An ode to the asexual: Review of Leith Ross’s “Like We’ll Never Have Sex”

Have you ever listened to a song that was so profound that it left a mark on your very existence? It made you feel seen, it made you feel heard, it made you feel human. Very few songs have ever done this for me, which is probably why this song left such an impression a strong impression on me. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my sexuality. About the way I approached romantic relationships and about the way I loved.

Recently, a song showed up on my suggested page on YouTube. A striking title: “We’ll Never Have Sex” by Leith Ross. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to click it, after all, I didn’t want to risk listening to a song about sexual desire. But a part of me was intrigued. Maybe it was the quiet calm atmosphere of the two individuals in the thumbnail. Maybe it was the soft yellow lights that illuminated the room they inhabited. Maybe it was the way that it was framed right in the middle of my recommendations. Regardless of the reason, I chose to save it. It wasn’t until a week later that I finally decided to give it a listen.

Initially released in a TikTok video on August 29th, 2021, Leith Ross’s “We’ll Never Have Sex” instantly became a hit with more than 1.1 Million likes. The song is an ode to a relationship, a relationship that “was sweetness” and “simple”. It’s about finding someone who loves you for you. Loves being in your presence and doesn’t expect anything in return.

The soft fingerpicking of the guitar along with the quiet vocals welcome you like a warm cup of tea or the comfort of a lover. The rhythm swaying you back and forth like a sweet summer waltz. The familiar strumming paired with the use of past tense invokes a sense of nostalgia. As if reliving the past in the present moment.

“If I said you could never touch me/ you would come over and say I looked pretty”.

Despite its soft and calm delivery, those words cut deep. My lifetime collection of repressed emotions was released in just a matter of seconds. The confusion, the fear, the sadness. All in one rush, soon followed by a quiet, calm hush. A moment of bittersweet relief. As if I was finally told- your feelings are valid, you are not alone. Growing up, I feared romantic relationships, specifically, the physical intimacy they seemed to entail. Despite every rom-com, high school movie, or coming-of-age show highlighting its importance. The idea of kissing, making out, and what it led to was off-putting. I didn’t want any of those things for me. I thought maybe I was just too young to understand, after all, what does a 12-year-old know? Maybe once I got older I’d finally get why every protagonist wished for their “first”. But even at the age of 17, that has yet to be the case.

“Depollute me, pretty baby/ Suck the rot right out of my bloodstream”.

With that realization materialized a new fear: Would I be able to find someone who would accept this part of me? Accept not ever getting more than a kiss, accept only my company, and expect nothing more? The feeling was paralyzing and isolating. It became my “rot”. Every time I was remotely interested in someone, my rot would begin to eat away at me. The same questions would parade in my mind over and over again until I made myself sick. Polluting my mind and clouding my judgment, until finally, I talked myself out of entering into relationships. Imagine- talking yourself out of your own emotions and invalidating them out of fear. It wasn’t until my current relationship that I was able to begin depolluting myself from those thoughts, depolluting me from the rot.

“It was simple, you are sweetness/ Let’s just sit a while”.

My partner respects my boundaries, never pressures me, and lets me take my time. She is kind, she is patient, and she is sweetness. Ross’s words sing to my relationship with her. A relationship that is liberating. A relationship that doesn’t make me feel like I am inadequate. A relationship that makes me feel normal. Human even. Although my stance on physical intimacy may never change, I know that it is possible to have someone who is perfectly content with just my company and love me regardless.

“Like we’ll never have sex”