In our fortnightly column “Great Sexpectations” the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us anything. Here, we tackle; how to know if you’re asexual.
I’m starting to wonder if I’m asexual. I am flirty with boys and think they are nice to look at, but the idea of kissing any or even having sex (bodily fluids) puts me off! How do I know if I’m asexual or not if I’m not having sex before marriage?
The short answer to this question is: I don’t know. And I hate to disappoint you but without presenting you with a line of people to see whether you might find one of them attractive, I really have no idea whether you are asexual or not. However, it’s an interesting topic to consider, especially in Christian circles where we usually lump people into one of two categories: Waiting to Have Sex or Currently Having Sex.
You say you are “flirty with boys and think they are nice to look at”. Well, I think there is a difference between thinking people are nice to look at and wanting to have sex with them. Personally I find women generally more interesting to look at than men, but I also have no desire to sleep with them. I think if the idea of kissing or exchanging bodily fluids with them puts you off, you should probably pay attention to that.
Personally I find women generally more interesting to look at than men, but I also have no desire to sleep with them.
In health circles people often talk about your “gut feeling” or “gut reaction” to things and there are studies to show that there is something akin to a brain in the gut which makes it one of the most sensitive parts of the body. As Christians, we are conscious of Jesus having left us the Holy Spirit to comfort us and many experience what some might call Holy Spirit nudges about feelings we might not otherwise be able to articulate. So why don’t you start by considering your gut reaction when you think or read about sex.
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The helpful writers at Wikipedia define asexuality as: “The lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity.” Is this something you identify with? Please forgive me if you feel I am being obtuse in this reply. As someone who struggled to find a single Christian man for longer than I care to remember, I’m aware that sometimes, a lack of physical attraction can take place where you are faced with a smaller pool of potential partners. But if, in adulthood, you can say with certainty that you have never found anyone attractive, then perhaps you might consider yourself asexual.
As often with these topics, we don’t find anything specific on “asexuality” in the Bible but we do read about abstinence. In one of his letters to the people of Corinth, Paul famously said: “Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” 1 Corinthians 7:25-28.
I’m aware that sometimes, a lack of physical attraction can take place where you are faced with a smaller pool of potential partners.
Admittedly, I’m not exactly sure what the “present crisis” was, but Paul writes in reply to the people of Corinth so they were clearly having some issues as pertains to marital relationships. In 1 Corinthians 7:7 he goes on to say: “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”
So here, he extols the virtues of abstinence as a gift! This is something often thrown in the face of people struggling with singleness, but if you’re someone without the desire to change your relationship status, maybe this is the verse that can help you relax into it.
If you’re worried about your feelings or disinterest towards sex, please don’t be! Sex is a gift from God but as we read here in 1 Corinthians, the absence of that desire can also be a gift. Paul’s writing suggests an absence of sexual desire can result in a greater devotion to the Lord and let’s be honest, it also means you’re unlikely to get catfished so; win win.
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel.