Originally posted on Tumblr but reposted here for archiving. Please note that my views may have changed since this was first posted.
[cw: internalised arophobia and acephobia]
Okay so there are just two hours left of Asexual Awareness Week where I live, and I really feel like I should post something because I haven’t been as active as I should have been, especially today. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how they came to identify as asexual, coming out experiences, etc. However, since I’ve already talked about how I ended up realising I’m asexual here (in my ‘asexuality challenge’ tag if you’re curious), I thought I’d talk about what being asexual means to me. In a very round-about way. I apologise for the rambling. Under the cut because of the rambling and also because it’s not the happiest story and past-me was not very nice.
I never went through that stage of thinking I was broken – or rather, the time between realising I wasn’t who I thought I was and finding asexuality was so short that it wasn’t an issue for me. And I’m honestly eternally grateful for that. I have, however, gone through a lot of emotional shit about the future.
I never wanted my own kids. I decided when I was really young that pregnancy was disgusting and making more children in a world where there were orphans was cruel. Maybe that should have been a sign, I don’t know. But either way, working out that I was probably never going to have sex didn’t bother me when it came to children. It did, however, throw a spanner in the works of just about everything else.
I was a seriously sex-positive feminist. To this day I can’t quite work out how it came about, but I was really obsessed with the idea that sex was great. I’d have it and it would be awesome and it would be pre-marital because really, you’re asking people in this day and age to wait until they’re married? You honestly think people can hold out that long, or that it’s even a good idea – what if they’re not compatible? In short, I was trying to own my sexuality like a good sex-positive feminist would. I was scared of sex, but I told myself that everyone’s scared of it at first. It doesn’t matter, it’ll be fine when I have it. Everything will sort itself out. All I need to do is find a boyfriend.
(That was another warning sign I suppose; I was seventeen and hadn’t had a boyfriend. I was completely confused by my rather sexually ambitious friend who had rather a lot of boyfriends in rather a short period – I still can’t quite work out how people decide to go out other than through the medium of dating, but there you go.)
So obviously, working out that actually, not only was I grossed out and scared by the idea of sex, but that it was okay, kind of threw a spanner into the works. And then, of course, came the amatonormativity I still struggle with now, because it made me petrified that no one would love me. I mean, who would have a relationship with someone who wouldn’t have sex? And I needed to have a relationship because that’s just what you do. I started hanging out in asexual spaces on the internet and found out about aromanticism and saw all these aro people who said they were happy without romantic relationships and thought ‘thank goodness I’m not aro’ (oh, the irony) because honestly? I mean, who could possibly not want a romantic relationship? It was the worst horror I could think of.
And so, I suppose, I consoled myself with the idea that ‘at least I’m not aro, at least there’s still some chance for me’, and, unbelievable optimist I am, I let the possibility of happiness and the fact that I’d found a place I truly belonged lift me up.
Because this community… there are no words, but I’ll try to find some. Everyone is so welcoming, and funny (shout out to all the cake jokes and terrible puns), and having the community here is like having a group of friends who are happy to bitch about people you know when you get home. It sounds stupid, I know, but that’s what it’s like. People can say shitty things or be really obviously allo and I can think ‘holy shit I’m ace; the community would be laughing their heads off at this weird shit right now’ and it cheers me up. I remember what I don’t have except, instead of remembering it as a thing I don’t have, I remember it as a thing I do have. The community stops asexuality from simply being a ‘lack’ for me, and you cannot believe how wonderful that is.
But back to the story of past me. If you read my blog at all (or understand the concept of irony and actually read this thing), you’ll know I started questioning my romantic orientation and currently identify (NOT TENTATIVELY AT ALL NO WAY JOSE) as grey/demiro. So that stuck a pin in all my dreams, basically. It’s kept me down for a week or two now, even though all my bravado in previous posts may suggest otherwise. But, today, on an hour long train journey where all I had was fan-fiction about a supposed aro character not being aro and a lot of love songs to read and listen to, I metaphorically sat myself down and had this to say (hopefully it will help other people in similar situations):
You don’t feel romantic attraction very often. In fact, you’re pretty sure you’ve only felt it once in your life. And to you, that sucks. Honestly? In this society, you might be right about the future. You might die with a few hundred cats to your name and no one to care that you’re gone. But that’s so far off in the future that you have no right thinking about it now. You’re not some all-powerful seer, and by the time that becomes a problem for you we might live in a dystopian future where romance is out-lawed by the all-powerful aromantic government — you never know.You need to stop worrying about it.
It’s possible that you’re not going to have a partner. But looking at the here and now, does it really bother you? No. You have friends and you have a happy life. You don’t need some boy to come sweep you off your feet. In fact, you don’t really need the drama right now.
Romantic attraction and romantic love are just another part of human experience. Not everyone ever feels it and that’s okay because it’s not better than any other human experience. And sure, maybe it’s nice. So’s sex, I’m told. The point is, you’re happy as you are right now. If romance is on the cards – nice. If not, will you spontaneously combust? No.
It’s okay to feel like you will though. It’s okay to want a relationship. And sure, maybe your chances of finding someone you love romantically who will love you back are slimmer than a lot of people’s but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, so it’s okay to hold out hope. But it’s also entirely okay to be happy as you are
No matter what, you’re going to be okay.