Ask Professor Foxy: Am I Asexual? What Does That Mean?

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Hey Professor Foxy,
How do you know if you’re asexual? Is it something that you just know from the time you’re in kindergarten, or is it something you realize later?
I had lots of crushes on boys until I was maybe 10 or 11 and nothing really after that (I’m almost 20 now, and a girl). In high school I had only three boyfriends, none of whom I was really attracted to. We kissed (like a peck) a few times but I was really not into it.
I find the idea of anybody touching me absolutely repulsive. The thought of sex makes me gag a bit. I masturbate sometimes but I’m not really into that, either. Like if you said, “don’t ever touch yourself again!” I’d be like “ok, cool” and not miss it, you know? It comes more out of being bored or feeling like I should than actual desire.
I’m not into girls either, before you ask. My attraction to either sex is basically limited to “he’s cute” or “she has a nice figure”. In the same vein as “what a cute puppy” or “that’s a nice flower.”
Its really uncomfortable because my mum keeps harassing me to get a boyfriend, and I tried to explain to her that I had no interest and didn’t want one. She has accused me multiple times of being a lesbian. (Yes, accused, not asked). I’m not one, though.
I’ve never been abused… hmm.. I’m trying to give you as many details as possible, here. I don’t really know what else there is.
So does this sound asexual? Or low sex drive? Should I drive myself to the nearest convent? Or just suck it up and pretend I have interest in sex?

Hi Awkward –
Thanks for writing in. I believe asexuality exists. Sexuality is a continuum and asexuality is one side of that.
I do not think there is a test of asexuality; same as there is no test of gayness or bisexuality. I think, much like being queer, there is a feeling that exists inside and again, like being queer, it is a process to come to a place of acceptance and claim that identity.
When you are not the “norm” of heterosexuality, you may realize it at four or fifteen or fifty. When you realize is when you realize. There is no age minimum or maximum.
You may one day meet the man or woman with whom you feel sexual or you may not. Sexuality is fluid and it can change over time.
What I think makes asexuality a little more difficult is that many people still do not believe it exists. However, there is starting to be increased attention to people who are asexual. There are dating services for asexual people to date other asexual people. Sex is only one part of a relationship: many asexual people still need companionship and love and someone to share their lives with. The great thing about asexual people dating other asexual people is that it eliminates the pressure of sex and for some the pressure of physical intimacy.
I am sorry about your mother. I would find a line and stick to it. Maybe something along the lines of “I am not into dating right now” or “I am focused on my job, school, or career.” If and when you are ready to explain how you feel, you can but until then take time to become comfortable with being asexual first.
I would encourage you to seek out other asexual people. Support is a lovely and necessary thing. In addition, you may find someone to build a life with or others to talk about being happily perpetually single. Here are a couple of web sites to get you started: Asexuality Meet up Groups and the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network. Community is important, especially when becoming comfortable with who you are.
Professor Foxy
If you have a question for Professor Foxy, send it to ProfessorFoxyATfeministingDOTcom.

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