I'm asexual, should I experiment with my best friend who's also on the ace-spectrum?

I’ll try to keep this brief: my best friend (let’s call them T) and I have known each other long distance for about four years now. We’re both heavily somewhere on the ace spectrum (I’m fully asexual/aromantic, and T…not even they seem to be entirely sure!), but we both seem to have some libido and they’ve slowly been introducing me to kink and erotic roleplay online because sexuality is a mutual interest of ours. It does seem to be more T’s thing though, since they actually go on dates and have sex (even though their enjoyment of it is pretty circumstantial) and can be aroused fairly reliably, while I’m a complete virgin with no interest in dating and a frustratingly low libido.

We’re going to meet for the first time in-person in a month, and we’ve already agreed we don’t want to do anything sexual during that time, but I’ve been thinking about what I want to do in the future. We’ve talked about the possibility of exploring each other’s bodies (just looking and touching, mostly) and only engaging in light kink in-person, because casual nudity/intimacy is something they enjoy a lot more than sex and it sounds like a good place to start for me. I can’t deny that I’m curious to try, and if I were to trust anyone to handle my body it would be T (they’ve been very careful about asking and not pushing my limits, and they’ve done nothing to try and pressure me or make me feel guilty), but I’ve been going back and forth on whether it’s a good idea.

Ultimately today I don’t think I can say I’m “ready” for that sort of thing, I just want to make sure it’s something I want to do enough to get over some issues I have. I have a great deal of anxiety and body issues, and I find looking at naked bodies kind of squicky but I’m slowing becoming acclimated to that. I’m also a huge people-pleaser, so I wonder if any interest I could feel about it is because I know it would make my friend happy. I think at best I could get myself to feel neutral about sex and nudity, and in some ways I’m already there (my libido may be low, but I do masturbate and have fantasies, and I’m overall comfortable talking about sex). To tell the truth, though I know the reality of it would probably be anxiety inducing and disappointing, I also find the idea of it pretty exciting!

I know my autonomy and consent are of the utmost importance here, and that whatever I decide for whatever reason should fully be my choice, and that’s why I want to be careful about assessing what I actually want before committing to the idea and working on those issues. I don’t think I would mind experimenting even if it’s not the most interesting thing in the world to me, part of me thinks that satisfying my curiosity, challenging myself, and making T happy all at once would be harmless or even a good thing! But another part is wary that I might just be going along with their flow, and not taking my own wants and needs into account enough. Is there a way to get a better idea of how I’m really feeling? Is there an even simpler experiment I could do to see how I feel? If I can get myself to at least neutral, could there be value in knowingly consenting to this kind of experimentation in order to find out?

This came out much longer than I thought, but any feedback is appreciated.

I think just from your post you have an idea with how you are really feeling, which sounds like you are curious and would like to try, but also are worried that it’s not going to be something you are into and you don’t want to let down T (I know those people pleaser feelings very well myself, ha).

I think that conflict of feeling both is totally normal and expected! Trying anything new can always be exciting and scary at the same time, both the thought of it and in the moment. Especially if it’s something that gives you pause or anxiety. It reminds me of exposure therapy if you’re familiar with it, which is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to do something that raises your anxiety but in a controlled setting so you can observe and hopefully make it seem less anxiety inducing. It’s going to make you anxious, but either trying it will go well or you figure out it’s not your jam and that’s ok too. Both outcomes give you data to know more about what you want and like.

I think masturbating is a good experiment to see how you feel. And I think you and T are communicating really well, I would share with them all your concerns and feelings that you wrote above. And if you decide to experiment together, talk before about boundaries, about checking in during, and also after to see how you both feel. Make it clear that if in the moment it isn’t your thing (or theirs) you can stop. And be candid with them about being a people pleaser. I’ve done that with partners and it can be scary to be that vulnerable sometimes, but it does really help. Having a partner know I might say yes or keep going just to please them makes them more aware in the moment to really check in with me, and knowing they are doing that also helps me to be more honest.

Lots of communication I think is key. And go in with an open mind, if something isn’t feeling right or you want to switch it up or just stop, that is 100% ok (and from what you’ve said about T, they know that too). It doesn’t have to be perfect.

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Thank you so much for your perspective, I did feel I was letting my biases show but I can tell you put a lot of thought into it! The advice on people-pleasing is especially helpful, I’m glad it sounds like I can still try things even though I’m conflicted. And it’s reassuring to know you have experience with that issue yourself.

I’ll ruminate a while longer (especially if anyone else would like to chime in), but I think I’m comfortable now directly saying I want to try. I really appreciate getting an outside perspective on this, thank you!