Because teenage me thought that people only had sex to make kids and piss off their parents.
Because, once I learned that people actually had sex for fun, I couldn’t understand why I was the only one who didn’t want to do it.
Because I was so lonely and confused and isolated that I believed the lies that I must just be a late bloomer.
Because society screamed at me that people who didn’t want to have sex were wrong in the head.
Because the only willingly celibate people I ever saw were nuns and priests, and we were assured that it was some grand, noble sacrifice, because they actually really did want to do it, they were only abstaining for God.
Because even many of these supposedly willingly celibate people were totally doing it.
Because sex is such a massive need.
Because to have sex is to be human.
Because to not want it is inconceivable.
Because I forced myself to watch and read sex scenes even long after they began making me grimace because if I couldn’t stand watching it, how was I supposed to ever do it.
Because of course I wanted to do it. Only freaks and deviants didn’t want to do it, and I didn’t want to be a freak.
Because years of forcing myself like this have left me so sex-repulsed that having any mention of sex sprung on me with no warning makes me flinch.
Because I really did think I felt sexual attraction despite everything, because aesthetic and sensual attraction aren’t things anyone talks about, so how was I supposed to know the difference?
Because I rejected that I could be asexual, because that meant that I could never be normal.
Because, even though I didn’t judge anyone else for it, it took me weeks to accept that I didn’t feel sexual attraction, that I never had felt sexual attraction, and that this was not a bad thing.
Because even now that I’m part of the ace community and proudly wear a black ring, I still cry when movie after movie, and show after show, displays every character lusting after and having sex with each other.
Because society fully rejects my existence.
Because I’m so erased that some days I don’t feel human.
Because I am human, and I deserve to see myself on the screen and the page.
Because the ace spectrum is vast, and we have the right to see that immense complexity represented, just like everyone else does.
Because when I finally read an ace character, I couldn’t stop grinning for the rest of the day.
Because, when I write ace characters, I feel happier and freer than I ever have.
Because I refuse to be invisible any longer.
Lijavi Toledo Loaiza is an autistic, agender, Latinx, biromantic ace. They are working on their first novel, an intersectional work born of the frustration of needing more to live off than the media’s scraps. When they’re not writing, they either have their nose stuck in a book or are walking outside checking out what the birds are up to.