Illaine Waterhouse, 18, Norway.
Unlike many other people who identify as asexual, I never spent any significant amount of time wondering about my sexuality (or significant lack thereof) or being upset about it. In light of this, my story will be rather unique and probably a bit boring, but I still think it is a story worth telling.
I am Norwegian. Sexual education in Norway is compulsory and rather thorough, at least when it comes to the mechanics and risks of sex. It only mentions three kinds of sexuality though; heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. At the time I wasn’t interested at all and only did the bare minimum to get a good grade on the assessment, so the issue of my sexual and romantic orientation was something I thought about later. I was bored and squicked out by the entire thing and would rather read books and play Sims (where I still use WooHoo as a mood builder/stress reducer and little else).
Today I am 18 years old, and I identify as a lesbian/homoromantic demiromantic asexual. When I was around 15, I noticed that I wasn’t attracted to anyone, though most of my peers were. It took me maybe ten minutes, probably a lot less, while walking home from school one day to realize and come to terms with the fact that I am a lesbian. This was early in the autumn; the following summer I fell in love with my best friend during scout camp. I didn’t like being separated from her for any length of time but was terrified of admitting my feelings. The crush, a rather serious one, continued and deepened into love. This was in 2011, and in late November the next year I came out to her as lesbian, which she took amazingly well. On Valentine’s Day 2012 I gave her a piece of paper with a confession I had written, and when we talked the next day she told me she is straight. We are still best friends, though, so that worked out favourably.
Early the next year a friend I met the previous autumn told me about demiromanticism while telling me about two of her best friends. She explained that a demiromantic person needs to be friends with someone, needs to know their thoughts and reaction patterns and feelings before falling in love with them. At that time I was still more interested in things like homework, documentaries and worldbuilding (I am an avid writer and storyteller), so I shelved the information and left it at that. When I later began thinking more about who I am, I remembered this, and after a brief conversation via text to make sure I had the details right I started identifying as demiromantic. This was the early summer of 2013 and I was 17.
A few months before this I had, for the first time, begun to notice the sheer amount of sex and sexual references in the media and the world around me. My reaction to this was one of disinterest and puzzlement that the entire world could be so obsessed with one thing. Sex is a tool of reproduction and seems to me to be rather unhygienic and time-consuming. I quickly learned to ignore it, though, getting only occasional thoughts that ran along the lines of “Seriously?” “… positions?” “… movement?” “… that is supposed to be attractive? How? Why?” and, the one I am still annoyed at and amused by; “What the heck are you making that face for??”, usually directed at advertisements.
In the mid to late summer of 2013 I was given a link to the website www.asexuality.org, more commonly known as AVEN, which stands for Asexual Visibility and Education Network. If I hadn’t been directed that way, I would still be confused. I did a few minutes’ worth of research before deciding that the asexual label definitely fits me. Since then I have never looked back or questioned myself.
I have only come out to three of my friends so far. None of them are bothered by my (lack of) sexuality. One probably knows far more than I do about gender and sexual/romantic orientation, another doesn’t care but is positive and respectful, and a third, despite going through a somewhat aggressive “I despise ALL labels!!1!” phase, is positive and respects me. Despite my success, I am wary of coming out to other people, especially my family. But that is most likely a product of my shy and introverted personality, more than a fear of not being accepted.
I wear a black ring on my right middle finger. This is the agreed symbol for asexuality, but is still obscure enough to not attract any significant attention, at least not yet. But I live in hope; both of meeting another ace and of increasing awareness. When I come out of the closet, I will be completely out and open about everything, and as an aspiring author I hope to raise awareness through my books.
I never had any big hurdles to overcome. I never had any big eureka moments. I have never had any issues with what I am. My story is not grand and inspirational. But it is a story nonetheless, and it is my story. I hope to make a difference, however small, by being who I am and doing what I do. And I hope to be able to live life comfortably as a lesbian demiromantic asexual from Norway.