All the World’s ‘A-Gray’ Stage

Hazel, 19, female, United States

“Are you okay with kissing?” our script writer asked.

All of us nodded. I could handle a bit of kissing, right?

“Good! I’ll see you all tomorrow!”

Our college was doing its annual 24 hour theatre project, where a writer would spend 12 hours writing a 10 minute play and then the actors/directors would practice it for the next 12 hours.

The next morning to my horror I found out what our play was about: a girl and her boyfriend were at a party and both really wanted to have sex with each other but every time they did so much as kiss their drunken friends would enter the room and cause shenanigans. I was to be the main girl.

“Umm, guys, can I talk to you for a minute?” I asked the writer, director, and cast. I told them that I had never kissed anyone before (not that I was uninterested in kissing, but the candidates for whom I wanted to make out with did not feel mutual). I was a little embarrassed since I was 19, but they were really understanding. I kissed the boy who played my boyfriend, got the first kiss awkwardness out of the way, and we were all good… right? Wrong.

I felt SUPER awkward the entire time. Not really because it was about sex, but because I had to pretend that I wanted sex from someone. I had no idea how to get inside this mind frame and act this out. How was I supposed to act sexually attracted to someone?

“I’m so sorry, I’m doing a terrible job at this role! I’m just awkward.” I told our director during a break.
“Oh, you’re fine! Don’t worry about it.” My director said with an expression I couldn’t exactly read. To be honest, I think he was just happy that I had my lines down.

Having sex was something that didn’t often crossed my mind until that day. I spent the rest of the day contemplating this topic. During dress rehearsals I watched the rest of the other plays. I saw an old high school friend playing piano in one project. When I was 16, I feel madly in love with him. I swore I was going to marry him someday… until I found out he was gay. Funny, despite my strong romantic feelings, I never thought about having sex with him… ever.

I saw another play in which one of my friend’s boyfriends played a villain. Watching him play the calm yet utterly sinister villain was kind of turning me on. Ever since I had met him the semester before, I got a weird feeling every time I saw him. Was it sexual attraction? I’m guessing yes. But I know that even if the opportunity were to arise, I would never really want to have sex with him (even if he wasn’t dating my friend). Whatever feelings I had for him, they weren’t strong enough for me to do anything of the sort with him.

So what was my sexual orientation? I was very confused for the next month as I tried to grapple with my identity. When I was 16 I thought that I was bisexual, but that’s because I thought sexual attraction met you found people pretty, but I wasn’t romantically attracted to girls at all. I knew about asexuality, but I couldn’t be asexual since I had experienced mild sexual attraction. And yet, I experienced it so little that I didn’t feel like I fit in with the non-asexual people.

Finally I found a term that describes me: gray asexual. Now that I’ve discovered my sexual identity, I can now understand why I feel the way I do, both on and off the stage.