How I Learned I Was Asexual
In the Beginning
Ten years ago if you had asked me about my sexuality I would have easily said “I’m straight”. Though I had doubts in my mind, I knew I wasn’t attracted to girls, but...I didn’t like any boys either. While all my friends were off dating and having crushes, typical things any 16 year old girl does, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I remember one day my friends and I were standing by my locker discussing their crushes when they asked if I was interested in anyone. I glanced around and pointed to the tallest boy in the hall, and for about a month they would elbow me when he walked by and giggle whenever we were in class together. For the longest time I thought I just hadn’t met the right person yet. I thought that once I made it to college I would, for lack of a less cliche term, bloom.
The thing is, if there had been any kind of representation in the media I may not have gone most of my life without knowing my sexuality. Maybe I wouldn’t have spent my teen years feeling like there was something inherently wrong with me. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so lonely for so long.
Growing up I knew of two sexualities. Heterosexual and homosexual. The fact that there were more out there never really occurred to me, so I thought I must be one of the two. I decided to square myself away in the heterosexual category with all my friends, after all, I had no reason to think differently. But that never felt right.
I never looked at a boy and had my heart race. I never dreamed of having one ask me out and kiss me on my front porch after a date. In fact, I never thought about boys at all, exactly how I thought of girls. I wondered, maybe I’m bisexual, a new concept to me that I’d learned from different books and shows over time. On paper it made sense; I feel the same for men as I do women. But again, it never felt right either.
Through high school, college and beyond I never dated. I watched as my friends frolicked happily and lived their lives, only to feel more dejected than ever. If anyone asked why I was still single (because that was apparently the most ridiculous thing ever!), I would just say I haven’t met the right one yet. And oh, I was still waiting for that “one” that would make me feel complete, like I wasn’t a biological freak. I still identified as straight. I could look at male celebrities and think, yeah, it’d be okay to end up with one of those. I idealized relationships with my favourite characters from different shows, and had gotten used to talking shop with the girls. Until I found something that changed it all.
Four years ago I was browsing Tumblr when I saw a post about Asexuality. It wasn’t much, just saying that the only thing that means you’re asexual is if you don’t experience sexual attraction. Well, it intrigued me enough to look into it on my own. Eventually I found my way to AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. I read through some of their stories and something in me just clicked.
“This is me,” I thought. “All these stories are exactly how I feel!” I cried that night, overjoyed that I was no longer alone in my struggle. And I no longer struggled to understand that part of me.
It was true, I felt the same for men and women, and that was, I didn’t feel attracted to them at all. And for once, that was okay. Just knowing that there were others out there like me made things all the better.
What is asexuality?
Asexuality is simply that a person does not feel sexual attraction. It doesn’t have anything to do with who a person dates, if they have a crush on someone, or if they have had sex or not. Asexuals can do all these things, or not do them, and still be asexual. The fact that I’ve never had a crush, or a desire to date, makes me think I’m also aromantic (meaning I don’t feel romantic attraction).
Do you believe asexuality exists?
Some days I do struggle with my sexual identity, mostly because some people think it isn’t real. So many people out there say that asexual's just haven’t found that mythical “one”, that they’re sick and need help, or they need to be corrected. I’ve only told a single friend, who said it made sense for me. I have tried dating, since being asexual doesn’t mean you can’t date, but haven’t found anything substantial. I often feel pressured to try to date more, despite how I feel; I’ve grown up in a society that deems sexual and romantic relationships the norm, a requirement, so it’s no wonder I feel like I have to do it. That said, I’m working on accepting myself, and thankfully have a group of friends that accept me for the non-dating ace that I am (even if they aren’t all aware of it).
A Book on Asexuality
- The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker
A wonderful book on asexuality, what it is, and what it means.