How would you feel if you couldn’t have sex? At all? As absurd and far-fetched that question is, all over the world, there is a small percentage of men and women who actually find having sex disgusting! Lisa Smith, a 29 year-old professional and a confessed anti-sex recently, recounted her battle with sex in a newspaper interview. She said in part, that: “My strategies for avoiding sex had run out, so, as the inevitable happened, I simply hoped my boyfriend could not tell that I was enduring, rather than enjoying our encounter. James was a virgin when we met, so I assume he did not realise how strange and dysfunctional our perfunctory couplings were.
Courtship “We’d abstain for months until, finally, he’d started bribing me with gifts to go to bed with him. But I loathed it. I dreaded the foreplay, and the act itself repulsed me. I could only bear it by focusing my mind on something else. It’s not that James was a particularly inept lover – he wanted very much to please me – nor was this a terminal case of bed-room boredom. The problem is that I have always detested sex: the idea of it, the fact of it, and the repellent notion that society seems to revolve around it. I am 39 and I have had three lovers, two of whom I lived with. I have tried to quell the disgust I feel at the prospect of sex, but have failed repeatedly to do so. “There is nothing physically wrong with me. Doctors have confirmed this – and I am not afflicted by guilt. My parents had a healthy and open attitude to sex. There is no dark incident lurking in my past that would explain my abhorrence, and I have never been coerced into having sex against my will. I am not gay, and I feel no physical attraction towards women. I do not think anything ‘wrong’ with me, although perhaps my attitude would have been considered less freakish if I had been born in Victorian era. I just hate sex, and have decided I will never put myself through the torture of it again. I am in my physical prime, but my sex life is over. I wish it were not so. My tragedy is that I want to be ‘normal’. I crave the companionship of a man. I would love to be married; to build a home, to enjoy the comfort and domesticity of a life-long relationship with a partner I could cherish. I want to love and be loved. I do not find men themselves abhorrent, on the contrary, I appreciate their looks and enjoy their company. I like cuddles, I don’t mind kissing and I yearn for affection, but nothing more than that. “I have researched internet sites and discovered that only one per cent of the population is, like me, asexual. Of these, half are men and a smaller proportion is gay. So I have resigned myself to the fact that there is scant chance of my finding a man I love who, like me, wants a celibate relationship. I have not discussed my lack of libido with my parents, but I know it saddens them that the wedding and grandchildren they yearn for have not been forthcoming. Perhaps they believe I just haven’t met the right man yet. I can assure them, however, that I have persevered with sex for long enough to know that for me it is a misery and a penance. Why should I endure it, just to make other people happy? “1 have known since my teenage years that I am different from my peers. While my friends were devouring teen fiction and sniggering over the salacious nuances in it, I was immersed in animal stories. I found sex-education lessons alien and embarrassing: I could not see how they could ever apply to me. One by one, they lost their virginity and described the fact to me in dreadful details. I couldn’t see how any of it applied to me, but reassured myself that once I had a boyfriend, everything would fall into place. “When in 1999 my best friend introduced me to Andy, I decided I was going to lose my virginity to him as quickly as possible, to silence my friends – who considered me abnormally prudish – and so be like everyone else. So, three months after we started going out, I slept with him for the first time on his rumpled bed at his parents’ house one afternoon when they were at work. There was no romance, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to get it over and done with, as you would some tedious chores. Andy, who’d had two previous relationships, knew it was my first time. He was kind and patient, but he hadn’t bargained for the level of fear and panic I felt. Afterwards, I felt only revulsion, but I was determined to persevere. “Only other encounters with men confirmed that sex really repelled me. I learnt to fake pleasure but afterwards, I stared at the ceiling and silently cried. My doctor gave me a check-up when I complained I was convinced something must be wrong with me. He did several tests all of which confirmed my hormone levels were normal and that there was nothing physically untoward. Still, I continued to feel like a freak, an outsider … “ After a few failed relationships, Lisa met John. “Meeting him ignited a spark of optimism in me,” she said. “He was so attractive, I even nurtured a hope that if I had sex with him, revulsion might finally evaporate. I dared to believe he might change me, that all I needed was to be with someone like him and I would become a normal, functioning partner. When we started dating, I felt happy and full of hope. And when, after just two weeks it became obvious we would have sex, I was neither fearful nor tense. Actually, I was looking forward to it. But as things progressed, the old dread and revulsion consumed me. I felt confused and angry: why was I such a freak? But I’d become such a proficient actress that he didn’t suspect my true feelings. We moved in together two months later and I was prepared to play at happy families. But it was all a sham and we broke up after eight months together. “”So, once again, I am back living with my parents. Loneliness haunts me. You may wonder how I can be so sure at 39, that I will not change. My response is: would you ask a gay person the same question? I make the parallel because it used to be thought that gay people could be treated or have therapy to make them heterosexual. It didn’t work anymore than it would ‘cure’ me of my asexuality. But there aren’t many of us, and I know my chances of finding an asexual partner – a man I love but who never wants to have a physical relationship – are remote. Still, I hope that one day I may discover him and marry. I do not want children of my own. The idea of carrying a baby repulses me as much as the act of procreation itself. I feel it is unnatural. “People say that, as I get older, I may change my mind. I wish I could say there was a glimmer of hope that I would, but I have absolutely no sense of a biological clock ticking. If ever I do want children, I will adopt. My mind is made up: I will not have sex again. This may consign me to a lonely life, but it is better than deceiving a loved one. A relationship based on such a sham is the ultimate lie … “
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