If you’re like me, in order to prepare for a situation, you run through every possible outcome and rehearse how you’ll react. Anxiety life, am I right? I did this when I told my parents I was asexual, and went through every possible situation I could think of. It was like a choose your own adventure book. I went through four main options, from Everything is Wonderful to Everything is Terrible.
Adventure One: Everything is Wonderful!
You’re nervous about telling your person that you don’t experience sexual attraction. But you tell them, and although they might ask you some questions later, you’re immediately met with a giant hug. You feel the relief seep into your bones. They’re totally supportive and want to know what they can do to support you and back you up. You answer some basic questions you anticipated, and go get ice cream, feeling a weight off your shoulders, and feeling a whole hell of a lot more trust in your relationship.
Adventure Two: Everything is Terrible!
You’re nervous about telling your person that you don’t experience sexual attraction. You tell them, and they dismiss you at first, but then become angry when you try and explane yourself. They accuse you of lying, of making something up, of using it as an excuse.
You try and convince them that it’s a real thing, even though it’s not your job to convince them. They tell you that it’s a result of a hormone imbalance, or abuse, or that you’re just confused and you don’t know what you’re talking about. They say you just haven’t met the right person. Or that you haven’t had good sex yet. Worse yet, they say that you’re making it up for attention.
You end up exhausted from trying to defend yourself and feeling defeated, probably feeling broken and regretting your decision to tell this person. You probably cry.
Adventure Three: Everything is a Classroom
You’re nervous about telling your person that you don’t experience sexual attraction. You tell them you’re asexual, and they look at you blankly. They ask if you can have kids, you assure them that’s not what asexuality is. They might say, “but, you’ve had sex!” and you’ll assure them that’s not what asexuality is. They have no idea what you’re talking about and you end up writing a lecture series on the fly. You answer questions about what the difference is between not experiencing sexual attraction and just not being into sex at any given moment. Eventually, they shrug and say something to the effect of, “alright, that’s cool I guess”, still not totally getting it.
It’s exhausting and not what you wanted, but hey, at least you didn’t cry, right?
Adventure Four: Everything is…Fake, Apparently
You’re nervous about telling your person that you don’t experience sexual attraction. But you do anyway, and when you do, maybe they laugh it off like it was a joke. Maybe they compare you to a plant, or an amoeba. Maybe they just laugh you off and say “anyway…” and continue their conversation without missing a beat.
Being dismissed like this may or may not be worse than adventure two. Being dismissed might be worse that being accused of lying, in some cases. You end up feeling invalidated, and gun-shy about telling anyone again for fear of being unseen.
Pick and choose, mix and match for any relationship you might have. I know I’ve missed scenarios and I’m painting with broad strokes. But the point is, I’ve had it multiple ways, and it’s always nerve wracking, but you don’t have to tell everyone in your life if you don’t want to. And even if you do and you end up with the Everything is Terrible outcome, just remember that there is always someone who will believe you (hi, hello, it me) and that the way people react to news about your sexuality doesn’t define anything about who you are or how you identify.
Telling someone about your sexuality, especially when it’s one that isn’t talked about as much as others, can go lots of different ways, so be prepared. But ultimately, don’t stress too much. You can’t control the actions of other people, and you aren’t defined by the actions of other people. You’re okay, however you want to identify.
How did someone in your life react to being told that you’re asexual? Did you have a similar or different experience?