#1493 – Asexual Awareness Week

It’s Asexual Awareness Week and I want to write something – not for the uneducated or the allies out there, but for the asexuals who, like myself, might be confused or afraid or upset. The ones who may not want to celebrate this week, but feel drawn to the push for awareness anyway. I can only write about my own experiences with my asexuality, but maybe my words will resonate with someone out there. Here goes.

Asexuality, to me, feels like a fairy tale. It feels like having fins instead of legs, and I’d give up any beautiful, integral part of myself to make the trade and walk on land like my beloved. It feels like I’m a beast hidden away in a castle, and no matter how much I hope her kiss will break the curse, I know no curse exists; this is just who I am, ugly and unacceptable. It feels like I am a slumbering beauty surrounded by the wall of thorns that is my own body, and I’m so afraid that she’ll wound herself too deeply trying to cut down the wall. It feels like searching desperately for mushroom rings in the hopes of being spirited away to Faery, where everything and everyone is covered in glamour.

I have a very complicated relationship with my asexuality. I hate it, even as I fight for greater asexual visibility and acceptance. I hate myself, even as I argue for the presence of asexuals in LGBTQ safe spaces. We deserve that acceptance, even if I can’t yet accept myself. We deserve that inclusion, even if I don’t always feel comfortable or safe in those spaces.

And I am trying to be okay with that. I’m trying to be okay with the anger, the sorrow, the feelings of wrongness and inadequacy. And it’s okay for you, reader, to feel those things as well. It’s okay to be upset with your asexuality, to wonder if something made you this way and if you can be fixed. It’s okay to feel different, and to worry how being asexual will change certain aspects of your life. This road can be a long, hard, painful one. Never let anyone tell you asexuals don’t struggle or suffer over their identities. Never let anyone tell you what labels you can or can’t use. Many of us struggle. Many of us suffer. Many of us agonize over the labels we want, the ones we can’t shake, the ones we love and fear. No one should erase that. Every experience you have is uniquely yours, forever. Embrace it.

It gets better. It gets worse. Have faith. Have faith you’ll find community, if community is what you need. Have faith you’ll find love, if love is what you need. Have faith you’ll get through the dark times, because you will. They suck – god, do they suck – but you’ll get through them.

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16 thoughts on “#1493 – Asexual Awareness Week

  1. Off-topic, and I may have mentioned this before, but your writing is really good. It just is. Clear, with great flow. It’s always at the top of my list of favorites. ~ That’s all. :) Have a great day/evening.

  2. Reblogged this on Taking the Jesus Creed and commented:
    I found this really amazing post on the struggle with asexuality. In my attempt to spread awareness of all sorts of sexualities (and to find really good writing, which this certainly is), I thought I’d reblog it. (Note: asexuality is a sexual orientation. It’s not being sexually attracted to /anybody/.)
    Also, best wishes to the author.

  3. This… This is that sort of wonderful where wonderful doesn’t quite fit but no other word does. As someone who is asexual and in a relationship with a very sexual person, this… Is so terribly accurate. Thank you for writing this post, for writing what others can’t let themselves say.

    • *blushes* Wow. First, thank you for such a kind and thoughtful comment. It really means the world to me to hear from people who may find something of worth in what I write. And second, I’m in your same shoes when it comes to a mixed relationship. It really can be difficult, can’t it? I think it’s a situation not many people can quite understand, so it’s always comforting to find someone who does.

  4. My relationship with my asexuality has always been… denial, I guess. I suspected I was asexual as early as high school, when I truly didn’t find any of the then heartthrobs sexually attractive and really couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. But I chalked it up to ‘late bloomer’ and carried on with my life. Then came a series of boyfriends from whom the thought of sex or even touching was intensely uncomfortable for me. At one point I broke down into tears during a perfectly reasonable, adult discussion of ‘are we ready to take this a step further?’ So obviously things weren’t working and I ended the relationships. A couple years later I was blessedly fortunate to start a relationship with a then long-distance girl friend of mine. My search for my correct sexuality turned into ‘maybe I’m just not into guys’, but even though I’ve forged a very strong and mutual emotional bond with her, sex continues to be something I’m just not interested in, for lack of a better word. I tried, I really did. I didn’t want to believe that it wasn’t something I could just power through and force if I tried hard enough. But try as I might, sex just doesn’t register on my radar. And you’re right, having a partner who is much more sexually charged than you is hard (my girlfriend is wonderfully supportive and sympathetic, thankfully). There’s a lot of guilt around not being able to satisfy what feels like part of an unspoken contract. What makes it harder still is this notion in mainstream society that sex is an integral aspect of a healthy relationship. It’s a very damning indictment against my worth as a partner. Is not my love, my devotion, my support, our harmony, and our mutual dreams for the future not just as important to our relationship? Why does an absence of sex cancel out all of the rest of the positives we share, and mark our relationship as unhealthy?

    Like I said, I’m fortunate enough to have a very understanding girlfriend. I know she’s made choices against her own nature to accommodate me and preserve our relationship, but she explained it to me like this: “Sex is a fleeting thing in life. I know in a decade or so it won’t matter to me as much as it does now, but our relationship will.” Truly, I love this woman with all my heart.

    • “Is not my love, my devotion, my support, our harmony, and our mutual dreams for the future not just as important to our relationship? Why does an absence of sex cancel out all of the rest of the positives we share, and mark our relationship as unhealthy?”

      I feel that way a lot as well. It’s so frustrating to try to defend your relationship to others. In the beginning my girlfriend even had some friends straight out tell her she should dump me, that we would never work out. Well, joke’s on them, but it was still a very cruel thing to do to her. Thankfully she’s not friends with most of those people anymore.

      “Sex is a fleeting thing in life. I know in a decade or so it won’t matter to me as much as it does now, but our relationship will.”

      That’s a beautiful statement. It sounds like we’re both blessed to have such wonderful women in our lives. It really does strengthen me to hear about other mixed-orientation relationships that are healthy and happy. So many people on both sides seem to think they can’t work, but I know they can if you’re devoted to each other. It can’t ALL be about sex.

  5. Nothing on the spectrum of sexuality is sufficiently understood, in my opinion. Probably because society at large hasn’t cared enough about real experiences yet. I’m sorry that it’s hard… I can’t relate to everything, but I can relate to not being able to figure out labels and to being mystifying to myself. (I’d like to think everyone can relate to that, but I’m beginning to discover that I’m weirder than I imagined. lol.) It’s fundamentally okay to struggle with ideas!

  6. Pingback: The Words I Can’t Say | littlewonder2

  7. This post is from a long time ago but I only just started following your blog so…
    I have a very different experience from you because I’m also aromantic. However, I had never heard of asexuality until less than two years ago, and I’m 32 years old, so for most of my life I just didn’t know why I was so different from everyone else. Still, I do get that left out feeling whenever I hear those “everyone’s looking for love” or “love and sex are part of the human experience” cliches. I often get ads on Facebook or Tumblr for dating aps and I’m like, you’re barking up the wrong tree! I hope you have/will come to better terms with your asexuality and that you can find the kind of relationship you want and deserve.

  8. Well, Only Fragments, I think there’s nothing I could write about regarding being ace on my Poly All Sorts blog that you haven’t already thought about for yours. I’ll be going to the Asexuality Conference in London next month. When I’ve allowed my thoughts about what I hear to trickle through my head, I’ll post a thread.Good wishes…

    • Oh no, I’m sure you’ll have much more insight than I do! My wife and I are still “theoretically” poly, since she hasn’t found someone else yet. I’d love to hear about that conference, though!

      • I read your post about the way you felt back in 2014 when Asexual Awareness Week was on the horizon. I really do hope you feel more positive now. It doesn’t stress me out as a person at all except for one very important thing: I keep my aceness to myself irl. A variety of reasons.
        I think that , if you had been a fly on the wall at the Conference last Sunday, the thing that would have stood out is how perfectly normal everyone was. I mean that in the nicest way possible! I don’t know what sexual people expect when they meet asexual ones, but I imagine they have some strange ideas. I want to blog about the Conference, but only if I can do it justice. I think that other people can probably spread the word on-line better than I can. I was motivated to write an awareness-raising article to a quarterly national magazine though. Hopefully, it’ll be published. If I had to take one thought away with me from the Conference, it would be that the word is really spreading amongst younger folk – not justbecause of social media use. There’s a load of outreach / awareness- raising going on in the workplace and on campuses. In the UK any way. Good to hear. Jude.

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