CW: This article discusses topics surrounding queerphobia which could be distressing to some readers.
My queer story of acceptance from ace to z
What is asexuality?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation within the LGBTQ+ community. Someone who identifies as asexual will experience little to no sexual attraction toward others. Asexuality can also be used as an umbrella term for a spectrum of micro-labels. Asexuality consists of numerous micro-labels, but some popular micro-labels include greysexual, demisexual, aegosexual, and aceflux.
Questioning my sexuality
I was fourteen when I realised, I was not feeling the things my peers appeared to be. Everybody was newly interested in relationships and kissing, and I simply didn’t care! I was sixteen when I had my first boyfriend, upon reflection I was only in a relationship because everyone else was. I felt pressed to be physically affectionate with him, but I never truly enjoyed it. It felt like a chore, in fact, I would have rather done chores!
I considered I might be gay, yet I quickly realised I had never thought of girls in this way either. For the longest time, I thought I was pansexual because I am equally attracted to all genders, however, the level of said attraction just happened to be zero.
I first heard about asexuality when I was seventeen, through google searching the various questions I had been asking myself for years. Does everyone want sex? Why don’t I want sex? Why don’t I have a sex drive? Is it weird to never have sex? Do I have a hormone imbalance? Are there treatments for a hormone imbalance? These questions continued to circle in my mind and the more they did the deeper into denial I would fall.
I remember reaching my breaking point during my first year of university, February 2019, to be exact. I refused to accept my sexuality until I tried everything to disprove its existence, so I went to see a doctor. I remember whilst I was telling her about my disinterest in sex and my lack of libido, the small voice in my head was willing her to say it was just asexuality, that I was okay, and everything would be fine. She didn’t, in fact, she told me the way I was feeling was abnormal, and that I would need to go for a blood test to find out what was wrong with me.
A few weeks later, I received a call from my doctor with my blood test results. The doctor told me the tests came back completely clear and they would not be inclined to run any more tests. I told her it was okay and thanked her for calling. Then, hung up and proceeded to cry. I suppressed any thoughts and feelings I had about my sexuality. I continued to do this for a while, several months, until January 2020.
The road to acceptance
I was scrolling through YouTube when I was recommended a video by Anthony Padilla entitled, I spent a day with ASEXUALS. The clip was in interview format in which Padilla talked to three interviewees about their asexuality. This was the first time I had ever heard another person say they identified as asexual, they said it so openly and proudly! I found these strangers so incredibly relatable and inspiring. I could sympathise with every experience and feeling they have had when discussing their sexuality. For the first time, I felt like I belonged to a community, that I wasn’t alone in the way I had been feeling all these years. I felt inspired to find more asexual representation.
“You’re not broken and whatever word you feel like identifying with is there for you to feel comfortable. It doesn’t need to be for anybody else but you.”
This is when I found, Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman and Florence from Sex Education. I found several books about asexuality and communities online. One of YouTube’s biggest animators, Jaiden Animations, recently came out as aromantic-asexual in a truly heartfelt yet comical video.
Over a brief period, my asexual world expanded and flourished. It felt so empowering to see other people voice their experiences. I trusted one day I would have the confidence to voice my own. After years of working on my self-acceptance, I knew I could not hide my sexuality anymore.
So, I never did the big traditional coming-out rival. I never sat my friends and family down for the big emotional speech. Alternativity, I just stopped hiding it. I hung the flag in my bedroom, I started dropping it into conversations and even listed it as my sexual orientation on dating apps. As liberating as doing these things was, it still came with its faults.
Queerphobia is still very much alive, and due to a lack of education on asexuality stigmas continue to surround it. I have been told I am just attention-seeking. I have been directly asked unnecessarily personal questions about my sex life. I have been rejected from queer spaces by fellow LGBTQ+ members and told I don’t belong there. Asexuality is becoming the newest target for homophobic groups, promoting we are narcissists who believe we are ‘above sex’ which is simply not true. There are so many ways you can become an asexual ally, and showing your support is vital during pressing times like this.
Navigating my asexuality has been incredibly challenging but I am proud of how far I have come. Eight years ago, If I were given the chance to change my sexuality, I am certain I would have taken it. Now, I certainly would not. I have come too far and grown too much to turn away from my asexuality. Being asexual is a part of my identity, a part I worked to accept. It’s perfectly okay to not experience sexual attraction, yet it’s perfectly okay if you do. For me, I’m just happy to finally pull the ace out of my sleeve.