“When Stacey wrote about her experience of not wanting to sleep with anyone, even her husband, dozens of readers sent emails saying that they too were asexual. Many described feeling isolated in a sexualised society.”
Here are two of the emails, one from a woman, the other from a man:
I am in my sixties and have had two failed marriages, but I have never initiated or enjoyed sex with another person. As a teenager it was easy to refuse sex, it was expected of a “good” girl, but family pressure meant that I was married at 21 and suddenly had no more excuses. I loved my husband and wanted to please him, but I felt no sexual desire and hated the experience of a physical relationship. I never initiated sex with him, and was almost glad when he eventually had affairs because the pressure was no longer on me to satisfy his needs. I felt overwhelming guilt for being so cold and took all the blame for my first marriage ending. I couldn’t understand how I could love someone so much but dislike being touched by them… I married an older man 10 years ago who had led me to believe that he also was past sexual desire. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and he took my reluctance to have sex with him very badly. He forced me to perform sexual acts and I ended up hating him for it. We are going through an acrimonious divorce. In hindsight I should never have married again.
I am a 35-year-old man, and have only just realised I am asexual. I have always been attracted to people, form romantic feelings very quickly and have always dated. I would fancy someone, enjoy the kissing and physical contact, but when it came to sex, my body would just switch off. I thought it could have been performance issues and I kept trying – it caused huge embarrassment and destroyed my confidence for years. I am desperate for a relationship and had completely resigned myself to being alone and childless forever. But recently I have seen a lot of articles about asexuality, and I can’t begin to describe the relief that I am now able to label what it is about me that is different. I can even begin to dream about finding someone who could understand.
Read more letters.