By Meghna Mehra
Sandra Bellamy, (Aka Asexualise), an international Asexual Author, Asexuality Coach, Asexuality Trainer, and a speaker at the UK Asexuality Conference in London, in 2018. Her media appearances include: Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Femedic, BBC Radio twice, Straight Up Gay podcast on iTunes., New Inceptions, and Freestyle Your Life Podcasts.
Sandra is the founder of www.asexualise.com, a website and blog, with resources, for asexuals, and founder of www.asexualiseacademy.com which is the world’s first online training centre, and school, for asexuals and asexuality. If you are new to asexuality or confused about the asexual spectrum, Sandra has a free Asexuality Basics For Beginners course on her academy, which you can sign up to for free.
Sandra designs asexual merchandise and has her own online store selling her uniquely created designs, at www.redbubble.com/people/asexualise/shop. She currently has 60 designs in her shop, and each of those designs is her own, and on about 28 different products, such as clocks, bags, mugs, T-Shirts, hoodies, dresses, skirts, shower curtains, and so much more, with more products to come, so there are plenty of asexual gifts to choose for yourself or others, and you get something unique and special.
She is most famously known for being the chat show host at Asexualise My Asexual Life, a YouTube chat show for asexuals that she started in October 2015, to empower asexuals to be comfortable and confident with their asexuality and to educate others about asexuality. She particularly specialises in dating and relationships, from an asexual perspective, and shares her own asexual life journey, to help you in yours. Here www.youtube.com/asexualisemyasexuallife
Sandra’s on a mission to get asexuality recognised as a sexual orientation, throughout the globe, so that no asexual would have to live in fear of ridicule ever again.
She lives in the UK, and identifies as a heteroromantic, hyper-romantic, Grey A, asexual younger cougar (not sexual cougar), who does not like sex, just kissing. So, Sandra is into younger guys, but in a romantic way, not sexual. With a preference for foreign guys, and in particular Indian. But she does not want sex, or marriage, or kids, and prefers to live on her own. Sandra says she has the grey area of kissing, which can be sexual in behaviour sometimes, with her clothes on, as she in nudity repulsed, but she experiences zero sexual attraction.
Sandra’s hugest passion is writing, followed very closely by asexuality, so when she published her first non-fiction book for asexuals in 2017, called Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, Love, Life and Sex, ACElebration of Asexual Diversity, it was a dream come true for her and a huge help to many asexuals who previously had felt lost, lonely, misunderstood, and like it wasn’t okay to be them, but when they read her book, everything changed for the better. Sandra interviewed 46 asexuals across the globe and a-far the book, and spent about a year interviewing, writing, and editing her book. This book busts through many myths and stereotypes about asexuality and celebrates our diversity across the asexual spectrum and our differences within it. It is the ideal book for showing what it truly means to be asexual in this highly sexualised world, and to be part of the diverse asexual spectrum. It shows what asexuality is in real life contexts, rather than just give you textbook definitions of it. So, you can truly get a deep understanding of asexuality, like you have never read before.
Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, is available to buy on Amazon here https://amzn.to/3jjqJFg
What inspired you to start writing about the asexual community?
I decided to write Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, because despite being so happy to find people who identified similarly, in a minority sexual orientation, that is asexuality, I still felt very left out. I was told by someone in the asexual community, that I couldn’t identify how I did, which was, and still is, a Heteroromantic, Grey A, because I didn’t experience any sexual attraction at all, and a text book Grey A, is someone who does experience sexual attraction, only under rare, limited, or specific circumstances, or who experiences it, but not enough to want to act on it. As I experience zero sexual attraction, she said I should not be identifying like that. But I was told by an asexual meetup organiser on an asexual dating site, that because I like passionate kissing despite not experiencing sexual attraction, that meant I was a Grey Asexual. When I looked that term up at the time, it was a catch-all term, for those who felt like they did not quite fit into an asexual box. I felt that fitted me well, because when I spoke to some guys on that dating site (www.asexualitic.com), who also identified as a heteroromantic asexual, it seemed the way I like to kiss was too sexual in behaviour for them to be in a potential relationship with me, but I knew from past experience, that I was not sexual enough for sexuals, as I don’t want intercourse or other forms of partnered sex, even though I did have sex in the past, because I felt I had to, as part of a ‘normal relationship’. So I felt stuck, and compelled to use the Grey Asexual, but drop it to Grey A, because I felt I had grey areas, rather than being completely Grey Asexual, and in my Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories book, I redefine Grey A to mean this. Although the term Grey A, has still not been officially redefined to mean this, that’s what I believe it should mean: When you have some sexual behaviour, (grey areas), despite not experiencing sexual attraction, and it should be separate to the term Grey Asexual, for this reason. As it currently stands, they mean same thing.
So, I wrote Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories book after this harsh treatment of being punished for how I personally identified, and I discovered it was not only me who had endured this type of experience. I wanted to celebrate our diversity across the asexual spectrum, and our differences within it, by interviewing as many asexuals across the globe and asexual spectrum, that I could within a year, who were happy to share about their intimate thoughts and experiences, about love, life, and sex. And I am very thankful and grateful that so many took part, 46 in total. And I also share my very own personal story at the beginning of the book, and you get to interview me at the end of the book too.
Also, there are a lot of myths and stereotypes about asexuality. I kept getting asked the same questions about asexuality, over and over again, from others who thought they were asexual, but weren’t sure, and it was mostly about can you still be asexual if you masturbate or watch porn, and trying to help them identify themselves on the asexual spectrum. So I thought I would write a book that would naturally show the spectrum as a whole, in real life contexts, so people could experience the asexual spectrum for themselves, and how we all fit into the diversity of it, rather than just give textbooks definitions of it. Although not every single asexual identity or sub-category of asexual identities is in the book, there is plenty of variation to show a broad overview of the asexual spectrum, and how it all works together.
How are asexuals treated in your country?
It is exceedingly difficult for me to answer this question for all asexuals because everyone is different, and my own circumstances and experiences, will be different to theirs. Many asexuals are not out about being asexual, like I am to the world. They fear what others might say or think about them, and so they keep it a secret. I feel this is not extremely helpful if you are an asexual who wants a relationship with another asexual and you are out about being asexual, and they are not. Of the asexuals that I do know who are open and honest about their asexuality, some just tell a few trusted friends, and others who are out and proud, don’t really care what others think, and so they can usually just be themselves, often after a difficult and nervous time, plucking up the courage to come out as asexual. Some asexuals have supportive family and friends. Others do not. I am fortunate in that my parents understand me far more since I came out about being asexual. I told them in a phone conversation while I was walking in my city back home, not realising it was meant to be a huge deal ‘coming out’ experience. By the second phone conversation, my mum said about asexuality, that it “sounds like you”. I was so happy and relieved. However, the first female friend I told, from my former workplace, did not believe me. She said I am always talking about guys and that “you just haven’t met the right person yet.” I explained, yes, I talk a lot about foreign guys because I am aesthetically and romantically attracted to them, but I do not want to have sex with them. She still did not believe me. And a gay friend, also at my former workplace, did not like the fact I was asexual at all. He was negative about it, and it really affected our friendship. He was a highly sexual guy and openly talked at the table in our staff canteen about his sex life. But when I was just as open about my asexual life, he really did not like it. Both people also worked in the same work area, and it took a year for them to both finally accept it. But I felt it was a significant struggle for them to understand it. It took a lot of me being strong and persistently talking about my asexuality, and putting it into contexts of… I cannot wait for my next asexual in person meetup… I love being asexual… On this asexual dating site, I met… I am part of asexual forums and groups… There are thousands of asexuals globally… And making sure my asexuality was non-negotiable before both people would accept it. When I used to talk about asexuality in the staff canteen, and in the locker room, everyone else seemed cool about it, and did not really care one way or the other.
Some of my other experiences about my own treatment of my asexuality, include:
After I told a taxi driver I am asexual, (I always like to educate others at every available opportunity about asexuality, so frequently tell taxi drivers, most of whom, are foreign), telling me I was in a daze. I replied, “You must be in a daze if you are heterosexual then”. He did not like that much.
A guy in a nightclub responded to me telling him I am asexual, “So how is a guy who is dating you going to get his pleasure”. I replied, “He can masturbate himself, it’s not my problem.” His face was shocked.
I also have a female heterosexual best friend who seemed uncomfortable with me talking about my asexuality, because she would change the subject a lot. But she seems a lot more able to accept this about me as time goes on, and is always encouraging me to pursue my dreams, of which, getting asexuality recognised as a sexual orientation throughout the globe, so that no asexual has to live in fear of ridicule ever again, plays a large part. And to enable this, she knows I do my YouTube show, blog, and I am working on my second book for asexuals. I have at least 4 more books that I plan to write for asexuals. Both this second book I am working on, and even the third book, are in demand. The second I am still working hard to finish. The third which I have not started yet; I have people wanting to be in the book and buy it. I really appreciate all of this interest in the work I do for asexuals, writing is my hugest passion, followed very closely by asexuality, so this fills my soul with so much joy, and I know my books help asexuals a lot, so I feel I am making a valuable contribution to society and the world, and playing my part in raising awareness, and fostering better understanding within the asexual community itself.
If I am looking to a date a guy, and I tell a heterosexual guy I am asexual, he usually either accepts it and thinks he needs sex, and can’t live without it, so he is off and out of my life. Or he accepts it and does not care that I am, and he does not care if others know he is dating an asexual girl. (While asexual guys who are secret about their asexuality, do not want to be in a relationship with someone who is so open about their asexuality. Which I find strangely ironic and annoying at times.) Or he does not understand it or thinks I do not really mean it. And either ignores it, or sees it as a challenge, or that I am just saying it, to not be ‘easy’ to have sex with. Some guys say they do not want sex as a reaction to me saying I am asexual, but then start asking to come back to my place! Eeeewww!
I have asexual in person friends that are out about being asexual and they love being asexual, and this is reflected in the fact they have no fear talking about it; this is super liberating to be around. I have been arranging and holding in person asexual meetups for over 5 and a half years now, and people come from all over the UK to them. It’s so wonderful to be able to bring asexuals together, to talk about not just asexuality and our lack of interest in sex, but also a whole host of other things, such as hobbies and interests, and make some asexual in person friends. Since COVID-19 lockdowns began, I have held some online asexual meetups, connecting asexuals globally is something that feels absolutely incredible.
Tell a bit about your struggle, how you realised that you are an asexual?
I found out I am asexual in 2014, and it was a bit of a shock. I went to see a counsellor to explain that despite having sex in the past, I could no longer bring myself to do that. I still liked to kiss and have romance. But the expectation of sex at the end of a date with sexual guys was too much to bear, that I almost wet myself with nervousness. I felt I just could not do that anymore, and I did not know what to do about it. But I still wanted a romantic relationship with a guy. I just knew I did not want sex. No matter how hard I tried to push myself to do that, I just could not. She said I would have to have sex to keep a good guy, and I was just horrified. I thought why I should force myself to do something I do not want to do. That type of guy would not be any good for me, if he were expecting me to do something I did not want to do, to keep him. So I went home and Googled “I like kissing but not sex”, and it came up with asexuality, and I found other people like me, who could live, love, and be happy without sex ever, and desired that in a relationship too. I felt so relieved.
From which sources did you get your knowledge about asexuality?
When I first discovered asexuality, I learnt about it through AVEN (Asexuality.org), which is the world’s largest online community for asexuals. I also learnt about asexuality through other asexual YouTube channels. And by joining asexual dating sites and groups, and by listening to what asexuals have to say in comments and forum threads. (I run 5 asexual Facebook groups myself, so this helps my understanding.) And by reading some asexual articles.
Nowadays, besides those things previously mentioned, a lot of my knowledge about asexuality comes through my own life experience, and because I have a natural ability for understanding asexuality. This is because I came to understand through my own asexual life journey, looking back at my life, that I have always been asexual but did not realise it. I truly believe I was put on this earth to raise awareness of asexuality, globally, to get it recognised as an official sexual orientation in its own right, throughout the globe, so that no asexual lives in fear of ridicule ever again. This is why I share my own asexual life journey on my Asexualise My Asexual Life chat show, and give help, advice and guidance, on what works for me, in dating, relationships, friendships, and life, and what doesn’t, in order to help other asexuals in their own life asexual life journey. So, you can see how asexuality works in real life contexts daily, rather than just be given textbook definitions of it, and apply this to your own asexual life situations, where relevant.
Tell us more your book and your writing journey.
I published Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, Love, Life and Sex, ACElebration of Asexual Diversity, in 2017. I started writing it a year before it was first published in E-book format. It took about another 6 months to get it out in print. Throughout my time interviewing the other 46 asexuals in this book, I learnt a ton about asexuality from the 46 other asexual perspectives in it. I was learning so much, not just about asexuality, but also about the asexual spectrum as a whole, and by the time I finished writing it, I felt my eyes had been opened to the wonderful diversity of the world of asexuality, and it made me a lot more accepting of other asexuals who are different to me. It made me a better person.
Now I am working on my second book for asexuals, called Asexual Guide To Sex. With real life asexual sex stories, and sex advice, help, and guidance, from an asexual perspective. This book I believe, is an essential read, and possibly a life-saving book, for those asexuals who are thinking about having sex for the first time ever. To enable them to make an informed choice and decision for themselves if they should give sex a try or not. And to help them to stay safe in doing so, should they wish to try it, by presenting the good, bad, and fugly sides to sex, not the glorification of it. It is also the missing puzzle piece where sexuality is concerned, for society. It is the bridge in creating understanding between asexuals and sexuals. Something I truly believe I am born to enable, since I have spent over half of my past life, before I found out I am asexual, in heterosexual relationships, and I did have sex in the past. These days I am a personally sex-repulsed for me asexual. I have no problem with others who want and enjoy sex, so long as it is consensual and everyone involved, is happy to do it. I am not interested in having that again for myself. Which is why I need to be with an asexual guy who loves to kiss and be publicly affectionate and romantic, as much as me, without the sex.
This Asexual Guide To Sex book came about, because one day one of my a-romantic asexual friends sent me a message, which I was not expecting. “How would I go about having sex, if I wanted to try it?”
It completely stopped me in my tracks. I was not expecting an asexual to ask me that, and I guess found it even less likely that an aromatic asexual would, since they do not experience romantic attraction or sexual attraction. It got me thinking, if this friend was asking me that, how many other asexuals wanted to know this information? I then discovered there were lots more, in groups, and forums. I also got private messaged by a woman who wanted to know about this, due to the fact their family was arranging them a marriage, to a sexual man. And they felt scared, alone, and that they needed help knowing what to expect and do. All of this led me to write Asexual Guide To Sex, with real life asexual sex stories. Exposing the real truth about sex, the good, the bad, and the fugly! So any asexuals who are thinking about trying sex for the first time ever, can make an informed choice and decision if sex is right for them, or not. In other words, do not try sex, until you have read this book. And get the best advice from those asexuals who have been there and done it. I plan to publish this book in the next few months, so watch this space about that… In the meantime, get Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, as it makes a good prequel to it.
Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, is available to buy on Amazon here https://amzn.to/3jjqJFg
What are the problems that you think all asexuals are facing in your country and rest of the world alike?
Discrimination and invalidation, especially if you want a relationship and you are not having sex, then your relationship is not valid. Which is simply not true. Those people are judging asexuals by their own standards, which are not the same.
Ridiculed for not wanting sex. Pressure to do sexual things we do not want to do, or being guilt tripped into doing them.
Not being believed. Because sex is ‘natural’ to so many people, many others who are not asexual, cannot believe that not everyone likes, wants, or needs, sex. They do not believe it is not natural for all people to feel this way, and therefore they think something is wrong with asexuals when there is not. They just cannot comprehend this, and asexuality makes them uncomfortable, because it is something they do not understand, so they try to make out there is something wrong with us, in order to justify their un-comfortability.
Many of the people in society who are not asexual, either don’t want to talk about asexuality, think it’s impossible to be this way, or they don’t take it seriously, and think you have a problem, or need therapy, or your hormones testing. They also think it is a lifestyle choice, and that you are abstaining. Not that you have no choice in your sexual orientation, because it chose you.
Do you have any message for Asexuals across the globe, that you want to share?
Be out, be loud and proud, about being asexual, and do not care what other’s think. You only get one life and it is important to be your true, authentic self, always. Because you are beautiful, just as you are. Always remember, your asexuality is non-negotiable and not up for debate. You are asexual and that is it!
Subscribe to my Asexualise My Asexual Life channel, live chat show at www.youtube.com/asexualisemyasexuallife for advice in all aspects of asexual life; including understanding asexuality and the asexual spectrum, and our differences within it. Help with dating as an asexual, in a highly sexualised world; relationships with both asexuals and sexuals; friendships, and so much more. I also do no sex movie reviews – because as a sex-repulsed personally for me asexual, and a nudity repulsed asexual, I don’t want to see sex or nudity in films ever, so I try to always watch films without either of those in it, and I specialise in doing reviews of movies that have no visible sex in them.
For those asexuals who want more in-depth one-to-one help, advice, and guidance, I also do one-to-one coaching in asexuality and all aspects of asexual life, including dating and relationships. This is something that is a service I charge money for, as opposed to all the free advice I give to asexuals through my channel. If you want more details, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or through the chat bubble on my asexual blog www.asexualise.com or via my Asexualise Facebook page www.facebook.com/acexualise
Asexual Perspectives 47 Asexual Stories, is available to buy on Amazon here https://amzn.to/3jjqJFg This book answers pretty much every question you could think of asking about asexuality, when you are new to it, or you don’t understand the full extent of the asexual spectrum. Told through the answers of those asexuals I interviewed for the book, who share their very personal real-life asexual stories, regarding love, life, and sex. It is an ACE read!