Monday, February 26, 2018

Asexual and "Impure"

Fear, a character from the movie "Inside Out." Image source.
[content note: mentions of sex, porn, masturbation]

Can we talk about how incredibly good and healthy it is to not be in purity culture anymore, and be able to explore and experience all those sexual things that used to be off-limits?

I used to believe porn was this huge scary dangerous thing, and that if I happen to "look at porn" one time accidentally, I might become "addicted" to it and it would ruin my life. And that people who watch porn have messed themselves up so much, they aren't even interested in "normal" relationships and sex and they're not capable of love, and all that.

I'm so glad I eventually did watch porn, and found out none of that fearmongering was true. I wasn't drawn in and tantalized- I was more confused than anything else. After I got over my initial shock of seeing genitals for the first time, and seeing what sex looks like for the first time, I just... like... sat there and stared, trying to figure out what on earth the big deal was. Like why would this be something people would want to watch? And why did everyone in Christian purity culture say it was this big huge dangerous thing that I needed to avoid at all costs? Why was it such a huge issue I was warned about so many times? Why did I live my life so afraid of it? I don't get it. It's just ... people start having sex for no reason. What's the point?

Sometimes I like reading fanfiction that includes sex though. Because there's a whole story- if the story is believable and the relationship between the characters develops in a realistic way, then the sex makes sense. But if people just start having sex, out of the blue, that doesn't feel realistic. Like, as an asexual, I just can't believe that people would really do that, or would find that pleasurable.

And let's talk about masturbating. Yeah, in Christian purity culture, I was taught that masturbating is bad and evil and people are always getting "addicted" to it and then they just get completely messed up and aren't interested in having sex with a partner. They said you should never masturbate- regardless of whether you're married or not. Because your spouse (current or future) is supposed to be part of every sexual experience you ever have in your whole life. Because wouldn't it be terrible if you ended up preferring masturbating over having sex with your spouse. Wow that would just be so terrible, don't even even take the risk, don't ever even masturbate once.

(Okay, now that I've actually had sex, here's what I want to say: HOW ON EARTH is anybody supposed to figure out how to have partnered sex that feels good if they're not allowed to try stuff out by masturbating? Seriously. That's just... I cannot imagine how that could be possible. It's certainly impossible for me.)

Sometimes I masturbate. Using a sex toy. Yes it's possible for aces to enjoy masturbating. Also I'm married and my husband doesn't think I'm "cheating" on him by masturbating. (And as I'm blogging about it, I find myself torn between "I don't want to give too many personal details" and "PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW that masturbating is fine and not some huge danger that's going to ruin their life." So that's as much detail as I'll share right now.)

I'm experiencing all these things that I used to be so scared of, and I just cannot even explain to you how incredibly good and healthy it all is for me. Doing these "impure" things, and finding that it's just fine. Nothing bad happened. There's nothing to be scared of. There was never anything to be scared of. I wish I had tried masturbating a long time ago. And as for porn, well I'm not really interested in it but it's nice to know I can watch it if I want. It's nice to have the freedom and not be scared any more.

Sometimes I wear "immodest" clothes. Sometimes I feel attraction (romantic attraction or sensual attraction) and I let myself feel those feelings and enjoy them. Sometimes I purposely choose to watch a movie that has a character I'm attracted to, because I want to look at him and feel attraction.

And the world doesn't end. Nothing bad happens. It's fine. I feel so free. No fear any more.

When I believed in purity culture, I was so terrified of my own body, my own mind, my own desires. I spent so much energy trying to "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ"- trying to not feel any attraction or desire at all. Worked so hard fighting my desires, couldn't even let my guard down enough to actually feel those desires and realize none of them were sexual attraction. (Please note, though, that if I did experience sexual attraction and chose to let myself feel those feelings and enjoy them, THAT WOULD ALSO BE FINE and not "sinful.")

I'm not interested in watching porn, but, for mental health reasons, I NEED to have the option. And I could get by just fine without masturbating, but just the thought of choosing not to do it makes me feel all anxious like I'm in purity culture again. And if I was single, I wouldn't be having sex and I wouldn't miss it at all (though I would definitely miss other aspects of the relationship)- but I never EVER want to identify as "celibate." Just the word "celibate" makes me feel trapped and afraid of my own body all over again.

I'm an ex-purity-culture girl, doing all this sexual exploration 10 years after everyone else. And I'm asexual, doing it for different reasons than everyone else. It's so unbelievably good for my mental health. I'm unlearning all those years of being "pure" and afraid.


For This Asexual, Purity Culture Was All About Fear 
I’m Really Really REALLY Glad I Had Sex Before Marriage 


This post is part of the Carnival of Aces. February's topic is mental health.

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