First Person: I'm A Mom, A Pastor's Wife, and I'm Asexual

I am a mother. A pastor’s wife. A teacher. An Adventist. I love Star Trek. I have a cat. And I am asexual. It took me over 30 years to discover that last part. Let’s start basic. According to Wikipedia, the source of much of my cultural knowledge, asexuality is “The lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity.” There are many different types of people who identify as asexual, but since this is my story and not a guide to understanding asexuality, I’ll just say that I am what’s called a “romantic asexual” as opposed to “aromantic asexual.” That means I fall in love. I have an orientation (heterosexual). I identify with a gender (cis female). I just don’t want to have sex. Not with anyone. Not ever.

This made me really judgy in my younger unmarried years. I saw my friends struggling to remain abstinent in their premarital relationships and I was puzzled. Don’t they have any self-control? Can’t they just make a decision and stick to it? I never seem to have problems! I made a commitment to remain pure and… you know… it’s not even that hard!

But after I got married things got difficult. I thought sex would be this mind-blowing experience that TV and culture says it will be. I thought there was something wrong with me. I spent hours talking things through with my poor husband. I went to see two different doctors. Neither of them were helpful. One of them told me I was a freak. I went to see two separate therapists. One of them told me that I didn’t like sex because my husband was doing it wrong.

Our culture is very heavily sexualized. On TV or in the movies if someone doesn’t want to have sex it’s because there is something wrong with them or because they are repulsed by their partner in some way. But that was not the case with me. I am head-over-heels crazy about my husband. I can’t imagine living without him. I just don’t want to have sex with him. And that brought with it some incredible shame. I was convinced I was broken. That I needed to be fixed. I have never met a person who identifies as asexual. I have never seen one portrayed on TV or in the movies. The weight that I carried with me all the time was crushing. I would avoid my husband when I knew it had been awhile since we were together. I would pretend to be exhausted. I started wearing baggy unflattering clothes around the house hoping to deter him. It was miserable for both of us. Any romantic activity would trigger my crushing shame and I associated all romantic touch with that shame. I was guilty all the time. 24 hours a day. It was a very dark few years.

One day I was online and someone shared something about Asexuality awareness day. I immediately latched onto it. What is asexuality? I spent the whole day and most of the next day doing research on the topic. I was amazed at how much I identified with the information. I couldn’t believe there were other people in the world like me! I was delighted with the information. I wasn’t broken. I was whole. I was made this way. The mental freedom I experienced was indescribable.

Identifying as asexual has changed everything for me. I have let go of the shame and guilt I had. I have accepted myself. I don’t want sex and that’s ok!

If you ever meet someone who identifies as asexual, and they share that information with you, let me give you the same advice I would give someone who meets anyone on the LGBTQIA spectrum. Please don’t ask them about their sex life. Since I’m writing this article, I will tell you that my husband and I work it out because we love each other. We spend time talking through how we feel. We share when our needs aren’t being met. We compromise. And we find joy in the journey.

I am not “out” as asexual. There are many reasons for this. Asexuality education is seriously lacking, even among strong supporters of the LGBT+ community. And, being an Adventist pastor’s wife, I am not usually surrounded by people who are strong supporters of the LGBT+ community. Maybe one day I will be ready to take on the responsibility of educating people about what asexuality is, what it means, and how to treat people with respect regarding their sexuality, but not now. I’m not ready to take that on. I’ve got kids to raise and work to do and a church to help run. Secondly, because I’m already married it’s not really necessary for me to be open about my sexuality with anyone but my husband. I don’t need to inform potential dating partners. I can be fully myself in the context of my marriage and I don’t feel stifled in my self-expression outside of that context. I don’t need to discuss my sex life with anyone at my church. It would make for uncomfortable, invasive, and unnecessary conversations. I have shared with some of my family and friends. I don’t exactly want to hide. I just don’t feel the need to share it from the pulpit.

Another concern is the same concern that many in the LGBT+ community face. I’m afraid that as soon as my asexuality was public my character would become immediately one-dimensional. No longer would I be the interesting person who has a cat and leads the song service and drops her kid off at school and watches Captain Jean-Luc Picard save the galaxy from certain destruction in her free time. Nope. I would be that asexual woman. A person defined by only one aspect of myself. And a very personal and private aspect of myself. I don’t want my church members to think of my sex life every time they think of me. As I write these things it strikes me how privileged I am to be able to keep my asexuality a secret. So many are unable to remain in the closet for their own sanity. And they are forced to do the hard things that I am able to avoid.

As a culture asexuality needs to be acknowledged. I am certain there are people out there like I am who feel like there is something wrong with them. Representation matters. I am writing this article hoping that it will help get the word out there. I would love to turn on the TV sometime and see a complicated, nuanced character work through his or her asexuality. I would love to see two asexual characters forge a romantic relationship, or one asexual and one sexual person have enough love and respect for one another that they figure out a way to make it work for both of them, as my husband and I have.

Our church is challenged by the idea of gay and lesbian relationships. It is challenged by transgender people expressing their true gender. It is challenged by bisexuality. Is it challenged by asexuality? Maybe not in the same way. After all, according to traditionalists, I’m technically not committing any sins by not having sex at all. But simply by identifying myself as asexual challenges the church. Here are a few questions that people have asked me (some of them more politely. I have condensed the questions for clarity) when I share my asexuality.

“Is that really a thing?”

“Are you sure you’re not just still recovering from that slump after the baby was born?”

“Maybe you just have a low sex drive. That’s not really a sexual identity.”

“You’ve really gotten into this whole LGBT+ thing a lot lately. Are you sure you’re not just trying too hard to identify with them?”

“Have you talked with your husband about how to satisfy you?”

“You know, women are just like that.”

Depending on my mood, and who I’m talking to I either laugh these comments off or try to patiently explain, again. But sometimes when I get home I can feel the insult; the implication again that I’m broken; that I’m exaggerating or attention grabbing or that I just need to have a “man who knows what he’s doing.” These comments are very deeply insulting to both me and my husband. And women. And men. And LGBT+ people. My marriage is so much more joyful and connected since I discovered my asexuality. I hope that as a culture we can learn how to approach all people with respect and dignity.

I imagine that in my next 30-60 years I will still be discovering new things about myself. I hope so. Life would be awfully boring without new information to discover and process.

I hope that one day when I’ve had a little more time to let this relatively recent discovery settle for me, I can be more open about it. Maybe I won’t feel so uncomfortable telling people even if I know they will be challenged by the inevitable discussion that follows. In the meantime, I’ll keep learning about gender and sexuality and enjoying watching James T. Kirk beat up strange creatures on alien planets.

The author of this article has requested to remain anonymous.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7148
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You are unique, just like us all. There is nothing to worry about. You have clearly come to a satisfactory place with your husband, so what is the issue?

Perhaps, for those who are in premarital relationships and are getting serious, they should discuss this seriously. Sexual compatibility is an important aspect of marriage, but it is only one aspect.

Thank you for your bravery in writing this article. I suspect there are lots of people like you, and this will give them encouragement.

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Thanks for sharing this story. Sexuality is complex and all too often layered in shame that comes from a simplistic and ignorant view of sexuality.

Love, relationship, commitment, family and spirituality are all a part of our sexuality. Too often sex is the obsession of the church where the other parts of a sexuality are ignored.

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Asexual individuals are probably the least well understood in any community. Even the LGBTQQIAAP community has trouble knowing how to relate, since most humans have problems controlling their sexual urges, not with having none at all. I am so sorry that those of us who are sexual make it so difficult for people like you. Just know that you are loved, and I am so glad that you and your husband have been able to navigate this difficult issue as well as you have. You both deserve a medal.

I do wish you did not need to remain anonymous, but I totally understand the need to do so. I know a few other asexual people personally, and I think that we as humans and as Christians, need to get to know as many types of individuals on the LGBTQQIAAP as possible. I have had that opportunity as an advocate, and I can say it has given me a glimpse of humanity that we all should have. We are all just as broken and just as whole, whether heterosexual or one of the other letters on the spectrum. I just so deeply wish that we as a church could realize this and love each LGBTQQIAAP person as Christ did on earth and continues to do now.

For those who are unacquainted with the meaning of the letters in LGBTQQIAAP (and I usually just abbreviate it as LGBT, for cenvenience, and assume it includes all that the longer acronym includes), here is a quick guide:

  • L: Lesbian. Women attracted to women.
  • G: Gay. Men attracted to men.
  • B: Bisexual. People attracted to both sexes.
  • T: Transgender. People whose interior sense of gender is different
    than their exterior physical sexuality, whether male to female (MTF)
    or female to male (FTM).
  • Q: Queer. People who don’t want to label themselves by their sex acts
    but do want to claim being different, eccentric, and fabulous.
    Reclaimed from an old hate term, Queer can also be highly offensive,
    depending on usage.
  • Q: Questioning. People still working out who they are attracted to,
    often applicable to the young.
  • I: Intersex. People born into bodies that are not definitiviely male
    or female, including those born with ambiguous genitalia, bits of
    both male and female plumbing, or genetics beyond the standard XX and
    XY.
  • A: Asexual. People who are affectional but aren’t that into sex.
  • A: Allies. Straight people who support the LGBTQ+ community.
  • P: Pansexual. People attracted to others more by individual
    personality, differing from bisexuality in that they ignore the
    gender binary altogether.

P.S. I think this acronym is too long too, but it is useful to dredge it up occasionally. A commonly used short version is LGBTQ+.

Not sure there is an objective way to decide what belongs on a list of “acceptable” diversity, but I believe balance should at least be our goal, and currently we as a church are very far from even the semblance of balance. I will worry about more “aberrant” additions when we have at least dealt with LGBTQIA. We just need more understanding at the moment and less judgement.

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Dear Anonymous. Thank you for your open and honest and insightful article. Sexuality in the church is often a topic that we want to place into a box and never open… regardless of the orientation of the believer. I hope that you feel loved and accepted by your church family regardless of your sexual orientation. Many times, that is not the case, which makes me wonder what Jesus would write in the sand at the feet of those throwing stones.

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i believe it is the reality that some women suffer from premature androgen deficiency in the form of low testosterone levels without even knowing it…i wonder if the author has had her levels measured (i wouldn’t put it past most physicians to overlook this, since she is a woman)…

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I support all the people that those letters represent but maybe its time to come up with a shorter label or none at all!

Anonymous thank you for your bravery in sharing something so personal! I know your story will touch a chord with many others who feel as you do! Our church needs to recognize that gender and sexuality issues are also differences one can be born with and stop labeling them as immoral. Nothing else is labeled immoral that people are born with or without!

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Thank you so much for sharing your very personal story. Yes, asexuality really is a real thing, and yes it is a difficult concept for many people to grasp, just as the concept of wanting to have sex is difficult for me to grasp. Because sexuality is such a controversial topic in our culture, it makes it that much more difficult to talk about, and anyone who doesn’t fit smoothly into our cultural norms can find her- or himself struggling with feelings of self doubt and feeling disapproved of or ridiculed. Hopefully by persons like yourself speaking out, some young person will be spared the agony of thinking themselves to be broken and defective for so many years as I did. Bless you for your honesty and bless your husband for having the compassion and understanding to work with you to come to a solution (whatever that may be) that works for you both!

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Thank you, Anonymous, for sharing your story.

At last, people are talking more openly and I hope this will lead to more open acceptance of the diversity of sexual orientations, and to less ostracizing of others for their differences.

Asexuality is a normal variety of human sexuality, and is in fact common among the generally healthy adult population. Both men and women can be asexual, without any pathology involved, and for a happy few it is an accepted part of their personal make-up.

Jesus himself might have been asexual, without sexual interest in either men or women, as the NT leaves no traces of a desire for women or having children, and his recognition of those who choose a non-sexual lifestyle. In fact, Matthew 19:12 records Jesus’ most complete statement anywhere on sexuality: “For there are eunuchs who were born that way; others were made that way by men; and still others live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus seems to have been aware of but accepted these varieties of human sexuality without judgment … “Let hm who is able to accept this do so.”

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Our culture wants to define people by their sexuality (and by their feelings). Here we have a normal person who simply feels there’s more to life than sex. A few points:

  1. You are a normal mum.
  2. God commands spouses to love each other. It’s not a feeling, it’s a command.
  3. The Bible also tells husbands and wives not to deny each other sexually. But it doesn’t promise that it will be earth shattering. Only society does that, and let me suggest that the only reliable way to maintain that is through adultery and immorality through the novelty factor.
  4. There truly is more to life than sex. Get on with life, love your family, and do the things that need doing and those that you enjoy doing.
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I’m glad you shared your story! It’s a story many people need to read with an open mind. Thank you for being brave and stepping into an area so many are afraid to step into. Much love to you and to others in the LGBTQ+ community.

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Thank you for help in adding to the conversation about how broad and diverse sexuality is. I am so tired of being reduced to just my sexuality even though i often do that myself as a gay man. i am so much more. I wish i were able to hide. God knows i tried for decades. The cost of hiding is horrendous. even worse than the cost of coming out. Again. Thank you and God bless.

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tThanks for sharing.

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I too feel broken due to my sexual issues. I find that when I contend I am not broken but simply made this way there results an assumption I can find satisfaction in the pursuit of enjoying my identity. However, the more I tried to enjoy my life the deeper I slipped into the delusion of Satan’s most pernicious snare. Thinking I was whole I found myself empty but not knowing why. It’s when I realized my brokeness was God’s means to reveal my need to surrender. The indulgence and pride in what is our brokeness blinds us to the only indicator we have for our need of salvation.

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While it’s perfectly O.K. to be asexual, is it fair to enter into a marriage without revealing that to your future partner? How is it different than a true homosexual who marries for a “cure” or public pressure to appear “normal”? How many marriages have eventually broken because one partner was not completely open about his or her sexuality?

Not revealing that one partner is unable to sexually express love is unfair and deceptive. Marriage is expected to be sexual, unless both agree with those conditions.

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I don’t think she realized she was asexual. She stated that she thought everyone was like her, but not being ‘good’ by participating in premarital sex. I think she thought her responses were normal until after she got married and sexuality didn’t live up to what she had expected it to be.

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Would Christ refer to the personal journey of one of His children in such a manner? This is what you must ask yourself.

Expressing yourself with kindness never goes astray.

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Long ago the minister to the young man :" Just marry, appetite comes with eating !" It was a lifelong unsuspected sacrifice for the faithful wife, renouncing her diesires,. accepting her fate out of Gods hand, …

Another minster - illustrating his sermon with an experience of ideal ( !) marriage : He knows a couple, married for a lomg time, who had excluded sex - no desire, nor phantaises, no wishes. Thats the SOLUTION 1

A ministers wife applied for divorce. Her husband being impotenet and she having a desire to be a mother. Noo, his answer, she just does not attract me at all, I wanted to lead a pure and holy marriage life with her. - - - The Division said “NO” to the divorce, since the public saw them as husband and wife and both had the same name in the passpoert ( ! )

Oh, those happy couples, Daddy driving the convertible, Mothers blond hair steraming in the air, in the backseats two cute kids !

Read Matth . 19 : 22. And, ministers, please srtop promising everybody wonderfull. happy , troubleless, joyfull, healthy
( remember : Our health messaage !!) long life !

AONYMOUS; THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH FOR DISCLOSING ThIS ESSENTIAL ISSUE OF YOUR LIFE: GOD BLESS YOU IN THS WAY OR THAT ! AND KEEP ONBEING A BLESSING FOR OTHERS !!.

No, we have no guarantee for a life “Healthy , Happy. Holy”. we omly have a hope-.

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These are beautiful handful women just being naturally progressive on their own personal speed in chosen human adventures. How long have they known they are irresistible women under their own skin is their own sweet poetry like, "Looking for me with my hearts, moment by moment, unafraid conserve of being a women a lovable trusting definition…ME! " People stay away. Mind your own business. You have no business in their bedrooms.

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what we need to read is the husband’s side of the story. Tom Z

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