As I sit here in my 33rd loop around the sun, with my so-called virginity attached to my being, I don’t exactly feel that I’ve missed out on any of those milestones one has growing up, you know, having a relationship, having sex, having that intimacy.
Let’s go back to my teen years. I didn’t have many friends (or at least not many real ones). I thought I was bisexual because I had this appreciation for girls, but ultimately would only develop romantic feelings for certain boys under certain circumstances (note that at the time, I did not understand gender diversity, so this story is going to be very cis-binary in nature). I always thought that I had to like someone to fit in, but the maybe 2 or 3 boys I did like did not reciprocate. Okay, try again later, even if it takes years, someone will come along eventually, right?
Not having many real life friends, I took to the chat rooms. I remember sitting up late one night on MSN talking to a guy I met on one, he was a little bit older than me, and was saying that I should be out at clubs hooking up with guys like the other girls my age. This didn’t sit well for me, because I knew I wasn’t into it, but I didn’t know why. He didn’t say it, but he suggested I was broken. At least he didn’t call me ugly.
I put everything down to me being unattractive until I was about 17 when I “bloomed”. I did get attention from guys, but it was rare. Now days, I don’t get any, which I am absolutely relieved by given the screenshots I see from my friends on dating apps where men abuse them for saying no.
I had my first kiss at 15 with a guy who was 18 that I had also met in a teens chatroom. We went out with some of my friends, and on the bus home, he leaned in, I leaned in, and a gross sensation occurred as we mashed faces. I did not enjoy it and would not kiss anybody else for several years. The next guy I kissed was not somebody I liked that way either. Neither were any of the subsequent people I kissed. There was nothing there, no spark, no enjoyment. I haven’t kissed anybody in, I have no idea? I think my last one was my good friend (as a joke) about a decade ago because I told her I didn’t recall ever kissing another woman. We are still good friends.
I noticed a pattern up until I was in my 20s, I didn’t find any guys attractive, nor did I want to have sex with them, even the ones I did romantically like. Looking at other guys who allosexual women threw themselves at did not do it for me either. I tried with women, nope, nothing. It wasn’t until recent years that I realised my appreciation for others was simply aesthetic attraction, which I feel for people of all genders. It’s not sexual.
I was about 22 when I figured I was asexual, and not just a late bloomer or celibate individual. I hadn’t had sex with anyone yet, nor would I, even as I’m writing this a decade later. I have not been in a relationship either. I’m not sure if I’d even be a good romantic partner to someone I was romantically attracted to. I had to reevaluate everything I knew about sexuality and relationships. It was not for me.
A huge annoyance for me recently was seeing the promo for MAFS where one of the contestants was hounded by another for not ever being in a relationship. The other woman looking confused and asking “what do you mean” reminded me of every single encounter I have with people when I tell them I’ve never been in a relationship. The “hang on, but you’re pretty” trope has gotten stale. What does me being pretty have to do with anything? I’m literally not attracted to anybody. People have also called me “picky”, and yes, I am, with romantic attraction.
It wasn’t until I was about 26 that understood how me being asexual made me queer and I sought out queer groups. I was fortunately accepted by them. I find a lot of aphobia and erasure from cishets rather than other queer people. My experiences have been positive with queer communities, but I understand that others aren’t so fortunate. Aphobia can be as dismissive being told “you’ll find someone eventually”, as ignorant as “asexuals are basically straight”, and as violent as sexual assault in an attempt to “correct” one’s sexuality.
I find that asexuality is misunderstood as a state of brokenness, rather than a valid state of sexual desire, having minimal, some under certain circumstances, or none. It’s a spectrum that varies intensity. Asexuality is not “basically straight”, especially when the romantic component is involved. I call myself demiromantic because of how limited my romantic attraction is. Yes, it is towards men, but that doesn’t make me straight. There's also erasure of homo/bi/pan romantic people irks me because they’re also told they’re “basically straight”.
Being asexual sometimes plays into my also being neurodiverse and disabled, as though there’s a correlation between the two. I don’t think they’re connected because my neurodiverse and/or disabled friends have loving relationships and engage in sexual activity. The lack of representation of sexuality outside of the absolutes of gross fetishism or complete desexualisation of disabled adults keep this stereotype alive. I don’t think my friends are the exception to the rule at all. Having said that, I personally dislike being sexualised, but I am sex positive and pro sex work, even if I don’t engage in it.
I missed some milestones, but that doesn’t mean anything to me, because I’m still here, still happy the way I turned out, and still queer as hell.
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