Stanley, 20, United States.
Growing up, I probably knew more about sex and sexuality than most children. I was told about the whole process from ever since I can remember, from knowing it’s how children are born to how some people fall in love with those of the same gender. Amongst family members, sex and attraction was treated simply as a naturally occurring thing, and no one made a big fuss about it. Thus, it never really crossed my mind anyway. This started to change when I hit 5th Grade.
It was here when I began attending sex ed. I remember my mother scoffing and telling me that they probably weren’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know, and she was right, except for one big detail. During the course, the person in charge of teaching us flat out told all of the kids there that starting within mere days of the sex ed course, all of the kids there would begin thinking, talking, and acting upon nothing but their sexual urges. I laughed to myself at the time; it wouldn’t become very funny later.
I laughed at the time because I thought the very idea that the teacher was basically instructing us on how “normal” it was was ridiculous. However, within the coming weeks, I began to notice changes amongst my peers. They had all interpreted the lesson as saying that were they to not diving deep into activities such as having a significant other soon, then they were not “normal.” They would actively act inappropriately, hit on the opposite gender nonstop, and chastise any who didn’t.
Being in that sort of environment all of the time, and seeing how everyone was so sure about this sort of behavior being normal, even the teachers who did nothing to stop it, I began to question myself. Not having experienced any sort of sexual attraction by sixth grade, I started to seriously worry if there was something wrong with me. I didn’t talk to anyone about it though. The school couldn’t be trusted, and my family weren’t the most understanding folk. Despite my feelings though, I never acted out.
Then one day, I met a kid while walking home from school. Even I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but soon enough, he became my best friend, and we started hanging out almost all the time. He would protect me from the kids who would often bully me, and he taught me how to swear, which led to the way I swear like a sailor nowadays. I ended up thinking so highly of him that eventually I talked to him about my worries, that I wasn’t a “normal” person due to not caring to have a girlfriend.
It was then that he laughed a little and said something so simple that I was amazed I hadn’t come to my own conclusion about it. “Oh please, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting sex!” That was it. Just like that I almost felt silly for all the fears I’d been harboring. If other people were so obsessed with who I was or wasn’t attracted to, then the problem was theirs, not mine. I was free to go at my own pace and to act as I thought was good. My peers had no right to tell me otherwise.
Unfortunately, the coming months would be a battle all of their own. By summer’s end, my close friend had to move away, leaving behind only a Pikachu lanyard of which I treasure to this very day. Without him for moral support, it became a lot harder to stand against my harassers. As far as I saw, I was the only one in the world who held no attraction to anyone, and that didn’t change as time passed. Back then, I didn’t even know asexuality was a thing, let alone that others could be them.
Middle school was the absolute worst. Not a day went by where I wasn’t called an assortment of heterosexist terms, solely because I wasn’t constantly fawning over every girl that passed me in the hallway. No one made an effort to understand me; no one extended their hand to help me as my old friend once did. My friends were few and far between, and even then I remained in the background, not active as I once was. But the absolute low point of the entire experience came when I decided to tell my mother.
Years later I would learn of asexuality and all that it entailed, and thus I began to hear all of the typical responses. “Asexuality isn’t real.” “You just haven’t found the right woman.” “You’re just gay but in denial” all of it. But it was on that day that my own mother, the woman who just loved to brag about how accepting she was, outright denied my existence. She gave me all of the typical lines with utter seriousness, and to this day she pretends as though that night never happened.
Nowadays, thanks to having graduated, the topic of my sexual preference doesn’t come up often, and when it does, people often just give me dirty looks as a response. While I suppose that’s better than getting verbally abused, it still only makes very apparent the underlining problems some people still have with acceptance. There are multiple sides to sexuality, and it always amazed me that even some within the LGBT community have a hard time grasping the concept.
I suppose I should just count myself lucky. Because even after all of the hardships, after all of the rampant obsession with who’s getting in whose pants, and even after the discovery that no one in my family would be able to accept just who I really was, I still managed to make friends who are completely fine with me the way I am. We’ve hit hard times, but the fact that we’ve always managed to work through them is just a testament to how strong our bonds are.