I am a cis woman. Due to my menstrual cycle, I go from sex-repulsed to neutral to sometimes positive. That’s when I’d indulge in sexual fantasies. Those sexual fantasies would lead to arousal if properly envisioned, allowing me to masturbate with a higher chance of orgasm.

In my daydreams, I fantasize (a better version of) myself having sexual intercourse with someone, real or not. It’s often a slow process, and it can take hours or even a couple days before I feel aroused enough to take a step further.

But once I start masturbating, all fantasies evaporate. I just cannot concentrate on the daydream and what I’m doing and feeling at the same time. It also doesn’t add up. In my fantasies, I do things to someone else and that someone do things to me (consensually), but there, I’m alone. Those are my own hands touching my own body, therefore it’s like breaking the fourth wall and my suspension of disbelief just dissipates.

I tried to hold onto my daydreams but it takes too much of my mind and makes the process of masturbating laborious. At times, for a fraction of second, I can imagine that those are my fantasy partner’s hands and it boosts my arousal, but it never last.

So there it is for me: sexual fantasies are to trigger my arousal before masturbating. And while I masturbate it’s just me, what I do and what I feel.

For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted nothing to do with sex. It seemed incredibly gross and confusing to me, and I just didn’t understand the appeal. At age 15, I looked up LGBTQ+ terminology to be a better friend to my queer friends, and I found the word “asexual”. Immediately marveled by my connection to the word, I almost decided to use it for myself right away. I asked myself, though, if I was just a late bloomer – for this reason, I decided to wait until I was 18 to officially start using “asexual” as a descriptor for myself. Three years later, and I wore the purple, gray, white, and black proudly.

However, there was one experience I had that felt a little… out of place. Ever since I was nine or so, I got this weird feeling… down there, whenever I saw someone physically struggling. (After some exploration, I learned that this was only the case for healthy, able-bodied people who had no respiratory or muscular problems.) When I saw someone out of breath, when I saw someone’s muscles tremble under weight, especially I felt someone’s muscles tremble under my own weight, I got that feeling. It felt cruel, but although I kept this information to myself, I did not repress it. I have no idea how many nights I spent fantasizing about situations that would cause me to get this feeling again – I didn’t understand it, but I liked it.

I never knew what to call it, but once I learned new sexual words (horny, turned on, aroused), I started using those. I think “aroused” is the right word so far, but I’m still not sure. I think what all of this is is a fetish, but again, I honestly have no clue.

Later on, once I started getting crushes on people, I realized that the feeling was stronger when they were the ones physically struggling, but it would be years later before I knew what demiromantic meant, or that that was me. I am currently in a relationship, and my partner is almost exclusively the subject of my fantasies, but I am nervous to talk about anything related to this with them. They’re ace as well, and I’m worried they will be uncomfortable with this information. For now, I’ll stick with the fantasies, and consider myself lucky when I see them out of breath after a play fight or see their arms tremble when lifting a piece of furniture.