I was a 90’s child. A ‘noughties’ teen. We had one family computer and it was dial-up that couldn’t connect us to the Internet if the phone was being used. It made that horrible screeching sound—if you’re old enough, you can probably hear it in your mind right now. I was 16 when I first saw the word ‘asexual’ used in the context of sexuality. I don’t remember what I was trying to search for—maybe I was looking up the scientific ‘asexual reproduction’ and found something different. I remember very clearly thinking at the time, that sounds like me. But I doubted it.
You see, my upbringing was a bit off the beaten road. I’d lived on-site at a Californian camp and retreat since I was 11 where my parents were the camp managers. That meant I homeschooled, did independent study, had no neighbors to speak of and few interactions with other kids. So, when I saw asexuality and thought it described me, I told myself that I couldn’t be sure. I was too young, I had never dated, I didn’t know anyone my age… How could I possibly know that my feelings wouldn’t change if I was around more people?
At 18, my English mother moved us to England. Fast forward another few years and I was 22 on the internet. Suddenly, I saw the term again. Asexuality. This time, I did more research. I found AVEN and, although the website wasn’t my cup of tea, I gained a lot of knowledge. This time, I didn’t dismiss it. I applied the label to myself and how I felt and… it felt right. The same spark of connection to it I had experienced at 16 was still there, but this time without my excuses.
I didn’t immediately come out to my family and friends as ace, nor did I talk about it to anyone for around six months. I read up on demi- and gray- aces, on aromanticism and more. When I was sure of myself, I told my mom, who I knew would be supportive no matter what. I was lucky—she was.
What this means for me is that I can appreciate aesthetic good looks, but I never want to do more than cuddle with someone. I’m very hug-happy and sex-positive, as long as it doesn’t include my body with another person! Though I’ve had people express surprise, my body ‘works’ fine, and I’m not shy about giving my friends sexual health or relationship advice. I even write smut in my fan-fiction and original works.
It’s taken another seven years to realize I’m aromantic as well as asexual, mostly because I’ve felt lonely and thought that meant I had to want a romantic relationship, instead of just closer platonic friendships.
I’ve told most of my family and friends, and occasionally acquaintances. Most have been supportive, even if they don’t really ‘get’ it. I’m 30 now, and I’m not unsettled or unhappy with my identity. I’m a cis-woman who is aromantic and asexual. And that’s fine. I don’t need everyone else to understand it, although I can fill a Bingo card several times over with comments like, “you just haven’t met the right person yet!” and “are your hormones okay?” My hormones are fine. I have great friends. I have a loving family which many people aren’t blessed enough to have.
It may have taken over a decade, but I reached a place where I can honestly say, I’m Ace and okay.
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