Saying "you just haven't met the right person yet" as a response to an asexual person who has just shared their asexuality with you is heavily problematic and can be damaging. And yet, it's one of many loaded responses that asexuals may receive on a regular basis that hold deeply problematic assumptions regarding the existence and validity of asexuality. For example, it is a phrase I myself have encountered numerous times after directly sharing my asexuality with someone. Since I have been socialized in a culture that mentally embeds the notion that everyone is sexual and that sexual desire and/or attraction is natural, I have come to understand and expect that the vast majority of non-ace people will possess reactions of disbelief when my existence as an asexual person is made aware to them for the first time.
The inherent assumption in this statement is that my asexuality is a lie or is simply predicated on being unable to "find" a life partner, whether because my body is undesirable sexually or because I have simply been "unlucky." Through placing the cause of my existence as an asexual person on being unable to locate a sexual partner, my asexuality is not only invalidated as simply existing as a condition of this state of being alone, which itself is often perceived as unfortunate or lessor, but also as a lie or "cover-up" for my apparent inability to find a sexual partner, which, in many people's minds, would be some cause of embarrassment. As such, to them, I am only claiming that I am asexual as a means of avoiding embarrassment in being alone or being seen as sexually undesirable, not because I am actually asexual. In other words, I just "haven't found the right person" to be sexual with yet. If I had, I would not be asexual.
In a similar manner, another common reaction that assumes my asexuality as conditional and possesses similar problems is one in which my autism and anti-social behavior, which are both often societally-viewed as undesirable abnormalities, become explanations for my asexuality. In this instance, I only can exist as asexual because I am also autistic and/or anti-social. Thus, my asexuality becomes understood once again as conditional, only existing because of something else. This has been exemplified in many of the reactions I have received after revealing my asexuality, in which my evident shyness or "anti-social" behavior is framed as a producer of my asexual existence. If I just "worked on" being social, by forcing myself to engage in social convention more, and/or fought against my autism, through methods such as counseling, then I would become sexual. Exemplified in both of these commonly occurring cases in my life is the assumption that being asexual is not only "unnatural," but that it is a lessor or inferior way of living in comparison to being sexual. Asexuality is definitely not to be desired, and is either only existing as a "cover-up" or lie to hide from the apparent embarrassment of being without a sexual partner or as a byproduct of being autistic and/or anti-social, both of which are often framed negatively themselves or with a certain level of pity overall.
If only I had found the "right" person. If only I was not autistic. If only I was not anti-social. If only, if only, if only... then I would be sexual. And then, I would be "normal." As stated, these assumptions regarding asexuality have plagued my conversations. Ultimately, this is because if my asexuality is understood as conditional, there is still some potential opportunity for its rectification. When asexuality is unconditional, it becomes more difficult to confront, understand, and accept as legitimate. When asexuality is conditional, I can still be "fixed" and molded into sexual normalcy. Not all hope was yet lost. I just had to keep searching for the right person. I just had to go to counseling and fight my autism. I just had to stop being so shy and anti-social. To them, these were solutions that could very well save me from what they so surely perceived as an impossible and dismal life of asexual existence. I just had to change my outlook, my position, my behavior, my state of being, my mental framework, and/or my existence. For, how could I ever be content without sex?
Michael Paramo is an asexual Latinx demiguy located in southern California. They are currently a graduate student who has been selected to present their research at national conferences, such as by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music's U.S. branch, the Popular Culture Association, as well as the National Women's Studies Association. They are the founder of The Asexual and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal. Twitter: @Michael_Paramo