NOT-SO-STRAIGHT TALK

What It’s Like To Be Gay And Asexual In A Sex-Crazed World?

josh-coty-1

For 25-year-old Josh Coty, being part of the one percent is not all it’s cracked up to be. At least, when it comes to being part of that one percent… You know, the percentage of the population that identifies as asexual, or “someone who does not experience sexual attraction,” as defined by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

Related: Exactly What Percentage Of The World’s Population Is Asexual?

For Josh, who identifies as “gay and asexual,” life can be a bit complicated. When he’s not creating comedy YouTube videos or cuddling with his cat, the Buffalo, NY-based resident can be found going on (sometimes bad) dates, working in the beauty industry and figuring out how to navigate as asexual in an often sex-crazed world.

We recently interviewed Josh about his life, dating and what he has to say to all those people who question asexuality…

QUEERTY: You identify as gay and asexual. What does that mean exactly?

COTY: I suppose people would say I am “asexual homoromantic” but I don’t necessarily feel like that label fits me. I’m gay–I like guys, just like anybody else who is gay, but not necessarily in a sexual way. I have an aesthetic attraction (who doesn’t like a nice butt?), sensual attraction, and a romantic attraction to men. If I have a strong emotional bond I may form a form of sexual attraction as well.  Asexuality exists on a spectrum.

How do people usually react when you tell them you’re gay and asexual?

People tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that it’s impossible, or they don’t know what asexuality is, and all they can remember is [learning about asexuality] in middle school science class. I feel like the latter believe I’m some sort of plant, and that I can reproduce asexually. Which honestly, would be really cool, but it’s not the case. Or I’m told that I’m lying. I actually get that a lot. 

How has your asexuality affected your relationships?

It definitely impacts them quite a bit. I do have sexual relationships with my partners because I want to make them happy, it’s just not enjoyable to me and I’d honestly rather be eating a cheeseburger. I always give my partners a full disclosure about my sexuality before I start dating [them], but I don’t think the majority of people understand what it means. In the beginning, it is a lot easier to have a sexual relationship with my partners, or when things are going well, but when the emotional connection fades, it really impacts my willingness to do anything sexual. 

josh-coty-2A lot of people view sex as a way of being intimate or feeling close to the person they love. How do you achieve intimacy with a partner if not through sex?

Physical touch is a big thing for me. Like, I do have a sensual attraction because I’m not some kind of unfeeling monster. I like kissing, cuddling, holding hands, et cetera and just generally being close with someone both physically and emotionally. It’s just not sexual for me; it’s more sensual than anything. Some people define intimacy as something purely physical, but it goes deeper than that for me.

Do you ever feel pressure to be sexual?

Every day! If you’ve ever gone on a date with a gay male, you most likely know that they’re craving one thing and it’s definitely not on my menu (all out of sausage guys, sorry). It’s frustrating to feel like in order to even get a date, I have to pretend that I’m someone I’m not, or play down my asexuality. You tell a gay guy you’re not really into sex and he looks at you like you just said Beyoncé was an untalented hack.

Have you had any particularly good or bad experiences when it came to living your identity?

I did have one guy I dated and when I told him about it he just said “Hey, that’s cool man! I totally respect that.” and it was never an issue. He would always ask for consent before doing anything sexual, and in general it was just very refreshing. On the other end of things, I’ve had exes tell me that I’m lying about my asexuality because I’ve had sex before. Even after explaining that it’s not a medical condition (all my organs work perfectly, thank you) and it’s just my sexuality, they still don’t get it. You could have sex with a woman if you wanted to, but you don’t because you don’t enjoy it, just like I don’t have sex in general because I don’t enjoy it.

What is the biggest misconception about people who are asexual?

The biggest misconception about people who are asexual is that it’s a choice or that it is an excuse. I’ve been told that people who are asexual are just ugly or they aren’t able to “get any” and that’s not the case. I’ve been told I’m broken or have a medical condition. I’ve had my hormones checked, my thyroid checked, and I’ve even seen a urologist and everything is perfectly normal. I’ve gotten a lot of backlash from the LGBTQ community saying that I don’t belong and shouldn’t identify with it, which is absurd for a multitude of reasons.

josh-coty-3Were those medical tests a result of people saying you were broken or had a medical condition?

Yeah, it definitely was. Especially because I wanted to be normal and have a healthy relationship, I wanted to fix whatever was “wrong” with me. I hate doctors with a passion and don’t even like to talk to them about mundane issues let alone sexual ones. It took me awhile to find the right doctor. After everything had been said and done, it was a relief but also a disappointment. I accept myself and embrace myself for who I am, but still wish to be “normal” sometimes. I’m an absolute control freak so not being able to fix a “problem” was something I had to come to accept about myself.

Some people in the LGBTQ community say that asexual people are simply “afraid of sex” or “just haven’t had great sex yet.” How would you respond to people who say that?

I find it extremely sad that the people in the LGBTQ community say things like that because it’s the exact same thing they hear from people that oppose their own sexuality. “You just haven’t met the right guy yet, you’re not really a lesbian,” “Being gay is a choice,” or “It’s a mental condition.” What is the difference between that and saying, “Being asexual is a choice you’ve made,” “Your hormones must be off or something happened to you when you were a kid,” and “You haven’t found the right sexual partner yet?” Absolutely nothing. People who behave that way are imposing the exact kind of negative and close-minded behavior they face and vehemently oppose onto another group, simply because they don’t understand. It’s a hard concept for a lot of people to understand because they experience sexual attraction everyday, and they can’t imagine not feeling it, or not feeling it as often as the average person. 

Related: Ten Sexual Orientations Besides Gay, Straight Or Bi To Round Out Your Sexicon

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41 Comments

  • heavylifter

    Why would anyone doubt this #Brave(TM) asexual/gender fluid/transman or whatever it is?

    Looking at the pics I definitely see a complete absence of sexual drive or potency or substance.

  • Stache

    Was this an interview or PR for his youtube channel? I thought there would be an answer in all that babbling.

    Simple question should be do you masturbate and to what? He does make a point twice that “everything works perfectly” If he’s honest and does like most then it’s something else. One for the headshrink.

  • Guy068

    I wish I knew someone like him at that age. My sexual response was majorly messed up from severe childhood sexual abuse and if I could have a relationship where I get love, cuddles, and touch but no expectation of sex it would be perfect!

  • rmarin776

    Wow. Not a whole lot of empathy here in the comments section.

    With all the possible sexual diversity out there, is it really that hard to believe that some people may just not be wired to enjoy sex? Doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me.

  • IDoNotHaveToAgreeWithYou

    Sigh. Another special snowflake looking for a slow clap.

  • throwslikeagirl

    Sexuality, including sex drive, is on one looooong continuum. There’s room on that train for everyone, and we’re each allowed to decide where we sit. I see absolutely no need or benefit in judging someone else’s decision. That’s arrogant, meaningless, and kinda stupid.

  • Stache

    @throwslikeagirl: If I made a preachy public statement that I am above those earthly desires such as sex while making sure everyone knows I’m perfectly sexually functional I would assume I would be judged. After all I’m inviting it.

    This reminds of the oh so noble virgins who will beat off to porn daily but because they don’t have sex with someone other then their hand they’re still noble virgins “saving it”. Bullshit. Self sex is still sex. I will agree that they need psychiatric help over sex partners though.

    The interviewer never really probed and he just rambled off so all we have is some childish psycho babble. Clearly there’s more to the story but will never know.

  • Billy Budd

    Poor kid. I don’t know if he has a problem or not (it is not clear from the interview), but I feel sorry for what he is missing.

  • heavylifter

    @Stache:

    “all we have is some childish psycho babble. ”

    Welcome to Feminism and Queer Theory 101.

  • PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID

    Sometimes Nature bestows her gifts on those best fitted to bear them

  • Violent Rainbow

    Um what the hell? Homosexuality IS A SEXUALITY! If you’re asexual you HAVE NO SEXUALITY! So what the hell? This guy is a moron!

  • onthemark

    @Violent Rainbow: That seems logical to me too, but when I looked up the various dictionary, scientific, & pseudo-scientific definitions of asexuality, it’s much more vague than I expected.

    The definitions (for humans, not plants!) tend to include “LOW” sexual interest. Not just “no” sexual interest, as you might expect. This to me seems sloppy and imprecise. Sort of like that guy in the nearby article who thinks he’s “celibate” when he spends 40 days doing MUTUAL masturbation.

    As a gardener who’s familiar with asexual plant reproduction, I find this annoying.

  • nephilim71

    I too am asexual. I do not have sex and I do not masturbate. Please do not feel sorry for me, I assure you, I have a full and happy life. I’m still astonished at how many members of the LGBTQ community discriminate against asexuals, such as myself. Just read some of the comments and see for yourself.

  • nephilim71

    @heavylifter: Whatever “it” is? REALLY? It? You’re ridiculous. I see homophobia is indeed alive, even in the LGBTQ community.

  • DCguy

    To the people jumping all over the comments from people who are confused, try calming down.

    We have been told that asexuality means zero sexual attractions, feelings, no masterbation, etc…. so there is NOTHING odd in asking what is going on in this situation. If you think the questions are so upsetting then by all means, feel free to explain the disparity.

  • dvelco

    Humans are complex creatures and we are now in the age of becoming comfortable with expressing that.
    Nice article. Informative.

    I’ve shared it with my LGBT Group on LinkedIn for discussion there.
    Come join us there. It’s LinkedIn’s largest LGBT Group with nearing 38,000 global members.
    Here’s a link >> https://www.linkedin.com/groups/63687

  • onthemark

    @nephilim71: It’s probably just sheer unfamiliarity. Most of us have never (knowingly) met an asexual yet so it’s kind of like trans issues were 10 or 15 years ago. Plus a little confusion with terms; like I said it’s different in botany. And thanks for answering the burning one-track-mind question about masturbation!

  • kzen64

    @DCguy: It is one thing to be questioning of what something is, it is another to deny it and say there’s something wrong with the person. For years we were told homosexuality was a mental disorder, is that still the case…

    @nephilim71: People lash out at things they don’t understand. I’m sure you’re used to it by now, but sorry it happens anyway.

  • rand503

    @nephilim71: Thank you for your answer. It always amazes me when I see gay people who think they have all the answers, and if you don’t fit into a box they created, you must be lying. The world is filled with every sort of people, and I certainly have no reason to judge another person’s choices or life.

  • quinnwilliam

    Ok. I rarely weigh in with comments on stuff like this, but after reading the first few posted on this article, I just had to sign up for an account on this site that I almost never come to, just to let this person know how much I support them. Dude, you do you. You’re fine how you are… no, you’re awesome how you are. I don’t expect that my comment here will have a whole lot of bearing on your self-worth cuz you seem to already have overcome a whole lot of bs in your life. But what the folks commenting on here think is none of your business, and I’m sorry that people are so intolerant and judgmental… for apparently no reason at all they think they get to be the police of what you do with your body and in your intimate life. Lots of love and hugs to you. –A queer transmasculine sex worker who likes to date asexuals.

  • darwinbell

    WOW, i have to say about all the negative reactions on this post…what does it matter to you how people define themselves. If he says he is asexual, he IS asexual. Why does that bother or even effect you? Because you can’t wrap your head around it, he is less that you? What an idiot you are! It’s his life, not yours and if he is happy (even if he’s not), it should not bother you.

  • Stache

    @onthemark: I’ve known two “asexuals”. Of coarse they never masturbated. Never ever because it would make Jesus weep. Yes religion was in the mix too so you know how fucked they were. Even asking them the question caused them to become hostile.

    All I’m saying is that you start by clearing out the ones with mental issues and then see what you have. Rape, religion, sexual/gender confusion, etc. I also think it’s people in their twenties where all this usually comes from. I’m just glad no one put a microphone in my face @ 25 and posted what I said and thought for everyone to hear.

  • Stache

    Edit.. Rape, religion, sexual/gender confusion, and ones pimping themselves for their youtube channel.

  • DCguy

    @kzen64: stated : “It is one thing to be questioning of what something is, it is another to deny it and say there’s something wrong with the person. For years we were told homosexuality was a mental disorder, is that still the case…”

    No, the issue was, people are pointing out the inconsistency that people are told one thing and yet this person is stating that the same thing means something different than what they have been told. They are then being attacked for it.

  • onthemark

    @Stache: Yeah, I thought that religion (especially) & abuse might have been things for the interviewer to bring up at least in passing, but didn’t come up. If he’s 25 and “everything works perfectly” at a physical level, that would seem to be one massive heavy 12 or 13 year load of cum. But, I dunno, this is all pretty new to me.

  • mdhess

    “gay” and “asexual” amounts to a contradiction in terms

  • The Scientartist

    Some of you might find this informative: http://www.asexuality.org

    It’s so disheartening to see all the negative comments about asexuality.
    This guy sounds like he’s around the same part of the asexual spectrum as me (demisexual, look it up before you groan at “yet another label”), and seeing all the comments stating there’s something mentally wrong with us or that we just want special attention is like the same as when we were told years ago that being gay was a mental health issue or that it was a choice we made.

    Rather than making ignorant and arrogant comments about something you don’t understand, why don’t you have a conversation with an ace guy, ask questions and at least try to understand what it’s about?

    Hell, I’ll start off by correcting some things I’ve read in the comments and answering some questions I’ve been asked before:

    *It is NOT a choice like celibacy is. It is something we can’t control, just like we can’t control which gender we’re attracted to.

    * “gay” and “asexual” are only a contradiction in terms if you define “gay” based solely on who you feel sexually attracted to. What about who you love, want to share your life with, or feel romantically attracted to?

    And if you’re that adamant that I’m not allowed to call myself gay (even though I have sex with men sometimes), I could use the term “homoromantic”, but I’m sure that’ll get laughed at too.

    * And yes, some ace guys do in fact have sex and do masturbate! Sexual attraction and sex drive are different things. Everything works biologically, we just don’t feel sexual *attraction* the same way you do.

    *I experience physical and sensual attraction just like you do. I just don’t feel sexual attraction the same way you do. Some aces don’t feel sexual attraction AT ALL, but they still appreciate physical beauty and romantic desires.

    Please, please try and learn about asexuality before tearing down someone’s identity, which in many cases has taken years of stress and confusion to finally come to terms with. Just like many of you struggled with your homosexuality.

  • JaredNorthcutt30

    I don’t ‘get’ this asexuality thing. I’m a gay man. As such, I view men as walking penises. It’s so unfair, dammit!

  • dannyal

    so many idiot gays, here. sorry, idiot or ignorant? anyways, you CAN be gay and asexual. i didn’t bother reading the article, but i’m pretty sure he didn’t say he’s a homosexual. if he’s gay and asexual, that should make him a homo-romantic. there.

  • n900mixalot

    @The Scientartist: I have close emotional ties with women but I am 101% gay. I do not want to be physically intimate with them in any imaginable way, p to v, making out, none of that. This guy says he is “sensually” attracted to men but asexual. That is contradictory.

    Some gay guys don’t like bum stuff. Others don’t like other particular activities, but drawing the line and labeling themselves as such, then complaining about being discriminated against for it, is taking things to a new level of particularity, bordering on the absurd. If he’s calling himself gay, he isn’t asexual, he just clearly isn’t into certain sexual acts.

    He’s also young and will figure things out as he gets older … to bad he’ll forever be labeled as he is labeling himself now though.

    The Internet is forever. I too am glad I didn’t grow up publicly. But very few at that age can be told anything about themselves.

  • DCguy

    @The Scientartist: stated: “It’s so disheartening to see all the negative comments about asexuality.
    This guy sounds like he’s around the same part of the asexual spectrum as me (demisexual, look it up before you groan at “yet another label”),”

    ——————

    So then he should have called himself that. And how about before you come on and groan and whine, perhaps you should understand that when a group of people are told that the definition of a word “asexual” means one thing “no sexual desire” and in fact asexual articles and blog posts have been quite successful in getting that message out, that when somebody comes and describes themselves as asexual but defines it as something different there are going to be questions.

    It is no different than when a blog post tries to describe some guy who has a girlfriend but goes out and blows other guys 3 nights a week “hetroflexible” rather than bisexual or closeted. If the correct label for this guy is demisexual then I think there would have been FAR fewer questions because people would be asking what it was, however as the article was written he is labeling himself with one term but then offering up a definition that is at odds with what we’ve all been told it is.

  • drivendervish

    He said that physically everything is fine and his testosterone levels are normal but he never indicated what causes this condition.

  • Eurekasevenman

    I’m exactly like him, asexual and homoromantic. The most common comment from people is that I “haven’t found the right person yet.” But people just don’t understand, because of how sex-crazy our society is.

  • ConfusedLife

    Ok so this post is kinda helpful in a way. I’ve been struggling with my sexuality for what seems like forever and I’m still finding it difficult finding out what I am. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an asexual gay just because that seems the closest to what I am. Whenever I fantasise it’s always with a guy but when I watch porn videos the dick is a turn off? I don’t get it. Like I find it gross and it puts me off but I know 100% that I don’t like girls. So confused.

  • martinicus

    Yep, I too can completely relate to this. I’m 36 now and essentially living in celibacy because I just can’t find a long term partner. I have sexual kind of attraction only for much older men who have some specific turn on traits (not only visual, but also intelligence, authority). I feel sexual arousal when seeing such a man or fantasizing about him or fantasizing myself being such a man. But when it comes to the thought of putting “my little friend” in someone’s hole or having someone else’s “little friend” in one of my holes (no matter which one), I feel totally disgusted and it turns me off. Also, I myself do not look like a guy who could attract those kind of guys I find attractive. So, completely out of luck here.

    With girls it’s complicated. I can have a total crush on a girl who looks simple, sincere and nice, I want to hug her, to touch her, to comfort her, to protect her, to be playful (even in a shared bed), but I completely do not have found any sexual turn-ons for girls in my life. So this is confusing and most probably I’ll have to spend the rest of my life alone… “It’s a sad sad situation”…

  • Moscow

    Hey! You’re a brave man!
    I understand you perfectly, I feel and have experienced all the same :)

  • druidbloke

    I can completely relate to the way he feels, a lot of the comments here are disappointing, judging asexuality in the way str8s judge them is stupid, stop projecting how you feel on to others, we’re all different.

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