I always make excuses to not have sex with people. I haven’t shaved. I’m tired. It’s late. Sometimes I go out with people I’m not so attracted to because it feels safer. 


An interview with Asli.

Artwork by Leonora Oppenheim.

Asli | Age: 29 | Location: London, UK | Occupation: Student | No. of sexual partners: 13

Why did you take part?

I find it very hard to talk about my own sexuality. I felt like I should take part to help myself get more comfortable and understand myself better. 


What events in your life shaped your sexuality? What’s your story?

I grew up in a Turkish-Bulgarian home. You wait for sex until marriage. Sex is a big no-no especially if you’re a girl. Shame on you and your family. There’s a lot of pressure to not interact with the other sex. Growing up I turned this part of myself off. If I had sex it would have hurt my parents so much so I didn’t interact with people. I feel like unlike everyone else, I grew up very naive. It seems like almost everything is connected to sex. I almost don’t get how much focus there is. Why is it like that? Is there something wrong with me?

When I was 14 I met up with this guy. It was my first time meeting a guy. We talked and listened to music and made out. I had no intentions or ideas of anything like that. It went so quickly. He took of my pants and entered me. I pushed him away and asked him what he was doing. It was such a shock. I tried to forget it and make it ok. Closed it off. For a very long time it was still there nagging me. This made me not trust men and people in general. I wasn’t close to anybody until I was 26 years old. 

I kept distant from people. I went to festivals, did drugs but never had sex. I kissed some people but never got intimate. I could not cuddle people. Then at 26 years old I met somebody. We became good friends and I asked myself what I was waiting for. We worked out together. Talked everyday. After 6 months I decided to go for it. It was such a painful experience. It was like having a knife down there. Not pleasant at all. I never heard from him again once we had sex. He broke up with me without saying it. I was very heartbroken. I was disappointed in humanity. He didn’t text back or call back so I stopped trying to contact him. I’m fine with it today. 

I opened up gradually. Had a boyfriend. Had sex with people. Sometimes great but still overall difficult. It’s really more for their enjoyment. Something I feel like I have to do. It’s what everyone thinks about and aims for. I just want to connect with people. Sometimes it feels like I’m navigating in a field of predators. I’ve had a guy put his hand on his crotch. One force-kissed me. Once at a festival a guy took my arm firmly and told me to go do drugs with me. Tried to push me. I felt like prey.

Once on a trip in Israel I injured my knee. I was walking around looking for this church in Jerusalem. I asked for directions and one of the men I asked started walking next to me all the way down. We talked. He told me a lot of stuff about the church. He took me up above the city. It was magical. It was getting a bit much though and my knee was starting to hurt and I needed to charge my phone. He said he’d take me to a cafe. He stood with me but after just 3 min he was rushing me out of it. He wanted to go sit on the grass. I thought “he took so much time to be with me. Might as well sit for 10min to be polite and then go.” So we went. It was a lovely spot but he insisted we walk up another street. And then all of a sudden he turned and asked that we sit down. So we did. He took my feet and put them in his lap. He told me “you don’t have any polish on them.” Said my feet were pretty. I told them not to touch them since they were dirty. He then swiftly took of my shoes and started massaging my feet. He pulled my feet towards him and then stuck my toes in his mouth, sucking my big toe whilst looking at me! I pulled away. I was really scared. He asked for my number. He begged for it so I gave it to him. I felt so scared. I went on the bus and my phone was dead. I ended up in the middle of the night somewhere I didn’t know. I felt very violated. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I was so angry with myself to not stick up for myself. How did I allow for that to happen to me? 

I feel like a lot of times guys just push themselves on me. I never dress sexy, I don’t feel comfortable with all the attention. I feel like hiding in the street. I always have a trail of guys after me, always. I feel uncomfortable on the tube sometimes. Sometimes I go out with people I’m not so attracted to because it feels safer. Then there’s less chance of having sex. 

I once met a guy in an airport in Spain. I invited him to come to my friend’s house for dinner. Came to the beach with us. I texted him to meet up again. We had a really nice time in a bar. He was really hot and really interesting. Documentary maker. Super hot. He invited me back to his place but I couldn’t have sex with him. He pleasured me for a really long time but he just couldn’t enter me. I took it as a queue to leave. We went out on dates a few times. Such a lovely time together. He kept telling me I would meet somebody. He was jealous. The last time before he left Spain, I went to see him at his hotel but again he couldn’t enter me. He kept texting me to come to Ireland. To Portugal. Asked me to move with him to Miami. I found him on Instagram recently. Found this woman whose profile is full of their pictures via his comments. He has a girlfriend. Found out they’d been together for 6 years. He invited me to Miami to live with him and he has a girlfriend! What is wrong with the world? I was so surprised. 

Then I moved to London and tried Tinder. I accidentally superliked this Swedish guy, a 37yo average looking man with no character. I told myself not to be so superficial - he was so attentive and kind. He was constantly offering me stuff. He was calling and texting me all the time. He works as a senior investment banker. He wanted to take me to Las Vegas. Wanted to take me out shopping. I kept saying no to everything. Just wanted to connect with him. We started to get to know each other but then one time he went on a trip and never got back in touch with me. He’d offered me so much and then nothing. These days I just don’t expect anything. I don’t want people to give me stuff, just to be there. 


What does sex mean to you?

It’s a way to connect with another person. To share something together. 


What’s difficult about sex?

I always make excuses to not have sex with people. I haven’t shaved. I’m tired. It’s late. A lot of times it feels rushed. A rush for the man to come. Too many thoughts in my head to relax. Will I sleep here? Did i bring a toothbrush? I just don’t feel comfortable about it so i try to control everything about it. I wish I could be more comfortable with it. It shouldn't be a difficult thing. My friends are so open and adventurous. 


What do you most enjoy about sex?

The touch another body. Not so much the penetration. Skin with skin is so relaxing. I like people who are more about the touch. Most people are just so obsessed with the sex part. I don’t know what this obsession is about. It’s something I don’t get yet. 


Do you orgasm?

I don’t know if I experienced it. It doesn’t rock my world though. Only clitoral when I’m alone. I don’t think I come with sex. 


How often do you have sex?

Maybe once a month or so. Sometimes there will be long gaps. 


Do you masturbate?

Yes. I started this fall. My friends told me I have to do it. I maybe do it twice a week. Feels good. I think it can be good to see porn. To see other people share something. I would like to read an autobiography of a porn star. A lot of them seems quite uncomfortable and some clearly enjoy themselves. I’d like to find out if they enjoy. The image is that it’s an only way out, broken homes, why do they make these choices?


Has your sexual health impacted your sex life? 

I never had any problems. Though I had cell changes and had to have that taken out. I was constantly bleeding for months. 


Do you do anything to prevent pregnancy or STDs?

I have an IUD. I have that but with new people I try to use condoms.I’ve been really bad with that. The two last people I didn’t use a condom. I mentioned it and they didn’t want it. I was being stupid. I should not take that risk. I can’t trust their other sex partners. I should have used it. 


How do you see female sexuality portrayed in the society?

As a way to please the other sex. There’s so much focus on the male sexuality. I see it as a duty to have sex and not to connect with one another. Makes me feel slightly inferior. 


What’s your advice to women?

I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice to anyone when it comes to sex. I’m so confused myself what would I say to anyone?


What’s your advice to men?

Learn to listen to a woman. Try to connect with her. Use all your senses. Explore other things. Don’t be in a rush. 


Is there anything you want to explore?

I’m quite fearless when I dance, when I’m at festivals. I grab life. I’m quite amazed by myself. I'd like to bring that energy into the sexual part of my life but I don’t know how.