Discovering My Asexuality
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
There was a time when I thought every woman would stand with a man. Then I learned that women could stand with women, and men with men. Then I learned that even that could change, and sexuality isn’t a two box ballot. But I didn’t seem to have a box on the sheet, and I didn’t have anyone I wanted to stand with. The journey to accepting my asexuality was oddly long and short. Contradictory and just plain messy.
When I was in grade seven, my friends talked about their crush. He was a high school student doing a co-op in their class, and had that early 2000s flop of brow hair all boys seemed to have. They would giggle and blush when he walked by, or strive to get closer to him in some way in class. My contributions to the conversations were limited at best. I recognized that this boy was cute, but he didn’t make me feel any of the signs of a crush; the stomach twisting, heart fluttering nervousness I’m told is a fun kind of anxiety. Anxiety, fun? Can’t relate.
I thought I was just a late bloomer.
A girl that would grow into her awkward looks, lack of popularity and feel something for a boy. But my adolescence was spent pretending that I most definitely felt what my friends felt.
At that time in my life I only knew of people being gay or straight. Move forward a couple of years and bisexuality was becoming more known, and I wondered...I felt the same for boys as I did girls, perhaps that’s all it was. But no matter how hard I thought about it, I couldn’t find any desire to be with someone.
There was a moment in high school, standing by my locker with a couple friends, and they asked if I liked anyone. I was 15, and had yet to experience any kind of romantic or sexual love. So, as a boy that was 6’5” walked by, I said I liked him. He was tall, and that seemed to be a requirement in desire, so...it was something.
For a couple weeks my friends would giggle and elbow me when he walked by, and I would...mimic. I told myself I would develop feelings in college, find a boy that didn’t bully me in elementary and fall in love. I said that to myself a lot, and popular media reinforced the idea. Everything changes in college!
Hollywood is a liar, at least for me.
My friends got boyfriends, fell in love, had their hearts broken, broke a few hearts themselves, all while I preferred to play World of Warcraft and finish assignments last minute. It was pretty much just high school with a longer commute and much more costly (sorry Dad).
I learned in college, just not what I’d planned. I took print journalism and discovered that I hate journalism, particularly interviewing people. I learned I loved writing and photography and had no interest in traditional journalism (sorry again Dad).
I did, however, read an online comic in my time there that introduced a character with no interest in sex. She dated a girl, loved her, but didn’t want to do anything sexual with her. It was the first time I’d ever heard about asexuality. At that point in my life it didn’t strike me as much as you might think, because she was still in a romantic relationship. She still held hands and kissed her girlfriend, and that was something I had never felt before.
I think one problem I had was equating romantic love with sexual love.
They’re separate entities, both of which live on a spectrum. It’s not a two box system. After reading this comic I admittedly didn’t think much about asexuality, and went on with my life as I was. School, work, writing, video games, etc. It was a couple years before I came back to the comic one day, and actually looked into what asexuality really was.
I did some research (AKA, Googling) and found AVEN, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, and there I learned I was not alone in my confusion. There were so many other people in the world that felt just like me. It was...revolutionary to me in a way. I was reading their stories and found that we had a lot in common--like lying about who we had a crush on in middle school, or daydreaming about our wedding but not actually having a bride or groom with us. People discussed aromanticism, how they felt guilty over being asexual but being married with kids, how they told their spouses and were accepted. All their stories, everything others had gone through, opened up my world. I’d never felt so warm before.
It’s a spectrum, a vibrant place that you can move along in your life, rather than the box system we’ve been taught.
I didn’t have to try to force myself to go on dates or tell people I was “working on myself” so they would leave me alone. I no longer needed to pretend that I was interested in dating and keep swiping on Tinder in a frail hope of finding someone that piqued my interest. There was no person out there, hiding in the next photo, or just around the corner that was going to magically ignite a burning passion in me. I could finally say, even if just to myself, I’m asexual. I had a label. I was something!
That being said, I also learned that being sexually attracted to someone is different than being romantically attracted. Asexual does not equal aromantic. And being aromantic doesn’t automatically make a person asexual.
After learning all these new words, and the many words that sit on the ace spectrum with them, I can say I’m asexual and aromantic. I accept that there’s a chance I might meet someone and fall in love, find the label peeling off from aro/ace to demisexual (when a person feels sexual attraction to someone they have a strong bond with) or gray sexual (feeling sexual attraction very rarely). I accept it could happen, but for now I’m aromantic and asexual. It’s a spectrum, a vibrant place that you can move along in your life, rather than the box system we’ve been taught.
Originally published on Prism N Pen.