A Story About You
Puberty has done its thing, growing things here, putting hair there, just like they said it would. But as you look around, you can't help but feeling that something got left out. Your friends, your classmates, maybe even your little sister, they've all started growing interested in relationships and sex. But you don't see things the same way. You're not into sex the way they are. You don't understand what they mean when they say someone is "hot" or "sexy".
At first, you might have thought that everyone was pretending, that everyone was talking about sex because it was an "adult" thing, not because they were really interested. But over time, it became apparent that they were serious about their interest. And now, maybe you feel like you have to play along. You have to pretend that so-and-so is attractive, or everyone will find out that you're not like them.
Everyone told you that you'd start to like girls or boys by now. Maybe even both. But no one really gets your motor running. No one told you that was a possibility. You feel alone. You feel broken.
You're not broken.
You're not alone.
It could be that you're asexual.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like being straight or gay. When someone is straight, they're interested in people of a different gender. When someone is gay, they're into the same gender. But when someone is asexual, or "ace" as it's called, they're not really into anyone in that way. They simply don't experience sexual attraction. Asexuality isn't something that needs to be "fixed" or "cured", it's just a part of who you are.
What If I've...?
A lot of people doubt that they're asexual because of something they do or have done. Usually, this doubt is silly. Asexuality is about attraction, not action. In other words, it's how you feel, not what you do.
- You can be asexual even if you think someone is good looking. It's possible to think that someone is cute or beautiful without being sexually attracted to them, in the same way it's possible to think a puppy is cute or a painting is beautiful.
- You can be asexual even if you're dating. Romantic attraction is separate from sexual attraction. Many asexuals are interested in relationships, even if they're not interested in sex.
- You can be asexual even if you've kissed someone. Kissing can be an expression of affection, but it doesn't have to be sexual in nature.
- You can be asexual even if you've fallen in love. Love and sex are not the same thing. Being in love with someone doesn't necessarily mean you're interested in sex, as well.
- You can be asexual even if you get aroused. Getting "wet" or getting "hard" is just your body doing what it's supposed to do. Getting aroused doesn't have to mean you're sexually attracted to someone or something.
- You can be asexual even if you touch yourself. Maybe you do it to relieve stress. Or maybe you do it because it feels good. Whatever the reason, masturbating does not mean that you can't be asexual.
- You can be asexual even if you're curious about sex. Curiosity is not desire. Wondering what sex is like does not mean that you're feeling sexual attraction.
- You can be asexual even if you've had sex. I know, it sounds strange, but having sex doesn't mean you can't be asexual. Some aces are curious. Some aces think it's what they're supposed to do. And some aces even like it.
- And you can be asexual even if you haven't done any of those things. Some asexuals are aromantic, meaning they're not interested in romantic relationships. Some asexuals don't masturbate. Some asexuals never want to have sex.
Someone Told Me...
Currently, most people have never even heard of asexuality. That means most people don't know what it is, so, for the most part, they have no idea what they're talking about when they talk about asexuality. Here are a few common objections, and why they're wrong.
- "You're too young!" No one objects when someone your age talks about who they like. You are old enough to know your sexual preference, even if that preference is "no".
- "That's not what it means!" Many people think of single celled organisms when they hear the word "asexual" and they don't know that there's another meaning that applies to humans. Often, they forget that words can even have multiple meanings. Remind them that "straight" and "gay" have multiple meanings, too.
- "You should try it first!" You don't have to try something to know you're not interested in it. Sex is no exception. Asexual people who have had sex still don't experience sexual attraction afterwards.
- "That's just celibacy!" Some people think that asexuality is the same as celibacy or abstinence, because they mistakenly believe that asexuality is about not having sex. In reality, asexuality has nothing to do with an avoidance or even a dislike of sex. It's about a lack of sexual attraction, and that's all.
- "It's not real!" Asexuality is most certainly real. Just because someone hasn't heard of it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. There are many well-respected researchers who recognize asexuality as a valid sexual orientation.
If the information here sounds like it describes you, then you might be asexual. Don't worry if you're not completely sure at this point. You can think about it for as long as you like. And don't worry if you don't fit neatly into every little thing I wrote here: There's no one "correct" way to be asexual. You might even find that related things like gray-asexuality or demisexuality describe you better.
There are many places online where you can learn more about asexuality, and most social networks have a group of aces who are often more than willing to answer any questions you might have or to just listen to what you have to say. However, only you can decide whether or not you're asexual, because you know how you feel, and no one else does.
If you decide that you are asexual, know that you don't have to come out if you don't feel comfortable doing so. You don't have to tell anyone. It's no one's business but your own, and you don't have to share it with anyone you don't want knowing about it.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. There are others like you out there, even if you haven't seen them yet. At least 1 out of every 100 people is asexual, which is a lot bigger of a number than it sounds when you start to think about it.