I’ve written about complicated ace feels before, but I’ve never really talked about how I even ended up at asexuality as an identity. It was, like with many people, a process. And one that still feels like it’s ongoing.
The first time I realized something was different was in school. I had crushes on boys and the occasional girl, so elementary school and early middle school didn’t provide that much feelings of deviation from the societal norm. High school was a different story. I met my first boyfriend, and people started asking if we had “done it” yet. I knew they meant sex, it wasn’t a secret. But I was surprised that it didn’t really occur to me.
He always wanted me to blow him, and that was fine. My burgeoning submissiveness took over and I was happy to provide while not really caring that I didn’t get any reciprocity. He later told me that he was, in his own words, “afraid of vaginas”, as an excuse for not going down on me. Boy, bye.
In college, I met someone else. He told me that he wanted to have sex, but I just attributed that to him being 5 years my senior. When we finally did, I quickly became aggravated at how often he wanted it. What else did he think about?
I started thinking that maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe it was the birth control that I was on, maybe I needed to go back to therapy, I didn’t know. I thought maybe polyamory would be a decent workaround where I could let my partner have sex with someone else and just enjoy their romantic company without the pressure of having a sexual relationship. But I knew I wasn’t cut out for that. It seemed complicated and I worried about my naturally jealous nature. Little did I know that dating while ace would be complicated too.
Eventually, on tumblr, I came across a post, probably about fanfiction, that referenced shipping a certain character with another, and the discourse following disputed that the first character was asexual and probably wouldn’t be in a relationship. I perked up at that. I hadn’t heard asexuality in reference to an actual person before, just like… amoeba and stuff. I did some digging.
I found a definition that detailed that an asexual person didn’t experience sexual attraction. It took a while, but eventually, I started being able to untangle sexual attraction from romantic attraction. For a long time, I didn’t know there was a difference, much less that they weren’t mutually exclusive. Of course I could have one without the other. Why couldn’t I?
I wish they had taught stuff like this in school. In sex ed, we just went over periods and why you need deodorant as a fourteen-year-old. There was no discussions of different sexualities, or trans identities, or even how to use a condom. (Shoutout to that ineffective abstinence-only education.) I wish I didn’t have to learn about my identity from the internet since it’s not even really represented in mainstream media. I’m glad I had the internet at least because before I started looking around, I felt broken and isolated and like I was really missing out.
I still feel like that sometimes, but not all the time. It’s easier now, and easier that I have this blog to help me process anything and everything that comes along with my asexual identity. I’m glad that there are resources, but there should be more. I’m eternally grateful my friends understand. But it’s a process, and even though I have a word for it now, I don’t think that’s the end of it. There’s always more to learn.
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