I’m Not… Straight?

Casey, female, 21, United States.

It wasn’t until I broke up with my boyfriend that I realized I may not be entirely heterosexual.

I owe part of my self-discovery to the tumblr community. That’s where I learned that there were other sexualities and gender identities than just the two I knew, and it was simultaneously overwhelming and exciting.

I briefly heard about asexuality when I was trying to get over my heartbreak. There was something called “demisexuality” on an infographic I read, and I identified with it immediately.

All of my “non-normative” thoughts came to a peak in one second – how I was always a late bloomer, how I never had any other boyfriends growing up, how I never gave sex a second thought, how I always thought boys were nothing special, how I never experienced something foreign called “sexual attraction,” how I always wanted to marry someone I considered my best friend.

That’s when I realized I was demisexual, not heterosexual. And I could breathe now that I knew why I was different from my heterosexual friends.

But people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m asexual – that’s how I describe myself, since most people haven’t even heard of demisexuality unless I have ten minutes to explain what it is. And no stranger has time to hear my life’s story when they’re just learning my name.

So I don’t tell everyone. I’ve told my mom, my brother, my roommate, my best friends, three of my closest guy friends, and all of my followers on tumblr. It’s still mostly a secret.

It’s still a struggle when I hear that asexuality is largely ignored by both the heterosexual and non-heterosexual communities, because it means that my vivid experiences aren’t considered valid. It hurts when people marginalize me, telling me “it’s just a phase” or asking me “so, you reproduce by budding?”

But knowing there are asexual communities and other demisexuals in the world – including one of my good friends from school – makes me feel better. And knowing that I’m finally comfortable with my sexuality (or lack thereof) is enough to make up for the daily struggles.

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