Fear of Intimacy

It occurred to me that my previous post kind of vaguely hits on one of the common things that asexuality is dismissed as, i.e. fear of intimacy.

“Oh, you’re not asexual, you’re just afraid of intimacy.”

I suppose I am, to some extent, afraid if intimacy, if you define “intimacy” as being emotionally open and vulnerable to another person who may not care, which I don’t know that I would, because it seems to me (and I’m no expert on these things, so I’m not entirely sure this is what they’re referring to) that it really involves being afraid even though you’re sure that the person you care about DOES care about you in return.

Under those circumstances, I would have no problem. I’m certainly not afraid of sex; that’s fine, as long as I know my partner will look out for me. I can be emotionally open, too, if I’m sure of my partner.

But if I’m afraid of intimacy, I think asexuality is the cause, rather than the effect. I am only afraid of getting involved with other people because I know I don’t care about the same things they do, and they probably don’t care about and are not prepared to give me the things that I want out of a relationship. I’m willing to compromise, but they may not be. To get into a situation where I’m giving up so much, and getting nothing in return… well, that’s painful, and to be avoided. And that fear is actually legitimate, because it’s perfectly plausible that I’d get myself into such a situation if I don’t exercise caution.

If I were sexual, I would still have to worry about getting into a situation like that, but chances are, since I would have much more incentive to get into sexual relationships, I wouldn’t be so vulnerable in sexual situations. I would feel that I was at least getting something from them, beyond the satisfaction of seeing my partner satisfied, and so it wouldn’t be so much of a drain on me. I wouldn’t have to be so careful, because I wouldn’t have as much reason to be afraid.

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3 thoughts on “Fear of Intimacy

  1. I think you make some really good points here. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if there’s anyone who actually isn’t afraid of intimacy (as in real intimacy, not just intimacy as a euphemism for sex). Given the vulnerability involved, it seems perfectly logical (and legitimate, as you said) to be somewhat afraid. I don’t see how that invalidates asexuality as an orientation, especially if the case is — as you’re suggesting — that asexuality causes or contributes to the fear, rather than resulting from it.

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  2. Intimacy’s funny. Oftentimes it can feel so forced, and that’s what I dislike about it. I’d much prefer to sit quietly with someone and share a moment than to “talk about our feelings”, etc. Without sex there as a “distraction”, I think intimacy for asexual people might be more intense, and therefore even more scary than it already is for everyone else.

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  3. For sexual people, sex often leads to emotional attachment. So they may think that us not wanting to have sex is due to us not wanting to risk becoming emotionally attached to anyone, ie. a fear of intimacy. They don’t understand that for us, sex doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with emotions. It is just a physical act. We can have sex, without it being at all intimate. And we can be intimate, without sex.

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