Disclaimer to any and all past and current partners or people I have ever been sexually or romantically involved with: please do not take offense at the following statement–
I can count on one hand the number of times I have been sexually attracted to someone. There are tons of people I’ve been head-over-heels for, borderline obsessed with, wanted to talk to constantly, makeout with and cuddle and cook for and explore together and all the other cute couple-y things that people do. Sex, though, has never been much of a priority for me. Rather, it’s been something I avoid for a number of personal reasons–one of which is the scarcity of which I experience noticeable sexual desire.
You could call me asexual (I don’t know if I am), you could say I have a low libido (maybe, but it’s more than that), you could call me a prude (couldn’t be further from the truth). But it’s not that I don’t like sex or have anything against it; traditional (see: PIV) sex just doesn’t work for me. And as common as that is, I am terrified to talk about it.
Because dudes (and some girls) expect it. Whether it be on the first date or the fifth or your wedding night, sex is bound to come into the equation. And therefore I find myself afraid of what a relationship will be like if sex is removed from the equation. Will it crumble? Will my partner grow bored of me or frustrated to the point of moving on?
These are all possibilities that I regularly fret over, but at the same time, I’ve grown in my ability to accept this part of myself, rather than view it as a grand flaw. Because (figuratively) screw whoever leaves a relationship over something as minuscule as not having boring old vanilla sex. And screw the idea that sex has to be exactly what is portrayed in most movies and our high school health textbooks–and the minds of some men.
As I’ve grown more confident in my desires and more comfortable expressing my sexual identity or lack thereof, I’ve also found myself encouraging partners to rethink how they think about sex.
Although I’ve had primarily heterosexual relationships, I often bring up the concept of “queering sex.” Because queerness, i.e. self-expression beyond the hetero “norm,” is about breaking down binaries in order to (capsulate) the gray area. When you look at the sexual lives of anyone out of a cis-gendered, heterosexual, monogamous relationship, there are going to be distinctions from the typical, reproductive intercourse that many first think of. Someone who has identified as gay as long as they have been sexually active may not have ever had PIV sex, but would you label them a virgin? Would you assume that their sex life is any less fulfilling?
Why can’t and don’t we think about all sexual activity within this context? It’s about bringing creativity into the picture. Using other body parts, toys, props, foods, language. Anything can be sexy. Anything can be sexual. Just like nothing that’s inherently “sexual” (re: nudity) really has to be.
Like art, sex is subjective. It is up to both the creator and the audience to interpret. Some sex is very personal, some is interactive, some is abstract, and some is explicit. Some crosses between these categories. Some sex works and some doesn’t; sex is art within itself: the art of experimentation and reflection and awareness of the self and others and your environment. It is about expression and about finding a space to harness that.
I’ve found that when I broach this subject for the first time with someone, they are often much more receptive than I anticipated–and if they’re not, then they probably aren’t the most suitable partner for me anyway. Many people welcome sexual discussion; many people have needs and wants that stray from the “norm” or are willing to at least try new things for the sake of their partner.
You might find that in “queering” sex, you actually find more enjoyment in the bedroom (or the kitchen or the closet or wherever you like to get it on). Finding your groove and your true desires and then harnessing the ability to communicate that to a partner is scary and it’s difficult. But starting to rethink how you approach sex and encouraging others to do the same may end up being the boost that you need to feel comfortable and fulfilled in your sex life.
Also by Quincy: How to Embrace Your Sexuality in a Healthy Way
Related: 24 Best Libido-Boosting Foods
Ethical Sex: 4 Ways to Reclaim Your Power
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