Untangling these feelings
When I first realized that I was ace, I made jokes about being a sea sponge. I felt relieved that I’d found a label for who I was. Although I very rarely had thoughts about whether I was normal or not, I still had them, and knowing that there were other people out there who were like me (around 1% of the population, and maybe more!) was a comfort.
Being in a relationship sounds like a hassle. It sounds difficult and not really worth the trouble. But it also sounds amazing. To be able to just lean on someone and have them wrap their arm around your shoulders; to lie in bed together; walk around the mall with your hand in the crook of their elbow.
Whenever I think of all the good parts of a relationship, I think of the companionship and I think of being physically comfortable with someone else. But, for me, physical comfort never meant sex. It meant getting a hug when I wanted it and leaning back against a warm body for no other reason than just wanting to.
These were all things I could — and did — get from friends. But the thought of having this level of comfort with a significant other seemed just a bit more special.
I told two of my former colleagues at Office #2 that I was ace and they were surprised.
“But don’t you like muscles?” one of them asked.
I like looking at the curvature of a toned bicep, a firm pectoral, a nice six-pack. Butts. I want to press my face against the muscle and squeeze it, feel the strength in it.
The penis is not a muscle. It is a floppy thing that sometimes fills up with blood. It holds no interest for me.
2013. I decided that I was heteroromantic asexual. All of my crushes at that point were men. None of them were buff, but some of them were toned. I could only imagine my end goal of being next-level physically comfortable with less than a handful of them.
The range of media I consumed expanded and I started to appreciate muscular women. Nice biceps are nice biceps; it doesn’t matter who’s flexing them.
2017. I was surprised to realize that I had a crush on a woman. She was toned everywhere and smart. I couldn’t imagine cuddling with her, but the fluttery feeling in my stomach when she was around was unmistakable.
I didn’t freak out about the new crush. I simply rolled around the label “biromantic asexual” in my head a few times. It doesn’t feel quite right so I don’t use it, but I’m also not ashamed of having liked a woman. It’s just a statement of fact. The sky is blue. I once liked a woman.
Being in a relationship sounds like a hassle. But it also sounds amazing.
“Your asexuality will go away once someone woos you,” a former colleague from Office #4 said.
Wow, no thanks. I’m happy being a fucking sea sponge. I’ll just settle down here and eat plankton or whatever.
I like looking at muscular people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get a crush on them.
I get crushes on people, but I can’t always picture myself in that sought-after state of comfort and on-demand cuddles with them.
I found new labels, but I’m not sure I’m using them correctly. “Hetero(bi?)romantic heterosensual(???) asexual (pan?)aesthetically attracted to buff people,” sounds too unwieldy.
“Ace” sounds just about right. I think I’ll keep using that for now.