Mandy, female, 19, Australia.
My story starts back in early high school, around the age of 14. This was when I began to realise that my fellow female friends were getting interested in boys. I also developed my first crush on a guy. I was (and still am) a shy person, so revealing this crush to a group of girls at a sleepover was terrifying, but listening to their ‘how far have you gone with a guy?’ talks was probably equally as terrifying, but for a different reason. I don’t remember the details (nor do I really want to remember, either), but it felt very alienating, although at the time I pinned this on the fact that I was very shy and had never dated.
Throughout the next two years of my high school life, these female friends of mine constantly talked about how ‘hot’ guys were at our school, and when I was asked about who I thought was ‘hot’, I couldn’t answer them truthfully, because I had no idea what made a guy ‘hot’. Thankfully, I didn’t get asked this a lot, but when I was asked, my answer just was copied off another friend because I didn’t know what else to say. I still had no clue why I didn’t relate to these questions my friends asked, but at that stage of my life, thankfully, I didn’t really care.
I was also a pretty naive teenager, especially in regards to what other people were doing. By the time I was 16, I had been to several compulsory sex ed classes in health class, but each time I hardly cared for what they were teaching. My general thought processes went along the lines of “why would I ever do something like that at this age?” and “but why do you need to teach us about all these contraception things when we won’t need them for several years when we’re in serious relationships?”. I was (and still am to this day) also somewhat disgusted by sex, and couldn’t really imagine having it, and I literally thought everyone else had the same mindset as me. Little did I know that sex is a prevalent thing that happens in schools (I found this fact out only after I left high school).
To this day, I can hardly remember what they taught us in sex ed, all I know is that it was pretty helpful information… just not for me. Most things just went over the top of my head, as if my subconscious was trying to tell me that this information was not something I would ever use.
Fast-forward to 2011, the year I turned 17. I had my first boyfriend. It didn’t last long, only a few months. He was very touchy and always wanting to grope me. I didn’t care; it did nothing for me so I allowed it. I passed it off as him being “a typical guy”, and we broke up after a very awkward attempt at kissing.
But this was the year I also discovered different sexualities. My best friend introduced me to a site I now frequent, where I learnt about the different kinds of sexualities and genders. Asexuality was something that I had never heard of (to be perfectly honest I had hardly heard of homosexuality and bisexuality before then), and something about it caught my interest, but not enough to get me to research it more, unfortunately. So, asexuality got pushed to the back of my mind for an entire year.
Curious about all these new different sexualities, I then proceeded to spend the next year experimenting with my labels for my sexuality. At this time I also realised that I could develop crushes on girls as well as guys, so I stuck to labeling myself around ‘bi’ for a while. But it just didn’t feel right, something was missing, but I couldn’t pinpoint it.
The thing that made me come across asexuality was me wondering what ‘sexual attraction’ was, because I had stuck with the label ‘biromantic homosexual’ for a while because I found females far more attractive than males. But after googling sexual attraction I came across AVEN, which was an incredibly handy resource and it introduced me to the concept of sexual attraction, which I then realised that I had never felt before.
Around the beginning of 2013, I finally settled on labeling myself as a panromantic asexual, and it feels like it fits perfectly. However, since realising that I do not experience sexual attraction, I’ve become far more aware of other people’s feelings and society’s huge focus on sex, and there are still many days that I feel “broken” because of this. I’ve had two sexual boyfriends in the time that I’ve identified as asexual, and although they have not helped in my feelings of being “broken,” they’ve helped me grow and made me realise that sexual relationships are not for me, and I started to believe that because I would never want sex and this made me feel terrible and that nobody would want me.
However, I am very blessed to currently have an asexual girlfriend (something that I thought would never happen) and it is an extremely relieving experience to finally be with someone who shares the same feelings towards sex as I do.
Along with the increasing amount of visibility around the internet, my feelings of alienation and being broken are slowly going away. I hope that asexuality will be eventually known as a common sexuality in society, so it can save future teenagers from the stress and negative feelings I felt when trying to work out my sexuality.