Growing up, I always felt I knew who I was. I came out to my aunt as a lesbian when I was 11, then to the world when I was 13. It was what I was known for. It was the one piece of myself that I was actually sure about. I grew up not really knowing how I fit in; I was a bi-racial girl who didn’t really know how to identify and it was scary. Yet, embracing the fact that I liked girls was the single part of my life that was constant and made sense. That was, at least, until last year.
I had always been a shy person, a timid person who liked her personal space. I kept to myself until I was 21. I hadn’t even kissed a girl. I thought it was due to my lack of interest in being touched — I had experienced sexual assault a few times throughout my older adolescent life — and that I would know when I was “ready” when I met the right person. We’ve all seen the romance movies when the girl falls in love: they have sex, get married and live happily ever after. That’s how I always assumed it was supposed to be. So, when I met a girl for the first time after a few texts over tinder, I was anxious. I was nervous and my heart beat fast. This girl actually liked me. She asked me questions about myself, told me I was beautiful and, after hanging out in her car spilling thoughts and details of our lives, she asked to kiss me. My stomach dropped and I admitted that I had never kissed anyone, but it didn’t sway her. She saw it as a quirk.
When we kissed, it was okay. I figured that since it was the first time I had ever kissed someone that I had done it all wrong and that’s why I wasn’t over the moon about it. It wasn’t until a few days later that I saw her again. We cuddled on my bed watching one of my favorite shows on Netflix when she closed the laptop and we started making out. Again, it was okay. It was nice at points, but overall, it wasn’t something that I wanted to do often. That night was the last time I saw her in person and we ended whatever we had after some dramatic phone calls.
I went on with my life, working, struggling to live in a new state and dealing with my mental illness for a few more months before I decided to really put myself out there again. I met a few people, but there was this one girl I really liked that made my heart pound and put a smile on my face. She’s beautiful, funny, chill — I had never met anyone like her and she made me nervous. She was very clear in what she wanted, but I could never give her a firm answer to what I wanted: because I didn’t know. I liked her, really liked her yet, when she touched my legs or sent other flirtatious physical signals, I would awkwardly refuse. It wasn’t until one night we were hanging out that she made a move. You know, the move where two people are talking and then they start leaning in and the fireworks go off? Yeah, that didn’t happen.
She leaned in and, me being awkward and scared, pulled away. I didn’t know what to say or what I was feeling in that moment, I just knew that kissing someone was the last thing on my mind. Her leaning in took me back to that first kiss I had and I didn’t want to go through that again. The moments after were stiff and I was quiet. I kept to myself and when she left I instantly regretted not saying anything.
The following days left me in a confused state. Questions like: What was wrong with me? Will I ever be comfortable with someone? Is this due to my trauma? Is this normal?
Then, as if a sign from the queer gods, I met someone who identified as asexual. I’ve heard the term on a few occasions, but it was one of those words that you could never put a definition or thought to. It was a word in passing you figured you’d never hear again. Yet, that word changed me and put the puzzle pieces together. It made sense. Everything seemed to finally make sense.
You never hear about asexual people in the media, you don’t see asexual people on TV, so it’s no surprise that people like me had never considered this identity in trying to discover who they are. My lack of interest in being sexually intimate with someone doesn’t mean I’m broken. My desire to just hold hands and to have an emotional bond with a girl I like is okay. Not wanting sex or possibly never having it doesn’t make me or anyone else less than or broken.
I’m hoping to bring more awareness to asexuality in my small community and I hope that within time we see more representation in the media or through someone highly visible in society, because no one should feel like there is something wrong with them when the answer is in plain sight.
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