I am fascinated by BDSM but don’t enjoy sex – could I be asexual? | Life and style


I am a 20-year-old woman, who started having sex at the age of 18. Since then, I have slept with 10 men and two women, but have only climaxed with one of them. I like the idea of intercourse and am deeply interested in, and fascinated by, BDSM. I often fantasise about these things and find myself turned on by a particular person, but once I’m in the moment with that person, I no longer feel anything (though I proceed with intercourse, which means I feel even less pleasure). I masturbated five years ago (the only time I have ever masturbated), and that was the only time I have experienced an orgasm. Since then, I have been using sex as a dominance tool because I realise that, if I don’t feel anything, I can, instead, focus on creating a knee-shaking experience for my partner. I always wondered if I was asexual, because, all through secondary school, I was never sexually attracted to anyone. Now I’m older and unable to feel pleasure during intercourse, I wonder if this really is the issue.

You have got way ahead of yourself by skipping some formative sexual steps, such as learning exactly how your body works through self-pleasuring. After that step is mastered, it is easier to move on to sex with someone else – since you can then take responsibility for your own pleasure and impart important information to your partner regarding how you like to be touched, caressed, and so on. The kind of erotic experiences you have been having more or less amount to pseudo sex – since you are engaging in these acts largely as a means to feel powerful or gain approval. You are setting up for yourself a pattern of bypassing feelings during sex, and if this continues you are guaranteed unsatisfying sex indefinitely. Consider going back to basics and, once you feel you have sufficient knowledge about your own body, you could begin to explore who you really are sexually in the context of a partner.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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