This is perfect for how I feel about my love life. Also, I love skeletons.

I've written before about how difficult it is for me to find strangers sexually appealing, and this post is an exploration of that. Apologies for length.

Advertisement

I was pretty interested in having sex as a teenager and college student, but I didn't get any sexual attention. Not quite consciously I decided that sex wasn't something for me - it was something for sexual people, and I didn't have that sexiness that I thought was required. I thought of my body as a peeled raw potato with lumps and strange spots - a born boner killer, and most of the evidence pointed that way. The guys I wanted to sleep with treated me like I was invisible, preferring the girls who were the height of sexual appeal at our little high school - flat chested, slim hipped and as boyish as possible. In college, guys were kind, but they didn't think of me as sexual, just as a frizzy-haired weird girl. The three guys I was attracted to (after a few months - I don't remember first meeting them at all) were extremely apologetic to me about their lack of feelings. No matter, I thought, it would happen eventually.

I did spent some time making out with guys in college, but not much more than that. I was excited because I was a straight woman, some of the guys were really good-looking, and having a man's hands on my boobs or having him kiss me would feel good. Maybe not zing, as I wasn't sexually attracted to anyone I made out with, but perhaps tingly or some feeling of warmth. I wasn't expecting the feeling of...nothing. It was just as though I'd touched my own breast, or had a doctor touch me, or had a bra fitted. Plus, the kissing was really wet and drooly. I thought about eels, and how strange this all was. I was disappointed, but I figured I was sexually broken or something, and if I were someone else it would have been great.

In my early to mid 20s I started being seen as "cute" and worth dating. I thought, "boy! Soon I'll have some sexual self-esteem, be thought of as "hot," and that will take care of my problems." I started going on dates in my 20s. I remember one blind date vividly - we talked a lot about our musical interests, what we liked to do for fun, our favorite hobbies. He canceled the next date, and it turned he was interested in me and I just didn't know if I was interested in him after an hour long lunch. Talking about a collection of qualities, it turns out, isn't how I get to know people; I get to know them by living in their lives, being around them when good and bad things happen, seeing how they react to all that. This is why online dating later on didn't really work for me - it's a collection of common interests, but it takes a fair amount of skill to give the sense of a human being beyond that and that's pretty rare. My profile isn't any different from a lot of others either. Even if a profile is written skillfully, it gives me the sense of a man as a potentially good friend, someone to hang out with and talk about movies or art or books.

Advertisement

Online dating helped me to become "sexy," along with advancing into my 30s. Suddenly men were interested, calling me beautiful, gorgeous, sexy. This is still slightly mystifying to me, except that I have clearer skin, better hair, a body more in shape, and a feeling of being at home in myself that I didn't have at 20 or 22. This may be the only plus of my particular trajectory - this idea that age 35 is hotter than age 17 or 20.

Turns out, becoming "beautiful" and "sexy" didn't help me feel sexual. I still went on a ton of dates courtesy of OkCupid. I met several blah guys, a few awful ones, and a few really good ones who would have made good friends. I never felt sexually about any of them. I started sexting and sending pictures of my body, thinking that would do it. Sexting wasn't difficult - it was all variations of cock/come/wet, and the men all seemed to be excited, thrilled, thought I was sexy, and so on. Don't get me wrong, the compliments were great for someone who always thought of herself as a sexless nerd. But....I really didn't feel sexy. It was a performance, and I felt like I was changing my clothes and the nudity was incidental, because the guys were all strangers I met online. And strangers, to me, are not sexual.

My relationships, summed up. Can I force myself into sex with you? Probably not.

This is the same problem I have after years of going out to bars with friends - how to look at a man and want to fuck him. Or to fuck after a night of conversation - that doesn't do it for me, either. I used to stare at the pics men would send me after a few days of texts- sexually explicit and otherwise - and try and try to feel something sexual. Sometimes these guys were very good looking, and that didn't make a difference. I even dated the same guy for several months, trying to get myself to have sex with him, and I just couldn't think of him sexually. His looks were very nice, but he didn't have anything that *I* find sexy, like a good sense of humor and sarcasm, or any intellectual curiosity, or any connection with me particularly. This is why, I think, I don't lust after celebrities much - they're pictures, but they're not really fully formed people. If you have great looks and a great body you're fun to look at, but you're not sexual to me as such, not the way a guy is after I've known him for months, developed feelings, and then developed attraction. I can get crushes on fictional characters because they're well-rounded (fake) people, but not images on a screen like celebrities are often presented. Sometimes I almost understand visual sexual attraction, like while watching Olympics swimmers - I can almost get that instant sexual appeal. But someone once told me I must be gay because I don't have that kind of response to say, Hugh Jackman, and I haven't been attracted to enough men in my life (10 of them, and I can stay attracted to the same man for years). Yes, talking to and being around men I find sexual makes ME feel really sexual. But, it bums me out that a couple years can pass before I meet the next sexually attractive man, when a lot of people can go only a couple months. Sometimes my sexuality doesn't bother me much; other times I hate it and want to remove it like a tumor. At my age, I'm absolutely used to the loneliness and wonder if it's insurmountable. Sex as an act is easy and very lonely - lonelier than being single - but the pleasurable, fun kind seems out of reach. For most of us, it's sexual attraction and then romantic or emotional connection; I get to wait months for emotional connection and then the sexual comes last. "Just date" to get sex and relationships suits a lot of people, but not me. If only there were a way to keep men in my life for 6 months to get attracted, it would give me some hope. And then there would be unicorns!

So, what does "sexual" mean to you? Does it mean visually attracted? Does it mean looks and a connection of some kind? Does it mean wanting to sleep with a certain number of people? How do you get attracted to other people? I'm throwing it open only because I've spent SO much time thinking about it and wondering whether I'm missing a vital part of what we think of as sexuality.