On the path to coming out as asexual

This is the story of how I came to identify as asexual, in honor of National Coming Out Day; in the time since the events this story describes, I have gone from tentavley speaking about this on the internet to the point where I am basically as out as I can possible be.

 For me, the path to coming out as asexual wasn’t so much about figuring out that I was asexuals as it was figuring out that other people didn’t all think like me. After that, it was all about finding the right words to describe what I was feeling.

I had always known that I was “not interested” – not interested in boys, or girls, or anyone really. And for a long time, I though that was normal. I never really understood people’s though processes when they talked about crushes and hot guys – I thought it was all for attention or something. And even so, I always though that eventually, “puberty would do its work”, and I’d suddenly start being interested in boys. I mean, I still had several friends who weren’t much interested in dating or anything. Maybe we were all just late bloomers! But as time passed, the most of the rest of the so-called late bloomers, well, “bloomed”. And I…didn’t.

So, having realized that I wasn’t becoming interested in guys in the way that was expected, the next logical conclusion was that maybe I was interested in girls instead? That was quickly disproved though – I tried looking at girls, and thinking about girls, etc. but it didn’t do anything for me either.

So, at this point I at least I knew it wasn’t a gender thing – I was equally uninterested in both. But what did that mean then? Was I just some kind of really apathetic bisexual? Was I just a late bloomer? I had no idea.

And so, I just…waited. I was lucky enough to have family and peers who never pressured me much to date or have sex or anything, so I had freedom to take my time and figure things out, which I am eternally grateful for. But still, even if  there wasn’t much direct outside pressure, the internal struggle of not even knowing what I was was still stressful. Thoughts, questions, and doubts were always lurking in the back of my mind: “What am I? What does this mean? And what about this person, do I maybe like them? Feel anything? What if my standards are wrong? Am I just still too young?” I had no idea, and no one to tell me the answers.

I actually first started using the word “asexual” as joke – since it was rather obvious that I had no interest in sexual relationships at the time, I would joke with friends that I must just reproduce by asexual reproduction – that one day, I would just drop an arm and have it grow into a mini-me, or that I’d someday come to school with another clone of myself budding off the back of my head or something. Other than that, though, the closest label I had for myself was “not interested.”

I first discovered the term “asexual” around my junior year of High School – I was browsing the website tvtropes.org, flipping through all the “queer tropes”, when suddenly I stumbled onto this page called “asexuality” – describing the asexual identity, some traits of asexuality, and then discussing works with possible asexual characters (there weren’t very many). As I read the descriptions, though, there was a spark of recognition – “This sounds like me.” From there, I found links to AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. There, I devoured all the FAQs, the testimonials, and read forum post after forum post. And with everything I read, it sounded more and more like me.

Still, even then, I wasn’t sure. After all, I was still in high school, maybe I really was just a late bloomer? I was wracked by all these doubts, partially because I just had never heard of this whole “asexuality” thing before – I had no idea what it meant to me. After all, no one there was asexual.

And so, I waited. Waited to “bloom”. Waited for…something. But nothing ever came. And by the time I graduated, I was done with waiting for something that wasn’t coming. And to be honest, saying that I was straight, or bi, or gay, just felt like a lie to me. Asexuality just felt right. It was then that I first made an account on AVEN, instead of just lurking, and hesitantly introduced myself as a possible ace, practically spilling out my life story in the process. Even though it was only to strangers on the internet, and through an anonymous account, that first “coming out” was a huge relief – finally I had someone to share these feelings with. Letting out all the concerns that had been brewing silently in the back of my head made me feel immensely better.

And after that, there was no turning back. I had found the identity that fit me better than anything else. Did I still have doubts? Yes, all the time! But in the end, it just made more sense than anything else. All I knew was that right now, I wasn’t interested in anyone at all. And since I have no idea what the future may bring, there’s no point in worrying about that. If it fits me right now, as I am in the moment, then it is the best identity for me.

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About Sennkestra

I'm an aromantic asexual and a bit of an [a]sexuality nerd, recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in linguistics. When I'm not reading stuff on the internet I like to cook fancy food, watch anime, and make costumes and other arts and crafts projects.
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