These days, many ace communities are conscious of the fact that some aces like sex. Nonetheless, there is a lot of confusion about what that means. Rather than defining it, I want to share a bunch of possible narratives. Some resemble my experiences, some come from stories I’ve heard, some were suggested by my cobloggers, and others just seem plausible.
Note that a few of these involve implied sexual coercion (numbers 12-15).
- They’re not actually sure whether they like sex. They only guess that they might like it, based on their interactions with sexual content in media. They’re not sure if the gut feeling is correct, or if they’re giving into sexual normativity. They are content to never find out.
- They enjoy sensation of sex, but don’t find their partner attractive. Sometimes it even seems like their partner could be interchangeable with anyone at all. They worry that they’re just using their partner.
- They enjoy sex at the beginning of a relationship, but as the relationship progresses they lose interest and find it repetitive.
- They enjoy sex when starting out, but by the end it feels so tedious, like a marathon that never ends.
- They used to have sex in the past, and the memories are positive. This later caused them to overlook asexuality. Later it caused an ace community to reject them. They don’t have any particular desire to have sex anymore.
- They had sex once. It was okay, but not something that needed to be repeated. As a result, they feel it’s important to acknowledge that some aces like sex, but they feel weird about saying that they’re one of those aces who likes sex.
- They became sexually active only after identifying as ace. The realization that they were different was what made having sex okay.
- They find that sex feels good in the moment, but it always leaves a bad taste afterwards. Sometimes it just hits them how repulsive sex is, and they don’t understand how they could have ever liked it. They strongly dislike seeing or hearing about sex.
- They started having sex in the context of kink. That is the only context where they find they enjoy it.
- They were having lots of hookups, and enjoying them too, when they realized how much they related to the ace experience. Identifying as ace gave themself permission to have fewer hookups, or to stop entirely. They found that they preferred it this way.
- They like giving people sexual pleasure, but not receiving it. One of their partners complains that they’re not passionate enough, and they feel constantly put upon to prove their love.
- They like receiving sexual pleasure, but not giving it. This makes them feel selfish. But once they were pressured to give sexual pleasure to someone else, and it was a very bad experience.
- They have liked sex, but only while extremely drunk. They pursue binge drinking followed by hookups. They later view the whole thing as a form of self-harm, an attempt to “fix” themself.
- They once had sex, and it was a horrible experience. But they might be able to like sex, and they want to try, as a way of dispelling the trauma from the first time. They find that having sex with a partner who respects their boundaries feels nice.
- They are willing to try sex, but without sexual attraction, they just have no sense of when it’s appropriate. In the past they’ve been violated because at first they thought the feelings of wrongness were the way it was supposed to feel.
- They feel an internal compulsion to have sex. They don’t know why they feel this way, but for them, sex seems to have become a coping mechanism. They have a hard time not shaming themself for this, and feel that if they talked about it they wouldn’t be welcome in the ace community anymore.
- They’ve tried sex and it isn’t bad, but it doesn’t live up to the hype. They spend years exploring different ways to have sex in order to make it amazing. Their partner perceives them as someone who is very adventurous in bed, which later becomes a hurdle when they identify and come out as asexual.
- They have some idea that one day they’ll arrange a hookup to try sex and see what it’s like. But they have no idea how to go about it, or what to tell the other person.
- They have some idea that one day they’ll try sex with someone they trust enough to navigate their personal boundaries. But it seems like a lot of effort, and unfair to the partner. The issue becomes moot when they find a relationship with someone who prefers not to have sex.
- They find themselves in a relationship where they want more sex than their allo partner does. At first the situation feels incredibly ironic, but they come to accept that it is ordinary. In their relationship, they apply lessons from the ace community on how to respect partners’ boundaries.
Again, several of these resemble my experiences, but I feel embarrassed to point out which ones. Do any reflect your experiences? Do you have any other narratives to suggest?