I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1 and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The PTSD is from 2 sexual traumas – sexual abuse at the age of 5 years plus a sexual assault as an adult.
I don’t identify strongly with any sexual orientation labels. When I realised that I don’t experience sexual attraction to the extent and degree that most people do, I looked into it.
Asexual is defined as not experiencing sexual attraction (directed at a specific person). Someone who is asexual may or may not have a libido and may or may not have sex. Whereas hyposexual is having a low libido. My libido is low on bipolar medication and I have difficulty orgasming and it is so weak that it is hardly worth the effort. Sexual difficulties is a common side effect with bipolar medications.
I made another video about hyposexuality vs hypersexuality. I have mostly experienced hyposexuality (low, almost non-existent libido) with approximately a year in my life total of hypersexuality (extremely high libido) during mania.
I thought perhaps I was asexual so chatted online to some people. But some identity police people said that I could not possibly be asexual if I had experienced sexual attraction at least once. (I have experienced sexual attraction around three times quite strongly and only faintly on a handful of other occasions and it didn’t last for long). This was during mania episodes. I also tended to only experience romantic attraction during mania episodes. So I never put much emphasis on sexual attraction nor romantic attraction (“in love” type feelings) when I loved and cared about someone – I was more interested in a deep friendship and emotional intimacy. But that is hard for most people to understand.
Anyway, I felt that grey-asexual and grey-romantic seemed to fit best out of all the labels I knew about. Grey-asexual is like the grey area of only experiencing sexual attraction rarely or in specific situations (like in my bipolar mania) or very faintly but most of the time feeling no attraction for anyone. However, several people on asexuality groups insist that grey-asexuals and demi-sexuals (people who may experience sexual attraction with an emotional bond) do not exist and that there was no such thing as an asexuality spectrum. So I quit their groups and most of the time do not bother to label myself. Although a few other people who identify as greyasexual do seem to ‘get’ me.
Is my lack of attraction from trauma? I think so that it is a contributing factor. Because I have the shutdown variety of PTSD and one of the emotions I cannot feel unless I am manic is anger. Anger is a huge trauma trigger for me. I am triggered if someone else is angry or even by my own anger.
Sexual and romantic attraction are also trauma triggers for me. My religious upbringing had an influence (eg a doctrine that if one thinks about sex then it is the same as doing it creating a lot of anxiety for me). I experience aesthetic attraction (think someone looks attractive but don’t want sex with them) for any gender. When I was manic, I had sex with some people I didn’t find aesthetically attractive. Partly so I wouldn’t fall in love with them (because I had been hurt) and partly for a different experience and partly because someone I was sexually attracted to turned out to be a lying, cheating jerk.
I am having trauma therapy for the PTSD. I don’t know if I will be able to start experiencing sexual attraction more frequently. The side effects of the medications are bothersome to me because it feels like it controls my sexuality too much but shutting everything down. This makes relationships difficult. I sometimes enjoy sex but I can also be very triggered by it.
Some of the asexual ‘gate-keepers’ believe that all asexuals are sex-repulsed. This is not always the case. For myself, I sometimes enjoy it, sometimes am repulsed and most of the time don’t care less about it.
Some people believe there are too many labels. I don’t really care if I have a label or not. I’ve never fitted neatly into boxes anyway.
I identify as a ‘woman’ but I don’t fit people’s stereotypes of what a woman should look like or behave like.