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leftradical

Asexual or Dysphoric?

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leftradical

Hi everyone,



I asked a broad question over in the Q&A area, and from the kind answers I've worked out what my actual q is, and the appropriate place for it :) Hopefully I'm not breaking any forum rules by posting this here.



I'm trans* (male) and I'm not sure whether I'm asexual or just impacted by dysphoria (body issues). Are there any trans or non binary people here that might be able to help? Anyone had the same issue?



Possibly useful background info:


  • Historically I've thought why I'm not interested is dysphoria. But reading this question (fourth question down) of whether never having sex with another person again would bother me... no, not really, and seeing that it would a big deal to most sexual people is really alien to me, I just don't get it.
  • Which makes me think that maybe I've been confusing romantic interest for sexual interest. I'm pretty sure I'm not aromantic.
  • I have never properly had sex. One fumbling attempt when I was 18, not transitioned yet and completely shitfaced, which was the only way I could work up the nerve. I remember being more curious than anything else, and so so uncomfortable. Which, y'know was at least partially because the other guy thought I was a woman, but I'm starting to think that might not be the only reason.
  • Never been sorry I haven't had sex (except when dealing with people who think I ought to be).
  • Never imagine myself in sexual situations. Ever. Ew gross.
  • Even imagining an idealised version (i.e. biologically male) of myself in a sexual situation is... not gross, but not attractive either. Maybe it would be if I could do it? I'm kind of like, "yeah that would be kinda cool to try, but I don't really care" and I don't fantasise about it.
  • I love romance fiction, particularly slash fanfiction (het romances are so sexist!), but skim sex scenes - they're usually boring. I can get aroused from it occasionally, but not reliably. I read for the romance not the sex, and I'm just as happy if it doesn't go that far.
  • I currently ID as bisexual although I've never felt very happy with that label. I am more romantically attracted to men than women, so I occasionally say that I'm gay, which is better but not quite accurate. I've been romantically attracted to the occasional woman before, and I'm not too fussed about gender lines - love is love.
  • A friend coerced me into signing up for okcupid, because he wanted to, and the difference between our responses are strikingly different to me - he's moaning to me about how attractive people are but without the courage to approach them. I find people interesting from an intellectual pov but I've never looked at someone and thought "I want to do them", and I'm mainly just uncomfortable there - not keen on logging in, trying to escape when someone wanted to talk to me. I'm not shy, just not interested.
  • I am romantically interested in some people though, although I have anxiety issues, and I'm not sure if I would take a relationship if offered. I think I'd be much more likely to take a non-sexual romantic relationship if offered though than a sexual one.
  • I had a relationship with another guy for three years in my teens, but we didn't do much more than kiss (the kissing was ok for me but not great - too wet and a bit ew), much to his frustration. I would have had no problem getting him off by hand or orally and I kind of wanted to try that to see what it'd be like, to see if it had any effect on me, and because I really liked him, but I didn't want to do anything involving me. Ew. Again through, this is complicated by the fact that I'm trans* although I didn't know it at the time. So maybe if I didn't have body issues I would've wanted more?
  • I do masturbate - sorry if that's a bit baldly stated, but it's relevant. I do fantasise while I do so, but it's variations on one specific fantasy, I never imagine myself in the fantasy (ew!), and I don't want it to happen IRL. I do use porn relevant to my fantasy, but written only - visual is 99% fake and boring in my experience. (I do strongly ID with this - http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/74569-autochorissexualism/& http://whythefuckisyouromeo.tumblr.com/post/101478696189/autochoris-is-a-bit-of-a-mouthful)

Sorry for the TL;DR, but I figure more info might help rather than less.


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butterscotchwm

Well, I am certainly not an expert on dysphoria, and I don't really know what it feels like as a cisgendered woman who is asexual. But I do have 2 friends who are transgendered men, and, not to compare you to them, but their dysphoria never "got in the way" of them being sexual. My close trans friend told me once he could not stand the idea of having "straight" sex. This, I think, was the result of his dysphoria because he is a man with a vagina (and hates it), and being penetrated would not be fun for him. But the idea of having gay sex has always been a delightful subject to him. (I'm pretty sure he's a gay transgendered man.) Based off of what I know, I'm sure dysphoria effects everyone differently. But in this case, my friend's dysphoria only affected him because he was afraid of having sex with a man who perceived him as a woman.

And, by the way, nobody can tell you if you're asexual or not. I'm sure you know that. It's really up for you to discern... Imo, you have a lot of signs pointing towards asexuality, and if you can relate to most of the things asexual people say when talking about their sexual orientation, then you can totally call yourself asexual. It is just a label, so you can change it in the future if you think it doesn't apply to you anymore.

I hope this helps.

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Kellam

I wish I had some answers for you but I find myself confused by this at the moment too. I just reached self acceptance of being trans a month ago and am in the intitial stages of transition. I have identified as ace for a couple years now as my experience growing up was asexual in nature and feel fairly secure in my aromantic identity. I can relate to a lot of what you listed above. But, since coming to terms with my gender identity and talking to the broader trans community I have begun to realize what I was so secure in may just be a result of dysphoria. I have recalled a couple fantasies that I buried in denial years ago. I had dismissed them because they were an impossibility due to my body. Now, new fantasies have begun to surface but are still contingent on me having the corect anatomy. I am now willing to accept that I may, at the very least, be a demi hetero aromantic woman. Whereas, forced to live as a man, I was firmly asexual, my whole life. Or so I thought. At this stage, I still wouldn't consider sex and do not miss any that I have had and do not experience sexual atraction to anyone. But my aesthetic atraction to men has returned. I guess it was always there but like so many things tied to my gender issues I denied it out of hand. I have had limmited experience with a few female partners. I am not atracted to women in any way shape or form, I dated to prove I was a hetero man...fail. I actually feel kind of guilty about this as the community here has helped me reach self acceptance of my gender identity and I don't want to lose what has become a valuable, safe online home. I have also read in trans forums too about folk's sexuality changing once they started hrt.

For me at the moment, and for the forseable future, it will be a couple years until my body is close to right, I will continue to believe I am ace. But I have to keep my mind open. I have waited for so long to begin this process I don't want to ruin the experience by going in to it with preconcieved notions that may create another lie that I'll have to live. I'm looking for my truth as they say.

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Kappamaki

I'm ace and trans, and sometimes I wonder if the two influence each other. But I don't think it's a useful question, at least not for me.

Let's say my asexuality is somehow or other entirely caused by gender dysphoria and body issues. I doubt it, but for the sake of argument, let's just say it is definitely the case because somebody said it in red or something. The thing is, I would still be asexual in this hypothetical scenario. My "true self" wouldn't be bisexual or pansexual or whatever - that's just a hypothetical alternate self of my hypothetical self. My true hypothetical self would be asexual and trans, just like the real me, gender dysphoria and all. And since I'm comfortable in my asexuality (I'd actually be really perturbed if I started to be allosexual in any way), that's fine with me.

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leftradical

@Kappamaki - wow, thanks, that makes a lot of sense to me. :)

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Amathy

I know that my asexuality and gender impact each other. Buts its never been a concern for me. I do experience dyphoria that may make sex unimaginable. However, I don't see either my asexuality or gender changing. If they do later in life then I'll reasses the labels then. I've had people challenge me on how I label myself but they're my labels and nobody gets to tell me how I should think about myself.

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Emery.

From a point of view of a heterosexual who was hit by sexual desire at 16, not ever experiencing it before, you are sexual when you have simply the desire to have sex. I regret not having sex. I think about it and a couple of times a day wish I could do it with some particualr handsome guy ;) and it takes over my imagination. Why? No idea. It has something to do with desire for chocolate ;)

As far as being excited about sex in ficition or so, well, I'm quite oblivious. Many sexual people are. I would be quite scared of dating sites too. Just as many sexuals. It's not about JUST sex with anyone. It's about sex with handsome/pretty, attractive person, whom you can trust of course and not afraid to hug. However, opinions on trust and being afraid of hugs differ.

Plus, sexual desire has nothing to do with romance or relationship or dating. Not romance or human feelings. Animal feelings only. Sensuality. But have in mind that this point of view is only one point of view and more common among males. Some people, more often females, need romence first to experience sexual urge at all and end up feeling any desire at 23 or so.

However, you sound at least to some extend ace.

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butterflydreams

For me at the moment, and for the forseable future, it will be a couple years until my body is close to right, I will continue to believe I am ace. But I have to keep my mind open. I have waited for so long to begin this process I don't want to ruin the experience by going in to it with preconcieved notions that may create another lie that I'll have to live. I'm looking for my truth as they say.

Definitely this. It's funny, because when I first showed up here, and first started allowing myself to imagine myself as asexual, some of my first thoughts were, "well, if I were a girl, I don't think I'd be asexual." This was months before I'd worked my way into gender-space. Perhaps naively, I thought others surely must feel the same way. It was immediately clear they didn't. Being asexual wasn't a conditional like it was in my mind. So when people ask about the relationship between dysphoria, trans-ness and asexuality, for me, there is a link.

Like you, even considering how helpful the idea of asexuality has been for me, I wouldn't hold onto it longer than it made sense. Its still unlikely I'd become some ragingly sexual woman, but I have a deep hunch I might not be as asexual as I am now. Again, that's me though, and as I said, I've already learned that most asexuals don't seem to share that feeling.

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Wild Seven

It's perfectly possible to be both honestly, and your dysphoria and your orientation don't really have to be causative in any way. They can simply both be present, not either-or, it's up to you how comfortable you are or not with your body, with how society labels and treats your body, and your sexuality.

Basically my experience has been to treat issues as they arise, analyzing links between them is useful but can get one only so far. Some times, things just are.

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