20 narratives of aces who like sex

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. They enjoy sex at the beginning of a relationship, but as the relationship progresses they lose interest and find it repetitive.
  4. They enjoy sex when starting out, but by the end it feels so tedious, like a marathon that never ends.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. They became sexually active only after identifying as ace.  The realization that they were different was what made having sex okay.
  8. 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.
  9. They started having sex in the context of kink.  That is the only context where they find they enjoy it.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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?

About Siggy

Siggy is a physics grad student in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and makes amateur attempts at asexual activism. His interests include godlessness, scientific skepticism, and math. While not working or blogging, he plays video and board games with his boyfriend, and folds colored squares.
This entry was posted in Articles, personal experience. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to 20 narratives of aces who like sex

  1. lengray says:

    Quite a few of those reflect my experiences as well. Thanks for posting this 🙂 It’s nice to see that these types of narratives don’t ‘disprove’ someone’s asexuality.

  2. I can see myself in several of these… I’ve never had sex, but (like #1) I suspect I might enjoy it? But also I’m arcflux (like #8) and probably paper (like #12), and if you add in body dysphoria, the whole thing seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    This list is such a great idea! I am definitely not counting myself as an ace who likes sex, I’m somewhat close to #6 I guess, but I’ve hung out in person with an ace woman who fits #1, #18, and the first half of #19. She recently did try sex with an allo partner she met online and traveled far too see. Honestly, i completely forget if she enjoyed it/would do it again or not.

    Because i hang out in person with a ton of asexuals these days, I’ve also spent time with another (gray)ace woman who may not fit any of these spacific narratives, but who isn’t as averse to/repulsed by kissing/making out as the vast majority of the aces who show up to the local meetup. Most of us are not aces who like sex. She’s someone who doesn’t identify as demisexual exactly, but who I think relates to a lot of demisexual experiences of sometimes liking/wanting/feeling a drive for sex, the part of asexuality that is largely excluded from this list here. I’ve read quite a few blog posts from demisexual writers who talk about being an ace who wants sex, as well.

  4. epochryphal says:

    yes yes yes i love this list.

    i feel like 8 can be expanded into another narrative as well? one that is more fluctuating. the bad-taste thing is super real and also, really extra confusing when it switches BACK to being good and why did it ever taste bad (surely just a resurgence of internalized ‘isms, right?), and then back again and around it goes. letting both those states be real, is difficult.

    also tangential to 14, trying to have a healing experience with sex for other reasons — like a painful religious upbringing (whoo ex-fundie life) or ableism or other nonconsensual desexualization, and for processing. heck yeah.

    i really appreciate 7. and most all of these and the existence of this list. deep gratitude.

  5. Renayko says:

    Not sure if this list is just for asexuals or if we’re including everyone on the spectrum. My experience as a demisexual is that I’m interested in sex with my partner but my interest ebbs and flows depending on my mood. (Sometimes I really enjoy it and other times I don’t understand why I’d ever be interested.) The thought of having sex with literally anyone else is tremendously embarrassing and repulsive to me.

    • Siggy says:

      It’s for people all over the spectrum. I’m gray-A.

      I seem to have left out the prototypical demisexual narrative where someone finds that they’re interested in the context of a long-term relationship.

  6. Julia says:

    I can relate to some of the points. To others, I can relate partly, but not entirely. It certainly is a mixture. And finally, it does not repeat the very common trope that “asexuals may have sex to please their partners”. It may be the case for some, but somhow invalidates the fact that other asexuals may enjoy the physical sensation of sex for its own sake, which may be very selfish towards their partner (or at least it appears so superficially, because, let’s be honest, most people have sex because THEY like it, not for their partners’ sake).

  7. Seth Nicholson says:

    I have little interest in pursuing a sexual relationship, but if I ever find myself in one, I am certain that it will look very much like #11 (hopefully sans guilt tripping).

  8. Yoonede says:

    I’m the drunk self-harm one. (Before the divorce and AA, that is)

  9. Talia says:

    This list is an amazing way to describe aces liking sex without using a definition that closes down around people. Thank you for sharing it 🙂 What a great resource.

    Three of these are spot on descriptions of my own experiences.

  10. Iraen says:

    Thank you, I really needed to read this. I have started to feel like a fraud both in allosexual and in ace-spectrum community.

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  12. I still can’t say for sure if I am on the asexual spectrum or not, but I identify with a few of these so much.

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  15. Carmen Keßler says:

    Some experiences sound quite familiar.
    And I thank you for this list because it helps me with the development of the relationship conflict of my main novel characters – he´s asexual, she´s allosexual and has to learn to respect his boundaries. May I add a link to this list to the acknowledgments at the end of the novel?

    Greetings,
    Carmen

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