Autosexuality is not synonymous with autoeroticism. The latter is about engaging in self-pleasure… that’s about it. The former, which I identify with, is very different. Masturbation is a very big part of being autosexual, but it is just a part of it.
Autosexuality is an orientation, much like hetero or homosexuality or asexuality. Except instead of being attracted to (or not) to other people, it is an attraction to the self, and it can be sexual, romantic, or in my case, both.
But let’s get one thing straight: autosexuality is not narcissism. Narcissism is a mental disorder characterized by self-interest and absorption at the cost of others, selfishness and a lack of empathy, among a host of other undesirable personality traits. That is not me. Sure I can be selfish, but we all can, and sometimes it is necessary to be so. I am learning how to be selfish without hurting others; it is a fine balance.
I am not a narcissist. I am my own best lover and friend. Over the years, I have fallen very deeply in love, with me. I know that is strange, but it’s true. I even get butterflies in my stomach when I think about being alone with myself, like it is some hot date, even if I don’t engage in any sexual self-exploration.
I am not sure when I realized I was auto. Maybe I always knew. I remember feeling so confused in my younger years because I would look at myself in the mirror, sometimes, and be so extremely attracted to my reflection, utterly riveted on what I perceived to be an awesome beauty I could not even admit to myself. And I wondered why no one saw me like I saw myself, why no one was an enthralled by me as I was. But much like the way I handled all other difficult, strange or unconventional aspects of myself, I swept it under the rug and tried to hide or expunge it. I tried to hate myself instead, and piled on the criticism, while avoiding being intimate and naked with myself. I still masturbated but it was about getting off, and not about actually enjoying and exploring myself and my body. I had so much shame.
Yet when in the company of women who make self-hate an artform, I could never join in the chorus of self-criticism and self-hate, not authentically at least. I never believed myself when I would say something mean about my body in front of others, trying not to alienate others in their quest for validation and comiseration.
But sometimes, I would be defiant, and say that I actually like myself, and that they should try harder, and that they should be careful how they speak of themselves in front of their children, lest they hand down the karma of self-hatred and self-rejection. And it does get passed down, just like a genetic trait. I don’t need to prove it; I see it all the time, and you probably do too.
This past year of blogging and photographing, even drawing, myself, has really allowed me to self-actualize as an autosexual. Not that labels are important, but they help us understand certain aspects of the self. I am not just auto, but it is a significant part of my make-up.
I have been blessed enough to know one of the purest forms of love there is: self-love. And I am not talking about the kind of self-love you read about in beauty magazines and fakebook feeds. I am talking about a consummate love for me that keeps growing annd evolving, and has me falling deeply in love with a new part of myself every day.
Being autosexual helps me to meet my own needs without putting pressure on another to meet them for me. It has made me more responsible for myself.
One drawback is that I often prefer masturbation to sex. I fucking love having sex, now, but being with myself is something I could never give up, no matter how satisfying my sex life may be.
My orientation towards myself in this manner could very easily invite jealousy in my partner, but jealousy is a shadow that is often a projection of something internal in the person experiencing it (translation: one’s jealousy is always one’s own problem and wound to heal, and it is never a healthy expression of love, but rather an expression of codependency). Regardless of how others feel though, this side of me is not a phase or some perversion I need to be cured of. It is a facet of my multi-faceted, multiple- layered, ever-expanding self.
I would not change or trade it for everything.
This love makes colours brighter, makes food taste better, makes my days happier – even the sad ones. It makes me want to create more and share more and be more. It is just like falling in love but with no chance of heart break, disappointment or separation. It flavours everything for the better in my life. I wish everyone could experience it.