Are you autosexual? The short answer is yes, most likely. In fact, 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 own eroticism.” A prime example of this is simply women in general. While it may not be true for everyone, we generally feel more sexual and turned on when we feel we ourselves are sexy. But it’s not just about the ladies.
“While masturbation is the most obvious example, autosexuality may extend beyond sexual behavior to include feeling a longing or desire for oneself,” Tanner explains. “It can also be the ability to turn oneself on through looking at, visualizing, touching, or smelling oneself.”
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.”
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 yourself 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 totally normal.
“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,” Tanner counters. 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 really takes us into a comfortable, relaxed space when we find our own sexuality to be attractive. We are sensual beings, so depending on our own 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.