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Are You Getting Any?

Are You Getting Any? What Being ‘Greysexual’ Means for My Sex Life

Rory identifies most closely as 'greysexual', meaning that they only experience sexual desire under very specific conditions.

by Nana Baah; photos by Sophie Davidson
08 October 2019, 8:00am

All photos by Sophie Davidson.

Welcome to Are You Getting Any? A column that asks a generation rumoured not to fuck if they in fact fuck.

RORY, 22

Quality of sex overall: 8/10
Frequency of sex: 5/10
Intimacy levels: 7/10
How do you feel generally about the people you fuck: 9/10
How happy are you with the amount of time you have for sex: 9/10

VICE: Hi Rory! So, you rated ‘frequency of sex’ at five out of ten. Tell me about that.
Rory: Well, I had to think about that one. The last time I had sex was five days ago but before that, I had a dry spell which lasted a bit over a year and a half. Actually, I had phone sex in that time and did things that were verging on foreplay, but I didn’t think of those as sex so much.

What does qualify as sex for you?
I don’t know, that’s difficult as a queer person. There are many layers to sex because it isn’t just P in V, that would completely disregard all queer sex. I’ve never had an orgasm, so I can’t just say sex is when you have an orgasm because then I would have never had sex, but I have.

So, you’ve never had an orgasm from sex. What about masturbating?
That includes masturbating. I have a vibrator and the first and only time so far that I’ve used it was April or May. I spent about half an hour trying to figure out what was happening an ended up in tears, not in a good way. Unsatisfied and overstimulated, I think. Since then, I’ve been like, "Maybe not." I haven’t used it since then.

Photograph of Rory by Sophie Davidson
Rory at home.

You identify as being on the asexual spectrum. How would you describe the way that you experience sexual attraction?
One of the biggest misconceptions about the asexual spectrum is that people who are asexual or who are on that spectrum don’t enjoy sex at all. It’s just that they don’t necessarily experience sexual attraction to other people.

It’s hard to explain how I experience sexual attraction to other people. The closest term that I think applies to me would be 'greysexual' [someone who experiences sexual attraction or desires sex rarely, or under certain conditions]. I still experience the desire to have sex, it’s just I don’t always find people sexually attractive. The things that turn me on aren’t necessarily always related to the person. It could be how they’ve expressed their feelings to me, or the room we’re in, what I’ve eaten, what I’ve done that day or how tired I am. It’s kind of nebulous what they are and I’ve been trying to pin it down, but I haven’t made very much progress.

Photograph of Rory by Sophie Davidson

Do you think pinning down what turns you on is important?
Not necessarily. I think if I tried to slap too many labels on it, then it becomes more difficult to enjoy myself.

You said you had a dry spell, which sounds negative. Was it?
Not really. One of the reasons I stopped having sex was because I was sexually assaulted. I was thinking about how I was having sex, the kinks that I thought I was into and I wanted to think about it on my own for a bit. Then of course, I had phone sex with several people.

Did phone sex help?
It is still a very emotional process, but it was easier for me. Part of me was in what I was doing and the other part of me was analysing it and I think that was helpful to see that I wasn’t doing sex in the most healthy way.

What do you think of the British Medical Journal research? Is social media to blame for us all shagging less?
Social media has definitely played a role in my sex life, because I’ve dated a number of people who I have met on Facebook. Generally speaking, we’re putting curated versions of ourselves online and convincing people that those are the real versions of us. That creates a disconnect between perception and reality which I don’t think was as pronounced before social media. So, it can definitely affect the sexual relationships you have, along with any other interpersonal relationships.

So since your ‘dry spell’ ended, where are you finding the people you sleep with?
Tinder.

What kind of people are you open to meeting on dating apps?
I have a hard time dating women because obviously, I’m uncomfortable when lesbians are attracted to me and bi women often experience effects of compulsive heterosexuality and so tend to be more open to dating men anyway. With other non-binary people, there’s so few of us, that there’s a toss up between whether we’re going to be attracted to each other at all. But I try not to date straight men either.

Tell me more about that.
I have dated a lot of straight men and a lot of them have later come out as bi – in part because of me – which has been encouraging. With some of the other straight men I’ve dated, I’ve always had this fear that they’re seeing me as a woman and I can’t control that. At the same time, it feels dishonest to be with someone who sees me as something that I’m not.

Photograph of Rory by Sophie Davidson
Rory plays the cello and references it in her Tinder bio.

A bit of a weird one, but in the first US instalment of 'Are You Getting Any', a horse trainer says that her profession has had some effect on her sex life. I can see that you play the cello. So, do you reckon being a musician plays a role in your sex life?
People think musicians are sexy, I guess ... and it sits between my legs. In fact, in my Tinder bio it says, ‘My cello will always come first.’ Then I say, ’because I’ve never had an orgasm.’ [Laughs.]

That’s in your current bio?
Yeah!

Okay! Thanks Rory.

@nanasbaah / @sophieedavidson

If you’re 18-30 years old and want to be featured in the Are You Getting Any? series, send an email to nana.baah@vice.com with the subject 'Are You Getting Any?'