Illustration Mike Force
I haven’t had sex in eight years. I just kind of stopped after a breakup. I’m a guy who has been with men and women, but mostly men. I haven’t told any of my friends—they all assume I’m getting laid. I don’t correct them so I guess I sort of lie about it. I just don’t know what to tell people. I’ve read about asexuality, but I don’t feel like that’s me. But if I haven’t had sex in that long, does that mean I must be asexual? Should I tell my friends? The thought of “coming out” again doesn’t really appeal to me, but they keep trying to set me up with people and I’m not sure how to say no.
Does it matter? About the asexuality? The same way some “straight” (str8?) guys on the internet love having their dicks sucked by other guys, or some “gay” men fuck women, you can not want to have sex with anyone and still not identify as asexual. I know some people get shirty about this idea—that you’re allowed to choose how you identify—because they believe it’s your duty as someone who has (or doesn’t have!) a certain kind of sex to identify yourself “accurately,” and therefore help to normalize and de-stigmatize that identity.
And I get that! I totally do! I have to imagine that it’s very frustrating for anyone who is out as anything other than a gender-conforming vanilla straight person to watch an in-the-closet person not have to deal with the bullshit they do. But on a personal level, fuck that. Everyone gets to identify as they please, and sleep or not sleep with who they please. You’re also allowed to change your mind, both about the label and the having and not having of sex.
But while that is all righteous and correct, dealing with your friends is another matter. You definitely don’t have a responsibility to tell them anything at all. None of their business! Nosy birds. Of course, though, talking about love and sex is part of a lot of friendships, and they care about you and want to know about your life. And maybe you want to share, because it’s nice to share things about your life with your friends. If they’re anything like my friends, though, I’m pretty sure that if you told them they would have questions along the lines of “WHAT?!? WHY!!?!?!,” and if those aren’t questions you feel like dealing with, keeping things to yourself makes a lot of sense. So it’s kind of a conundrum.
I would think a simple “I’m not looking to date anyone right now” followed by a “Seriously, I hate set-ups and if you keep asking I will scream at you” should be enough to deter any matchmaking, but I think there are deeper questions you might want to reflect on a bit. Is your celibacy a phase, or a part of who you are? Is it something you’re comfortable sharing with the people who love you the most? Why or why not? Are you happy with the way things are going? If not, what would need to change to make you happy? Unfortunately, voluntary celibacy is something that many people consider weird, so while you may be very happy with your non-sex, you will probably have to put up with a lot of annoying conversations about it. That, I’m afraid, is just life.