So Let’s Talk About: The Asexual Spectrum

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There’s some personal life discussion in this post, so please be mindful and kind.

I was talking with my friend Kurtlan last time we met up in Boston, and we were talking about sexualities, specifically when I was talking about when I realized I was asexual and trying to explain that to others. I kept using this “no I never” explanation, and he was like you should write that down. So here I am. Writing it down. This is a hard and easy subject to talk about for me. Now that I know where I’m at in life, I don’t really care what other people think, but there’s still a lot of messy middle ground in the LGBT+ community about who belongs in that community. All the LGBT+ people I’ve talked to say I belong in the community, but I know a lot of people do not feel that way, especially about heteroromantic aces whiiiiich I’ll get into. And then of course there’s the general heterosexual population who are probably all ????? about it. I ‘came out’ so to speak for the first time with three of my good friends there supporting me at an asexuality meeting. It was the first time I said the words that I’d already kind of known for a long time, but I’ll admit there’s still some trepidation I’m feeling right now, so there you go, that whole hard and easy subject issue.

Keep in mind all of this is personal opinion and it’s also personal experience. Here’s some examples of No I’ve Nevers/Don’ts and Yes I Haves/Cans. I’m going to make some statements and explain a little more afterward.

No I’ve never wanted to have sex with anyone. No I’ve never experienced romantic or sexual attraction in the way other people have. No I’ve never wanted to be in a relationship. Yes I have been in romantic or sexual relationships with people. Yes I have been confused about why I didn’t feel the way other people did. Yes I have studied up and I am positive this is not about low drive or personal past issues. Yes I can still enjoy watching romances in media and get invested in ships. No I don’t feel like there’s something missing in my life. No I don’t get lonely. No I don’t get worried about the future or lacking anything. Yes I can be very happy with my platonic relationships for the rest of my life. Yes I can be scared or uncomfortable explaining this to people because it’s really hard for others to understand.

I spent a lot of my life certain about something, but ignoring it for the sake of “normalcy.” I knew from early on that I didn’t feel about people the way others did. I didn’t want to date, I didn’t want to be romantic with anyone, but I knew that was what others did and it was normal. I did try it out with some people, and it wasn’t bad. They were all very nice! And anyone would be lucky to date them on the whole. But a lot of it was about me trying to fit in rather than coming from my heart. I knew that I dreaded physical contact to the point of zoning out when it was happening. I wanted to make them happy enough to continue what was going on, but never really got satisfaction out of it myself. And in retrospect that was hardly fair to them. They thought they were in a relationship or at least in a situation two people were invested in, and it wasn’t the truth. I only realized I had to stop pretending I wanted a relationship when I saw that by not being into someone, and them knowing it, I was hurting their self-esteem. So I stopped, and by doing that, lost the feeling of repressed expectations hovering over me. It was so much of a relief that I cried.

It’s still kind of hard to talk about asexuality, but I’ll try. Asexuality is the absence of sexual interest in other people. It’s not the same as celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sex. Asexuals do not feel the drive to have sex. Some asexuals choose to have sex though, some choose to be in relationships and find contentment in them, it’s not that we’re incapable of it. Or that the physical aspect is awful. It’s about desire and want and need, and how that applies to other people from an ace perspective. The gray spectrum also includes demisexuals, which tend to be people who only get attracted to someone after they are emotionally and romantically interested. Which a lot of people say ‘well isn’t everyone that doesn’t sleep around that way’ and the answer is no, not really. Because if you look at attractive people generally, with no interest in pursuing them, and go ‘wow they’re hot/sexually attractive,’ you probably aren’t demi. Asexuals can be romantic however. They can crave emotional and romantic relationships from other people, and sometimes that means accepting sex and finding a perfect balance where everyone’s happy, and sometimes it’s with other aces who don’t care about that piece. It really depends on the person and what they’re comfortable with. And like all sexuality that’s on a spectrum, you can change on it over the course of your life. The image above does a better job explaining things than me.

I’m what people call Aromantic Asexual. Aro ace, in shorthand. It means that I have no romantic interest in anyone either, I don’t want relationships of any kind. I find all the happiness and satisfaction I need out of close friendships and family. I’ve heard people say it must be a lot easier to not have to worry about the stress of relationships, and you know what, it is. But that’s what I want, and other people should live the way they want. Asexuals are not really given a lot of space in communities. I mentioned before that there’s a torn feeling in the LGBT+ community about them. I feel like it’s a lot easier for people to understand sexualities when sex is involved, rather than someone who doesn’t want what feels like a key part of humanity. So sayeth the society we live in, but that we all have in our heads, brainwashed and pushed into there. I feel connected to the LGBT+ community and since I’ve had my own versions of ‘coming out’ and push back on ‘being confused’ or ‘not finding the right person yet,’ it kind of feels similar. Hopefully one day I will not have such hesitancy in identifying myself as part of the community, because it feels like one of the places that will really understand why I tried to be ‘normal’ so long to the point of misery and depression. I’m also just generally nervous talking about it, so writing this was difficult, and posting it publicly.

Sometimes I’m still not sure what to say to people. If they ask if I’m dating someone, I can say no and I’m not looking. If someone asks me out I can say something like that. Sometimes I awkwardly go “I don’t like guys” and they’re like oh so you’re into women and I go “…no not women either.” It’s complicated. I am not straight, but I am not gay either. I’m just me, I guess, whatever that entails.

If you are interested in learning more about asexuality you can go to the AVEN website.

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