Guides + Resources

Self-Help Is The Best Help – The Autosexual Way 

Auto sexuality or autoeroticism is a part of queerness that has mostly been invisible, given that there are scant resources about it. It is basically being attracted to yourself, being able to pleasure yourself better than others could, and the ability to turn your own self on.

Recall your wildest encounter ever. It could be a one-on-one interaction, a threesome, foursome or a manysome. It could be the wildest orgy of your life. Everyone’s doing various things to drive you past the finish line. Every erogenous zone of yours is being “sex-plored”; every sensory organ of yours is on overdrive. AND YET, you feel like you’re not entirely satisfied.  Not in the same way as when you get off of yourself. When you’re alone in your locked room with the blinders shut, touching or fingering yourself.

Auto sexuality or autoeroticism is a part of queerness that has mostly been invisible, given that there are scant resources about it. It is basically being attracted to yourself, being able to pleasure yourself better than others could, and the ability to turn your own self on. You may still enjoy physical relationships with another person or people but you’d be aroused more by masturbating in front of the other person or showing yourself off, as opposed to actively engaging with the other person(s). You could also be turned on by your own nudes or that of others, your videos of going solo on yourself or that of someone else masturbating, or of you having sex with someone. Your eroticism and relationship making you go randy is what it is largely about.

Imagine if you were your only admirer, critique and audience alike, had enough time to absorb the entire silhouette of your body and weren’t answerable to ANYONE ELSE. That’s autosexuality to you. For those who’ve not had a great relationship with your body from the get go – due to having faced body/appearance-shaming, carrying internalized fatphobia, having a history of self-harm just to name a few (been here, felt that) – discovering one’s autosexuality can be a vulnerable, yet liberating experience.

There are many reasons why people are not aware of the term even within the LGBTQ community and/or they are averse to exploring it:

a) People tend to pigeonhole their chosen sexual labels into one of the few labels that are already a part of the acronym LGBTQIA (this is the reason there is a ‘+’ at the end)

b) Going by observation, the focus is always on the people you are attracted to, when one talks of sexual orientation. However, the focus is seldom on the frequency, intensity, nature and other attributes of one’s sexuality, which makes autosexuality invisible (just like demisexuality)

c) Autosexuality or autoeroticism, has often been closely linked to NPD – Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This causes so much stigma and harm, both against those who identify as autosexual as well as those who fall under the cluster B Personality Type.

d) There is poor or a complete lack of understanding from partners of autosexual people as to how to approach the situation, which causes a lot of autosexual people to huddle back into the closet. Not all autosexual people are averse to another person stimulating them. There is no one way of being autosexual, just like there are myriad ways of being bisexual, asexual or gay. You need to communicate without judgment with your partner and ascertain their needs before you jump into the sack.

As a gender-diverse person myself, (I’m non-binary), as someone who has both physical and social gender dysphoria, I get by most days just trying to not loathe my body. My entire life has become a ticking countdown to the day I get my top surgery.

However, discovering my autosexuality since 2018 helped me assemble a lot of the puzzle pieces toward decoding myself:

a) I took a lot of selfies of mine in 2018 and 2019 when I lost truckloads of weight. I felt better because I could pass as a flat-chested person in loose clothes then, and simultaneously felt worse because I have an hourglass physique. As conflicted as I felt, I noticed that I see my masc pictures as a “version of me that I wish to look like” and “present as”, while I see the effeminate pictures of mine as doppelgangers or clones who would turn me on a lot if they actually existed. So there’s that contrast.

b) It made me realize that dressing up masculine makes me feel self-assured and confident and I’d want to present masc about 95% times, but dressing up as femme gets me horny instantly (provided it’s not a daily affair but just a rare instance of dressing up). I’d not mind reserving the last 5% of the time for indulging in my femme appearances.

c) It made me embrace the tiny possibility that my gender expression could be fluid. Before this I was very rigid about being masculine all the time. All my Pinterest boards for formal, ethnic events and pride-march wear were filled with pictures of “masculine” attires. Trousers, shirts, dhoti-kurta, harnesses, and more. But now I have pinned 1-2 ideas for gender-bending, euphoria-inducing ways of wearing saris. In fact, my partner looked stunning in a sari once, so in some sense, I mirror what I like to see in my partner, I guess?

d) It made me fit seamlessly into the role of a butch lesbian in same-gender relationships. And I realized that even when I’m dating, I enjoy role plays and fantasies that involve me getting off in front of my partner. It’s such a powerful role reversal from the heteronormative stuff I’ve read, where it’s often the cis woman pleasuring herself in front of the cis man. Although I’m dominant in most same gender relationships, I also like being watched. I’m glad I’ve been in a couple of healthy, understanding relationships that have allowed me to explore and articulate. In many cases I realized that I enjoy getting off by myself far more than when the other person is doing me.

e) As a person who has grown hating their body thanks to dysphoria and dysmorphia, self-pleasuring and using sex toys made me heal and see my body in a different light. I minimized reducing my physique to an effeminate Point-Of-Sale and started exploring neutral/euphoria-inducing parts instead. My muscular legs give me euphoria. The dimple on my left cheek does too. My upper lip hair as well. My fingers and hairy arms do so much to turn me on. I don’t wanna make my pre-transition life insufferable, so I’ve started jotting down ways to find pride in my body even before I land on the Operation Table.

f)Something I wish I was told long back – seeking pride in your body and getting turned on by yourself isn’t selfish and investing in a healthy sex life isn’t a waste of money. These are healthy ways of finding yourself. Don’t let boomers gaslight you. I am meticulously saving money to get myself an ergonomic thrusting rabbit vibrator and a clitoral suction device with lube from a queer-person-owned venture, so that I can take time and derive some bottom euphoria by playing around and figuring out what I like best.

g) Being with cis-het-men in the past opened my eyes to what I was missing out on. One of my exes ACTUALLY – not even kidding – used his phone torchlight to look for the clitoris. This was in 2019. That was the tipping point in my life. In addition to being unaware, he was sloppy too and didn’t cut his nails, tried some mainstream hardcore trashy moves on me and expected moans when all that came out were groans. I was so done with him that the experience made me steer clear of other cis-man in the future as well. That was when it hit me, that there’s no point in entirely blaming cis-het men, because many cis-het women and queer people in India haven’t been encouraged to sleuth out what turns them on. This made me spend some quality me-time. What moves feel best on the clit? Do I like direct pressure around it? What hits the G-spot the hardest? Am I limiting my erogenous zones to just two of these? I also realized I HATE hardcore porn and founding myself feeling vulnerable and withdrawn after watching it once. It felt emotionless and mechanical. I am your highly-mushy, coffee-chugging Mills-n-Boons reader. We don’t do the “wham-bam-thank you-ma’am” drill here, we stay in and cuddle. This later led me to label myself as demisexual.

There was this scary moment in my life which now looks funny in retrospect – my mom walked into my bathroom and found one of my older vibrators that I got over five years ago, with a damp cloth beside it. She picked it up and she gave me a puzzled look. I told her it’s a vibe and I told her to put it back because it was inside me about ten minutes ago. She freaked out and asked me what nonsense I was to. I was like, “I’ve burnt my hands with terrible people in the past, so now I’m in self-service mode…” She gave me a long stare and then left my room while I wondered how smoothly this went without me having to get kicked out of my house.  I’m glad I didn’t say “aatmanirbhar” else I might have squashed the Modi bhakth in her.

For those who think they’re autosexual but don’t want to get walked in on by mummy, papa, chaachi, maasi and the whole boomer brigade –

a) Try to order the toys or any accessories you want to the address of friends who live alone or have enough privacy to receive packages at their home – with their prior consent, of course. That’s what I did! I put a friend’s address for delivery in 2019. If I shared this article with her she’d have aneurysms laughing. You can even have it delivered to a night club you regularly visit.

b) Explore when you’re most at your most private – under the shower. Use aloe vera gel as an alternative to lube. No one would suspect anything. Just do a skin test to ensure you’re not allergic. Use your own saliva only after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth.

c) If your job is something that requires travel, well and good. If you’re studying, use combined study as an excuse to go to the house of any friend whose home lets you get off safely.

d) For those who like the thrill of doing it outdoors. Try basements, night clubs and other dingy places that you’re sure don’t have any cameras.

e) Many cheap hotel rooms are not quite as safe as you wish to believe they are. But if that’s the only option, and if you can afford it, inspect the room for hidden cameras, especially behind the mirror right after you check in. You do not want people blackmailing you later.

To those who live independently, experiment with things like attire, lighting, kink wear, mirrors, curtains and more. What do you like to wear? Do you find yourself or parts of you attractive? How do you like to present yourself? Do harnesses, strap ons, ropes, and collars turn you on? Do you like company when you’re at it? Do you like being accidently watched? Have you ever left the curtains slightly open so someone could voyeuristically see you touch yourself? Are mirrors fun or overwhelming? Does running water under the shower enhance your mood like waterfalls do in Bollywood? (Think Main Hoon Na). Does darkness help calm your nerves or does having lights on help you clean up better? Does the thrill of being caught excite you? What parts of you turn you on? What fictional characters do you manifest yourself as?

These are just some starter questions that will help you break the ice with your own self. You see, it’s a myth that all queer people are very comfortable with ourselves or with partnered sex. Many of us still fight internalized queerphobia. Added to that, sex and sexuality are still taboo in a nation with the highest population count. Despite being the land that birthed the Kamasutra, masturbation is taboo and added to it, we Indians have very warped beauty standards that are barriers to self-acceptance.

However, I do believe that there is always a first time to everything and one can always take baby steps. It might take you years or even your whole life, to figure out that you are autosexual, but the journey is actually real fun. No pun even intended.

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Mx. Radz (mandative pronouns - they/them) is an LGBTQ+ affirming ESL (English as a second Language) teacher. They are in the process of curating ways to make schools a safer space for LGBTQ children, and are doing a research paper on the same. On the personal note, they have a fluid sexual orientation, (ace flux/bi/pan) and their sexuality is impacted by their relationship with their own self (gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia and autosexuality), and how they view attachment in general (demisexual). They are also trans masculine and enby. Growing up with discomfort towards their physique made them realise how empowering autosexuality can be in self acceptance. They look forward to queer spaces where people are far more open to discovering more nuances about themselves than limiting the labels they use.
Mx. Radz

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