At first it didn’t make sense to me that a new friend I’d met in the polysphere claimed to be autosexual.
Then she explained to me that this was the only fair space for her to look for romantic and familial bonds—because the sexual needs of her partners could be met here.
I thought autosexual meant you got turned on by yourself, a kind of narcissism.
Maybe that’s true for some people, Jackie told me, but really all it means is that you do it yourself, but not with anyone else. By preference, not circumstance.
But if you’re poly, you have lots of options for getting off! With so many choices at hand, I don’t want to limit myself to my hand. But I’m not Jackie.
She agreed to talk to me, so I could share another intriguing angle of human sexuality on Polyamory Today.
Jamie: When did you come to understand that you were different when it came to sexual desire for men or women?
Jackie: It took me awhile. I felt sexual excitement growing up. I was curious about sex and masturbated. I just never found myself attracted to anyone. When I tried fooling around, it was not just awkward, but upsetting.
Q: Let’s look at that more closely. Since you feel desire, why not just share with someone else sometimes?
A: If it were that easy, I would. I get great anxiety from being physical with others. For this reason, I sought psychological help and even medication for some time. But my aversion to actual sex versus fantasy sex runs deep.
I don’t tolerate physical sex arousal cues at all except maybe for sight—I can see someone as attractive. But the pheromones, smells, moisture, breathing—it sounds strange to others, but these things repel me.
Q: How does this differ from asexuality?
A: Asexual usually means you have a very low sex drive, or none. But I’m not hung up on the names people use and what they mean. I have what is probably a normal or slightly high sex drive. It’s not that I’m turned on by my own breasts or pussy—it’s more a matter of needing to take care of it when I am aroused.
Q: Some people might feel you just have deep psychological issues or that maybe you were abused.
A: I was never abused. The fact that I don’t like to be touched by others is probably related to my having Asperger’s. I bet quite a few autosexuals are on the autism spectrum. We don’t like hugging and kissing, even as children.
Touch might cause healthy endorphin release and cell regeneration in most people; it is the opposite for us. Can this be fixed? I don’t get hung up on it. I am what I am.
Q: Why didn’t you just choose to be single if you know you don’t need someone else for sexual satisfaction?”
A: I don’t need sex, but I do need to be loved. I need to be part of a family and have intimacy in relationships.
Jamie: Since you don’t sleep with anyone, why does polyamory work for you?
Jackie: Polyamory isn’t only about sex. Asking for a monogamous relationship when I didn’t want sex was illogical— the solution was to find someone else who was autosexual or asexual, OR to allow others an open door. It seemed like an unusual but viable solution.
Once I ended up in the polysphere I saw quite a number of us Aspies here, and it works well.