Autosexuality: Sexual Attraction to Oneself
Nikita Ghodke writes about how sexuality is a personal and important expression. It’s an identity that helps understand one’s own sexual, emotional, or physical desires. It has nothing to do with one’s gender expression or sexual orientation. It’s based on individual interests. Sexuality is fluid. One can identify themselves with more than one sexuality. Autosexuality is an image of self-love to many. It includes sexual attraction to oneself. As familiar and odd as it sounds, it’s true. Autosexual individuals are misunderstood. They are often confused as individuals that fall into the spectrum of Asexuality. Asexual beings lack sexual attraction towards any individual.
What is Autosexuality?
Autosexuality is all about sexual attraction to oneself. Autosexual individuals feel sexual attraction or desires with themselves. They sometimes prefer masturbation over intercourse with another individual. You know you are asexual when you feel little to moderate aroused by an image of yourself naked. It can also be an image of yourself in front of the mirror or fantasize yourself having sex. There is no harm or shame in experiencing this. In an article by Cosmopolitan, Megwyn White said “people who identify as autosexual can have relationships with others but have a preference for sex with themselves.”
Autosexuals are quite often looked at as ‘Narcissists’ in nature which is false. According to me, autosexuality is one’s way of sexual love. Exploring one’s sexuality helps in navigating sexual preferences, interests, likes, and dislikes. There is a thin line difference between masturbation and masturbating to the idea of themselves. Autosexuality does not come as a result of loneliness or any underlying issues. It’s an experience of enjoying oneself. You can feel aroused by yourself and also engage in sexual activities with your partner.
“I did know a concept like this existed. I don’t identify myself as an autosexual person but I have had few experiences. I get aroused a little with the image of me having sex but it’s not very definite. I do have stronger sexual desires for my partner but there have been times where I was aroused by myself. I thought it was wrong and never spoke about it until I read more about it.” said anonymously.
“The first time I felt aroused with myself was in 2019. I never felt this before but it was an unusually positive experience. I started feeling this after I started clicking pictures of me. I am not ashamed of it but I am still exploring it.” said anonymously.
‘Yes, I am autosexual’: Journey towards exploring the self.
In an interview with Surabhi, a 20-year-old womxn. Who identifies herself as an autosexual person told me, “Yes, I am autosexual. It comes as a surprise to a lot of people when I tell them this.”
“I experienced this very recently, in fact, amidst the pandemic. I was clicking pictures of me which were either revealing parts of my body. I realized I started feeling aroused or attracted to myself. I started exploring it more after recording what I felt with every picture I took. This feeling is growing and I am still exploring it. I got to know about this when I searched on the internet. I thought this was something I felt and it seemed like a new feeling I started enjoying.”
“I am aroused by myself and it’s not limited to that only. I do feel aroused by others whom I sexually engage with. It’s very different from masturbating to the idea of someone else. In this, it’s you and the image of yourself. Importantly, my emotional and my sexual attraction towards myself are two different things. Being sexually charged by myself does not mean I am in love with myself because I am not. A lot of times when I shared this with a few friends they would assume it as a ‘selfish act of self-love.’
“Being honest here to me it’s both self-love and self-awareness. Being in touch with what you enjoy is important. I know sexuality is fluid. We can sometimes be sure and sometimes it’s confusing. I say enjoy what you feel in the present, it’s not wrong or weird to get aroused by yourself. Let no societal voices make you decide what you enjoy. It will take time to be open about this to your friends and family. I am myself in the process but accepting it yourself is the first step.”
Living in a country like India, narrowness, and living in binary is a common ideology. Breaking away from such orthodox images is an important task. Exploring yourself not emotionally but sexually is never seeded in us. Autsosexuality is seldom spoken and discussed. One’s sexual orientation can’t be defined by sex, gender expression. Neither can it be by any rule book. The lack of sex education has brought about complexities. One is in the basic understanding of sexual orientation. Growing up we are taught to ‘fit’ in ‘one’ of many categories. It’s important to break away from such notions. Understand you are what you feel, emotionally, physically, and sexually. As per me, we all might have once or twice experienced it without being conscious of it.
Emotionally connecting with yourself or appreciating yourself does not make anyone autosexual. Autoromantic is yet another new experience that is whispered or joked about. There is no hard and fast rule for anyone to be a specific fit to experience a feeling. Normalizing sexual orientations can give more pleasure and positiveness within us. To date, there have been a majority womxn experiencing such arousals. It does not mean other genders don’t, it simply means it’s not explored. There has been no definite research carried out. Though the experience is spoken about in different contexts in papers. There is not much emphasis given to this particular sexual orientation.