I recently picked up an Oculus Go headset and decided to check out VR porn.

“But wait,” you say, “you’re asexual, so…  What?”

Exactly.  That’s what makes this experience worth talking about.

The promise of VR is that it’s immersive.  You’re not just a passive viewer.  VR puts you in the center of the scene as an active participant.

(At least, that’s what they claim…)

So, then, what happens when you take an asexual person and put them as an “active participant” in all manner of sexual situations?  Would I flee in terror of naughty bits thrust in my face?  Would I be converted to the delights of sexual splendor?

Mostly, I just got slightly queasy.  And really annoyed by the technical ability of the people producing VR porn.

1080P is nowhere near high enough resolution for VR, unless you want foot high compression artifacts all over the place.  Never move the camera in a direction that’s not directly forwards or backwards and try not to move the camera at all.  Understand where your stitching lines are and avoid violating them in the blind spot.  Never get too close to the camera and never never never never block the view from only one eye.  Do not violate the Z order with a watermark, subtitles, or other overlay.   Learn about stereo separation and how it can make objects appear larger or smaller than they are and know when it’s the right time to apply the effect.  Don’t suddenly go from a black screen to a white one because you’ll burn the viewer’s retinas.  Make sure your video is aligned and synchronized.  If you’re filming with a 2x 180 camera, there will be a section around the edge which is impossible to converge, so avoid putting anything important in that zone or, better yet, adjust the window to crop that out.  And that’s not even mentioning the videos that were sideways or the wrong aspect ratio or the one that was a weird warped 3D fisheye ribbon of video that I can’t even figure out how they got so wrong.  I mean, seriously, people:  Watch your video in 3D on a headset as intended before releasing it to the world or you will make them sick.

Okay, so anyway, leaving aside the technical aspects, back to the ace watching VR porn.

I was curious what it would be like.  Would I feel like everything was actually happening?  

[Uh, pardon me, ma’am, but would you please move back a bit?]

Would it be a turn on, allowing me to experience sex in a way that I hadn’t before?

[Sir, could you not put that right there?]

Would I be enthralled by the experience and overcome by the erotic?

[And would you please keep it down?]

Would this be the thing to finally awaken me sexually?

No.  No, it did not feel like it was really happening.  No, it did not allow me to experience sex in a new way.  And no, the erotic definitely did not overcome me.

Mostly, it was just disconnected from reality.  Yeah, the 3D and partial head tracking was novel, but that’s where the immersiveness ended.  Look around and it looks like you’re there, but move side to side or forward and back, and that illusion is ruined.  And there’s absolutely no sense of proprioception involved.  I’m sitting in a chair, but the video shows “me” laying down or standing or with a body that’s entirely the wrong size or even just sitting in a different position, so there’s no physical connection between “me” and me.  When I can’t connect the most basic body positioning in the video with my own body, everything else falls apart.

A lot of that is just the fault of this kind of VR.  I’ve played some games on the PSVR headset, which has full positional tracking within a 3D world, and I have been drawn in.  I’m in the forest, watching the little mouse walk along.  I’m on the surface of an alien world, running through the dust to give a giant spider a mouthful of laser shotgun.  Physically, I know I’m just sitting in a chair, but everything else works, so I can believe.  But with this, I know I’m not there, that it’s not happening.

But even beyond that, there was very little going on that I wanted to be involved with.  It was the same problem I have with 2D porn:  Most of it’s boring or unappealing.  They just changed the camera angle.  Making it 3D and so I can look around doesn’t really help that much, it just means I’m looking around at the furniture in the room or trying to see out a window.  It’s hard to be overcome by the erotic when there’s very little that’s erotic about any of it…

Is this proof that I’m asexual?  Is this a definitive test?  Is having 3D genitals of various shapes and breasts of various sizes waggled around just virtual inches from my face and my response being largely “Nah, still don’t get it” complete and total confirmation of my orientation?  Or would a number of non-aces also be riding the Nope Train in this situation?

There were a couple of bits that were interesting, though.  There were times when I felt warmth on my face when someone (or something) got close enough, which leads me to believe that wind may be an entirely imaginary phenomenon.  On a few occasions, the “Danger! Kiss Incoming!” alert was triggered in my brain.  And there were a few almost-acceptably-”real” moments where the performer would be at the right distance or would lean in to whisper something, that maybe it almost was believable.  Usually this also required that no part of “my” body was visible in the video to break the reality.

It’s sort of disappointing that it wasn’t all more believable.  I could see this technology being useful for aces who might be curious about what sex is like to be able to explore in a safe environment where the power button offers an instant way to get out if the situation becomes even slightly uncomfortable.  And I could also see this as being a useful tool for exploring what it would be like to have a different body type.

Maybe it’s just me that it didn’t work for, though.  Maybe other people will have better luck in trying to overlay the screen action onto their own body.

I have very little personal experience with consent.  I’ve had one relatively short-lived long-distance relationship, so I wasn’t really in a situation where things were continuous or spontaneous, and there wasn’t really a first date->second date->third date->nth date buildup.  There weren’t really “dates” at all.  We saw each other in person about once a month.

During the first visit, before we were “together”, but after she had made her feelings known, she sort of pounced on me, hugging me and kissing my neck.  I was not expecting it and I was not particularly thrilled by the turn of events, but I didn’t stop her and didn’t object.  Mostly, I just thought “Why aren’t I into this?”  I really don’t know where this falls in the world of consent.  I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no, she didn’t ask, and if she had, I would have said “I don’t know”, but I didn’t really like what was happening.  However, I didn’t feel like any boundaries had been crossed.  I think I might have been too preoccupied by my own indifference to care about what was going on.  Besides, I sort of expected something like that to happen anyway…

A couple of visits later, we were sitting on my bed.  She leaned in and paused, and it was clear what she was planning, and I had enough of a chance to say no.  In that moment, I gave non-verbal consent (mostly by not backing off or turning away or screaming out in fear), and she proceeded to kiss me on the lips.  I had no idea how kisses were supposed to work, so it was a terrible kiss, but she kept at it.  A short time later, her hand wandered just above my belt, and again paused long enough to understand her intentions.  In that case, I gave a more active form of non-verbal consent, by lifting up the waistband of my pants, so she’d have easier access.  In that particular circumstance (namely the bedroom door open and not being alone in the house…), a quick exploration was all I was prepared to allow, but she stopped before I had to ask her to stop.  She would have if I had, though.  After that, she gave me non-verbal consent to touch her breasts but taking my hand and leading it under her shirt.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do, so I gently caressed one of them for a few moments before withdrawing my hand.

The next visit, sitting on her bed, I, unprompted, moved my hand just above her waist, much as she had done.  Since it was similar circumstances (open door/non-empty house), a quick exploration was all I was willing to do.

In neither case was there a formal exchange of “I would like to touch your genitals.  Am I permitted to do so?”, however, in both cases, it was clear that it was a permitted and welcomed activity.

A few visits later was the first sleepover.  We had planned it for several weeks, so we had discussed what could potentially take place.  Would there be kissing?  Yes.  Would there be fondling?  Yes.  Would there be nudity?  Yes.  Would there be genital involvement?  Yes.  Would there be orgasms?  Probably, one way or another.  Would there be intercourse?  No, absolutely not.  It was at her place, her parents would be there, and she didn’t want to get caught.  (Although, it wasn’t quite clear what the major difference between getting caught naked with hands on each other’s private bits and getting caught naked in a genital intermingling would have been…)

When the time came, she came downstairs and climbed into the fold-out sofa bed with me.  We knew in advance generally where things were going to go, so there weren’t a whole lot of “May I?”s required.  I was open to trying pretty much anything, even though I wasn’t particularly driven to do any of it.  I think the only thing that got vetoed was when I started kissing up her leg.  She stopped me before I got to the top.  “I mean, it feels good, but it seems so tiring”, was what she said, but I also got the sense that she was not a fan of performing oral sex and would not have wanted to feel obligated to reciprocate, even though I wouldn’t have minded if she hadn’t.  During a different activity, she lamented “I wish we could go further”, which I took as the possible beginning of an invitation for penetration, but I didn’t have a condom, so that was strictly off-limits from my perspective, so I didn’t follow up on that comment, and she didn’t take any actions toward it, either.  I guess technically, we did both eventually revoke consent for genital stimulation, because neither one of us knew what we were doing, so it wasn’t really a pleasurable experience for the other.

The following visit was at my place.  It was overnight and we had the place to ourselves.  It was clear that this would be an opportunity, so we decided that we would do the do.  Specifics were worked out regarding time of day and lighting considerations.  Condom and lube acquisition plans were finalized.  One extremely important detail to me was that I would have the ability to back out at any time, because I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to go through with it.  We’d done those other things, and I was fine with them, but I didn’t know if I’d be fine with the next thing.  In general, though, we were agreeing to a blanket upfront grant of consent, which we were free to revoke at any time.  As long as we weren’t doing anything we knew the other would dislike (Primarily, no mouth contact downstairs for her, no tickling for me, and positively no entry without protective covering), we were free to do whatever with each other. (And that blanket grant was put to the test when she unexpectedly decided to make sure I’d “fit”…)  We even pre-agreed to the overnight dress code and a shared shower the next morning.

So, I guess what worked for me was having a plan going in, and not really having to decide in the moment.  That let me prepare and deal with any doubts I may have had.  I don’t know if this will work for anyone else.

I will say that I was largely indifferent and uninterested in sex, rather than repulsed or afraid.  That’s why I took my time, that’s why I followed her lead (at a glacial pace) rather than initiating most of the time, that’s why I missed some very obvious (in hindsight) hints.  But, by the time we did get around to things, I did genuinely want to have the experience (because I was curious, because it would feel good, because she really wanted it, because I was supposed to want it so maybe I would want it if I tried it), so ultimately, that’s why I said yes.  But I was probably never completely “enthusiastic” about it.  More “Yeah, that could be fun, I guess, whatever” than “Yes!  Yes!  Please yes let’s do that!”

I do have to wonder what would have happened if things had lasted longer.  I get the feeling that I would have started saying no to certain things, after it became clear that I wasn’t a huge fan.  Even in my limited experience, I discovered that I’m not a fan of deep kissing, and I probably would have become bored to death with intercourse, unless there was some technique that made it worthwhile (doubtful, but possible).  I think I might have been fine doing things for her, as long as I’d been given clear directions and not have been expected to just figure it out.  And if more “adventurous” things had been suggested, I’m not sure what I would have done.  Probably gone along with it and been bored…

Since that relationship, my experience with consent has been very limited.  There was the friend who was just a friend, so no hanky-panky, let’s be clear about that.  Hugs were all, maybe a kiss on the cheek once.  Then most recently, there was an interested coworker, who I let hug me and give me a kiss on the cheek after they poured their heart out, but a couple days later I did not give consent to enter a relationship.  And I think that’s about it.

[Content Warning:  This post discusses personal experiences with masturbation (with a penis) in detail.]  

Masturbation.  It all seems different for me.

I don’t know how much of it is asexuality getting involved, how much of it is personal preference, and how much of it just a inaccurate public presentation of it that skews my perception of how it really is for other people.  My guess is that it’s a combination of the three in varying degrees.

I do it more gently.  Masturbation always seems to be depicted as a fast, frantic activity.  In censored TV shows and movies, they’ll indicate that someone is masturbating by showing fast hand movements.  In porn, the people seem to always stroke a hundred miles an hour.  Even euphemisms for it imply a violent action:  Jerk off, whack off, beat your meat…  But to me, all of that seems like sticking your penis in a paint shaker.  Just…  No.  How can you do that?

Is that really how people do it, or is that just the hyper-masculine, alpha-male bullshit front people put up?  Have to be aggressive and dominant in all things, so be aggressive and dominant with your penis to show it who’s boss?

I’ve tried to go fast and hard at times, and it just seems to send things into an overload state.  This overload doesn’t translate into heightened pleasure, it translates into a message that says stop right now.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s unpleasant.  Everything kinds of shuts down.  If I can find the speed just below what triggers this overload state, then it may lead to a stronger ejaculation, but at the expense of everything else.  (More on that later…)

I go slower.  I go more gently.  I’ll even let it go a little soft at times.  I don’t need to wrestle and strangle my way to orgasm.  Caresses and coaxing and being kind seem to work better overall.

I enjoy the journey.  Masturbation is always depicted as being focused towards the orgasm.  That’s all there is.  How much did you ejaculate and how far did it go and that’s all that matters.  I get that that’s visually interesting for porn, but everything else also seems to treat it as a race to the finish, with nothing else along the way.  Go hard, go fast, get off.

Is that really how people do it, or is that just the hyper-masculine, alpha-male bullshit front people put up?  You’re not allowed to have feelings, especially sexual feelings that you provide yourself.  Ejaculation is a tangible result, so focus on that and only that?

For me, getting to orgasm is a huge part of the fun.  It feels good and I take extra steps to make it feel better for longer.  Sure, the orgasm is usually the best part, but let’s take a trip to calculus class for a moment.  Remember area under the curve?


These are pleasure charts for different types of masturbation.  The graph is an instantaneous reading of the level of pleasure at that moment in time, so the area under the curve is the total amount of pleasure for the session.  Figure 1 is a race to the finish.  Figure 2 is a longer, slower path.  Figure 3 compares the relative areas between the two.  As you can see, while the maximum value of pleasure is lower in the second graph, the overall amount of pleasure experienced is far higher.

On a more physical level, I enjoy the scenery on the journey.  There’s a lot to see, if you slow down and take a look.  A press on the frenulum.  The indistinct sensation of soft bumps of the toy passing over the corona.  The skin being pulled, then sliding loose.  A general enveloping pressure on the shaft. The wave that comes from tensing the right muscles at the right time.  It’s all nice in different ways, and it’s all an important part of the process for me.  It’s worth sacrificing a bit of ejaculatory distance for it.

(And don’t get me wrong, super strong orgasms are definitely nice, too…)

I sometimes involve calculus in a discussion of masturbation.  Okay, that one is all me.  Not much else to say there.

It’s not a substitute, it’s not practice, it’s not incomplete.  I think I’ve talked about this one before.  The prevailing message on masturbation is that it’s to be used as a substitute, only when Real Sex™ is unavailable.  It’s never looked at as something that can exist on its own, and be done for its own sake, just because it feels good, independent of other concerns.  It’s seen as a pathetic, lesser, half-measure, only done because your testicles will fill up and explode if you don’t do something about it.  Or that it’s merely an exercise, like daily jogging, done to keep in shape and prepare for the marathon of Real Sex™.

Is that really how people see it, or is that just the hyper-masculine, alpha-male bullshit front people put up?  That you’re not allowed to do it by itself, that it has to be in the service of conquest and domination, a demonstration of your sexual prowess, otherwise it doesn’t matter?

Masturbation is different than Real Sex™ with a partner, certainly.  But that doesn’t make it inferior or unworthy.  If the way you masturbate seems like it’s so much worse than Real Sex™ so as to make it essentially worthless, then you’re probably doing it wrong and should look at ways to improve your technique.

I used a jogging metaphor a little earlier, and I want to revisit that.  I implied that jogging is only done to prepare for a marathon.  And that’s a clearly ridiculous idea.  Many people jog simply to jog.  Even if they do run marathons, the jogging is its own separate thing.  Just because they both involve running, that doesn’t make jogging inferior.  Another example would be chocolate bars.  A lot of people like chocolate bars.  People like different types of chocolate bars.  Some people enjoy chocolate bars twice a day, every day.  But the existence of chocolate cake doesn’t invalidate chocolate bars.  Chocolate bars are not substitute cake, they’re not some inferior product that can only be vaguely tolerated when chocolate cake is unavailable and never enjoyed on their own.

I do it as its own thing.  I don’t feel like I’m missing out or that it’s a half-measure.  It is full.  It is varied.

There’s more than just the penis.  Masturbation is almost always shown as exclusively involving the penis.  It’s one hand, furiously stroking away until complete.  The other hand just kinda hangs out, unused.  Maybe, once in a blue moon, someone will grab their testicles, but that’s about it.

Is that really how people do it, or is that just the hyper-masculine, alpha-male bullshit front people put up?  The penis is the only thing that can be involved, everything else is reserved for someone else’s use during Real Sex™?

My penis is absolutely the star of the show when I masturbate, but there’s usually an ensemble supporting cast.  My “spare” hand will wander around my chest and stomach and thighs and side and neck and hair, it’ll rub my nipples, run through my pubic hair, pull my testicles, push on the perineum, and squeeze around the base of the shaft.  Sometimes, even my prostate will get involved.

I do it alone.  Now, clearly, most people who masturbate will typically do it alone in a physical sense.  But the act usually involves someone else mentally.  A partner, a stranger, the person in the porn.  There’s a fantasy built up and acted upon.  Masturbation isn’t masturbation, it’s Real Sex™ with someone who isn’t there.  Sex toy descriptions will often go into great detail about how it’s really someone’s willing whatever-body-part disembodied to please you, it’s not a textured rubber tube.  It can never be done alone.

Is that really how people do it, or is that just the hyper-masculine, alpha-male bullshit front people put up?  That it always has to be done in the service of a conquest, even if that conquest is imaginary, otherwise it’s a waste of the Power of the Cock™?

I typically do it alone in a mental sense.  I don’t fantasize.  I don’t do it to someone or for someone or whatever.  My toys are just toys, they’re not replicas or simulations of people.  Even when looking at porn, there’s no sense of personal insertion into the scene.  Whenever I try to fantasize or imagine myself in the porn scene, it becomes distracting to the point of making things more difficult.  Even in VR porn, which is supposed to make you part of the scene, there’s a disconnect.

So, I don’t know.  Is this all just toxic masculinity bullshit that I don’t subscribe to that forces everyone else to put on a mask and not admit what they actually do and actually like?  Is this asexuality skewing how I experience things?  Is it a combination?  Does it really matter?  Probably not.

[Content Warning:  This post talks about masturbation and anatomy beyond the read more.]

At the start, I had a few puzzle pieces, but I didn’t have the box to know what the picture was supposed to look like.  This piece says “requires erection”.  This piece is marked “simulates intercourse”.  “This piece looks like it reads “feels good”.  It seemed like it would be worth seeing the finished picture, but how?  There was a lot of trial and error while trying to understand out how the pieces fit together.

I didn’t have access to any informational resources on the topic.  I didn’t have access to the Internet at that time.  (We didn’t even have a computer with a modem then, and people these days barely even know what a modem is.)  My parents didn’t leave books on sex in the bookshelf for my curiosity to explore.  I didn’t have anyone in my social circle who showed me what they discovered.  The pervy neighbor kid didn’t blab about his secret porno mag stash.  I never walked in on anyone.  Maybe some of that was related to being asexual.  I never thought “Wow, she’s hot” and had a conversation about that, which might have led to the question “Do you jack off thinking about her?”  I was on my own to get it figured out.

Adding to that, the problem was physical in one way.  When I was born, my parents, like many parents of penis-bearing children, decided to spring for the unnecessary and pointless genital mutilation option package, and had my foreskin removed without asking me.  The foreskin is a sleeve of skin that wraps around the head of the penis, and I’ve heard that many people discover masturbation when they pull it back and learn that the movement feels good.  I’ve also heard that it helps with the act by providing a way to stroke the penis without lube and that the head is more sensitive with one, not to mention how sensitive a flap of skin in that area would be.  (It’s important to note that circumcision gained widespread non-religious acceptance in this country specifically as a way to prevent masturbation.  All that “It’s cleaner!” nonsense came later.)  So, because I was circumcised, masturbation was harder to discover, harder to do, and probably doesn’t feel as good as it could have. 

So anyway, I had those puzzle pieces and those challenges, but I was determined to figure it out.  “Requires erection.”  That one was easy for me at the time.  Thinking about getting an erection usually gave me an erection, and sometimes they’d happen on their own.  So if I needed one, it wasn’t far away.  “Simulates intercourse.”  This is one thing the pervy neighbor kid did blab about, somewhat.  Intercourse is where a guy puts his penis into a woman’s vagina.  Okay.  Makes sense.  But what’s a “vagina”?  Well, the penis is sort of like a hot dog, so is a vagina sort of like a hot dog bun?  I tried folding things into the shape of a hot dog bun and putting my penis into them, but didn’t have much success.  Eventually (probably in sex-ed the next year) I learned that the vagina is more of a tube, and the penis actually goes inside it.  Okay, so let’s try tube things.  Toilet paper tube…  Nope.  Wrap a towel around it?  Nope.  I’d heard vaginas described as “tight” as being a good thing, so okay, wrap a towel around it tightly?  That ain’t working, either.  At some point, I learned that there was motion involved in intercourse, that it wasn’t just insert tab A and wait five minutes for it to feel good.

Just so you know, even if you introduce motion to a toilet paper tube or a tightly wrapped towel, it’s still not going to work all that well…  I don’t think I wanted to use my bare hand, out of fear of the low, but apparently non-zero risk of unwanted hair growth that everyone warned about.  But even if I had, the lack of a foreskin would have made that difficult.

I don’t remember how or why, but eventually I got the idea that the whole thing needed to be a bit more slippery.  Maybe it was the next year’s sex ed class that provided the necessary hint, I don’t remember.  Anyway, I needed something slippery, and soap lather while in the shower was slippery.  Plus, soap washed away germs and things, so whatever microbes or spores or whatever that were supposed to lead to hair growth would probably be washed away when using soap, so I decided to risk using my hand for it.

And even that didn’t work right away.  All the pieces of the puzzle I knew about were there and in place, but there were still holes in the picture.  Pieces I didn’t know the puzzle even had.  Everything had implied that it would be a simple rub and done, but nope.  Grip strength, stroke speed and depth, different parts with different sensations.  All that had to be figured out, too.  And when I eventually did have my first orgasm, it was a weird, nauseous, muscular pumping sensation, rather than something pleasurable.  It took more tries and experimentation before it started to feel good.

In all, it was probably two years between when I first heard of the word “masturbation” and decided I wanted to try that out and the time I was successful.

Two years.

And that was just for a basic, reliable, quickie orgasm.  No frills race to the finish.  Over the years that followed, there were small improvements or enhancements.  It was probably another ten years on before I discovered a few things that fundamentally changed how good it felt, and there were still things I learned after that.

So basically, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not instant, you shouldn’t expect to naturally just know what to do.  Don’t get discouraged, keep trying, and you might eventually figure out how it works.  Plus, you have the benefit of learning from others, something I didn’t have.  (Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a missing puzzle piece over on the left side that I still need to figure out…)

And I do wonder how much asexuality played a role in that.  If I weren’t ace, would I have figured it out sooner?  Would I have gotten better at it earlier?  Or would I still have been clueless and fumbling, just thinking about a girl while I was clueless and fumbling?

I only recognize flirting in hindsight.  At the time, it runs right past me.  Is it that I’m ace or aro or whatever?  Is it that I’m not emotionally tuned into other people?  Is it that direct human interaction is a generally stressful event, and that stress blinds me to what’s going on?

Sometimes I catch it later.  But how many times do I completely miss it?

What do they think about my non-response? 

Do they ever think I’m flirting back?  Because I’m not.

There was one time when I picked up on flirting, and that’s only because it was a prolonged, repeated thing.  “Hey, I think something’s going on here…”  In that case, I started trying to figure out what to say in response, how to say that I wasn’t really interested.  But somehow, I ended up going on a date with them and didn’t even notice.

One of these days, I’m going to end up accidentally getting married or something.

Say, where did this ring come from…?

A couple of years ago, a coworker began flirting with me.  Because it went on for a while (I saw them every day and we would spend hours together due to work), I was able to determine that flirting was indeed happening, which meant I was able to start preparing for a response if a move was made.

“Well, you see…  You’re fun to talk to.  And I like you, just not that way.  I’m sorry.  I’m what’s called asexual, so I just don’t work like that.”

Then the move came.

One day, I left a book of ViewMaster reels of dissected cadavers on their desk.  (Yes, that is a thing.  I own it because I’m into stereophotography and that’s an odd stereophotographic collectible item, not because I’m into anatomy or cadavers or anything like that.  They, on the other hand, were into vintage things with a morbid twist, so I figured they’d be interested.)  And that started the process.

We were in the office, so it’s not like we could just have a straight up conversation about anything like this without everyone else noticing or overhearing, so it began on the company’s internal chat program.  While they were pouring their heart out, I kept getting interrupted by people coming up to ask questions (which happens to me all the time at work), so it wasn’t ideal.  Among the words they typed were “I’m asexual too”.

Well, there goes my counter plan.

The conversation continued throughout the day.  We went to lunch (which I later discovered was considered a “date”), where they told me that they loved me and that they already had a boyfriend and that they’d never done anything like this before.  After work, we sat in a hallway talking about things for several hours as they inched closer and started touching my arm.  As we parted that night, they gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

For some people, this would be a dream scenario, but for me, it was extremely awkward.  I don’t know what to do with this sort of situation.

Should I give a clear no, ain’t gonna happen?  But how do I do that without losing them as a friend?

Should I make something up about “I don’t date coworkers”?  Well, no, they were thinking of leaving the place anyway, so they probably would just for the chance to be with me, at which point I would have ruined both their professional and personal lives.

Should I go for it and see what happens?  But there’s nothing appealing about being in a relationship with this person.  Specifically, there’s nothing appealing about being in a relationship period.  I don’t know how to do that and I don’t really want to do that.  I wouldn’t be good at it.  Going this route would lead to me being uncomfortably pulled into things I don’t want to do pretty much all the time, and it would lead to disappointment for them, and the combination of that would probably lead to the destruction of what had the chance to turn into a long friendship.

After agonizing over it for a day and a half, I told them the truth.  That it wasn’t anything against them.  That I just didn’t see a way that a relationship with me would work, because I’m incapable of doing the things that a relationship would require.  That I’d probably feel compelled to act like I was into it, even when I wasn’t, which would be stressful.  That I couldn’t be what they’d need me to be.

It was hard to do, but it had to be said.

I have not felt many types of attraction.  Aesthetic attraction is about the only one I know I’ve felt.  Sexual, sensual, no, romantic, maybe but probably not?

Aesthetic attraction feels very similar to the feeling of looking at a cute puppy or a beautiful sunset.  The person is pleasant to look at, and there is some level of joy in looking at them, but that’s as far as it goes.  There’s no thoughts about trying to get with them in any way.  Just “they look nice” and that’s it.

Sexual attraction I know I’ve never felt, because I’ve seen other people experience it, talk about it, act on it, and I know I’ve never felt that way.  It’s like it’s this mysterious force that makes people choose what restaurants to go to, which side of the street to walk on, who to hang out with, what movies to see, what life-altering decisions to make, and I’m just sitting over here, non-ferrous and oblivious to it all.  When I had sex, I made the decision based on a number of factors, such as “She wants to”, “I’m curious about this”, “orgasms are nice”, “It’s expected in a relationship”, and so on, but “I feel a subconscious pull to be inside her” was not one of them.  Downstairs was not particularly involved in the decision and, in fact, required a bit of convincing to take part.

Sensual attraction?  No.  I’m not a fan of touching.  Don’t really like cuddling, kissing, hand holding.  I never see someone and think “I’d like to sit in their lap all day”.

Romantic attraction, I have no idea.  I don’t really think so, I think I just convinced myself that I did, because I didn’t know what else to make of what I felt.  There are some people where I feel a vague “Hey, I like that this person exists and like that they’re around sometimes” sense, but I never feel compelled to make it into more.  It’s different than “I should be friends with this person”.  And in the one case where there was the clear opportunity to turn it into a romantic relationship, that idea felt very unappealing.  So yeah, I don’t know what that is.

I’ve never wanted children.  I’ve never felt the “Oh, they’re so cute, I need to get one”, I’ve never felt like I need to pass on my “legacy”, I’ve never needed a legion of biologically connected minions to do my bidding (that’s what robots are for).

When I was younger, I wasn’t particularly against the idea if it happened somehow in the right circumstances, but I certainly wasn’t planning to pursue it.  I remember thinking “I can be a father now” once, but that was a logical statement about a physical development, not an expression of desire or future plans.

The few times that I was sexually involved with someone, I was extremely careful.  That doesn’t go anywhere near there unless it’s covered.  No exceptions.    Once finished, out and away.  Condom went on at first sign of fluid during any full body contact.  Handjobs were aimed well clear of the area.  No babies on my watch.  Of course, most of that was because neither one of us was actually in a position where care of a child would have been possible, but at the same time, I was never dreaming for the day when all those precautions could be ignored.

I remember there were vague considerations about getting married someday, but I never remember thinking about kids being part of that.  If it happened, it happened, I wouldn’t have been calling for an adoption or an abortion or anything, but it’s not something I would have been seeking out.

In the time since then, I’ve come to feel that I actively do not want children.  I would not be good with them and I would not be good for them.  Emotional closeness is not something I do, and it seems like that would be a required part of the process.

As you may have already predicted based on my other responses kissing is, not exactly my favorite activity…

Cheek kisses in a platonic context are acceptable only for a very limited subset of people.  Currently, there are only two people on that list, and one of them is dead (or at least faking it successfully).

Any other kisses are only permitted in a romantic relationship (which ain’t happening), and even then, I’m typically not a fan.  Shallow mouth kissing might be okay, but deep kissing felt like I was having my face eaten and forced my jaw open wider than was comfortable. I didn’t understand the point of tongues.  I got nothing out of it other than a weird, somewhat unpleasant sensation. Being kissed pretty much everywhere else ranged from “enh” to “meh”.

Except for the side of the neck.  Getting kissed on the side of the neck was one of the most directly arousing things that was ever done to me. 

As for doing the kissing, I think I tried kissing pretty much everywhere that wouldn’t be covered by a thong, and there wasn’t really anywhere in particular that I found interesting.  I guess the nipples and ears should be given points for variety, if that matters.

Two things in particular stand out in my memory:  First, that there was some sort of unexpected air pressure difference during a kiss, and second, that there’s some sort of unpleasantly chemically minty skin crème out there that should not be applied immediately before someone is going to be kissing the application site.

As far as specific touches go, in a context where I’m okay with being touched (which is pretty much never, so if you ever meet me, do not do any of these things and do not even ask):

  • Absolutely no ticking and no poking.  Just no stop no no no.
  • Face is generally a no.  Especially if I have a toothache.  Why do you insist on touching my face when you know I have a toothache?
  • Hair is fine.
  • Back is okay.
  • Front needs preparation, but it can be good, especially lower stomach area.
  • Side needs even more preparation.  Side out of nowhere is a definite no.
  • Arms typically okay.
  • Armpits are a no.
  • Legs are okay, but stay away from my kneecaps.
  • Feet are a hell no.
  • Butt is a why?  If you have to, full hand grab, don’t pinch.  But again, why?
  • Nipples are generally up for anything.
  • The penis is actually kinda dull…  The first time someone put their hand down my pants, I remember a distinctly lifeless sensation.  It didn’t feel at all like what I was used to.  It takes some work to make that worthwhile, and unless it’s done right, that can be more annoying than pleasant.
  • Testicles and surrounding area can be good with gentle touch.  Something that really worked was some kind of tapping just behind them, but I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what was done or how to replicate it.

I’m basically that diagram of petting zones of a cat where it’s “no no no no no” everywhere.

And as far as touching someone else:

  • Pretty much everywhere is a “why”?  Maybe with clear guidance and feedback, I can figure it out, but don’t expect me to get there on my own.