Sexual frustration makes sense. Romantic frustration makes sense. But this? This is something I can’t really mention to people without it sounding really weird.
It’s like being romantically frustrated I suppose (maybe? I don’t know seeing as I’ve never experienced that), but instead of itching for a relationship I’m just sat here looking at my friend and wanting to touch her. Wanting her to touch me. I’m feeling this in a completely platonic way, just craving someone to play with my hair, and sit next to me with one of us curled around the other. Someone to hold my hand and rub my thumbs; to run their hands down my arms to feel me. For me to feel them. Gentle kisses on shoulders.
But that’s it. That’s all I want. Just a cosy night of sleepy cuddles, with no romantic or sexual connotations. That sounds perfect.
When someone we are close to dies, we grieve. A commonly recognised grief process is that of the five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. But do these five stages apply to other life events or Big Questions that may be too difficult to accept at first?
Realising I’m asexual was a process that took several years, from the first mention of the word to coming to terms with the fact that being ace does not make me alone- in fact, the complete opposite is true and the asexual community is welcoming and fiercely protective of their own.
When I first came across the concept I fiercely denied it. Living in a society where sex is everywhere it is easy to dismiss the idea that there are people who simply aren’t interested, so I simply put the idea out of my mind. It wasn’t until I got a Tumblr a couple of years later that I was reminded of the ‘invisible orientation’ and spent hours combing the tags for answered questions, affirmations and information. Asexuality, I told myself, seemed similar to what I was feeling but not close enough.
Anger and bargaining came together. I was still trawling the internet for resources trying to find an exact label that fitted, but at the same time not wanting to find one. I started to get irritated at people in relationships both in real life and the media, and was plagued by a constant nagging feeling of Why Me? and wishing I could do something to change how I felt. This was followed by a hollow emptiness. Normal people, says society, have sex on a regular basis. It was in this mindless fog that I started to talk to people, reaching out to try and affirm myself. Acceptance is strange; sometimes I slip back to anger or denial but generally I’m really proud to be asexual. I’m comfortable in my identity and I feel like in the 2 years since I’ve identified as ace I’ve grown and come to understand myself a lot more.
The five stages made a reappearance when I started to question my romantic orientation, but somehow a lack of romantic attraction was easier to work through. I’ve thought about this and think maybe its because of how intertwined love and sex are in the public eye, so a lack of one makes it easier to have a lack of the other (although I’m not sure on this point).
I’ve recently been thinking a lot about my gender and re-entering the cycle of constant searching and reading and questioning. I’m scared and confused and doubtful. But I will come to an answer. And whether that answer is that I am or am not female, I’ll probably do something similar to grieving because that seems to be how I work through things. And that’s okay.
I’m asexual. Sex is not something that has ever interested me, but I didn’t feel particularly uncomfortable with that at school- just shrugged it off as the popular kids exaggerating for attention. People didn’t really just look at other people and want to have sex with them, right? And so it continued, me moving through life without the ‘Eureka!’ moment of realisation that what I was feeling was different from my peers.
I had a conversation with my aunt once, in which she said that she thought she was asexual and I was surprised and confused by her experiences being similar to mine, but it wasn’t until I came across the definition again a few years later that I started identifying with it.
To me, asexuality is belonging. It’s not being the only person on earth who doesn’t want to have sex (even though it sometimes feels that way). It’s a support network. It’s a family.
Asexuality is crying alone in the middle of the night because you don’t understand how you’re supposed to fit into this world. It’s your friends trying to comfort you, trying to understand, and failing. It’s the red flags that appear in your mind whenever sex is mentioned. It’s wondering if you’ve labelled yourself right because how are you supposed to know what something feels like if you’ve never felt it?
But asexuality is the safety blanket that you can clutch and wrap around yourself when our over-sexualised society gets that little bit too close, to remind yourself that you are real, you are valid, you matter. It’s accepting yourself. It’s home.
Also, we have an awesome flag.
I didn’t know what to write for my first post, so I suppose this is it. Welcome to my blog! I’m not really sure what direction this is going to take right now, but I think it’ll probably have a leaning towards talking about sexuality and gender orientations.
Phew, first post done.
Nice to meet you!