A Struggle With Identity

Olive, 20, Female, Canada

content note: this story contains experiences of sexual assault and harsh language

My friends all loved Channing Tatum. They loved a lot of guys, actually. They wanted to fuck them all. On their walls they hung pictures of them, larger than life posters of shirtless men. All men, of course. We all grew up in a small country town, where everyone was white and everyone knew everyone, and ‘nobody was gay.’
My friends gained an interest in the boys in our class, too. They liked them; they wanted to fuck them. They wanted to be sexual with them, and so they did. As only teenagers do, we’d sit in a circle and they’d tell tales of the things they’d tried, of the things they’d done. We were only thirteen.
I never felt the same way. I’d sit there and listen, and say with spunk, “I don’t really think he’s good looking,” and my friends just thought I was being sassy, because that’s how I was. And no, I didn’t find most of them good looking; but even the ones that I did find to be attractive, I never had sexual feelings for them. My body was changing and I felt urges to be sexual, but I didn’t feel sexually attracted to anyone. I thought maybe I was strange, but I was okay with it mostly.
I had a scare, though. I didn’t like any of the guys, and for a moment thought maybe that I liked the girls. Maybe I’d just never considered it because my social situation had stopped me from considering it. But as I looked at the girls, I realized that I didn’t see them sexually, either.
I was thirteen when I came across the term asexuality, and it stopped me cold in my tracks. I knew immediately that that was me, but I was so scared. People didn’t have different sexualities where I came from–it was a huge taboo. A girl had come out as bisexual at my school and was only a year older than me, and they never let her live with her identity. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I pretended that I was straight, and pretended I didn’t know who I was. I was rude about people who chose to come out about their sexuality because I was so insecure about myself, and hoped that by ostracizing them, that I wouldn’t be associated with the people who were ‘different.’ I was a grade A dick.
For a while, I tried dating guys, but I was never particularly interested in the ones that chose me. I thought that by dating them, I could change myself. However, for the first few boyfriends, I stood my ground and was super evasive about sexual interaction. Eventually, they tired of my evasiveness and left me. I was relieved each time.
I’d been single for a while when he approached me, when he cornered me. I was 16. He manipulated me into a relationship. He was the worst person I’ve ever interacted with. An awful human being, and a genuine idiot to boot. He raped me, sexually abused me, verbally abused me. I didn’t have a good relationship with my family at the time, either; my life was just an incredible mess. I was alone. I moved to a foreign country for a while and because we were no longer on the same continent, was finally able to end things with my manipulative ex. I lost a lot of things: material goods, money, my sanity; but I came out. I still hadn’t been honest with anyone about my asexuality. I tried to forget about it.
When I moved back to Canada after my stint abroad, I had told myself I would get myself sorted before I got into a relationship, if indeed that was something I wanted to explore ever. I’d barely been home when I met a wonderful guy. He was awkward and shy, and we hit it off right away. When it came to make our relationship official, I had to have a talk with him. I told him about my previous abuse, how it had made me wary. I also told him I was ‘basically asexual,’ though I was still in denial. He accepted these things and moved at my pace. For the most part, he was there for me. Until he wasn’t.
We had avoided sex for a very long time, since it wasn’t something either of us really wanted. We’d talked about it. I was sleeping over at his house one night, and I was drunk–too drunk to make proper decisions. He made me have sex with him, took advantage of my drunken state, and proceeded to shame me for not realizing his intent. He broke up with me a week later.
I stayed single after that. I’m still single today. After him, I went for therapy, did some self exploration, searched deep within myself. Built myself up, figured myself out. I’d grown comfortable with who I was, had a great relationship with my family, and I had great friends. But I realized I wasn’t being true to myself, and so finally admitted that I was asexual. Because I am. I was. I always have been. I told my friends, but haven’t told my family; they wouldn’t understand, and it’s easier this way.
One of the friends I told was a male friend I’ve had for years. He proceeded to question me about my sexuality, said it wasn’t possible, how could I possibly feel that way. He sexually assaulted me because of my asexuality.
I am no longer friends with him, to say the least. Importantly, though, I’ve come to accept myself, and who I am. I know who I am. I love myself. My life is happy, my life is great. I live by myself with a little cat who loves me, and identify as a biromantic asexual, though I lean more towards men, and that’s okay. It’s been seven years since I first learned of who I was. Now, everything is okay.