“Asexual” is a weird word. It conjures up a seventh-grade science class understanding about asexual reproduction, and it stops there. I always wonder when I’m going to need to have “that conversation” with someone, and if they’re going to believe me or I need to defend myself. If it’s in the context of dating, I worry it’s just going to be a deal breaker for them.
The asexual label feels like a finicky pair of jeans to me. Some days, it fits really well. Other days, it’s uncomfortable but I can’t put my finger on why, or what else I would even wear.
My parents don’t know. Not really. I’ve mentioned it in passing a couple of times, but they laugh at my joke and enjoy my comparison of my sex drive to an amoeba or something. I have friends on Twitter and Tumblr who get it, but nobody in my physical sphere really understands.
It makes me feel like a fraud when I enjoy sexual experiences. It especially makes me feel like a fraud when I blog about sexual experiences. I have to remind myself occasionally that asexuality is about attraction, not desire. But I struggle to reconcile my identity with the fact that I enjoy aspects of sex, and enjoy talking and learning about sexuality, all while identifying as asexual.
There have been many times when, while laying on my bed in post-orgasmic bliss, I question myself. I suppose there’s nothing inherently wrong with checking in and questioning whether or not your chosen identity still applies, but I often wish I had more conviction with my identity. I wish it clicked immediately and consistently; yes, this is something that resonates deeply with me. Most of the time it feels like the asexual label is just good enough for right now. A temporary bandage.
My perception of the sex-positive places I frequent tells me that other people there are generally settled in their identity. And if they’re not, they’re purposefully figuring out what they want and how they feel. I don’t feel purposeful. Rationally, I know that can’t be the case with everyone. I’m sure that there are many, many other people out there who feel similarly to me. But reason doesn’t always win against insecurity and isolation.
Sometimes I just wish I wasn’t ace. I wish I understood what it meant when people explained sexual attraction to me. I wish I could identify with that feeling, but I can’t. There are a lot of things I wish I could change about myself. I wish I was taller, I wish my back didn’t hurt so much, I wish I wasn’t such a nervous bundle of anxiety, and I wish I wasn’t asexual. I’m always afraid that if I do meet someone and want to be monogamous, they won’t be able to mentally handle my asexuality, and I’ll lose out on potentially a great relationship because of something I can’t change.
But that’s just the thing, I suppose. I can’t change it, and there’s no use being upset about it, spending energy wishing things were different or wasting tears on one single facet of who I am. Besides, I suppose it’s a lot easier to avoid unplanned pregnancies and STIs when I go year-long stretches without sexual partners.
Focusing on the things I wish I could change ends up distracting me from highlighting and celebrating the great things about me. I don’t need to be purposeful in my identity exploration. I can check in with myself occasionally and make sure my asexual label still fits. I can learn more about other sexualities and expressions and genders and if something clicks with me, it clicks. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. There’s no way I’m the only one who feels like this.
Glass half full, right?
Got more questions on asexuality? There’s a whole page for you over here.