Within the LGBTQIA+ community, there are many different identities. These identities come in many shapes, colours and forms. One of these identities is Asexual, which is one of the identities to share the A within the acronym. As I was exploring my identity, I had trouble figuring out what I was experiencing regarding sexual attraction. I was confused and curious, so I started my journey to discover what I was experiencing.
I started questioning my attraction levels once I began to start dating. I had crushes from time to time but never experienced any intimate attraction toward these crushes. I had always assumed that those thoughts and feelings would come up if I ever got into a relationship with someone, that it would be like hitting a switch, and I would feel those things. So when I got into a relationship, I was confused about why those feelings weren’t coming up, but I let it go, thinking that “oh, we only just started dating, it probably just hasn’t set in yet,”.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
One day, I was sitting with some friends watching TV when one of those ads with the woman messily eating a burger came on screen. One of my friends looked uncomfortable and shuffled in their seat.
I asked them if they were okay, and they said, “Oh um, it’s just that, that lady on screen is quite beautiful and uhh yeah, y’know,”.
I was confused, as this was just some random person on screen that made them uncomfortable. I responded, “Uh not really. Why would some random person make you uncomfortable?”. My friends all shared looks, and I was unsure of what was going on before my partner said, “Oh, they’re just feeling the horny, as you do.”. I nodded and smiled, and the night moved on, even though questions bounced around in my head. Do people get bothered by those ads? Why don’t I? Am I broken?
I went away from that conversation and decided to look into what I felt. After a few (poorly worded) google searches, I stumbled across a page with a list of queer identities. I opened it, and smack bang in the middle of the page was the term ‘Asexual’. I hadn’t heard of it before, so I scrolled and found the definition and man, I was floored.
“Asexualitiy is when a person does not experience sexual attraction,”. I remember reading those words repeatedly and finally feeling like I had found a word that could describe my feelings. It was like a rollercoaster, with its mixture of relief, excitement and almost assurance. I felt seen and like I wasn’t broken. I may not be what one could consider ‘normal’, but I was sure not going to let that get in the way of me being happy that I found something that explained how I was feeling.
I found a lot of comfort in knowing that there was a word for my experience and that I could feel secure knowing that I wasn’t broken. This term had lifted a weight off my shoulders in that I didn’t feel like I needed to prove a negative. There was a word that could explain me without me having to find something that may not even exist, my sexual attraction. I don’t know what sexual attraction feels like, so it’s hard to say if it exists for me. But finding this term and the community that comes with it changed my life and has shaped me into who I am today.
From here, I got to experience the joy of better understanding who I was and being able to connect with different people who had shared experiences with me. In my school’s GSA, I could connect with people that I didn’t usually talk to, and I now have many fun and creative people in my life. We have bonded over our shared experiences, and that has made a world of difference for me personally.
I eventually came out as asexual to my family. After some research, I had an analogy to use to explain to them my experience of the world:
“Imagine that you have no sense of smell. You live your life as normal, and all of the people around you tell you about good smells. You don’t really get it, but continue as normal. Soon, people start spraying you with perfume and telling you about how good it smells. They don’t understand why you don’t like being sprayed, and they don’t understand what you mean when you say you can’t smell. They look at you funny and treat you differently cause you aren’t like them. It leaves you wondering, am I broken? Is there something wrong with me? So, change a few words, and you can see how I experience things.”
This explanation put it into perspective for them, and they began to accept me. While strange, they started to adjust their comments about me to be less focused on the physical appearance of others but on their emotional connection to me. Even today, I am still getting used to this change, but it’s nice to know that they are supporting me, even if they don’t understand my experiences.
Going on this adventure to find out what I was experiencing was the most critical and most kind thing that I have ever done for myself. It has left me in a place where I can feel safe and secure within my skin, which is terrific. Suppose you aren’t sure what you are feeling or experiencing is normal. In that case, I highly recommend researching and seeing if anyone else has experienced the same things as you. I know that I wouldn’t be here today in the same capacity without the resources online. Find the words to fit your experience. I’m almost certain that when you have a look, there will be something that can explain how you feel and help you become stronger overall.
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