In the second edition of their monthly column for Document, author, activist and porn star Liara Roux answers readers’ questions about asexuality, single living, and post-transition romance
I’m a 24-year-old college graduate who thinks a lot about how to get laid. But in practice, I masturbate a lot and rarely ever want to get myself laid. Am I asexual, or is this an imbalance in my sex drive?
I think that, in general, it’s easy to take the path of least resistance; masturbation is (usually) much easier than trying to arrange a sexual encounter with another person! This doesn’t mean you’re asexual or imbalanced. It’s only natural.
Do you feel a lot of anxiety about hooking up with new people? It might be good to sit with any insecurities that might come up for you when you think about sleeping with someone. A lot of men have fears about their bodies or their performance that can get in the way of exploring real intimacy.
Another suggestion: You might want to try activities that allow you to meet new people, like going out dancing, joining a club, pursuing a new hobby. Tinder and Hinge are honestly deeply fucking weird. While I have some friends who enjoy using dating apps, the vast majority find them frustrating—my friends tend to date people they’ve met at parties or through mutual friends.
And if at the end of the day you just prefer jerking off, that’s totally fine, too! You’re not required to have sex with anyone. It’s your life to live however you want.
In the last few years, I’ve identified that I am more comfortable with a non-binary/femme gender. My wife is worried that, as a straight cis woman, she won’t be attracted to me after I transition. How can we manage this to where I still get to pursue my happiness?
Thanks for your help!
“Relationships may change, they may end, or they may grow. It’ll probably feel very overwhelming. But once you’re on the other side, the relief you’ll feel is absolutely worth it.”
This is an extremely common struggle with transition. Your wife’s attraction to you might very well change. But you can’t live your life forcing yourself into a role that’s never been you in order to make yourself happy. It’ll all blow up in your face eventually.
That being said, your wife might end up still finding you super hot! That absolutely happens, too. Maybe you’ll be even more compatible than before, after you embrace a presentation that feels truer to you.
Another thing to consider: If you go the hormone route, your attraction to your wife may shift, as well. I’ve known plenty of people who were super into men pre-transition, and then suddenly became only interested in women.
Transitioning is intense. It’s often called a second puberty—and having watched many of my friends go through these radical changes, I’m inclined to agree. Puberty is hard. It totally uproots our lives, our desires, the way we think. I’m not sure if you remember what puberty felt like for you the first time around, but chances are, it’ll be similarly overwhelming.
This isn’t to dissuade you from transitioning. Much like the adjustment from childhood to adulthood, it’s worth it. But that time between the ages of 13 to 25 is full of stress, pain, and angst. You’ll be finding yourself all over again. Relationships may change, they may end, or they may grow. It’ll probably feel very overwhelming. But once you’re on the other side, the relief you’ll feel is absolutely worth it.
Right now, I’m going through intense heartbreak and experiencing abandonment. After two years of marriage, my husband left our relationship two weeks ago. I found out he had a fearful-avoidant attachment style, and I have a more anxious attachment style. Since he left our apartment, I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’m feeling completely crushed and have lots of guilt, regret, and pain inside of me. I really love and care about him, and I wish I could take back all the hurt I caused. From my end, I’ve decided to work towards a secure attachment style, practice mindfulness, self-regulations, and self-soothing in other areas of my life.
What would you recommend to process or get over it? And is there any chance he would forgive me? I know it’s a fresh wound, and I have to face my pain first, but I feel completely alone.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this—it’s so fresh, too! The period immediately after a break up, especially if the other person is the one who left, can feel so devastating. Definitely do everything you can to take care of yourself—surround yourself with friends and family, and be extra sweet to yourself during this time.
My therapist years ago gave me a suggestion that I still find helpful to this day: Make a list of activities you can do that make you feel better. It could be taking a bath, tending to your plants, going for a walk, going out dancing, calling a friend, driving somewhere new, whatever. Write as many things you can think of, and the next time you feel down, look at it and pick an activity to do. It helps you form new coping mechanisms so that you don’t rely on old ones—and if you have an anxious attachment style, that might be calling your ex—something you want to avoid, if possible!
It’s great that you’re working on yourself. If you have an anxious attachment style, it’s important to do this work for the other person—sort of defeats the purpose, no? You are growing to be a more independent person for yourself, not for your partner. Hopefully, you can get to a place where whether or not he forgives you feels less life-or-death! Relationships should always be a beautiful choice you are continuing to make, not something you are supposed to endure.
I’m six months single now, the longest I’ve been single since high school! I jumped from relationship to relationship and never really learned to be by myself. Sometimes it’s hard. I really miss having my person—someone I can say anything to with complete trust, someone I can talk to every morning when I wake up, and every night before I go to bed. It really hurts.
But I’m learning to get those needs met by my friends; when I’m sad, there’s a bunch of different people I can call and lean on. While I was worried about being a burden, I learned that in reality, my friends like it when I reach out to them—even if I’m not a hundred percent. By leaning on my friends, I strengthen those bonds. I also do lots of self-soothing, like you mentioned! That means that when I do decide to pursue a relationship again, it’ll be with a super strong support network and great coping mechanisms. It’ll be healthier for me and for the other person, too.
Breakups are never easy, but I know you have the strength to make it through. I’m sending you so much love! You’ll feel better on the other side, I promise.