Are you autosexual? The short answer is yes, most likely. We all are, at least a little. Casey Tanner, therapist, writer, and founder of QueerSexTherapy, helped us define autosexuality as “a trait wherein one is turned on by engaging in their eroticism.” In other simpler term, it means that you have an emotional and sexual attraction to yourself. So, to be autosexual, you have a sexual desire for yourself, being erotically aroused by your own physical being. A prime example of this is simply women in general. While it may not be accurate for everyone, we generally feel more sexual and turned on when we feel we are sexy. But it’s not just about the ladies.
“ While masturbation is the most obvious example, autosexuality (or autoromantic ) may extend beyond sexual behavior to include feeling a longing or desire for oneself. It can also be the ability to turn oneself on through looking at, visualizing, touching, or smelling oneself.
Simply put, being autosexual is feeling a sexual attraction toward yourself, like sex and relationship expert Carmel Jones explains. The term is often also brought up with “autoromantic,” which refers to a romantic attraction to yourself, whereas “autosexual” is just the sexual component.
Tanner tells us that “like most human characteristics, autosexuality is a spectrum—and the majority of us are on it! Some may identify as exclusively autosexual, in which case they might consider autosexuality their sexual orientation. Most people, however, incorporate autosexuality into a larger sexual repertoire that also includes being turned on by partnered sex.”
If you have someone in your life who identifies as autosexual, don’t dismiss them or think of autosexuality under the umbrella of narcissism or selfishness, Jones says. Instead, acknowledge the validity of their sexual identity.
For partners, remember that their autosexuality is not an insult or attack against you. It doesn’t mean they are not sexually attracted to you or don’t want to have sex with you, Jones says, but instead that you may need to keep an open mind and understand that your sexual relationship with an autosexual partner may look a little different from what you’re used to and your ways of pleasuring each other may also be a little different.
This might mean wearing sexy lingerie, even if your partner hardly gives it a second glance. It could mean doing your hair and makeup so that you feel good and turned on, even when you’ve been in a long-term monogamous relationship and the other party hardly notices. It could mean washing lovingly in the bath and genuinely enjoying your body. It could mean dancing in the mirror in a cute outfit. If feeling sexy independent of someone else has ever turned you on, that’s autosexuality, and it’s normal.
Like all things, it’s on a spectrum, as White explains. You can be in a romantic relationship with someone else but still find it easier to be turned on with yourself, she adds. You might also have sexual feelings triggered by thoughts, images, or sexual fantasies involving yourself. Or you might feel naturally turned on by looking at yourself in the mirror or fantasizing about yourself naked.
If you enjoy watching yourself have sex or are attracted to people who look like you, those could also be signs you’re autosexual, according to Jones.
Autosexuality is often associated with narcissism, but experts agree that’s not an accurate way of thinking about autosexuality. “This is not the same as narcissistic personality disorder, as narcissists require admiration and attention from others and lack empathy,” White explains. Instead, “ people who identify as autosexual are able to have relationships with others but have a preference for sex with themselves.”
” Many folks resist autosexuality, fearing that it’s narcissistic or might detract from partnered sex. In reality, autosexuality can be a healthy, even valuable part of your sex life, explains Megwyn White, director of education for Satisfyer. Embrace loving yourself! Embrace turning yourself on!
When we know how to turn ourselves on, we depend less on environmental cues to move us into a sensual headspace. When we look at or fantasize about ourselves, we are in touch with our bodies and senses. Getting turned on by oneself does not mean you think you’re better than other people, that you’re selfish, or that you’re not attracted to your partner(s). Rather, it’s one additional tool in your box for sparking desire and passion.
It takes us into a comfortable, relaxed space when we find our sexuality to be attractive. We are sensual beings, so depending on our sensuality instead of relying solely on others to turn us on has profound power. It takes the pressure off of partnered sex, and it brings so much pleasure to our time, ehem, alone. Wherever you land on the spectrum of autosexuality, none of it is wrong. Enjoy yourself, literally.
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