Asexuality is not what you think it is

It’s who I am.


There’s no clear memory of how or why I began being vocal about my sexuality. I’m a private person, I don’t like being obvious, but somewhere along the way I stopped giving a crap. I felt a certain way, and I wanted people around me to know.

I started with my friends first. I think that’s where many of us go first. With my family, it was more subtle and started off as a joke. Maybe that’s not the smartest way to do it, and certainly not delicate, but people use humor in different ways and there’s two that strike me as familiar: laughter to hide and laughter to cope. One of them is honest, so I chose that one. But I wasn’t the one coping this time. I wanted to give little steps, and show a bit of how I felt every now and then, just to see how people around me would react.

Especially the Parents.

Mom was as expected, probably. Actually I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly did not expect her to say that she doesn’t see how someone can be attracted to both men and women without being considered a cheater and not reliable enough to be in a steady relationship. She’s fine knowing men can be in love with men and women can be in love with women, but a person being attracted to both?

“They’re people who can’t be satisfied.” I’ve heard these same things being said from people I thought would be more understanding.

Dad found out because Mom decided to share, and I really would have rather told him myself in due time. I was a daddy’s girl growing up (people with kinks don’t interact), but it’s been getting more difficult to talk to him. When he questioned me about it, he was somewhat cool, though believed I was serious.

I guess that’s what it boils down to when you tell someone the first time: they judge and disagree, or they are convinced you will move on from what they think is a phase, and often don’t take your feelings seriously.

Asshole or inconsiderate, pick your poison.

There won’t be any details of how The Talk with them went down, even though I don’t agree with everything they said, but I don’t want to paint my family as bad people. Not to say it went all horribly wrong, just not… great.

Maybe I’m being too harsh on the Parents here, but I don’t think any parent who does this — who makes their child feel bad for confiding in someone they believe they should trust and who is supposed to love them unconditionally — deserves a break. That’s what it means when you sign up for being a parent. Don’t like it? Don’t have kids. I don’t want kids of my own. Other than being pretty sure I don’t like babies enough and knowing that I have my mother’s patience (which, frankly, is not much) I can’t even begin to think of being in any sexual contact with another person without feeling extremely uncomfortable.

I’m going to pause right here. Scan over from the beginning. I haven’t stated what I am, who I am, but it all sounds familiar to a lot of you, right? I’m going to clarify — I’m asexual.

“So you aren’t giving me grandkids?” is supposed to make me feel bad about it, or whatever, but it wouldn’t make a difference. There are options, all pointing toward adoption, and not necessarily to humans — dogs make awesome babies. So do cats. I’m a cat person. Probably allergic. Not that I care.

“Sex is natural” is supposed to convince me, which it doesn’t. Sure, it’s natural as is taking a righteous dump but I never see society bragging about it.

“Your relationship with your partner isn’t real if you don’t have sex” is supposed to scare me. I wouldn’t have cared if it came from anywhere else when I first heard it, but Mom made it feel like a punch in the gut. And then I remember the countless children who don’t have happy parents, resulting in bitter children.

Fine, I decided, so I won’t have a relationship.

Then I won’t be pressured.

I won’t have to pretend.

“It’s a phase” they say it in a way like they’re trying to assure me that a disease will leave soon.

“You have just haven’t met the right person” as if the literal thousands of ways I could show someone I love them the only true form is through sex.

Fuck all of that, non literally.

“I just don’t get it,” said one cousin whom, for this sake, we’ll call Douche. And Douche thinks I don’t go out much. He’s right about that, I don’t. School, work, hobbies that happen to be better accomplished indoors. And dating never popped up as an interest. Douche thinks I should just go for it. “Why don’t you have sex?”

“Why have sex at all,” I reply, and I don’t miss the shocked face of a younger cousin right beside me whom, for whose sake, we’ll call Passive.

Passive doesn’t get it, and believes I’m in a bubble and need to find more people, but she understands that she doesn’t have to get it. Passive has never thought of living a life without having sex, or not wanting to have it, because she lives in a world that’s flooding with sex so to her, it’s something normal.

Passive doesn’t think I’m abnormal though. Passive doesn’t badger like Douche does. Passive is sympathetic and tells me that I must get a lot of these sorts of reactions. Passive is right. I do get a lot of ignorant questions but that’s how Passive turns to Curious and Curious to Knowing, if Douche would just stop interrupting.

“But you need to experience it,” Douche explains to me as if I haven’t heard the same speech over and over, and over, and over, and ever still over.

Sex will suck the first time, the first couple of times, the person or people you choose may not be right but someday they will be and it’ll all be dandy.

What a hassle.

I hate when people say that: I need to experience it, I need to know if it’s really not for me, I need to, I need, it’s a need. Bullshit. What I need is a healthy balanced diet and what I want are waffles for breakfast every breakfast for the rest of my life.

Sex is a want, it’s a desire. Not a need, not necessary.

I don’t want sex. I don’t desire sex. And a lot of people just don’t seem to get it. That’s fine, I don’t get math and I hardly like it. There’s a high respect for people who do, though.

Douche is a fan of beer and he keeps drinking while he talks to me. (Did I have to include that the douche likes beer? No. But I don’t like beer. So take that.) “I’ll introduce you to some friends. I know a lot of good guys.”

For a fast, unnerving, sickening second, I am reminded of the invisible statistic of asexuals who are raped in order to have them “fixed,” a horrifying “method” called corrective rape that serves nothing but give trauma to the poor victims I am also reminded of the amount of asexuals who are abused and manipulated in their relationships. I didn’t want to look at the guy with a hand full of booze who couldn’t see that what he was implying what was an “offer,” and no different than proposing trauma.

“Or girls,” I quickly say, and even as I feel sick and my eyes begin to water, I still smile. Douche thinks that he’s in the clear and he smiles and shrugs back, but he’s been checked off my list of people I can talk to openly.

Passive, now Curious, not yet Knowing, asks when I learned that I liked girls too and from then the boat rocked a bit easier. Just barely. I haven’t spoken to either of them about the issue since then.

I haven’t spoken to the Parents about it either, but there’s always subtle mentions to make sure they don’t forget, to let them know I’m serious and I won’t be changing my mind.

It’s the persistence that makes it normal, and in normal there’s security. I’m lucky in that way; they don’t speak wrongly of me and they’ve stopped calling me crazy, and eventually the jokes started coming from them.

“You should have came with,” Dad says when he arrives home from a trip. “There were a lot of cute guys you could have met.”

“Or girls,” Mom adds, and it makes me laugh hard with a weightless chest.

I’m not sure exactly when they started laughing with me instead of at me, but I’m glad they did. I know there’s not many parents out there who’d do the same. When an aunt asks if I have a boyfriend yet, I only sometimes have to answer, because Mom takes care of it without needing to look at me for help.

There are others in the family, two of whom never made me feel regret from the moment I told them. Cousins, not that much younger, named here as Cool and Chill.

Cool pauses a movie she’s showing me and skips forward a bit.

“There’s some sex here,” she explains and I nod, while my insides feel like they’re glowing. She knows I hate sex scenes. I’ve said so lots of times and it lets me know that she’s paying attention.

Chill lets others know that my schedule does not allow for dating, which is a nicer way of letting certain guys down easy.

“He’s not your type anyway,” she says, knowing that being my type hardly matters.

Yes, I know, I shouldn’t make my sexuality a main trait of who I am, but in a heavily heteromantic, sex-craved, society there really is no help for me, or for anyone who feels the same way.

I’m asexual, I have to say to a friend’s partner, who had the impression that I was more into men than women.

I’m asexual, I tell my friend who teases me when I admit some guy we met is beautiful but the most I’d fantasize is holding his hand.

I’m asexual, I remind Dad as he tells me he’s never seen me bring anyone to the house who isn’t my best friend.

Asexuality has nothing to do with me being single, but it was easier to just say “I don’t want sex” to let people know to stop bugging me. Because of course every romantic relationship will eventually end in having sex. That’s what everyone thinks, so I tell them I won’t stand for it.

I’m asexual, and I don’t want to risk getting close to anyone for fear of being touched too intimately.

I’m asexual, and I wonder how it would be to have someone like me in such a profound way that they wouldn’t care if I felt like having sex with them or not.

I am asexual. I lack sexual attraction, but I still feel attraction. And though it may not seem like it, I am a romantic, at least to the point that I’d like to hold someone’s hand and sleep on their lap. There’s just that small fear, one that has been embedded after long exposure to most people I meet, that wanting certain things that I cannot provide therefore makes me a terrible partner because sex is a valid desire to have — and it is, there’s never any shame in it!

The thing is, I cannot provide sexual pleasure because I would rather jump into a tank full of sharks, but like any other person who isn’t asexual, I also have my own wants. It’s just all about finding that person who I know won’t pressure me and makes me feel no less than what I am. Someone who sees my feelings as not any less valid if I did crave sex.

So I’ll keep existing as I am, an ace in your sleeve.