She’s Just Not That Into Anyone

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 7 2014 @ 4:00pm

Julie Decker identifies as an “aromantic asexual woman, meaning I’m not sexually or romantically attracted to anyone.” It’s not an easy thing to explain:

“Sexual attraction is not something that is said verbally. It’s a vibe—something you communicate to me unconsciously. Sex is an instinct, not a choice.”

The above horrifying quote was uttered by a fellow I met when I was nineteen years old. There I was in college, uninterested in the sexual experimentation and freedom the away-at-university experience often brings, fairly inexperienced in my “career” as an outspoken asexual woman. Back in high school, I’d never developed any sexual or romantic attraction to anyone, but despite that I did date a couple of people. Peer pressure and consistent “you don’t know until you try it!” messages made me think I needed to investigate before I was sure I didn’t care for it, but what I was really looking for was a magic switch to shut everyone up. I wanted to fill the quota; I wanted to experiment “enough” to make everyone else agree that I’d given it a fair try and could legitimately be believed now.

That never happened. It turns out that for asexual people, there is no threshold we can cross that’s “enough”; if we are not converted by sex, then surely we did it wrong, or with the wrong gender, or with the wrong person, or ruined the experience by expecting to hate it. We find ourselves trying to prove a negative—a scientific impossibility—and ultimately either cave to expectations or live in defiance of them, secure in the hard-won knowledge that we are qualified to describe our experience and we deserve our boundaries respected.

Previous Dish on asexuality here.