You Need To Talk To Yourself
I’ve always had a habit of talking to myself, at least as far back as I can remember. Most times I chalked it up to not having an inner monologue, or at least not being able to contain it. Over time, I learned to harness it to work out particularly sticky problems by, in effect, having a debate with myself. It was embarrassing sometimes, for sure, but it was helpful, and that’s what mattered to me. Only recently did I come to understand how important such conversations with myself could be.
Communication between partners is important in any kind of kink relationship. Limits have to be disclosed and agreed on, the type of play has to be decided, status checks during and afterward are a courtesy at worst, and, ideally, a necessity. Anyone who practices kink for long enough has these expectations ingrained into their bones. What people don’t seem to consider, though, is that communication with yourself in regard to kink, in particular your sense of sexuality, is just as important and necessary as communication with partners.
As I wrote in my previous piece for The Asexual, I knew I was kinky long before I knew I was sexual, let alone asexual. In my case, the kink was tickling, with some elements of bondage, in a simulated sense. Young me didn’t know much about knots, and I didn’t want to go through all the trouble of tying up someone who said I could tickle their feet anyway. As time went on and I started looking up more detailed images of my preferred fetish, I discovered that I preferred to focus more on the tickling itself than the extent to which the ticklee was undressed. Most boys in their early teens would be far more interested in finding nude models or tickling that focused on genitalia, but not me. If it wasn’t foot related, I was barely interested. I wasn’t masturbating anyway, so I didn’t think much of it. When I started dating, whether or not a girl was ticklish was important to me – not a dealbreaker, but certainly of high value. Sex still never entered my reasoning. It wasn’t something I was interested in, so why think about it?
However, looking back, this is where the problem began. Because I wasn’t thinking about sex, wasn’t examining my sexuality (or seeming lack thereof, since I didn’t know about asexuality then), I was unable to effectively communicate my desires, my limits, and what was important to me within a relationship in the first place. Improper communication often results in so much pain and damage, as it did in my case.
Since coming out as asexual, I’ve learned a lot more about what my kink means to me, and what it doesn’t. While there’s no doubt that I seek out tickling when I’m turned on, it’s not a turn on in itself. I’m not looking for sex when I do kink play, I’m looking for fun; I’m looking for intimacy. I’m looking to share an activity I greatly enjoy with another person who enjoys it just as much as I do, which, frankly, sounds a lot like what non-ace people express is what sex represents for them.
This reflection guides me back around again to emphasize why communication is so important in a kink relationship, particularly within the context of asexuality: it leads to a better understanding of what you really want and need to be happy. There’s no better way to figure that out than talking to yourself. A lot.