A "Normal" Asexual
I’m old enough (barely), to remember a time before social media. I remember when the computer was in the family room, everyone had their own account on it, and no one could call the house if you were on the internet. I remember spending most of my time on the computer playing pinball and drawing badly in “Paint.” And I most certainly remember a time when the only thing a cellphone did was make calls and send texts. Now though, cellphones are computers. Everything I used to do on my desktop in the living room, I can now do on my phone without having to leave my bed. The little girl in me who more often than not would pick playing outside over time on the computer, is still to this day flabbergasted.
I like my smartphone. I do. I literally have no excuse to not know something or at least teach myself something, because Google is always in my back pocket. However, social media is where I start to become weary of that heavy electronic device I take everywhere. At first, social media seemed great — a way to connect and keep track of my friends, without having to bug them with constant texts. Amazing. As I get older however, I’ve watched social media take a turn for the worse. I’ve watched it turn people into their worst.
Social media is tricky. It puts a screen between you and the person you’re trying to communicate with. For people with anxiety or those who have a hard time with confrontation, this is a good thing. It gives them that little bit of confidence to say what they have to say. But it also gives people who only have confidence when hidden, a chance to be mean. And more than anything, it leaves tons of room for misunderstandings.
I like to post pictures. And here recently, I enjoy making and posting videos as well. I love the idea of capturing a moment forever, because once a moment is over, it can’t ever be truly replicated. So pictures and videos are a way to hold those moments and memories. Hence, I really like Snapchat as an app. I like seeing the world through other people’s eyes. I like seeing the pictures of what others find interesting enough to post. But because humans are the way we are, Snapchat is not viewed as a simple app for pictures. With the pictures disappearing after 24 hours, people use it to cheat on their partners and it’s hard to catch a dick pic being sent. The app alerts you when someone screenshots you so racy messages can be sent in comfort, without fear of secretly being screenshot and leaked. It’s a lot, but only because humans make it so. I try to keep my Snapchat as simple as possible. I post pictures and videos of what interest me. My snaps still get taken out of context all the time though. Especially the ones surrounding my asexuality.
I make it a point to ensure that it’s a well known fact that I’m asexual. I post my articles about it with links on my Snapchat all the time. I post text posts about how irritating it is when men don’t respect my sexuality on my Snapchat. More than 98% of the time, I am the only person in my snaps. It’s not something I actively do and it’s not me trying to shove asexuality down my followers throats, it’s just the way I am. I want people to be aware so that they can stop themselves from asking me awkward questions. I want to help raise awareness of asexuality and normalize it. I want to normalize asexuality because there’s this phrase that I’m starting to hear the more comfortable I become: “You’re pretty normal for an asexual.” If it’s not phrased in this way, then it’s “you aren’t like other asexuals.” And that bothers me.
I held a friend’s hand in one of my snaps last week. For about five seconds we held hands and swung them back and forth. Nearly every male who follows me, sent me a message about it. Most were polite enough, a few ended up getting blocked, but they all were asking the same variation of one question: Aren’t You Asexual? And it pissed me off. The hand I was holding in my snap belonged to a guy, and we were holding hands really tightly. He and I went to high school together; we’re very good friends. I considered sleeping with him some years ago. I don’t want to sleep with him now. But absolutely none of that matters. We live in a world now where any type of physical contact between two adults is seen as sexual. No matter what. It’s a stereotype that is put upon us all even when not everyone has that same mindset. So even though I’ve known this guy for years (and if we were going to sleep together we would have already), the five-second video of us holding hands is all people needed to question my sexuality.
It’s almost as if asexual people are expected to never acknowledge the existence of another human being. And if we do, we’re no longer what we say we are. Which is both impossible and ridiculous. There’s a difference between acknowledging a nice face and wanting to have that face in your personal space. But society can’t seem to separate the two. I’m not sure how or in what way it can be explained for people to understand. It really shouldn’t even have to be explained in the first place.
Not only does the question itself and the implications behind it bother me, the way people say it also irritates me as well. When someone says to me “you aren’t like other asexuals” in whatever form, they always sound as if they are praising me. Like a dog that’s successfully completed a trick. A pat on the head for being myself and managing to fit in the box that they have labeled as normal. I’m a “normal” asexual because, while I may not want to have sex (they’re sure I’ll change my mind soon), I still must somewhere deep inside be interested in people. In order for my sexuality to be accepted, people have to pick it apart and slather one little part in compliments hoping it overshadows the things they don’t understand or like about my sexuality as a whole.
Why am I a “normal” asexual for acknowledging other humans and why has social media given people the confidence to comment on things that aren’t any of their business? Both of these questions have been on my mind for longer than just the latest hand holding snap. Because there seems to be no clear answer, even when asked. People should have never thought it was okay to question my asexuality just because they saw me holding a guy’s hand on Snapchat. They shouldn’t think it’s alright for them to try and put my bisexuality front and center in the hopes it means I have sex. Just so that they can find some kind of comfort in my sexuality.
They don’t realize, it’s not my job to make people comfortable.