Sex is everywhere. All across the world, we’re bombarded with sexed-up ads for every type of product and shows where you can’t have romance without sex. The norm in media is sex, sex and more sex.
And yet, there are so many expectations for sex: don’t be too desperate, don’t want it too much, don’t have too many partners, don’t be a prude… How are we supposed to keep up?
As an innocent teen, I was told I had to be hypersexual. It was all around me. My friends, my peers and the media I was consuming: everything was sexualized. From a young age, I saw the boys in my class talk about how short this girl’s skirt was, or how big that girl’s boobs were. They were so open about their hypersexuality that it was normalized. And, it was expected.
As I got older, my friends began to lose their virginities. They began to confide in me about how excited they were about sex and how much they wanted it. I didn’t understand this craze. I thought that something must be wrong with me because I didn’t want sex the same way everyone around me did. So, I began to pretend. I thought: “fake it till you make it, right?” So, I began dating boys and participating in things that I truly didn’t want to be doing, but thought I was supposed to.
In Grade 9, I gained a small amount of clarity by coming out as queer. I thought to myself: “Okay, that makes sense, I just don’t want sex with boys!” When I got my first girlfriend, I maintained my stance that hypersexuality was the norm and that if I didn’t want sex all the time, there was something wrong with me. Well, obviously, this didn’t fare well with my mental health. I began to treat sex as a means of survival. It was a way for people to like me, to fix problems and to stop arguments. I could project my hatred of confrontation into something that was normal. Nobody would suspect I was doing it for the wrong reasons: they would just see a hypersexualized young girl, nothing new in society.
Over the years, I began to realize that this pretending was simply that: pretending. I was not being my true self; in fact, I had no idea who my true self even was. I thought I had to be all about sex, all the time. I thought I had to want it, and I thought that pretending I enjoyed it would make me more wanted. But that isn’t me. I love the close connection that comes with being intimate, and I love that I am able to give someone a level of happiness that no one else can. But, at 20-years-old, I’m finally able to realize that the hypersexualization that was pushed on me as a teen wasn’t me. It will probably never be me. And, that’s okay.
The biggest step I had to take in discovering who I truly am was simply forgiving myself. All those things I did as a teenager that make me cringe today, I forgave myself for them. I realized that I can’t change who I am to fit in with what society says I should be. I don’t need to be hypersexual to get someone to like me, and I’m not a bad girlfriend for saying “No” when I’m not in the mood.
As the conversation about sex is being had more and more every day, I’m starting to realize that I’m not alone. There are people all over the world who are just like me — they don’t fit in with the stereotype of hypersexuality. I don’t think I’d label myself as asexual, but I do know that I’m in a place now where I no longer want to pretend. I want to continue having a healthy, loving and intimate relationship with someone I deeply care about, and I want to continue to be someone I always knew I was but am finally accepting.
I will always respect everyone’s personal choices, whether that be having lots of sex, a little bit of sex or no sex at all. Whatever you’re comfortable with, the most important thing is to be you. I know I am.
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