Aceing At Life

Finding out you’re asexual after wondering about yourself for so many years feels almost liberating. There was nothing wrong with you after all. All those times people talked about things they felt that you could not even imagine feeling, all those times you felt as if you were being left out of something that everyone else was a part of. Now you know that nothing was ever wrong with you. What you feel, what you are, it has a name. You can now finally explain to people why you don’t feel what they want you to feel. You finally know why you never did.

The liberating feeling only lasts for a little while. It’s after it wears off that you start to wonder. You wonder about the crush that you had on that boy when you were thirteen years old. Did you actually have feelings for him or did you like him because you had to? What about all those celebrities you were attracted to? Did you just pretend to like them because everyone else did? You wonder if you can even have a crush anymore. All your friends who have had crushes tell you about things they’ve felt that you know you’ll never feel. Every time you think you might have a crush now, you push it to the back of your head. ‘It’s not really a crush’ you tell yourself because you don’t know what a crush should feel like anymore.

Now that you know, you’re looking for other people like yourself. You’ve read stuff on the internet but that’s not the same. Some people on the internet say that you cannot be part of the queer community because you don’t face the same discrimination as other people in the community do. Some people say that anyone who chooses to not be in a romantic relationship is asexual. You don’t know what to believe. You don’t know where you belong. You look up what it means to be straight. Maybe asexuals are not part of queer community after all. The definition says ‘Sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex’. You stare at the twenty browser tabs open on your phone. You don’t know which one of them is saying the right thing. None of them have given you what you really want to know.

It’s been a while since you’ve found out. You’ve come out to some of your friends. Some of them are curious, wanting to know exactly what it feels like. Some are disbelieving. ‘You just have to meet the right person’ they say. Some think that you’re missing out. All of them have questions, most of which you do not know the answer to. You’re asked if you’ll ever be in a relationship, what would being in a relationship be like for you? You’re asked whether you’re sure. Isn’t sex supposed to be the best thing ever? Are you sure you’re never going to do it? What if your partner wants to do it? How are you going to have kids? You don’t know. You don’t know the answers to any of these questions. You feel like you should know by now. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

You’re talking to one of your friends and the topic of sexuality comes up. ‘I’m ace’ you tell them and prepare to give them the long-winded explanation you’ve given everyone else. ‘You are?’ they ask ‘I am too.’ You stare at them in surprise. This has never happened before. You finally have someone to talk to.

You realize that the two of you have had several similar experiences but others that are not exactly the same.  You ask them the questions you’d been asking yourself for so long. They tell you that they’ve had crushes on people too, that being asexual doesn’t mean you cannot be attracted to people anymore. Just because you’ve felt something sexual a few times in your life doesn’t mean you cannot call yourself ace anymore. You can be in an intimate relationship with someone even if you never have sex with them. Everyone has different experiences. Everyone’s experiences are valid.

You know you still have a lot to learn about yourself. You still have a lot of questions that cannot be answered even in conversation. You hope that you will know someday, that you’ll understand yourself as completely as you want to. But for now, you are finally happy with who you are.

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