An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.
by Diara J. Townes
Originally written in the summer of 2014; edited and completed winter of 2018.
I couldn’t comfortably copy the romantic cues that I’d seen on sit coms, but I never considered myself an asexual.
I didn’t even come across the term until June of 2013. I figured I was a “late bloomer,” and that I would soon find “the one.” I had no idea how desperate I was to feel normal. I never mentioned my concern in my lack of relationship development to my friends, and I said very little to my family. I focused on working and paying bills, being social, and ignored the needs of my heart, assuming that the guy I’d end up with would “find me” somehow.
I’ve had crushes on guys. I know what I like and don’t like; and I know what’s cool with me and what’s not. But I couldn’t figure out how to convey my feelings to another person in a physical manner.
It wasn’t until I watched a Netflix documentary called (A)sexuality that I finally gained some insight into my troubling non-existent romantic situation. I thought that being a virgin at my age was something to be concerned about. I thought for the longest that something was terribly wrong with me. How could I be in my 20s and not have “been laid” yet??
This documentary (supposedly on Hulu) stilled the ocean of confusion in my head and delivered me to the shores of relative truth.
I know I want a relationship. One that is focused on our being together, not lying together. Being in love and being loved are the demands of my heart. Making love is a totally foreign concept for me, and not something I can readily commit to, not because I am afraid but because my body doesn’t react the way a sexually-charged person’s would.
I’ve been to the doctor. They never said my hormones were imbalanced, so there’s nothing to suggest that there is a medical explanation for my lifestyle.
But what I want is hard to explain, let alone get, in a hyper-sexualized world. Most men have one thing on their minds, as explained in books, magazines, tv shows, movies, and by friends and family.
This one thing is what makes relationships healthy and strong, leads to babies, and keeps people interested in one another. So how can I connect with a man and form a loving, intimate relationship with him without the physical demands of what’s (supposedly) always on their mind pressuring me?
Being asexual is not a difficult thing. I still have feelings for men, however rare they are. I still experience the need to have romantic attention from a single person. It’s the uncertainty around acceptance for who I am by potential suitors, friends and even family that is the most complex and challenging aspect for me.
My mother accepts me but I know she still thinks I’m a “late bloomer.” My siblings “get me” but I don’t know if they “get it.” And only three of my closest friends knows this part about my life because I purposely chose not to share my lifestyle with them.
Explaining asexuality is not easy, nor is it something I like to do. It feels like being exposed, my existence laid bare for ridicule. The thought of being rejected by anyone close is overwhelming, at the least.
I find joy in my friendships and I would hate to lose one because of their perception of my orientation. I hate to compare my situation to being “in the closet,” but it really is the best way to describe it.
And while I am technically coming out in this post, it feels less personal. It’s me and the white screen and the words staring back at me. I’m prepared to answer questions here. But the idea of telling my friends and the rest of my family seems both daunting and complicated.
There’s so much sex in today’s society its nigh impossible for people to not think that sex is a necessary part of romantic life. Anyone that’s not having sex of any kind is only considered normal if they’re particularly religious. Many mistake asexuality with celibacy, which is understandable, at first. It’s when they choose not to see asexuality as another valid orientation, as the A in LGBTQIA+.
Just to be clear, I do not experience sexual attraction. I am not attracted sexually to guys or gals. But that doesn’t mean that won’t change. Sexuality is fluid, just like gender. We are an evolving species.
Additionally, romantic attraction is different. I know that I like guys, and I want to get married one day. I know I want our relationship to be a friendship first, which isn’t unheard of or outlandish. But given the demands and built-up expectations of our hyper-sexualized world, I don’t know what sort of relationship lies ahead of me.
For the longest while there was a wall between myself and my future; a barrier that stopped me from moving from a life of solitary into a world of love and appreciation.
I wrote this post in the summer of 2014.
I was in several uncomfortable romantic and awkward situations, over the two+ years I lived in Orlando, and in the following two years or so when I moved back to New York City. I thought I could sort it out on my own, explain who and what I was, and the person would at least be patient with me.
Unfortunately, none of those “potentials” ever panned out. Some were the fault of others, some were my own. But it (mostly) always ended the same way; as friendships. Great yes, but not what I wanted.
And so now its 2018, I’m 31 years old, and I’ve come to several conclusions. Following my second experience at Burning Man this past summer, I learned to make a few adjustments to my approach to love and relationships. None of them are monumental conclusions but it helps in reiterating my journey thus far.
- Its on me to love me. It’s no one’s responsibility to love me enough so that I feel like I’m valued. That’ll come naturally when I love and respect myself at the level first.
- Do or Do Not. There is No Try. I’m making moves in my life that serve me and what I want to do with my life. Traveling to Iceland, Japan, Austria and France. Leaving my job. Going to graduate school. I’m no longer trying to make my life the best it can be on my own; I’m making it the best it can be, period.
- Trust the Universe. The last 13 months have been an incomparable expression of manifestation. I trust that the decisions I’ve made, the plans I’ve laid out and the moments of joy I’ve received, however big or small, are blessed by powers greater than myself.
This post, I must admit, is more for myself than those reading. But I thank you for reading because I hope it serves you in some fashion. Asexuality is an invisible orientation; missing, unaccounted for, and ineffable. I hope little (or long) stories like mine will help others understand what it means to “do you.”