Asexuality is still so widely misunderstood and often left out of LGBTQ+ conversations. There's little representation for asexual people on TV and in films, and when there is it's always the same narrative where a character is trying to 'fix' their asexuality. If you're unsure, being asexual simply means you don't experience sexual attraction. Asexual people - sometimes known as aces - may still experience romantic attraction and want to date, but some might now and may identify as aromantic, too. Asexuality is a sexual orientation and is not a choice, unlike celibacy which it often gets mixed up with.
As asexuality is still so underrepresented, these women are sharing how they knew they were asexual and how they navigated relationships after realising they didn't experience sexual attraction.
If you'd like to find out more about asexuality, asexual model and activist Yasmin appeared as a guest on the latest episode of the Cosmopolitan podcast, All The Way With.
1. "When I was growing up, I saw [my older siblings] go through their teenage years and start dating. I figured I would end up doing the same thing. Fast forward to high school and I had friends who talked about boys and wanting to date. I was waiting for that spark, that something inside of me that was going to tell me I wanted to get into dating, too. But it never happened. I thought maybe I was too studious in high school and university would be my time. It still didn't happen.
2. "I was in relationships with men and women in high school, and then when I got to college, I became completely uninterested in sex. It grossed me out, and I didn’t want to go on dates or fuck anyone at all. I didn’t even get horny." [via]
3. "I sort of realised when I was about 15 or 16, but believed I was probably just young and would eventually start to feel sexual attraction. About five years passed and I've tried having sex to see if anything would stir some sort of awakening but nah. It just wasn't my cup of tea. Once I realised this, I had to break up with my ex since he very much wanted a sexual relationship. I decided to put that I was ace in my Tinder and got super lucky. I found my current boyfriend who is also ace, and life is great. It's been two years and since neither of us is sex adverse, we try it from time to time but it's a huge weight off my shoulders to know that if I just never wanted to ever have sex again, it wouldn't even be an issue." [via]
4. "Sometime in university, I stumbled across The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). I read some of the articles there and thought, 'This sounds a lot like me.' I still kept myself open to the idea of dating and having sex, but ultimately, the interest just never sparked. Throughout my 20s I basically came to realise that it wasn't meant to be, and I was aromantic and asexual. I am now almost 32 and have never been in a relationship or had sex. The idea of either just exhausts me and I can think of hundreds of other things I'd rather do to occupy my time." [via]
"[I realised] after college. I thought everyone was lying about wanting to have sex with strangers. Then I thought I was a lesbian. It turned out I didn’t like sex with women either. Then I cried a lot. I was pretty certain that I was going to die alone and unloved because everyone prioritises romantic relationships over everything else. I do still periodically drunk cry about this. I don’t know if I’m aromantic, but I’m unwilling to date because I am unwilling to have sex and that is pretty non-negotiable for most of the population." [via]
5. "Very recently I found that I don't experience that kind of attraction. Like, other people would talk about it and I just couldn't connect with that at all. I still find people aesthetically and romantically pleasing. Just not sexually. It does make trying to date very awkward, because sometimes I feel like it's almost a requirement for a lot of people if they're going to date someone that they are able to get intimate in that way." [via]
6. "I always felt that there was something different about how I approached relationships. I thought I was a late bloomer, but I'm 27 now and things have not really changed. Celebrity crushes have always been more about who I could see myself hanging out with and not who I would want to bang, so to speak. I didn't know there was a word for how I felt until I ran into the documentary (A)sexual, which was on Netflix at the time. I identify as a grey-ace, so definitely ace with some grey area. There are many other variations of ace. I'm in a straight-passing relationship with a cis man and have been for over five years now. I've had sex and still do, albeit at a very low frequency compared to others. Years without sex does not bother me in the slightest. I do masturbate, but again, not very often. I do this more often than sex, though. My partner is straight and has a much higher libido than I. We have talked about opening up our relationship for the both of us - him to connect with someone straighter than I, and me to connect with a fellow ace." [via]
7. "I first suspected it when I was in high school and all of my friends were ready to be sexually active and I didn’t feel remotely close to ready. Once I got into a serious relationship and started having regular sex I dismissed the idea, I thought whatever I was going through as a teen went away and I was “normal” now. Within the past year I’ve finally come to terms with being on the ace spectrum. I just have a drastically lower sex drive than the average person and it takes a lot to get me interested in sexual activity. I also experience attraction in a different way than the average person does, when I’m attracted to someone it’s more like appreciating a work of art than wanting to like make out with them. As far as my relationship goes, it’s tough I can’t lie. He’s very respectful but it’s hard to be in love and have pretty drastically different sex drives." [via]
8. "I dated in the past and always felt disconnected. I basically felt like I was just going through the motions of what was expected of me. I had always thought I was bi, but the longer things went on I found that I was straight up apathetic to relationships. I think I was 29 when I realised I was asexual. Even now I go through the motions and try to be emotionally engaged but it's really hard. I just can't bring myself to actually care." [via]
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