I’m a healthy masturbator; if you’re reading this Mom/Nana/colleague/former teacher, sorry for the gory details, but I think it’s important to establish that despite having gone over a year without having sex, I am in no way a priest in the making or eunuch. It is also important to know that I am not abstaining from sex for any moral reason, or because I am insecure about my body or my sexual stamina. I am abstaining from sex simply because I’m not interested in men romantically or physically at this current time. I know this sounds confusing; hell even I’m confused about it, especially since I watch gay pornography during “Diddle time”, which indicates that in theory I enjoy sex stuff. So I get why people would think I’m lying or abstaining from sex for the previously listed reasons, but the truth is I’ve never felt as secure in myself as I do now. I am happily single and sex-free; I have accepted that I’m that way not because I’m jaded or afraid, but because my sexuality is complicated and unimportant in comparison to who I am and what I want to do in life.

I’ve felt a lot of different things about my sexuality, or lack thereof.  When I came out of the closet as gay, I felt compelled to find myself a boyfriend and lose my virginity because I wanted to play sexual catch up. I put myself in sexual situations I wasn’t truly interested in, and when I didn’t enjoy them, I told myself it was because I was inexperienced or because I had chosen the wrong partner (which to be fair was true 50% of the time). My ex boyfriend and I would have sex, but very infrequently, simply because I was usually never in the mood for it. I felt bad for being prude and emotionally distant, and it wasn’t upon breaking up that I discovered that romance and sex were just things I wasn’t interested or equipped to deal with at this point in my life. It’s been over a year since I’ve been single, and I still have no  real interest in being with someone physically or emotionally, and I’m completely okay with that.

I love being single and sex-free for a plethora of reasons. I like not having to go out of my way to try and fit some new into my social calendar; I like spending  time with the people I already know and love, and spending any additional free time I have on self improvement and Netflix. I like going to the gym and working out to look good and feel good for myself, and not because I want to impress someone or live up to some beauty standard, and when I go out with friends I like knowing that I don’t need the sexual attention of someone else to enjoy myself. I’m essentially one of those people who has been in a relationship for so long that they no longer care about what their partner thinks of them, except I’m in that relationship with myself rather than someone else.

I’ve had sex and enjoyed it greatly; I’ve had a boyfriend and I know how great it is to be loved in that way. But the perks of those two things do not outweigh how awful it feels lying to yourself, or pushing yourself to do things you don’t actually want to do. I’ve engaged in sexual activities I’ve regretted because I wanted to convince myself and others that I was something I was not. I told myself something was wrong with me because I didn’t enjoy it, I told myself I should feel bad for not being able to express myself intimately. I even let myself feel guilty for not getting off because I felt like I was disappointing boys who I was lucky enough to be getting attention from. I tortured myself for not loving someone as much as they loved me, but thankfully I realized and accepted that I don’t need to punish myself for being the way I am. There’s no reason to hate myself for being simply who I am, nor should I look at myself as any sort of inconvenience solely because I’m different.  I’m no longer worried about whether or not something’s wrong with me, nor am I afraid that I will end up alone in the future, because I’ve learned that being alone and being single are two very different things, and that I don’t need sex or someone else to be happy.

Recently I’ve read up on a thing called “gray asexuality”, a type of sexual orientation  that refers to people who are kind of like me; people who do not experience sexual attraction often, but can experience it sometimes. People who can enjoy and desire sex, but usually do so in very specific and limited circumstances.  It’s nice to know that there are other people out there who feel like me; it’s nice to know that there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’m glad there is a word to describe how I’m currently feeling, but I’m not going to start calling myself “gray asexual” or telling people that is what I am. I’m not going to because I don’t want to create another label for myself that I’ll feel compelled to conform to. I know how hard it can be to live up to some sort of identity, and if my feelings ever change, I don’t want to feel guilty or hypocritical for not fitting into my self imposed box.

I know how tempting it can be to label yourself as something just so you can feel you belong somewhere or meet the expectations of those around you. The reality though is that you’ll never feel good belonging in a box you’re not meant to be in. I could go around and say I’m “gray asexual”, which may not even be true, or I can just say “I don’t feel like talking about that stuff” whenever someone asks an invasive question and just move on. People are not entitled to know everything about your life because what you do or who you do has no bearing on their life whatsoever. The only people whose opinions matter are your friends and family, who are the people you hopefully don’t  ever planning on having sex with. You don’t owe anyone anything else.