[Content Warning: self-harm, aphobia]

As a child, I discovered masturbation accidentally while home alone. I didn’t even understand what had happened until I later tried to replicate things. And when it happened, I had been watching let’s play videos for most of the actual action, but the unexpected (and at the time, distressing) climax happened after I’d moved on to somewhat suggestive commercial compilations. This was after I’d been consuming both written and visual porn for some amount of time, so even though I’d had a non-sexual interest in erotic material before, that climax event ended up tying together masturbation and erotic material for me. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what would have happened if it had happened differently, would I connect gaming to sexuality? Would I not connect erotic stuff with it, despite the seemingly clear connection? What it tells me is that, at least for me, it was arbitrary; I didn’t start masturbating because I was attracted to people or representations of people, it just felt strange and I was curious enough to keep experiencing it until something happened.

And that’s another thing, I don’t know if I ever really thought of it was feeling “good” just “interesting”. It felt like masturbation, and there wasn’t really anything else to compare it to, good or bad. I kept doing it, so probably not too bad, for a time anyway. U to high school, I masturbated regularly, ot really thinking twice about it. I recognized it was something I wanted to hide from my (religious) parents at some point, but there was no real shame inherent to the activity.

Then in high school, I realized I was ace, and my best friend started asking questions about what I looked at when i touched myself, and since my answer was not “nothing”, that was reason enough to invalidate my identity. But the thing is, I don’t really think I used the images or videos to get aroused as much as I had that association, Maybe eventually my body tied those things together and that’s why now I can get aroused seeing erotic imagery, but that’s not how it was growing up. It didn’t matter though, I had reason to doubt my asexuality and I started to be ashamed of how much I touched myself. I wanted to stop completely as far back as grade 10, but it had become such a habit that I never got much progress there.

When i got really depressed and lonely in university, I felt like one of the only things to do in my life was masturbation, and I already wasn’t able to fully enjoy that because of shame that had been in me for years at that point. And Maybe it was a manifestation of taht shame, but evernually it just, literally started physically feeling bad. And after that, I began using it as self harm Like, a lot.

When i got a therapist and worked hard on stopping all of my self harming, I was able to make some real progress on quitting masturation, and when i was abstinant, I felt pretty great, but when i relapsed, the shame was even greater.

I eventually did stop, and I felt pretty good about that.  I reframed things as doing things if they felt ok, and not shaming myself for doing anything at all, recognizing when it was self harm and when it wasn’t, trying to be as sure as i could when which was which. I worked through recognizing that masturbation doesn’t negate my asexuality in any way. But then I found out that because I was transitioning with hormones, if I didn’t keep using my bits, they’d atrophy, and then I would lose the choice to use it. I didn’t like having my choice taken away, so soon after regaining it. I wasn’t ashamed anymore, i clould touch without it just being self harm, and now i have to masturbate whether I want to or not.

At least things are more neutral now. Maybe it’s the estrogen, but i can kinda almost maybe get into mastubation now.



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.