Dear Anna, I’m young and have been gay for a quarter of my life and have just gotten out of a wonderfully terrible year-long relationship. I have a faint recollection of the sex being good and exciting, but most of the time I was uncomfortable, possibly scared, definitely awkward and mostly reluctant. I had such a passion for vagina the first couple of months and then I was running far, far, far away.
I wonder if I’m really gay. I hope I am. Experimenting sounds like a good idea, but I really have no interest in men or the big/little P. Masturbating is fun but I don’t really do it and the thought of a life of abstinence sounds great except I love snogging and spooning. I would join a nunnery if I weren’t an atheist, and a life full of cats, though great, sounds lonely. I believe myself to be rather sex negative. Maybe I haven’t met the right person.
Oh dear. Do you have any advice? I still love boobs. Lets hear it!
Anna says: Oh good. If you didn’t still love boobs I’d have to report you to the Every Gay Woman in the World committee, to have your permit revoked. Then you’d really wish you’d joined that nunnery. Fret not, young grasshopper. For even those in their fifth lives (?) go through periods of asexuality, or not wanting to get “jiggy wit it,” as no one has called it since 1997. Abstaining from sex doesn’t make you a bad queer (littering, does, however — as well as criticizing High Art). I’ve recently taken a vow of abstinence myself, not from sex, but from watching The Bachelor Pad, because it made my ovaries stage a walk-out. Sometimes we have to do what’s best for ourselves, even if such prescriptions flout the conventional wisdom of pop songs and made-for-TV movies like “Sex! Why Aren’t You Having It Right Now, Prudeface McChastity?” and “Nunneries and Cats: Your Life Without Sex.”
It seems you do have some asexual tendencies. If you’re curious about reading up on that, check out the Asexual Visibility and Education Network or AVEN, which is so much more than a terrible acronym. However, as I’ve said before, sexuality is fluid. Today you might feel asexual, tomorrow you might want to, as the Swedes have probably never said, “taste a pickled herring of a different flavor.”
Also, lack of sexual desire doesn’t have anything to do with wanting human contact, e.g. snogging, spooning and whatnot. Those are rights guaranteed by several constitutional amendments. Possibly after the one about arming bears. And while we’re on the subject of animals owning firearms, let’s clear up this whole “sex negative” misconception you seem to have. It’ll help if you visualize Smokey the Bear reciting this with a 12-guage.
According to Wikipedia, sex-positivity is “an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits.” Sex-negativity is defined simply as “Elisabeth Hasselbeck.” OK not really: it’s an “overall negative view of sexuality and seek[s] to repress and control the sex drive.” Judging by your email, I feel close enough to you to tell you that you fall into the first camp. Being sex positive is about the right to sexual expression, however you want to interpret that. And if we’re gonna be inclusive about it, which we have to because we are the LGBTQQIABC123 community after all, then that definition must include asexuality, as well as things like polyamory, swinging, and whatever goes on behind closed doors at the Home Town Buffet.
Experiment if you have the urge, but don’t pressure yourself it doesn’t feel right. Also, you’re coming out of a long-term relationship, which is bound to affect your desires and willingness to sample pickled herrings of any variety, if you know what I mean, and I think you do (become vegetarian).