this year (and pretty happy I haven’t been fired for it either)! I do need you all to
step up and write in with your questions about sexuality and health, otherwise I will just turn this
into shameless self-promotion of events I will be helping with around campus.

-Sincerely all hopped up on Mountain Dew,
Miss Meghan

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