Sexuality is one of the most fascinating and complex things about human beings in my opinion. Not a single one of us goes through the exact same struggles or experiences when coming to terms with our sexuality. Someone could be wondering for decades what label to put on that aspect of themselves only to find out once they’re middle aged and married, opening up the world to them and making things just that much clearer. Others know from a very young age that their is something about them that veers from the societal norm. Some people go through hell and back on the path of self discovery in order to realize. For others it may just come as a comforting realization.
I consider myself lucky in that regard, I was able to realize early in life that there is something unusual about my sexual feelings towards others. They are virtually nonexistent.
I’m fortunate that I had the resources and the freedom to research Asexuality from such a young age. It most likely saved me a lot of upsetting confusion once I got into the hypersexual environment of high school. I feel that if I did not have the idea of Asexuality in the back of my mind at all times, if I had never read anything about it or grew interested, I would be in a very different mental place than I am right now. I’d probably feel more like something was wrong with me. Being confident in my sexuality gives me a sense of security; a reason to believe I at least have part of my life together. It gives me a community to lean back on for support and it comforts me.
The road to my coming to terms with being Asexual was kind of blurry, as these things tend to be. I can’t exactly remember when I stopped identifying as Pansexual and started referring to myself as being “on the Asexual spectrum”, but I wish I did because it feels like a defining point in my life. I always knew I wasn’t extremely physically attracted to other people. I found specific features of a person I liked such as freckles or the color of their eyes, but I never found myself drooling over a “sexy” photo. I think and have always thought the human body is beautiful and deserved to be appreciated, but I never looked at anyone and thought sexually of them. Despite my hopeless romantic tendencies, I never thought about what’d it’d be like to be in intimate situations. I spent more time thinking about why I wasn’t entertaining the idea of having sex.
High School is what happens when you take a whole bunch of horny teenagers, put them into tiny classrooms with each other, and say “don’t have sex”. It’s going too happen because a teenagers nature is to defy. The hypersexualization of every aspect of my life as a teenager should be disturbing but at this point it’s normal. We as teenagers are expected by not only other teenagers, but the adult figures in our lives too be forming sexual relationships with others at this point. We use the concept of “virginity” to shame others that we feel do not reach our standards. The teenage experience is boiled down to whether or not you are “getting any”. Every relationship you see around the hallways seems to be established by or for the purpose of sex.
It’s hard to understand something you’ve had no experience dealing with. Humans are not very empathetic and I found that coming out to people was harder than I thought it’d be. Granted I didn’t expect it too be sunshine and rainbows but when you tell a group of generally accepting friends something personal about you, you expect them too accept. With Asexuality that didn’t happen most of the time. Coming out was no big deal too me because I was already out to most of my friends as Pansexual. When I told my friends I was Pan everyone was supportive and happy for me. Asexuality was a very different experience.
I can’t blame them for not understanding due too the hypersexual society we’ve grown up in, but it would’ve been nice too have a little bit more support than what I was given. The was a good amount of my friends who were happy I was figuring myself out and the knowledge of my sexuality didn’t change how they interacted with me as friends. However, there was also a good amount who had the opposite reaction. From friends it was the lack of understanding that really got to me.It was the suddenly bursting into laughter after I told them and the invasion of my privacy. Suddenly what I prefered sexually was everyone’s business. Questions that would usually be deemed too inappropriate were being asked to me daily. Some thought of me as fair game when it came to anything about sex, as if uncomfortable comments about it did not affect me. Others were entirely too cautious, setting aside inside jokes and comedic bits because they thought I would be weirded out now. Amongst the confusion I was often ridiculed. We tend too ridicule things we do not understand and I became the target of that in many conversations. People assumed I was broken and in need of being fixed. People would act irritated and judgemental as if my lack of sexual interest was affecting them personally.
Teenagers are impressionable and I was not the exception. These types of reactions made me resent my sexuality. I started to take the things others were saying in response and it led to a lot of doubt and frustration with myself. It led to pent up tension and anger towards sex in general. I’d become furious with the fact I didn’t enjoy masturbation or that the idea of being intimate with someone never crossed my mind. I’d try too force the thoughts but that only made me angrier. When the whole world is telling you that your sexuality is bullshit and you just haven’t found the right person or been able to experience what “good sex” feels like, it becomes disheartening and mentally exhausting.
I don’t know how I pulled myself out of that rut but somehow I did. I guess I just realized that not a single one of those people needed to have an opinion about what I do and want to do with my body. They have no place in telling me how to live and they certainly have no room for input. Being Asexual is still something I have to remind people about often. Much like any sexuality, you don’t just come out once. It takes years to come out to everyone of importance in your life and even then you are meeting new people every day and you don’t just expect them to know or figure out on their own.
My advice for other teenagers in highschool who believe they may be on the Asexual spectrum or are having trouble coming to terms with their sexuality is to not let the opinions of others affect your experiences. You are not broken and you’re feelings are 100% valid. No one should have any say in your sexuality besides you. Something as complex as coming to terms with your sexuality should not be put in the hands of society and those around you. The more you research sexuality the easier it will be to determine what you are. With that said, there is absolutely no reason you should feel obligated to discover your sexuality so early in life. It may make things easier down the road but when it comes down to it sexuality is just a label and does not define who you are.