I am not a fan of being touched.  At all.  I end up feeling deeply uncomfortable pretty much any time someone touches me.  Even the thought of a massage makes me cringe.

Hands off.  Stay back.

In particular, tickling is a horrible, tortuous experience for me.  I remember as a child, everyone was like “Oh, how cute, look at him squirm!  Let’s tickle some more!”  That was a nightmare.  Saying no didn’t work.  Saying stop didn’t work.  Hitting?  Hitting worked, but it got me in trouble.  I hated visiting a particular relative who did nothing but tickle me.  It still bothers me to this day.  Right now, writing this, I’m alone in my house, yet I feel like I have to protect my sides.

People think it’s a joke.  It is not a joke.  I am absolutely serious.

I actually have a fear that if I ever ended up in a close relationship, that my partner wouldn’t understand, wouldn’t think I was serious, and would try it and wouldn’t stop.  I mean, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever end up in a relationship, but this is seriously something that bothers me about the thought.

So yeah, not a fan of touch.

Anyway, when I was in a relationship, and touching was expected, I remember being completely baffled about what I was supposed to do, both giving and receiving.  When receiving, my first impulse was to move away, because so many touches had been so unpleasant in the past.  When I managed to get comfortable with her touching me, I didn’t understand what the point was.  With the exception of very specific areas, being touched wasn’t particularly exciting for me.  And I knew I was supposed to touch her in return, but how?  Why am I doing this?  What should I be doing here?  “Friend level” touching didn’t seem that different to me than “boyfriend level” touching did.  There was no guide to what I should be doing.   Arm, side, back, stomach, they all felt pretty much the same to me, and I didn’t get much out of it.  I’m pretty sure she had to physically direct my hands to her breasts once, because they weren’t going to get there on their own.  (And then, it was like “Okay, this is what one feels like.  Now what?”)

Much more recently, there was someone who was interested in me.  During a long conversation, they moved closer and eventually put their hand on my leg and I just didn’t feel anything from it.

And as you may have gathered, I’m not really much of a fan of cuddling.

It’s a bit easier to deal with than random touches, but I still find it strange.  But mostly boring.  I gather the point of cuddling is to remain in close contact for a length of time, but I generally find that within a minute, I’m done and want to move on.  Remaining still for any length of time also starts to become physically uncomfortable for me.

I will say that I did find the hug-from-behind form of cuddling to be somewhat arousing in a somewhat sexual context.  Full torso skin to skin contact also felt warmly pleasant. But that didn’t outweigh the boredom and discomfort.  Trying-to-sleep cuddles really didn’t work, because it’s hard to sleep with a faceful of hair, and the size difference meant I couldn’t be little spoon.

I’d have to say that, for the most part, cuddling fell into the “This is what I’m supposed to do” bucket, like so much else.

I’ve had sex dreams.  They’re not frequent, but I have had them.  Years ago, they actually sort of included sex (or, at least, a weird approximation of sex-ish actions, that sometimes involved detachable penises and taco-style vaginas).  These days, in the rare event that I have one, they tend to fall into one of three buckets:

  1. Masturbation:  In the masturbation dreams, there are typically two common elements:  I’m in a bathroom (usually an architecturally odd bathroom), and I get interrupted (usually by someone who doesn’t notice what I’m doing).  I have no idea where this is coming from, as I rarely masturbate in bathrooms (let alone architecturally odd ones), and I’ve never had anyone interrupt me.  I usually wake up before I finish.
  2. Auto-fellatio:  These are particularly strange, as I do not have the flexibility required to pull this off, nor have I ever been on the giving or receiving end of this action, so I have no idea where my brain’s dream center is pulling this from.  I usually wake up from these dreams shortly after it starts happening, because something manages to see through the dream logic and say “You can’t actually do that” and “Why is it so sandpapery”.  …  Is it actually sandpapery?  I really don’t know.  It doesn’t seem like it should be sandpapery.
  3. “Are you trying to seduce me?”:  These are perhaps the most asexual of my sex dreams.  The basic plot line is this:  A scantily clad woman approaches and starts being extremely forward.  Sometimes the clothes she is wearing start to be removed (or just disappear), and she make it very clear that she would like to have sex with me.  And I’m just like “Uh…  No thank you.  I don’t really know you, and I have something else I need to be doing.  I’m sorry, but I’m just not interested.  No really, I’m trying to get somewhere and I’m not interested.”  It’s like there’s a part of my brain that didn’t get the memo.  It’s still churning out A+ sex fantasies, only to have me nope out.  (I should note that it’s almost always a woman.  I think it was a man once, but the plot of the dream proceeded mainly the same way.)

Before I discovered I was asexual, I tried all kinds of porn, thinking that something somewhere would be enticing enough to somehow snap me back to “normal”.  I ordered DVDs of various themes, I watched the highest rated adult movies, I bought a month at various picture sites.  Naked people doing naked things, everyone seems to love this stuff, this has gotta work, right?

Well…  No.  Not quite.

I never found that spark that set my passions aflame and my loins aflutter.  Most of it was awful (and by awful, I mean offensive and/or terrible quality) and the stuff that wasn’t awful was almost universally dull.  Even the performers were usually bored.

Most of it I couldn’t remotely relate to.  That looks tiring.  That looks uncomfortable.  Why would anyone want to do that?  They did that five minutes ago.  How is that supposed to work?  How long is this phase supposed to last, because it seems like they’ve been doing it for longer than makes sense.  It’s really difficult to get turned on when you’re spending most of your time questioning the erotic validity of what’s portrayed.

(And when it’s so poorly lit and so poorly framed and so procedural and so over-acted…)

I would try masturbating to it (because I guess that’s what you do?), but usually that took longer that it probably should have, because I’d spend so much time trying to find a picture or a scene that was at least somewhat interesting.  I don’t know, do non-ace people have such a hard time finding something they like, or is it more typically “Aw yeah, naked people, party time!”?

That’s not to say that I didn’t find anything that I liked to look at.  There have been some things that I’ve liked.  It helps if the people involved seem to genuinely having fun, instead of just checking boxes on a position list as they race to the money shot or try to fill ten minutes of rolling around on a bed.  I have a definite preference for pubic hair over clean shaven down below.  And there are some other undefinable aesthetics that I find pleasing.

But I never want to get involved.  I never want to be in the scene.  I never imagine myself taking part.  (I’ve tried, but…  More on that in a later post.)There’s no attraction, no desire.  It’s more like, hey, that looks like that feels good for you, a sort of empathic response that enhances what I’m feeling.

So yes, sometimes, in the rare event that I can find something that’s interesting, then yes, it does work.  But I often wonder…  Do I find it arousing because I really find it arousing, or do I just find it arousing because I’m supposed to?  Maybe if I’d been conditioned my entire life to believe that photos and videos of mountains were supposed to be highly erotic, then I’d have a secret Ansel Adams book hidden away somewhere.


How?  What?

I’ve never figured out how fantasies work.  I mean, I understand the concept.  I’m going to imagine myself in a sexual situation, and I’m going to find that pleasing, and maybe I’ll even synchronize it with my masturbation to increase my pleasure level.  Except with me, it’s more like:  I’m going to imagine myself in a sexual situation and what is going on and this is too complicated goodbye.

I’ve tried picturing celebrities naked, but they usually turn out featureless.

I’ve tried mentally undressing people, but I usually can only get about as far as taking off the socks before I lose my concentration or have some quibble with the imaginary physics and I start over, only to have the person in the fantasy get frustrated with the number of takes I’m doing and storm out.

I’ve tried imagining having sex, but I tend to get hung up somewhere around asking for permission and foreplay, then it all falls apart.

I’ve tried thinking about someone else touching me, but where and why and I don’t really like to be touched so hands off imaginary person.

I’ve tried putting myself in the place of someone in porn, but I can’t actually imagine myself doing what any of the performers do because all that would be far too strenuous.

I’ve tried to put myself into a solo scene as a second participant, but it’s like okay, I’ll kiss that, caress that, suck on-no, wait-suck on that and caress this, right, I think that’s how it works, and okay, now I’ll put this in here and…  Um.  What now?  Wait, I think I’m using more hands than I have…

I’ve had some limited success by imagining that I’m showing someone what I’m doing, but I think that only works because most of that is doing what I’m already doing.

For me, fantasies require too much effort and concentration.  A fantasy is kinda useless when you have to expend so much energy to conjure one up that you end up losing your erection in the process…  I get the feeling that fantasies are not nearly this difficult for other people, even some other aces.

[Content warning:  Discussion of sex toys and their use, particularly penis toys.]

Yes, I have sex toys.  I have a number of them.  I have various shapes, sizes, and intended uses.  I have some that I use often, some that I use occasionally, toys that I come back to every couple of months because “Maybe this time it’ll work better”, and some that I tried only once because I didn’t like them.

Probably the first toy I ever experimented with was a cardboard tube.  It was a hole, it was about the right size, so maybe…?  Spoiler alert, it didn’t work.  The first experiment that was successful was when I put a small amount of cooking oil into a small plastic Ziploc bag, then put that in between some pillows on my bed, so I could thrust into it.  That worked.  Over the next couple of years, I upgraded and tuned that design.  (Most notably, by cutting off the zip-locking part (because ouch), by placing it inside a folded pair of socks for some added pressure.  I also switched to hand lotion, baby oil, or KY Jelly instead of cooking oil, because cooking oil just never comes off.)

Soon after I moved out and got my own place, I had the freedom and the privacy to start looking at buying an actual toy.  But were there any?  I knew about vibrators, but was there anything for my equipment?  I didn’t know what was out there, I didn’t have much money, and I didn’t know where to start.  I was completely nervous about my first purchase.  I think I bought three things:  A vibrator (because maybe that might work?), an “oral sex simulator” contraption with a tube and a pump (because oral sex is supposed to be good?), and some pink jelly sleeve thing that had an offensive name that I can’t recall that vaguely resembled a vulva if the designer had never seen one but only heard the legends (because maybe it’ll feel like The Real Thing™?).

All three of those turned out to be a waste of money.  The vibrator was, well, a vibrator.  I’m sure it might have been a decent buy for someone with a vagina or a clitoris, but having neither, it wasn’t much use for me.  The “oral sex” thing was just bizarre.  I never did figure out how to use it.  The pump bulb was made of hard rubber, so it was difficult to squeeze, and I think all it did was give me hand cramps.  The sleeve thing was too tight, too short, and way too smooth.  I’d go in one end, come right out the other, and feel nothing in between.

Still, I was curious.  I’d bought some toys and didn’t have the FBI knocking down my door, looking for contraband, and my credit card company didn’t cancel my account for being a pervert, so all in all, things went fairly well.  So, I bought a few more things.  A couple of stroker sleeves that were far better than the first, but still not that great.  A “realistic vagina” that turned out to be a vulva façade with a two and a half inch wide, six inch long floppy tunnel lined with centimeter long tickly bits behind it.  I was starting to think that there weren’t any good toys for people like me.

But then, I found it.  It was far more expensive than all of the other toys I’d bought.  It was big.  It has great reviews, but then so did that weird jelly tube thing.  Okay, I’m going for it.  I’m probably going to regret it, like all the rest, but I might as well try.

It was a pink Fleshlight, with the generic-looking entry and a smooth canal.  It came in a big grey plastic case.  There was a weird cap on the end.  It was kind of complicated.

And it worked.

It was soft and stretchy and didn’t melt and I could fit inside and it wasn’t made of hard plastic and I could actually feel it.  And I liked how it felt.  I quickly went and bought a set of additional sleeves with different textures, and they were even better.

Finally, a toy that didn’t suck!

(Well, technically, that weird cap on the end adjusted airflow, so if you set it just right, it did kinda suck, but in a good way.)

As a sign of the quality of the Fleshlight, I still have that original set that I bought, and they’re still in usable condition.  Even the sleeves I have that have torn, only tore a little bit, then stopped.  (One was a poorly designed orifice that couldn’t stretch right, so I think it tore for everyone, and the other was the “ultra tight” model, which was too small for me.)  If you take good care of a Fleshlight, it will last a long time and be well worth the investment.

(By the way, my favorite is the speed bump, with the STU and Wonder Wave close behind.  I think those textures are all available in a generic, non-anatomical model, if you’d rather not buy a fake body part looking thing.)

[Content warning:  Discussion of sex toys, particularly those for a penis.  Also a mention of objectionable marketing practices.]

I have a penis.  The vast majority of toys out there for a penis are utter garbage.

  • I’ve had toys that provide no stimulation at all.
  • I’ve had toys made out of material that’s so stiff that it felt like plastic being scraped along my penis.
  • I’ve had toys that sort of melted and deformed.
  • I’ve had toys that have torn apart.
  • I’ve had toys that have smelled so bad out of the plastic wrap that I tossed them before even using them.
  • I’ve had “high end” toys that have stopped working during the first use.
  • I’ve had a toy that has a clear design flaw that will lead to serious injury if used enough.

Many toys for people with a penis are sold in ways that range from mildly suggestive, to pornographic, to raunchy, to downright misogynistic and disgusting.  (And don’t even get me started on how deceptive the photos can be about toy size…)  This is an especially uncomfortable place for an asexual person to explore.  It’s getting easier to find toys that don’t fall into that category, but to get there, you still have to wade through a pile of junk like the “Bangin’ Betty Stroker” or the anatomically bizarre pair of breasts with a vagina attached.

Seriously, those are things that exist, and…  Eugh.  I can’t imagine that sort of thing being remotely appealing even if I weren’t asexual.  I mean, I can see how some people might find an object that resembles a piece of anatomy somewhat appealing and arousing, if they’re a fan of that piece of anatomy.  So sure, sell the disembodied dicks and rubber vulvas and breasts in a box.   But it seems like pure vulgarity would have be off-putting even to someone who isn’t ace.
(Incidentally, in my experience, the further a toy is in the realm of the disgusting or offensive, the worse it tends to be as an actual toy.  They can’t sell it on its merits, so they sell it on shock value and sleaze instead.)

Another problem I’ve had with toys is that many of them are too small for me.  They either don’t stretch enough, or are housed in a rigid case and can’t expand, or they’re not long enough.  For the most part, these seem like decent quality toys, I just don’t fit.  Vaginal toys (And, to some extent, anal toys) tend to be very clear about their dimensions, and many are available in different sizes.  But many penis toys assume that everyone has a penis that is exactly 5.17 inches long and 1.5 inches across.  If you’re bigger, too bad, it won’t stretch much (so it’ll be uncomfortable or rip open, if you can get inside at all) and you’ll pop out the other end, and if you’re smaller, too bad, you won’t be able to feel anything.  They need to start selling toys for different sized penises (Which, I suppose, would also involve men feeling safe to admit that they don’t actually have a two-foot-long mega boner in their pants, otherwise those different sizes will have to be “Huge”, “XXL”, and “Jumbo”).

The biggest problem with the sex toy industry is the sex toy industry.  I believe they can gain wider acceptance if they drop the sleaze and start making better products overall.  And they’re moving that way, especially when it comes to vibrators, but penis toys still have a long way to go and a lot of image rehabilitation ahead before you’ll find them on the shelves at Walmart.

I’m asexual and I masturbate.  I do it because I like it.  It feels good.

I never feel like I have to, there’s rarely even a phone call from downstairs demanding attention.  It’s a bit like deciding to turn on the TV or deciding to eat a piece of candy, it’s just something I want to do at that moment.  I pretty much always have to kickstart the arousal process, because that rarely happens on its own, and even more rarely at a time when I can do anything with it.

On average, I do it once or twice a day, usually once in the morning and again before bed.  I used to do it exclusively in the shower, but now it’s far more common to be at the computer or in bed.  Sometimes it’ll take just a couple of minutes, other times I might stretch it out for an hour.

If I don’t do it for a while, nothing changes:  No spontaneous erections, no nocturnal emissions, no rising lake of libido building up.  Just a slight bit more sensitivity downstairs.  Maybe the skin’s a little softer?  I don’t know.  But no genital explosions from unreleased sexual whatever.

These days, I typically use toys.  Most often, it’s a Fleshlight, but it can be another type of sleeve.  I like the way they feel, and they help to contain the situation for easy cleanup.  Occasionally, I’ll use a vibrator, but those don’t work very well most of the time.  Very rarely, I’ll try something else, but I’ve had very little success outside of my hand or sleeves.

I do not need to be turned on before I start.  It’s rare that I ever feel particularly “turned on”.  Even if I get a spontaneous erection, it’s typically more of a nuisance than something that makes me think “I’d like to do something with that!”.  Since I don’t want to wait around for random arousal to kick in, I usually need some deliberate manual intervention to get started.  Gently tugging, softly pinching and pulling around the frenulum, combined with muscle tensing will usually do the trick.

I would say that libido does not play a role in what I do.  I don’t really think I have one.  Feeling “horny” is a really rare experience, and it’s definitely not a driver of my masturbation, nor is it required.  Most often, I do it because I feel like it, not because I feel compelled to and not because my body is saying “Hey, do this now!”.  Nothing builds up if I don’t do it, and there isn’t any kind of nagging sense of whatever that gets temporarily relieved when I’m done.

As for orgasm, well, the sudden spike in pleasure, the rhythmic pulsing of muscles, and ejaculation are a fairly clear giveaway.  Then again, I have ejaculated without orgasm and orgasmed without ejaculation, so…  And orgasm is a distinctly different sensation than anything else going on.  It usually feels good before, but then there’s a sudden shift to a sort of automatic mode.  There’s a surge in how good everything feels as the orgasm takes over.  I let muscles do their own thing, as there’s pleasure in the tension.  And afterward a drift into relaxation and either oversensitivity or slight numbness downstairs.  It’s much, much more than just a simple muscle twitch.

For me, orgasms are definitely the point.  I don’t do it for stress relief or to get to sleep or to scratch an itch or to avoid wet dreams (does that even make a difference?) or anything like that.  I would have no reason to do it otherwise.

In general, I think the entire topic should be more openly discussed, or at least not be seen as some sort of embarrassing secret.  Lots of people do it, so what?  I think sex toys should be sold in a common drugstore.  (I know some already have vibrating rings in with the condoms, but those hardly count, since they’re typically not good as either cock rings or vibrators.  And the “back massagers” should just come out and say what they’re really for…)  I think people should stop with the harmful myths about hairy palms or eternal damnation or making you go blind, and then stop with the even more harmful myths that masturbation is somehow “artificial” or “replacement” sex for people who can’t get “the real thing”.