The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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I have always had zero interest in sex and find it repulsive.

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio, without voice inflection, pauses etc. Sometimes this results in the text implying the opposite of the intended meaning.)

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Here's a question from Maya. Hello, Dr. Kenner, my question is embarrassing. I consider myself an asexual woman, because I'm 100% not interested in sex. As a young adult, I've never had sex. I've never experienced sexual attraction toward another person, and I do not believe it will ever happen. This has always been with me. I can't understand why everyone else seems so interested in dating and kissing and touching and mating, I find the thought of sex repulsive. I know this idea is wrong, and I'm very familiar with Ayn Rand's objectivism, and the importance she puts on genuine love and romantic sex. Does thinking of sex is repulsive mean that I hold ideas that are hurting me, I would be a lot happier without feeling like I should have sex. The only reason I feel I should have sex is because sex is allegedly an expression of one's highest values, I worry that I may be guilty of some moral transgression that is preventing me from living a full life. Even though the statement seems contrary to how I feel about myself. Regards, Maya.

So Maya, I have three points that I want to bring out from what you're saying. But before I go there, sex done right is an expression of one's highest values. But you know, there's a whole spectrum there of people having sex that you and I and many other people would find very repulsive, and we would not consider it romantic sex. So here are the three main issues. I'm going to name them, then I will go into in and talk about each one.

The first one is self esteem. You're worried about, oh my god, what if I have some deep moral trans transgression that is barring me from enjoying sex and seeing it as romantic and seeing it as a high value? That's number one. So it's a self esteem issue.

Number two, your ideas about sex, you find it repulsive, and for as long as you can remember, you found it as repulsive. Okay, that raises a little curiosity. Red flag inside of mirror question mark.

The third point is motivation that your you feel you should enjoy sex. If I feel I should enjoy tennis or dance or going to the gym, notice I'm sending myself conflicting messages, Ellen, you should enjoy the gym. That's going to backfire on you. So now I'm going to elaborate on each of these.

The first point is self esteem. From what you imply in your last sentence, is when you said it seems contrary to how I feel about myself, maybe I had this moral transgression. But that's not how I feel about myself. It sounds like you already feel good about yourself in other areas of your life. And I'm going to just say, say you're a bright young adult, who is well educated, you value your mind you value your life, you want to be happy. If it's based, if that valuing is based on your own self knowledge, knowledge of your good choices and what you have in our accomplishing, then you want to give yourself permission to feel earned pride, a pride you have earned and that it's not a boastful pride, it's just a quiet satisfaction within yourself. You don't want to torture yourself with searching for some vague moral transgression, because then you're just dousing yourself with guilt, and I suspect it is dishonor and guilt. And you want to know the difference between earned and unearned guilt. With unearned guilt. You dump it, it's like a hot potato. You drop it as fast as you as someone tosses it to you, with guilt that you've earned, you do want to figure out what it is and how to make amends if that's possible. And for most of us, it's possible. And the second point is you're . . .

Hey, I gotta interrupt this because we've got to pay some bills. 30 seconds. That's it. A very quick break and then Ellen will be back.

Romance. Oh, I wish guys knew more about what we want from a relationship. Boy, I wish I knew more about what I want. Where's that ad I saw? Here it is The Selfish Path to Romance - a serious romance guidebook. Download chapter one for free at and buy it at Hmm, The Selfish Path to Romance. That IS interesting.

And the second point is your ideas about sex. So there is sex you know your feeling that it's repulsive, but there is sex as I mentioned, that is based on genuine love and there are sex that is outright repulsive to any civilized citizen and they shouldn't be in the same category, the same mental file folder, so to speak. So when you think that sex is repulsive, you want to go on an exploration. It's like, understanding where did these ideas come from? This is certainly what I've done with myself. And my clients do that, too. You can ask yourself some questions, what images, thoughts or memories come to your mind when you think about sex, because repulsive is a very strong negative evaluation. So you want to introspect understand yourself better, and figure out why you found it repulsive. Most people growing up are taught very conflicting ideas about sex that is sinful, or dirty or disgusting. And that can come from many different places, maybe someone discovered sex, they were self pleasuring and a parent was very critical of them. And they never wanted to feel that criticism again. Or maybe they just heard it in church, or in temple or someplace and from some religious source or secular source that it was very dirty. Or they could have been abused as a child. They could have heard from their mother, that they hates it and a mother hate sex because she had kids at a young age maybe or had too many children. And that's all the sex ever led to for her. It wasn't pleasurable. So you will discover your own reasons for why you feel it's repulsive, if you're, if you are willing to ask that of yourself. And the last thing is, the third point is motivation. You can't force the mind including your own mind. When you say I should have sex, you're trying to force your own mind. If you take that pressure off yourself and say, No, I don't ever have to have sex, it's my life. I can live at my way, then you may liberate yourself Maybe not right away to discover the sensuality and you can explore your own sensuality. You can have back rubs or massage and see if you can enjoy just that wonderful touch without it having to lead to sex and see if you can build up to that. So you want to why bother? What I would recommend as my book with Dr. Ed Locke, The Selfish Path to Romance because you want to explore the value of sexuality, and not not as a duty though.

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If your partner occasionally comes home in a bad mood for some reason, learn to read the mood and help raise your partner's spirits. Your partner may want some sympathetic listening and support or perhaps just some time alone to decompress. As you both learn to understand one another better, you will become more effective at helping improve each other's mood. Though you can help you're not ultimately responsible for improving your partner's moods. Each person is primarily responsible for one's own mood. By controlling your own mood and not letting your partner's bad mood become contagious. You can better manage a temporary bout of the blues.

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