Asexuality is much more nuanced than just “not liking sex.”
Asexuals can also be hetero-, bi- or homoromantic, meaning that they are still romantically attracted to others. People can be aromantic but allosexual, meaning that they enjoy sex but don’t have romantic feelings.
Asexuals can be gray-asexual or demisexual. Some asexuals are sex-repulsed – disgusted by sex – and others are simply bored by it. And that’s just the beginning.
Statistically, half of asexual women and three-fourths of asexual men masturbate and entertain sexual fantasies.
Vice sat down with several asexuals in order to ask: What do you fantasize about?
Daina, a 20-year-old woman from Ohio, explained that her romantic partner introduced her to BDSM. While Daina does not experience sexual pleasure, she found that she enjoys giving and receiving pain. For her, it’s less about pleasure and more about escaping from reality.
She’s a paradox. She doesn’t enjoy sex, but admits that her body has a “very high libido” and “wants sex more than I do.” She often fantasizes about both sexual and nonsexual BDSM scenarios.
Kirstin, a 26-year-old from Oregon, vacillates between feeling sex-repulsed and unable to stand the thought of sex, and sex-neutral, where she sometimes feels bored.
She masturbates only to relieve tension headaches; she finds the activity generally boring and fantasizes about having a stable future with her romantic partner. For example, she often thinks about “having a house of our own” and “getting out of debt.”
Shannon, a 23-year-old woman from New Hampshire, rarely feels romantic attraction and never feels sexual attraction. Still, she masturbates regularly.
Instead of fantasizing about sexual situations like Daina or romantic situations like Kirstin, Shannon focuses on what her own body is telling her. “I don’t so much fantasize as much as I focus on how my body is feeling.” In order to “create a space to enjoy my body,” she listens to music and stimulates herself with a vibrator.
Samantha, an 18-year-old woman from Texas, has known since middle school that she is asexual. When she fantasizes, it is about “cuddling, kissing or even doing couple things like reading to each other or going on dates.”
However, her fantasizing is not linked to sexuality or masturbation. In fact, it’s more like daydreaming. Fantasies do not always have to be in pursuit of an orgasm.
She tried masturbating once or twice, but found the entire experience “just weird and gross.” She avoids it at all costs.
To read in-depth interviews with asexuals about fantasies and masturbation, check out a feature in Vice.