Lydia hasn’t been this nervous in a very long time.
Clary and she have been dating for a little over a month and, so far, she’s managed to avoid any and all conversations about sex, but she knows she won’t be able to avoid the topic forever. Especially after their slightly heated make-out session the night before.
She knows her girlfriend is confused about Lydia’s reluctance to take things further, but the blonde doesn’t know how to tell her why she struggles so much with anything that has to do with sex. She doesn’t know how to explain her feelings, her disgust, the way she panics when Clary’s hand strays to her thighs or her sides or her clothes.
More than anything, she’s afraid Clary will judge her for it, or that she won’t understand what Lydia means. She’s been told before, when she tried to date, that her preferences will change with time and that she’ll eventually see what everyone means when they say that sex is amazing and pleasurable and all of those wonderful things. She could barely deal with hearing it from people she didn’t care about; she doesn’t know how she would handle it if Clary said something like that.
They’re laying on her bed together, clothes on and hands clasped together, when Clary finally asks her what’s going on. She doesn’t sound accusing, doesn’t force her to speak up, but she’s clearly curious. Not that Lydia can blame her. You’d think a month would be enough to talk about something as important as sex.
The thing is, sex just isn’t important to Lydia, and that’s part of the problem. Not for her, of course, since she just doesn’t care about it, but other people often have a hard time coming to terms with Lydia’s strange relationship with sex. Deep down, she knows Clary won’t react badly, but there’s still a hint of fear stopping her from saying anything.
“You know I’ll wait until you’re ready to talk about whatever’s on your mind,” Clary murmurs when Lydia fails to answer her question. “I just don’t want you to suffer alone. If there’s anything I can do to make you feel better or more at ease, please don’t hold back, alright? You know I’ll always listen to you.”
“I know,” Lydia whispers, burying her face into the crook of Clary’s neck. Her girlfriend’s hair brushes against her eyelashes, but she barely notices it. She’s too busy breathing in Clary’s comforting scent. “It’s just… It’s not something I really talk about with anyone, especially not my partners. The few people I’ve mentioned this to haven’t had the best reactions, so I usually just try to shove it to the back of my mind.”
“But it has something to do with our relationship?” Clary prompts, obviously trying to figure things out by herself.
It’s such a Clary thing to do and it makes Lydia melt even further into her girlfriend’s touch. After John, she didn’t think she’d ever love anyone again, but what she feels for Clary is just as important, just as real, and she doesn’t want to keep secrets from her. She just wishes it weren’t so hard to say things out loud, especially things that are so clear in her mind.
“In a way, I suppose,” Lydia sighs, pulling back so she can stare into her girlfriend’s eyes. “It has to do with me more than anything, but it’ll probably have an impact on our relationship. It might even… I mean in the past, some people have found it to be a bit of a deal breaker.”
Clary’s face scrunches up, as though she can’t quite imagine why anyone would ever break up with Lydia. It’s adorable, and Lydia can’t help but press a kiss to her girlfriend’s lips as a silent thank you. She knows Clary and she are a lot more serious than most people are after a month of dating, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Besides, with people like Magnus and Alec in their lives, it’s hard to feel like they’re doing anything too fast. She’s convinced those two said ‘I love you’ to each other after barely two weeks of dating. Nothing has been confirmed, of course, but Lydia won’t accept any other answer.
“I can’t think of a single thing that would make me want to break up with you, Lydia Branwell,” Clary breathes out against her lips. They’re so close Lydia shivers at the sensation, although she doesn’t try to pull away. She could never pull away from Clary, especially not when she’s feeling so vulnerable. “And now I want to punch whoever made you feel like you couldn’t talk about your worries to me. I’m your partner, Lydia, listening is what I’m supposed to do.”
She knows that – she does. It’s just hard to get rid of old habits sometimes, especially when those habits are so deeply engrained in her mind. Not even Clary’s soft kisses, kind words, and soothing caresses are enough to make her feel confident about this. She’s not sure anything could.
“It’s about sex,” she finally blurts out, shutting her eyes so she doesn’t have to stare at Clary’s intense and knowing gaze any longer. “Or really, about why we haven’t had sex yet.”
“I just assumed you wanted to take things slow,” Clary said. Lydia could hear the frown in her voice and she wanted nothing more than to kiss it away, but she still couldn’t work up the courage to open her eyes. “But maybe I shouldn’t have. Is everything okay?”
“I’m…” Lydia starts, bites her tongue, and tries again. “I don’t like sex. I never have and I probably never will. I’m not saying I’ll never try for you, but it’s not… It doesn’t appeal to me. I just don’t see the point, no matter how hard I’ve tried to. John… He didn’t really understand, but he respected my decision to stay away from sexual stuff. Some of my other partners have taken it the wrong way, or tried to tell me that I’ll eventually understand what’s so great about it, but I…”
“But you don’t,” Clary finishes for her. Her voice is full of nothing but love and understanding, so Lydia blinks one eye open and dares to look at her. The redhead is smiling at her, her hand raised and ready to card her fingers through Lydia’s hair. “That’s completely okay.”
At her words, Lydia relaxes into her touch and whines when Clary’s fingers don’t immediately start moving. Her girlfriend chuckles at her impatience but easily complies, her deft hands gently undoing the knots in Lydia’s hair.
“So, you’re asexual?” Clary asks a few minutes later, once she realises Lydia isn’t going to say anything else without being prompted. “I mean, Simon once mentioned that Raphael is the same way, though I don’t know how he got that information out of him.”
“I’m not,” Lydia shakes her head. “Asexual, I mean. I know Raphael is, and I’ve actually… I’ve actually been thinking about going to see him and ask him for some advice. But I don’t identify as asexual, no. I’m very much bisexual, I just don’t really like sex. Is that- Is that okay?”
There’s a moment of silence during which Lydia feels her heart speed up. She doesn’t know if she’s still breathing, but she feels dizzier than she has in a very long time. Clary looks stunned, as though she doesn’t quite understand what Lydia is asking her, but then her entire face softens and a sad look enters her eyes.
“Lyds,” she exhales. “Of course it’s okay. Why on earth would I be mad about you for not wanting to sleep with me? It’s not like that’s the reason why I was dating you. We’re not even out to the world yet, so no one can bother me with invasive questions. And if they ever do, I’ll let them know their words are wholly unappreciated. I don’t care if you want to have sex with me or not; I care that you trust me enough to tell me about this. That’s all that matters to me.”
“Really? You don’t think it’s weird that I’m not asexual but also don’t want sex?” Lydia asks softly, needing her girlfriend to say the words one more time, just to make sure she didn’t misunderstand them. The last thing she wants is for miscommunication to ruin things between the two of them.
“Really,” Clary smiles, pressing their foreheads together and rubbing her nose against Lydia’s. “I don’t think it’s weird at all. I don’t even know what I identify as yet, so judging you for this would be completely hypocritical.”
“I guess,” Lydia murmurs, a small smile making its way through her miserable thoughts. “Thank you for understanding.”
“There’s nothing to thank me for,” Clary huffs. “But you’re welcome. I’ll always be here for you, Lyds, even if we never do anything more than kiss. By the way, I expect you to tell me if I ever do anything that goes past your comfort zone, alright? The last thing I want is to accidentally make you feel like you have to do something. I’ll always be willing to stop, okay?”
“Okay,” Lydia grins, kissing her girlfriend softly and trying to push all her affection and love into that single gesture. She doesn’t think there are enough words in the English vocabulary to tell Clary how much she adores her.
They stay there for a while, on the edge of sleep, curled up against one another protectively. In the end, Clary is the one to break the silence with a kiss pressed to the crown of Lydia’s head and a few whispered words.
“Just so you know, I think talking to Raphael is a wonderful idea. He may not be the warmest human being on the planet, but I’m pretty sure he would never turn someone down, especially not to talk about sexuality.”
Lydia nods against her girlfriend’s chest, quietly agreeing with her. She’ll talk to Raphael soon.
For now, she’s entirely content to listen to Clary’s heartbeat and let it lull her to sleep.