Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians.
Today’s subject is a 24-year-old asexual young woman who only accepted her asexuality recently. Before now, she tried to have a lot of sex in an attempt to ‘reprogram’ herself into becoming interested in sex.
When did you have sex for the first time?
If you mean consensual sex — and I really don’t believe there’s sex outside of consent, everything else is rape or sexual assault — then I’m not so sure.
Explain this to me.
I was abused as a child and my first sexual experience wasn’t actually consensual now that I think about it.
According to UNICEF one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. This sex life article about the girl who was molested for 10 years and this one with the young man whose “first sexual experience” with a prostitute at 13 qualifies as rape.
That’s awful. Do you want to talk about it?
I think I was 18 and I had just entered uni. I had this boyfriend who was a year ahead of me. We were in the same faculty. We never really spoke about sex, apart from the occasional flirting here and there. But it was clear that I wasn’t ready for sex. One day, he invited me to his place in school. I was just supposed to watch a movie and return to my hostel, but I slept off and by the time I woke up, it was raining and I couldn’t return to my hostel. How convenient.
In the middle of the night, he woke me up and was like, let’s have sex. You know how it takes you a while to process things when you first wake up? That’s exactly what happened. Before I could say anything, he unzipped and was inside me. I was confused throughout the whole thing.
I’m so sorry you had to go through that.
I felt very disgusted. I told myself it was my fault. And it triggered memories of being abused as a child. I just really wanted to die. I went back to my hostel in the morning, but I kept seeing him and we had consensual sex after that.
It felt like the relationship was about sex alone; I did it to please him because I realised that sex is one of the ways partners achieve intimacy with themselves. Most people won’t understand if you don’t want sex.
True. But how was the sex?
It was just meh.
Did you tell him that?
I didn’t care enough to. I also didn’t want to ruin the relationship. I actually liked him a lot. The thing is, I use “meh” because my mind was almost never there. My body sometimes reacted to it, but that’s only natural. If I were to choose — sex or no sex — I wouldn’t choose sex.
And then we eventually broke up because I was tired of sex. I mean, I didn’t even want to be having it in the first place.
Beyond sex, the relationship was affecting me negatively; I was stabbing classes and my grades were dropping, so yeah, I broke it off.
What were your thoughts about sex before this time?
I was really religious before uni. In fact, in my first few years of uni, I was always in the library, in class, or in church. But even while I was a religious person, there was no point where I thought about sex. I just wasn’t interested in it. I didn’t think about it, so I didn’t even see it as a sin.
So, how did you lose religion?
I travelled for a bit, so I had to take a break from school. While I was away, I didn’t have much to do, so I read a lot of books that made me question life. I started to think about stuff. When you don’t have much to do, you start to think and ask yourself questions.
After all these years of relying on God, it felt like he wasn’t listening. So in 2018, I realised that I’m better off believing in myself. Religion is a scam. After losing religion, and being free of those, I still didn’t want to have sex.
Hmm. Why didn’t you want to have sex at that point?
I still wasn’t interested. I honestly thought it was because of the stuff that happened to me as a child, but having it with people in uni made me realise it didn’t hold any appeal to me. Any time I had sex, I’d count down to when it was going to be over. Even if the person was really attractive, I still wouldn’t want to do it. I’d rather be doing something else.
Did it ever cross your mind that you might be asexual?
Not at first. I told myself I had a problem. Because everybody said I had a problem; the world is structured in such a way that sex rules. I told myself that I had to have a lot of sex to reprogram my body. I had to keep pretending I was enjoying it. I didn’t want people to think I was frigid. So that’s what I did at first.
Eventually, I couldn’t keep up. I started researching and found out that there are people who are asexual. I met someone in 2019 that made me accept my asexuality. Then I started spending time with them. It was eye-opening. I started to tell people up front that I wasn’t interested in sex. So many people didn’t take it well.
They used to say maybe she wants to be cool. Maybe she hasn’t found the right dick that’ll make her ‘normal’.
Ugh. People. Now that you’ve accepted your asexuality, what’s dating been like?
Since then, I’ve had one boyfriend. I really liked him, so I decided to have sex with him because I was like, he will like it — basically to make him happy. But that ended because I couldn’t keep doing that to myself.
I also dated a girl who I really liked. That was nice for a bit. We had to break up, but it wasn’t because I’m asexual or anything. It was communication problems.
Ooh. You dated a woman. Would you say you’re bisexual?
I’d say I’m biromantic asexual. This means I’m attracted to more genders than two, and it’s not for the sex, but for intimacy and so much more.
That’s interesting. So, what do you think about being asexual?
I think there are other ways to have intimacy. But people don’t want to discover that. People don’t like to think about it. I know people who are ace and dating. I know it’s going to be hard, but I know there’s someone out there for me. I think people should educate themselves. Asexuality is valid.