Intercourse Discourse

Words by Caitlin Johnston
Art by Mariah Jade Lantouris

In a seemingly progressive society that is championing sexual freedom more, how do those who are asexual or celibate feel? I asked fellow students with different sexualities and backgrounds what they have to say about not having sex.


TALLULAH

Third-year Arts student Tallulah speaks of discovering herself as asexual. Previously coming from a history of being very sex-positive and having a lot of sex, she now identifies as asexual and says it is more aligned to her truth.

Do you ever feel challenged in your decision to not have sex?

No. I’m lucky in a way to have had many experiences of sex before and explore that sexually free lifestyle. I can knowingly say that that life is no longer for me and I have no repressed sexual desires. It really hasn’t been hard to navigate because it’s comfortable and feels true to myself.

Do you have a partner, and how do they feel about it?

Yes. I’m still with the same partner I had after I discovered my asexuality. I’m so lucky of how understanding he was when he found out. Sex was something we enjoyed so it was important for me to explain that it was just me not wanting to have sex and nothing to do with our relationship. We’re still attracted to each other, but the nature of the relationship has changed into more of a romantic partnership.

How does the way sex is portrayed in our current culture make you feel? Do you feel like your choice is respected and accepted?

I surround myself with a lot of sex-positive, progressive and autonomous people, so I find myself having to explain that you can live without sexual desires. However, I’ve found that more people have reached out to me about their asexuality, and we’re able to validate each other’s experiences, which has been very valuable to me.


SYLVIA

Sylvia is a first-year Education student, and her decision to not have sex stems from her conservative cultural background, and her desire to respect family values. She doesn’t know or care when she’ll have sex, but is also happy with the idea of living forever alone with seven cats.

Can you tell me a little bit about your sexuality and decision to not have sex?

I come from a traditional Mauritian family, and I guess growing up, it’s been instilled in me that you should wait until marriage. My culture emphasises respecting your elders and doing what you’re told by your parents. I am the youngest of three, and both of my sisters waited until they were married to move out and start families, so it’s just what I know and have grown up with.

When did you make the decision for yourself?

I’m not quite sure. I really believe in upholding family values. I suppose the things you are told constantly when you’re younger, whether it’s right or wrong, you start to believe. I don’t want to say that I was conditioned into waiting, but I kind of was.

Do you ever feel challenged your decision to not have sex?

No, because I’m a fairly private person and not incredibly open about my decision. Usually the people who ask me about sex are the people who are close to me. They genuinely care about me and wouldn’t judge me anyway.


RHIANNON

Growing up in a Catholic family, second-year Law student Rhiannon shares that her decision to stop having sex with her boyfriend was largely influenced by how her faith journey reshaped her idea of sex.

When did you make the decision for yourself to not have sex?

This changed when I met and fell in love with my boyfriend. At the time, I wasn’t living out my faith and lived away from the conservative context I grew up in. We started sleeping together and I don’t regret it to this day. However, when we moved back home, I started practising my faith more. I began to think about sex the way I had when I was growing up and wanted to be fully committed in marriage to the man that I love before we committed sexually.

Do you have a partner, and how do they feel about it?

My boyfriend is incredible, and gracefully and respectfully accepted my wish to stop having sex. It convinces me more and more of our love for each other each time that we choose not to. Not having sex has allowed us to focus on growing our friendship, which has definitely strengthened the relationship.

How does the way sex is portrayed in our current culture make you feel? Do you feel like your choice is respected and accepted?

I feel quite embarrassed talking about the fact that we used to have sex but don’t anymore. I feel like a lot if people just don’t get it, which is understandable. But I also don’t need society or anyone else’s acceptance of our choice because we are so happy, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.


MICHAEL

Michael is a third-year Business/Arts student, and feels that the right person, time or place just hasn’t come up yet. He opens up about his views on sex and his personal reasons for not wanting to have sex at this time in his life.

Can you tell me a little bit about your sexuality and decision to not have sex?

I’m attracted to both males and females, but I lack sexual desire. So I guess I’m a weird cross between bisexuality and asexuality with more emotional attraction than physical. In terms of my decision to not have sex, it’s not so much a decision, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I have never been in a situation due to a long history of anxiety and body image issues – and battling this has turned me off the idea.

Do you have a partner, and how do they feel about it?

I don’t have a partner and have never had one. I would hope that when I eventually have one, they would be understanding of my boundaries, take things slow and not be so focused on the sex side of our relationship.

How does the way sex is portrayed in our current culture make you feel? Do you feel like your choice is respected and accepted?

I feel like sex is talked about all the time and that my choice to not have sex is somewhat frowned upon. I want sex in our culture to be an expression of love, of acceptance. Either having a lot of sex or no sex at all shouldn’t be a massive topic of conversation and be respected no matter the gender or sexuality.

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