Grayer than Gandolf (aka: Graysexuality)

Secret shhh

I have a deep, dark secret. One that most people would never, ever suspect. Ready?

I am a sucker for romance movies.

Some of my all-time favorite movies include a selection of romantic and romantic comedy films. Pride and Prejudice (2005). Shakespeare in Love. You’ve Got Mail. Sleepless in Seattle. The Notebook.

I don’t just watch these films. I watch them repeatedly. I swoon when the meant-to-be couple falls in love. I am thrilled when they paddle through a pond full of ducks, or rendezvous in the rain, or write beautiful plays an poetries inspired by their true love. I ache inside when they are separated from one another by time, distance, or unlucky circumstances, and rejoice when they come together in the end. Ah, love…

But as much as I am an inner romantic, I have another secret — one that more or less means that no matter what, my own life will never reflect those beautiful, romantic happy endings.

I am asexual.

Gray Asexual, Gray Ace, or Graysexual, to be specific. The “A” in LGBTQA. My brand of sexuality is represented by the gray stripe in the Asexual flag:

What does that mean? Well, asexuality in general means the lack of sexual attraction to other people. Graysexuals, like me, are very, very rarely sexually attracted to other people, though it does happen once in a very blue moon. You might call us…highly selective.

Highly Selective Clueless

Being graysexual does not mean that I am not ever romantically attracted to others. I am heteromantic, which means that I am only ever attracted to the opposite sex. But for me, being attracted to someone doesn’t automatically translate into wanting to be with them in a sexual way. In fact, it almost never means that. I am far more likely to daydream about doing fun things together, holding hands, or watching a sunset and snuggling.

Sex doesn’t really interest most asexuals. I know. What a waste of sexiness! For me, it just isn’t something that seems fun or interesting. Trying to convince me otherwise is like trying to convince a coffee hater to keep trying coffee, because maybe one day, something will click, and they will begin to crave that morning cup of java like everyone else. It just doesn’t work that way.

Spilled coffee mess

It’s not like I was once into sex, then the desire went away. I married as a 21-yr. old virgin, then learned during the honeymoon that sex was really not for me. During that 17-yr. marriage, I tried all kinds of things to learn how to like it, but mostly, I hated it. My ex-husband had a very hard time believing this, and took it quite personally. I don’t blame him.

The only time in my life during which I actually really enjoyed sex was while I was dating Mr. Right, my dream guy, last summer. He was the third man I ever had sex with, and will be the last one I ever have sex with, as well. It was all so different with him. Maybe because of how I felt about him. It made me want to share everything with him, to be close to him in every possible way. This is a rare occurrence for asexuals — possibly a once-in-a-lifetime connection. No, I don’t foresee any relationship like that ever happening again for me. The very idea of being romantic or sexually intimate with any other man is revolting. Ugh. No thanks.

I’m sure that the idea of asexuality is super weird to most typically sexual peeps. After all, it is rare. Only 0.5 to 1% of the entire population claims to share my spot on the sexuality spectrum. But it is a very real thing. I’m not sure why it occurs at all. Perhaps it is an evolutionary design, to control human overpopulation. Or maybe it is just further evidence that I’m an alien from another planet.

So no, my real life is never going to resemble those romantic films I adore so much. Because I just don’t believe that there is a man out there I would connect with, who would also be perfectly fine with a completely platonic, or at least sex-free relationship. Sure, the sea is full of “fish.” But I am a vegetarian. So this fisherwoman has hung up her pole, and plans to live out her days pining over the One that Got Away. Because he was the one cup of coffee that suited my very, very picky tastebuds.

Asexual flag

9 responses to “Grayer than Gandolf (aka: Graysexuality)

  1. What a brave post. It’s rare for anyone to admit that they feel differently from the majority. As someone who’s never been all that driven by sex either, dare I suggest that this may be less about sex than about your romantic attachments? It sounds as though you opened up to TOWGA more than you had with anyone else. So maybe if you got closer to someone else — and took it really slowly — you might rekindle those feelings? Meanwhile, there’s much to be learned from a vibrator. Just say’in 🙂

    • In a way, yes. However, I was once romantically close to my ex during those early years of marriage, but I still hated sex no matter what we tried. I have a libido (though not high), but sex never did anything for me. Vibrators are great, I agree. 😉 No need for anything more.

    • Maybe it’s more common than generally acknowledged. But only once have I ever met anyone in real life who has ever confessed that they, like I, would be perfectly content to spend their life without sexual contact of any kind. Asexuality is quite rare. For me, even finding someone remotely sexually attractive is also very rare. Most people are just attractive like an aesthetic painting you might admire in a museum, not in any sexual way at all. The man I dated last summer was an incredibly rare exception for me, in more ways than he even knew. Like a winning Powerball ticket. That’s not going to happen again for me. I’m realistic enough to accept that.

      That museum sounds mildly interesting. Broken relationships are quite common, I know. Knowing that does not, however, make it any easier to deal with. Around the world, it is also quite common for parents’ children to die, for loved ones to grow ill, and other unimaginably painful experiences. But knowing that others have gone through the same tragedies does not lessen the grief of those who are suffering. We all experience things differently, with different levels of intensity and emotion. Some people bounce right back after painful losses. Some people never recover.

  2. … Because ultimately for most people the most important thing, and most joyful thing, is quality time spent together. Whatever that means for a person – reading a book and talking about it, going on a great hike or camping trip, going to a city or a tropical island, making dinner together and having a great talk, hanging out in PJs and relaxing, talking about computer programming or business ideas, building a cabin in a remote location, taking a math class together, planting a garden together or gathering mussels and oysters and making a yummy stew, going kayaking in Southern Thailand, it really could be anything.

    People are so different, but finding that overlap where you can really enjoy time together …

    • I agree that spending quality time together should be the most important thing for a couple. However, that is now irrelevant for me, since I do not date at all and have zero interest in ever dating anyone ever again. But I certainly enjoy spending quality time alone, or with my kids. 🙂

  3. I agree completely. We all experience things differently, with different levels of intensity and emotion and pain (and of course we all heal differently, and sometimes don’t heal at all.) There are certain things that just can’t be undone, can’t be reversed, can’t even be effectively apologized for. When there’s really deep pain, it’s not possible to escape it.

    I also agree that knowing that others suffer, and that the world is terribly cruel and brutal, doesn’t really help us.

    (As an aside, I think I’ve always been fairly sensitive, every since I was a kid, and even as a kid I saw that there was so much suffering and cruelty in the world, and it made me wonder why people believe in god or religion, when it seemed to me that a benevolent force would not create a world with so much needless pain and suffering).

    • I think that it is that belief in a power greater than ourselves that gives some people the strength to do better, to be better, to bless others instead of cursing them, to forgive that which is impossible to forgive, and to love even those who don’t deserve to be loved. Whatever motivates us to be kind, empathetic, and to offer hope and joy to others is a positive force, and eases the suffering and brutality in the lives of others as well as our own.

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