Coming Out–To Myself And to Everyone Else

mynameisenvy, female, 19, United States.

I first came across the term “asexuality” about three months ago, and identified with it immediately, though I didn’t admit that to myself until about a month later, and didn’t come out to even my closest friends or family until recent weeks.

I’m nearly 20 years old, and for most of my life, I just assumed I was a “late bloomer,” and that eventually the hormones would kick in and I’d be attracted to somebody the way my friends were. That didn’t happen at all through middle school or high school, and now that I’m in college I was beginning to get frustrated. I do want a relationship—I want to get married, buy a house with somebody, file joint taxes, maybe even adopt kids. I want all of that someday, but the only people I could imagine that kind of future with were my best friends, and I definitely don’t see either of them that way.

This was really brought into focus for me when, after my jiu jitsu class, my sparring partner asked me out for coffee. He had been interesting to talk with thus far, and I enjoyed his company. However, it was clear when he asked me out, it meant more in his mind than just wanting to have a conversation longer than what we could fit between grappling attacks. And I was under the impression that to go out with someone, you should at least feel somewhat sexually attracted to them, because that’s what pop culture and conversations with those around me thus far had told me. So I told him no and stayed up most of the night wondering why.

That’s when I first heard about asexuality—it is possible I’d seen the term before, but that it never registered because I didn’t know what it meant—it came up in a Tumblr post about the “fictitious trifecta” (asexuality, pansexuality, and bisexuality) of sexualities people like to argue don’t exist. After doing some digging, I found that I strongly identified with almost everything I found under the asexuality tag and on other sites online.

I didn’t like the idea at all at first. When I was younger, even though I supported gay rights, I used to hope upon hopes that I wasn’t gay (I’d already noticed that I wasn’t nearly as interested in guys as everyone else my age seemed to be) because with the career path I wanted, finding romance was going to be complicated enough. I didn’t want to make it more difficult. And being asexual was, in my head, even worse because nobody knew what it was. And at the time, I still had a hard time believing that a romantic relationship could be meaningful if not consummated with sex, because that’s how I understood relationships to work. I was terrified that my relationships would forever be stunted.

This went on for about a month: I would actively try to find somebody attractive—celebrities, people my friends pointed out, people I knew—and all were equally weird and awkward. When I finally revisited the idea, I was more receptive and more comfortable jumping into the AVEN community and forums. I came out to my two best friends almost immediately, because I needed them to help me figure things out. The both already knew what asexuality was because of Tumblr and they were very helpful and supportive. Coming out to them kind of doubled as fully coming out to myself.

It’s been weeks since I first talked to them, and I just came out to my parents a few days ago. In the past weeks, I’ve become much more comfortable with my sexuality. I’ve learned, both from the people in the asexual community who are in happy relationships, and from conversations with allosexual friends, that sex isn’t a necessary building block in a relationship, and a lack of it doesn’t stunt anything. I’ve realized that identifying as asexual doesn’t close any doors to me; rather it reveals that while media and pop culture had had me walking into a wall, convinced that there must be a door there because that’s where most peoples’ doors are, I could find a similar path just a little to the right. Being asexual doesn’t mean I can’t have a relationship; identifying as such simply helps me to define what kind of relationship I want, where to find it, and that that idea of a relationship is not wrong or broken.

Coming out to my parents was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I’m the oldest child, and therefore the one people most expect to get married and have kids first, and if it took me months to realize that I could have the relationship I wanted without sex, how could I convince my parents of that when they had never so much as heard of asexuality before?

In the end, neither was hostile or unaccepting—they are great parents and I know they love me—though it was clear that one understood better than the other. They told me not to close my mind off to other possibilities and that I am still developing and you never know. And that’s fine with me. If I turn out to be demisexual or gray-ace, well that would certainly make my life easier. And if not, then they’ll get used to the idea.

I hope to become something of an advocate for asexual awareness in the future. There doesn’t seem to be a group at my school so I intend to start one, and I hope to start getting asexuality represented with either the LGBTQ group or the queer group on campus (it doesn’t seem to be agreed upon whether asexuality qualifies as queer). Because finding a group to identify with has been such a relief for me, I hope to bring that option to others who, like I was, are becoming confused and frustrated with the sexuality they don’t know they have.

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