A well known fact about me is that I am asexual. I have identified with this on and off since I was sixteen, and I think asexuality is something really important that should be discussed.
What Asexuality Is
A person with asexuality does not experience sexual attraction to any gender (although some asexual people can in specific circumstances, like they have to have an emotional connection). However, asexuality does not mean a person doesn’t like sex or has no sex drive. Asexuality is about sexual attraction to other people, and not what the actions of that person are (such as masturbation, falling in love, having children – you can be a porn star and still be asexual). Asexuality and romantic attraction are also not connected. A person can be asexual and romantically attracted to others, and vice versa.
I discovered I was asexual at sixteen when I joined a group on Facebook (a help group) and people spoke about sexuality. When someone brought up asexual and explained how they didn’t feel sexual attraction, I could completely relate and it was then that something that felt wrong in me started to feel better.
Rewind: growing up, I was always an outsider. I’m fat and always have been, I’m autistic, I’ve had anxiety since I was a young age. I’ve always stood out like a tie dye sheep. I never meant to. In fact, I would have much preferred it if I blended it. Be an ordinary white sheep. So, when everyone around me was at the age when they had such sexual urges and started to interact with peers as such, I didn’t find it that unusual that I wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t something I questioned.
However, I was in an Autistic Unit as a child. This was part of a mainstream school but in this Autistic Unit there were about fifty students aged 10-19 with autism and ADHD. Most of them experienced sexual desires to other students at some point. I was waiting for this to happen then, realizing my autism wasn’t the thing that was stopping me from being attracted, but…it never happened. I could look at some and admire them, but…nothing. It was even more confusing as I was a teenager with hormones, it wasn’t like any feeling at all wasn’t there, the attraction wasn’t there.
This was around the time I discovered I liked girls, too. I didn’t know bisexuality was a thing (another post for another time). My head felt quite overwhelmed so most of this confusion and worry was pushed to the back of my head to be saved for a later date.
That later date happened at sixteen. It was a massive relief to know where I belonged and that there was an entire community out there just like me. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what gender I was attracted to. It was because I don’t experience sexual attraction to other people, with or without an emotional connection. I have had no sexual experience that was traumatic for me, this is just how I am and how I am is completely okay.
Between the age of sixteen and now (twenty one in a couple of weeks), it was an on/off relationship because at the time I did not know you could be sexual and/or enjoy sex and still be asexual. I hit confusing times when I started a relationship long distance with a boy in America and how some of our conversations developed and I found myself liking it. Although I still had no sexual attraction (and often wondered if what I felt for this boy could be true, not just because we hadn’t met, but also because I didn’t feel sexually attracted to him), I thought I couldn’t be asexual anymore. Sexuality is fluid, you can change from one sexuality to another as you grow but for me that was not the case. I just didn’t know it.
It’s something that has always been in the back of my mind but it wasn’t until recently when I spoke to other asexual people that I realized I could enjoy it sometimes and still be asexual, still be valid. Speaking to other people in the community who felt the way I did was invaluable and I urge anyone in any community to speak to others in the same community, it might help comfort you and clear your path.
Saying that, I do still often feel like an imposer and that I don’t really belong on the LGBT+ spectrum (goes for both asexuality and bisexuality, again another post for another time). I still feel wrong and broken a lot of the time because, obviously, we are in a very overly-sexualised society and it’s just shoved in our faces wherever we go. We talk to our peers about things, and sex will probably come up somewhere. It’s easy to think something is wrong with us for not feeling the same things as the majority.
Asexuals can often put themselves into harm by thinking there is something wrong and trying to force it to be “right”, and try to make ourselves think in a way that we just don’t. We are never told that being asexual is a possibility that could happen. We are never told at any point what we feel is a valid emotion. We don’t hear about it at all, or at least I didn’t at any point in my growing up. I had to search for it.
This is why I think it’s important to speak about it, and build a better community. It’s okay to just not have sexual attraction.
Things to Note:
This is just my experience, other people who are asexual can have completely different experiences. Some asexual people aren’t interested in sex at all. Some asexual people love sex and find it their favourite thing to do. Some asexual people fall somewhere in the middle. Some asexual people have had a traumatic sexual experience. Some haven’t. Some asexual people are completely repulsed by sex and everything sexual altogether, some are the complete opposite. The experience varies from person to person but the only thing you need to make your identity valid is to identify as it.
If you want to know more information on asexuality, this website is really helpful and informative.
Until next time,
If you like what I do, please consider supporting me by buying me a book, liking/commenting on my posts and/or sharing what I write/following me on social media. Also, if you have any asexual #OwnVoices book recommendations then please let me know! I’ve been looking around for some.