Mollie, female, 17, United States.
I can tell you right now; just like in any other experience, some people will know instantly and for other people it’s going to be a long road to discovery.
I should start off by addressing one thing (this may get pretty awkward for you… but I’m not that worried about it). The only similarity that all asexuals have is the lack of desire for sex. That is the only thing that we all have in common. Some asexuals enjoy sex, some don’t; some asexuals masturbate, some don’t; some asexuals believe that if you’re asexual you don’t have an orientation, others disagree with this idea.
I really should introduce myself; I am Mollie. Call me this or even address me as M.J. (Mollie Jean). I don’t really care what you decide to name me. Some people even know me as “that asexual person over there”.
To figure out you’re an asexual, it takes a lot of inner-reflection. I know, that sounds like Zen crap or whatever. It’s not.
You should think about all the situations in which you had to deal with a sexual situation and how you reacted to these. You’d be surprised by what you find sometimes.
I guess that the best way to learn is sometimes by reading others; stories. I guess that’s why you’re here… unless you’re trying to better understand a friend or family member (in that case; good for you! I’m proud that you care enough to try to understand this stuff).
I was on an artist website called deviantART, looking at a piece of work by one of my favorite artists. She mentioned that she was asexual and had posted a link to a website to learn more. I figured, “Why not? I’m open minded and would love to better understand another person!” So I clicked on the link. Reading the website, I was shocked to realize that the whole description was describing me! “Oh. My. Goodness. Does this mean I’m asexual?” (Yes. Yes it does. I just didn’t know it at the time.)
I continued for weeks to read about asexuality and with every site I visited, I grew closer to the acceptation that I was indeed part of the purple flag.