Looking Back On My Asexy Past

Once I realized that I was asexual, the first thing, besides celebrate that I wasn’t a freak and that I wasn’t alone, was look back on my past thoughts and behavior to see if there was any indication of the fact that I was asexual. And it wasn’t hard for me to determine that there definitely was. It took some time to pin down exactly what it was, though.

I clearly remember the dances in high school, at least for the one and a half year that I was in a traditional high school, and how much I wanted to go. Being an awkward fat girl who fit in with the nerdy, unpopular, crowd, however, my dating prospects were very low. I had a few guy friends, however, and I held out hope that one of them would ask me.

And I would think that this hope to be asked out, and this desire to go to a dance or on a date with this specific person, was having a crush on them.

Of course, looking back on it now, it wasn’t really a crush. It was a desire to be normal combined with what I now would define as a squish.

A crush is a romantic attraction to someone, a desire for a romantic relationship of some kind, a desire that is possibly temporary in nature, possibly never to be acted upon. A squish is an aromantic crush, a desire for a strong platonic relationship with someone; this envisioned relationship is usually more emotional intimate than a typical friendship.

(Via)

Of course, I had no idea what a squish was at the time, so naturally I thought it was a crush. Which led to some level of awkwardness with my guy friends Even though I knew, or at least thought, that I was bisexual by then, I wasn’t ready to be open about it yet.

Of course, I then dropped out of High School, and didn’t have to worry about social things like crushes for a while. That was when I discovered feminism and social justice and asexuality and all sorts of exciting new concepts that pretty much changed my life.

To tell the truth, I didn’t want to accept the fact that I am asexual for a while there. I tried romantic and sexual relationships, and I did my best at them. But in the end, I just didn’t like being in a relationship, and I didn’t like having sex. Which basically confirmed things for me. Not that I really needed that, I suppose, but maybe I did.

I’m pretty much comfortable with myself now. Sometimes I wish that I wanted sex or a romantic relationship. Sometimes I want to be “normal.” But mostly, I’m happy that I’m not forcing myself to be something that I’m not anymore.

Types of Attraction

As an aromantic asexual, I am all too aware of the different kinds of attraction that exists in the world. I suppose, for people who are in the “norm,” who are cisgendered and heterosexual, who aren’t education about LGBT* culture and such, aren’t really aware of that. I remember when it was a new concept for me. It was surprising, enlightening, but also a relief, learning that you can be attracted to someone sexually and not romantically. Or romantically and not sexually. Or aesthetically, and neither romantically or sexually. There are plenty of different combinations out there.

For me, personally, I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction. But I am aesthetically attracted to people, and I get squishes, which are basically non-sexual, non-romantic crushes.

As I understand it, and this may not be the best definition, sexual attraction is where you sort are attracted to someone as a sexual partner. Having never really experienced this, I can’t say for certain if that definition is 100% accurate, but that is how I understand it.

Romantic attraction is where you are attracted to a person as a potential romantic partner. Once again, as I’ve never experienced this, and can only go by what I’ve heart.

I can’t definite romance very well, actually. I’ve tried, and I just fumble the words. If anyone has a good definition, or knows of one, I would love that!

Aesthetic attraction is something that I experience, so perhaps I can write a better definition, but of course, this is only how I experience it. When I am aesthetically attracted to someone, I just like the way they look. I like looking at them. I find their appearance pleasing to the eye. While I wouldn’t pursue sex with them, if they were attracted to me and wanted to have sex with me, I might consider it, just for that intimacy.

Squishes, like I said before, are like crushes without the romantic or sexual aspects. When I was younger, I used to think I was having a crush, but it was really a squish combined with the urge to fit in with my peers. A squish is something, as I understand it, like a best friend, but more, but not romantic.

Another word, since I seem to have gone into defining things, is queerplatonic. A queerplatonic relationship is defined as follows.

Queerplatonic is a word for describing relationships where an intense emotional connection transcending what people usually think of as ‘friendship’ is present, but the relationship is not romantic in nature; people in a queerplatonic relationship may think of themselves as partners, may plan on spending their lives together, etc.

(Via)

Attraction can be a rather finicky thing, really. Even still, when I am attracted to someone in whatever way, I get confused. I suppose it’s because sexual and romantic attraction is the norm, and I still see it as the norm, and I’m still getting used to reminding myself the aesthetic attraction exists.

Hopefully I can soon get things straightened out in my head.

Being Aromantic

I am aromantic. At least, I think I am. I’m at the questioning stage, to tell you the truth, but the more I think about it, the more the aromantic label seems to fit me, at least at this point in my life. I’ve been in two romantic relationships, and I’ve found no happiness or fulfillment in either of them. Not that I really needed that experience to prove anything. I just… prefer to be alone. I am like that in all aspects of my life. I am very much an introvert, and I prefer the company of myself over the company of almost anyone else.

I don’t know if my introversion, or my social anxiety disorder, for that matter, has anything at all to do with the fact that I may be aromantic. Both my introversion and my social anxiety are such a deep part of me, that it is difficult if not impossible to separate them from other aspects of my life. So I can’t really say whether or not it does. But does that really matter? It’s all a part of me, of my life and my experiences, and of course it will influence my romantic orientation.

Now, just because I am aromantic and asexual doesn’t mean that I don’t crave human contact, or companionship. I’d be very open to a queerplatonic relationship. In fact, I would love one. But I’m not going to go actively searching for something like that, I don’t think, not at this point in my life. If I’m lucky enough to find someone, then that would be wonderful. If not, well, I don’t think that I’ll be too crushed.

The hardest part for me, regarding aromanticism and asexuality, is the pressure I feel by society. I feel like I’m not supposed to feel this way. I feel like I’m meant to be in a romantic relationship, and to have sex, and all that stuff I’m not interested in. And as much as I like to think of myself as a nonconformist, I still have the urge to fit in with society in some ways. And it is difficult to know that, in this regard, I never will.

I don’t want to compare the experiences of an asexual and/or aromantic person to that of anyone else on the GSM spectrum. After all, as an aromantic asexual I don’t experience systematic oppression and discrimination, and I’m well aware of that fact. But, for example, being gay is something that is accepted as a sexual orientation, in the United States at large. Whether you think it is a choice or not, whether you think it is wrong or not, people generally recognize that gay people exist. The same cannot be said of aromantic or asexual people.

Once again, my intention is not to compare the two. Quite the opposite, I wish to illustrate the difference between being asexual or aromantic and Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual. I don’t want to say that one is worse than the other, that isn’t my place to say. My point is simply that, as an asexual and aromantic person, I am considered abnormal even by those that accept LGBT folks.

And that’s a hard thing to swallow.

Sometimes I’ve even felt the urge to fake being a sexual, romantic person, and have a relationship and such, just to fit in. But in the end, I want to be true to myself, and if that means that I am considered a freak, well, I can live with that.

Gender And Sexuality Musings

English: The genderqueer pride flag. Three hor...

English: The genderqueer pride flag. Three horizontal stripes, from the top: lavender, dark green, and white. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gender and sexuality can be complicated things, for those of us who fall into the Gender and Sexual Minority, or GSM. There is so much beyond the gender binary of only man and woman, and so much beyond the three common sexualities, which are Homosexual, Heterosexual, and Bisexual. Even if I wanted too, I couldn’t list every variation on gender and sexuality here. And if I managed to do so, I imagine that it would soon become obsolete, with more genders and sexualities emerging.

Most of the world doesn’t see things as I do. They see only the gender binary, and only the three sexualities. Some even see only two sexualities, or one. I say that people who see the world like that have a limited view. There can be so much beauty in expressing your gender. It doesn’t have to be limited to what society says is appropriate for a person with whatever your genitalia happens to be. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to force people to act counter to what society says is appropriate. What I want is for people to have the freedom not to be constricted by the gender that they have been assigned at birth by society.

Basically, if you’re a guy and you like wearing skirts, good for you. Don’t judge that guy who likes to wear skirts. Don’t call him gay, ’cause he might be straight. You don’t know. A skirt on a man doesn’t naturally lead to homosexuality. And if you’re a woman with a penis, so? Some women have penises, get over it! Why should you care what’s between her legs? The only reason I can see it mattering is if you are going to have sex with her.

But the world doesn’t agree with me, unfortunately, as much as I wish it did.

I’ve known that I wasn’t heterosexual since I was about 16, when I came out to my therapist at the time. She was pretty supportive, and I’m grateful to her, though of course I was seeing her for pain management and she wasn’t exactly well equipped to deal with a young person uncertain about their sexuality.

Anyway, I had found myself attracted to women at the time, female teachers and classmates. But I didn’t have crushes on them, or anything like that. I just thought that they were attractive.

At the time, I was desperate for normalcy. I felt like enough of a freak already, I didn’t want to be known as the gay kid. I had seen how those who didn’t conform to cisgendered heterosexuality were treated at my Catholic high school. I hated the spotlight, and I would do anything to avoid it.

Long story short, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder, and that combined with my migraines lead to me dropping out of school. I was glad to be out of the conservative environment. I started homeschooling through a program, where I avoided all social contact for as long as I could.

The asexual flag

The asexual flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was then that I started reading feminist blogs. And I started learning so much about the world of social justice. I wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but I was learning. And eventually I started reading about gender. It was around that time that my best friend came out to me as a cross-dresser. I don’t know why, and I’m not trying to brag here, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I mean, it was kind of weird, and a new experience for me, but there was nothing inherently wrong with it. So I accepted them, and that was that. It was my first glimpse into a person defying how society told them to behave regarding gender. And it opened my eyes.

I started reading. And when this same friend came out to me as transgender, I started reading some more. I came across terms, like genderqueer or pansexual, that suited me.

And then I heard about asexuality, and things just kind of clicked.

It wasn’t perfect. It took a year or more and two sexual, romantic relationships for me to accept that I am asexual. And possibly aromantic, I’m not sure about that.

I’m still not out in that regard, and I don’t know if or when I will be. But that’s okay. I’m getting more and more comfortable with who I am, and that’s what’s important, I suppose.