read your column every week, mostly out of abstract interest.
My thoughts reading your advice are usually some variation
on “Wow, that’s a lot of work to do, just to have a sex life.”
So reading you, I came to the conclusion that I was asexual.
I liked this conclusion, as it was a sexual identity that
made sense for me.
Then I joined an asexual community. I soon realized that I
was unlike those people, too. It turns out that they have
no sexual attractions either way, whereas I comfortably identify
as a straight male. I look when a pretty girl walks past (much
to the chagrin of an asexual I dated for a short time), I
like to kiss, and I enjoy some genital contact—but I’m in
the mood for penetration very rarely. Asexuals seemed to be
turned off by physical intimacy.
I soon realized that asexual was the wrong label for me. In
reality, what I am is minimally sexual.
Here’s the question: How do normally sexual persons feel about
being with someone who can perform but doesn’t particularly
want to? I know that being in a relationship means making
compromises, but will a normally sexual person accept a partner
who is able to have sex but does not wish to for certain reasons,
e.g., a lack of confidence or stamina. Can a person please
a partner without pleasing said partner in the euphemistic
Sexual, Not Asexual
should come as no shock to someone who reads my column every
week—or any other advice column—that there are lots of people
out there who want to be in relationships but don’t particularly
want to have sex. We don’t usually hear directly from these
“minimally sexual” types. Instead, we hear from their maximally
unhappy partners, i.e., the “normally sexual persons” who
find themselves unhappily married to and/or otherwise stuck
with minimally sexual persons.
With all the minimally sexuals out there making normally sexuals
miserable, NSNA, it should be obvious to all regular readers
that there’s not exactly a shortage of people who aren’t interested
in sex. With that being the case, why would you even contemplate
inflicting yourself on a normally sexual person? Why not go
find another minimally sexual person? You’ll be doing your
minimally sexual self a favor, you’ll be doing your future
minimally sexual partner a favor, and you’ll be doing all
normally sexual persons everywhere a favor by removing two
minimals—you and your future partner—from the dating pool.
Unless you’re more interested in sex than you let on, NSNA,
and you find the idea of a normally sexual partner appealing
because a normal might be able to help you build your confidence
and learn to enjoy sex. I certainly hope you’re not another
asexual/minimally sexual person who wants a normally sexual
partner because you take a perverse pleasure in depriving
someone else of sex, constantly rejecting that person’s advances,
and ultimately destroying their confidence.
I’m a 22-year-old queer chick who came out only a couple
years ago. Right when I was starting to talk honestly with
my friends about my sexuality, I met a girl with whom I got
along great. Fairly quickly, we both realized that she wanted
the relationship to go further—she says this was the first
time she had ever been attracted to another girl. I was not
at all attracted to her, so I said something about being too
unstable myself in the coming-out process to date someone
who’s also just coming out. It worked, she dropped it, and
we have since become extremely close friends. She began identifying
openly as bi, and identifies me as the reason.
Here’s the problem: Yesterday, out of the blue, she told me
that she still really likes me and thinks we should be together.
Dan, this girl is really important to me, but I am still not
at all physically attracted to her. Am I a totally superficial
a-hole? What can I tell her that won’t ruin this friendship?
How can I make it clear that I don’t feel the same way without
giving the actual reason?
We Just Be Friends
too unstable in the coming-out process to date someone who’s
also just coming out,” is a baby-dyke variation on “I’m just
not ready for a relationship right now.” Unfortunately, CWJBF,
not everyone on the receiving end of that white lie is smart
enough to realize that their white liar actually means “I’m
not interested in being in a relationship with you and I never
This poor girl waited until you were further along in the
coming-out process to ask you out again because she was foolish
enough to believe you when you blamed bad timing. Now you’re
going to have to tell her the truth—yes, you’re going to have
to give her the actual reason—and the hurt is going to be
worse when she realizes what a fool she was to wait.
Apologize for not being direct when she first asked you out.
Tell her you love her as a friend but you’re not attracted
to her sexually or romantically and never will be. Leveling
with her won’t make you an a-hole, CWJBF, but it could cost
you this friendship.
CONFIDENTIAL TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: I was supposed
to speak on your campus last Thursday night, but God had other
plans. I was at the Cornerstone bar when the blizzard really
started slamming and power lines started catching fire and
all hell broke loose. The evening’s most distressing development:
The bar had to stop serving once the power went out.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to coming back to your campus—the
Savage Love Live event/shoot is being rescheduled and may
take place this week—and when I return, I’d really like to
meet the person responsible for some graffiti I spotted in
the men’s room at the Cornerstone: “Don’t Raw Dog a Random.”
That has to be the most effective peer-to-peer safer-sex message
I’ve ever read while taking a piss in Maryland. It did take
me a second to work out exactly what it meant, as I’m old,
so here’s a quick translation for other olds: “Don’t raw dog
a random” means “For heaven’s sake, don’t engage in unprotected
vaginal intercourse—don’t have sex without a condom—with a
woman you’ve only just met, particularly if you met her in
this drinking establishment. Bro.”
It’s not a fail-safe strategy for avoiding sexually transmitted
infections—people can get very specific STIs from completely
nonrandom sex partners—but the number of STIs could be cut
dramatically if all male college students everywhere refrained
from raw-dogging those lovely lady randoms and vice versa.
(I realize that “random” is not gendered . . . but if you
saw this bar, you would know that an exclusively heterosexual
clientele can be safely assumed. A straight boy wrote that
message, and he was addressing other straight boys, and “random”
refers to female pickups, not male pickups.)
I want to add that I was particularly impressed by the use
of the word “random” in place of, say, “bitch,” “slut,” “whore,”
or any of the other sexist/hostile/demeaning terms that college-town-bathroom-stall-graffitiing
types typically use in place of “woman,” “female,” or “young
lady coed.” Well done, DIY safe-sex educator!
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday