Tabitha, female, 19, United States.
It’s the opening to the typical ‘coming out’ story: I knew I was asexual when I was a kid. Well, perhaps not specifically, but I knew that I wasn’t interested in sex. It was middle school, seventh grade, when ninety percent of the school population was going through puberty, and everyone was talking about sex. I was simply uninterested, but at the time I never gave it a second thought. To me, I was just ‘a late bloomer,’ and I simply accepted that philosophy as the years went on. By junior year, I felt uncomfortable when my friends talked about sex lives, theirs or otherwise. I hid the cringe when my friends spent the entire lunch period making sex jokes. I got up and walked away when I could, preferring to take myself out of the conversation rather than asking them to change the topic. I couldn’t stand when my friend hit on me. By senior year, being a ‘late bloomer’ seemed a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t know any better. Up until halfway through my senior year, I didn’t even know that asexuality was a real sexual orientation. I’d never heard of it before, until someone that I followed on tumblr answered an ask about her sexuality.
The first moment I realized that I was asexual was a bit anticlimactic. I was sitting in my literature class and we were discussing sexual symbolism in things like Ethan Frome and interpretations of Hamlet, and the thought blindsided me in the middle of the class period: “I have never once been interested in sex or sexual behaviour. Maybe I’m asexual, too?”
At first, I refused to identify as asexual. Not because I was in denial, or because I didn’t want to be queer or whatever, but because I felt guilty. Asexuality was a horrendously underrepresented part of the queer community, and I didn’t want to be some straight girl coming into the space and abusing that label. I did research on AVEN, learned about the different orientations on the asexual spectrum, and eventually felt comfortable, knowing enough, to confidently call myself asexual. It took a lot of soul searching, after spending eighteen years thinking I was just heterosexual with a piece missing, but I embraced it. I’ve since delved into the ace community, met some of the other one percent, and am just generally a lot happier knowing something so important about myself!