On Aug 9, 2009, at 12:21 AM, Confused wrote:

Am I asex­ual? I am 24 years old and I have been in two rela­tion­ships. One with a man that lasted 1 year and one with a woman that lasted 6 months. I have had about two crushes in my life. I was sex­u­ally abused when I was seven years old and again when I was 14 and again when I was 19. Do peo­ple just become gay because they have been abused? I like orgasms but it’s just eas­ier to give them to myself. Am I just inca­pable of con­nect­ing on a phys­i­cal level? Is there any hope for me? Should I just [accept] that I am one who should always be alone?

Con­fused

Con­fused,

Your his­tory of sex­ual abuse has most likely played its role in your per­cep­tion of rela­tion­ships, your seem­ing inabil­ity to con­nect on a phys­i­cal level, yes. That’s no rea­son, how­ever, to give up hope for a healthy, com­mit­ted relationship.

You’re 24, have had two rela­tion­ships, and two crushes. There’s noth­ing abnor­mal or incor­rect about that; sounds like a fair num­ber and nat­ural to me. We’re all very dif­fer­ent and in very dif­fer­ent ways. Everyone’s life is unique, everyone’s tastes are var­ied, and we all express our­selves dif­fer­ently. I, myself, was a late bloomer in that respect… to the point where some of my rel­a­tives assumed I was gay because I wasn’t as open or expres­sive about my crushes at the age of 12 as my sis­ters and cousins were. Rela­tion­ships aren’t a game and there is no high score or check­list of things that should be com­pared to con­tem­po­raries. In the end, rela­tion­ships are about what makes each of us happy, not about prover­bial notches on the bedpost.

I don’t believe that peo­ple “become gay” as a result of abuse. The notion that one gen­der is inher­ently more prone to being abu­sive than the other doesn’t hold water. Peo­ple are peo­ple, regard­less of gender—a mon­ster is a mon­ster. Is it pos­si­ble that there could be a cor­re­la­tion? Sure. Peo­ple being attracted to both gen­ders falls more in line with per­sonal tastes, though. I, for one, could never “become gay”; I just don’t like dudes that way.

Based on what I’ve read in your let­ter, I don’t think you’re asex­ual. You enjoy orgasms and, there­fore, are not “with­out sex­ual feel­ings or asso­ci­a­tions[1]”. The fact that they’re eas­ier to achieve on your own doesn’t mean you’re asexual.

There is, indeed, hope for you (to use your words) and I don’t believe that you’re inca­pable of con­nect­ing on a phys­i­cal level. The fact that you want to do so means that you’re fully able. With the his­tory of abuse you’ve described it seems only nat­ural that you might have hes­i­ta­tions or dif­fi­culty in main­tain­ing a phys­i­cal rela­tion­ship, but that’s not the end of the world and not any rea­son what­so­ever to aban­don hope.

Do what makes you happy, what makes you at peace and com­fort­able in life. Patience is, as is often said, a virtue. There is no need to force or rush any­thing. The day may come when you’ll cross paths with some­one and enjoy every syrupy, roman­tic cliché. It also might not. That’s no rea­son to give up if it doesn’t, though. Live every day and enjoy liv­ing it. You’re 24. You have many won­der­ful years ahead of you. Every­thing in due time.

A few Christ­mases ago, my mom gave me a rather timely gift. She took a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, dec­o­rated it ornately and framed it. I think it might apply to your situation.

If a man does not keep pace with his com­pan­ions, per­haps it is because he hears a dif­fer­ent drum­mer. Let him step to the music which he hears, how­ever mea­sured or far away.

Just my $0.02
Julius Pleasar

[1] Def­i­n­i­tion 3 of “asex­ual” from the New Oxford Amer­i­can Dic­tio­nary that comes bun­dled with Mac OS X

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