Claiming a sex-repulsed identity

This is for the July 2014 Carnival of Aces, whose topic is sex repulsion.

I have had a complicated history regarding identifying as sex repulsed. For all intents and purposes, sex repulsion describes me very well: I’m completely uninterested in and repulsed by the idea of my having genital contact with another person. I would find it extremely unpleasant. I have hesitated until now, however, to describe myself as sex repulsed.

My previous hesitation came from several sources. I witnessed a lot of elitism among several sex-repulsed asexual people about sex repulsion: according to those elitists, ever having been able to tolerate masturbation made someone not-really-sex-repulsed. I also felt like my repulsion to genital contact wasn’t enough: not that there was not enough repulsion, but that it was not sufficient to have repulsion to genital contact. I felt like I needed to experience repulsion to everything that anyone has ever called “sex” in order to call myself sex repulsed. And that meant I needed to pin down a definition of “sex” that encompassed all of that, and come to the conclusion that I would find all of those activities unpleasant.

It was relatively easy to dismiss the elitists on the surface–very few sex-repulsed people think masturbation is relevant to their sex-repulsed identity–but the need I had for years to define “sex” and “sex repulsed” in exact terms probably came from internalizing that elitism.

It has taken me a long time to come to the point where I don’t think that defining sex in exact terms is necessary in order to call yourself sex-repulsed, and to be okay with claiming a label as an approximation, rather than as an exact thing. It’s completely okay for a label to be an approximation. In the same vein as that you are allowed to call yourself “asexual” even if you can’t exactly define “sexual attraction,” you are allowed to call yourself sex repulsed even if you can’t give an exact definition of “sex.”

Although and I can’t tell you what “sex” exactly is, I’m finally okay with claiming a sex-repulsed identity without feeling a need to qualify it with “mostly” or “sort of.”

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Talia C. Johnson

Sensitivity Editor, Educator, Coach, Facilitator, Spiritual Leader, and Activist

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