It’s June–and you know what that means!? Pride Month!!
I already made an introduction post, but to commemorate the beginning of Pride Month, I am going to tell you a little story about how it took me 25 years to understand my sexuality.
Let’s start with elementary school. I think I was about nine years old the first time my mom had a “sex” talk with me. Of course, I already knew what sex was by then (thanks to my slightly older cousin who found out through a dirty magazine and shared the details with me) and mostly how it worked, but not EVERYTHING about it. Just the general idea. He also graciously taught me about “gays and lesbians.”
Anyway–my mother sat me down sometime in the summer, I was still in a damp bathing suit from playing in the sprinklers, and said to me:
Katie, I just want you to understand that your father and I won’t love you any less if you like girls the same as boy. You can feel comfortable and tell us.
Thanks, mom! No, but really–thank you.
I don’t really know what prompted her to tell me that. I think she must have seen me and my friends playing ‘prince and princess’ or something. (I always played the prince, because Aladdin was my favorite. Shout out to Aladdin!)
It wasn’t until like four years later that an actual curiosity or interest in boys, girls, and romance even started to occur to me. However, not even a year later, when I finally entered the dreaded puberty, I distinctly remember my mother telling me that it meant my body was ready to make a baby if I had sex with a boy. I also distinctly remember jerking away from her loving embrace and saying something along the lines of:
Gross. That will never happen.
Typical kid stuff maybe, but I never once wavered from that point of view.
As I grew older, and everyone around me started humming about love and sex, I started telling my friends things like:
I don’t have time for that crap. I want to be a successful business woman. I want to be a famous writer.
Maybe someday I’ll marry someone. But he would have to be gay. And live in his own house, or at least his own room. He could have a secret boyfriend and just never touch me but people would totally think we were in love.
Eventually, I grew out of that idea. It had logistical problems, of course! Anyway, by high school, I finally conceded to try dating. I realized pretty quickly that I found guys attractive, but I also found girls attractive. For a while, I considered myself bi. Then I started talking to someone online who lived about an hour from me. My dad would bring me occasionally to meet up with her in person. Eventually, we started dating.
It wasn’t long after we started dating that my girlfriend-at-the-time came out as trans. I didn’t bat an eyelash at it. I accepted it, and my girlfriend briefly became my boyfriend–but then we broke up–though with no hard feelings and we still talk to this day! He’s still a super hottie, living on the other side of the country, and happily married!
This was when I started to consider myself pansexual. I realized that it wasn’t men or women I was attracted to, it was people. I didn’t care if they were male or female–in fact, my aesthetic seemed to mostly be androgynous and genderfluid people.
Still, I dated a couple more boys and found that once they started wanting to kiss and cuddle, I quickly felt threatened and pushed them away, ending things. I did not want physical contact–I didn’t even like being mushy or romantic. I tried to pretend, but sex was always something that I had zero interest in trying.
A friend–now ex-friend–told me once:
No guy is going to want to marry a virgin. You have to have sex with someone so you can practice.
Of course, he was talking about himself. Gross, no thank you.
That was when I met Marcus. Wonderful, intelligent, and understanding Marcus. I met him during a live stream of his and his partner, Felix’s webcomic. I started out as a fangirl of their webcomic Spectre, (NSFW) but somehow ended up becoming fast friends with both of them. (In fact, Felix is the one doing the artwork for my novel in progress, The Daffodil Witch!)
Marcus was the first one to mention the term asexual to me. I was twenty-five, and my entire world changed in that moment. He sent me links and recommended books, articles, and even a documentary. Since pre-pubescence, I had been trying desperately to understand my sexuality, my cool feelings toward sex and dating in general. Now, suddenly, I had found a word that described me. That described me exactly.
I will never forget the relief that came with that label, to be able to put a label on it and understand it.
Friends made fun of it, of course. Asexuals are still often mocked, dismissed and swept under the carpet. We are accused of being broken, or sex-traumatized. We are made to feel inadequate and unwelcome. Not by everyone, but by many. I faced mocking–jokes about how plants and bacteria are asexual, not people. When people realized I wasn’t laughing at those jokes, they stopped making them.
I decided to take pride in my identity. I put a banner up on facebook, I wore pins, I explained it to people openly and with confidence. It helped a lot, and my friends fell in line and accepted it, accepted me. Many of them never questioned it–some came to me in earnest looking for advice because they had never heard the term themselves, and found themselves identifying with it.
I figured out quickly after that that not only am I asexual. I have no desire to be with someone, physically or otherwise. I love my single status–I am comfortable with it and enjoy it. I hate dating. I hate the pressure of dating, even when sex wasn’t a factor. (I had one boyfriend who I dated for a year and he understood and accepted my aversion to sex, but in the end, it didn’t work out due to complicated circumstances.)
My parents have accepted it, too. My parents have always been totally open and accepting of my identity, even as it changed. I mentioned my mom’s “It’s okay to like girls” talk, but I haven’t mentioned my father’s support. To give you a small taste of it, here is a screenshot from my author page of a story I shared on May 17th:
Once, when my father was helping me move into a new apartment, I remember him looking at my twin-sized bed and saying:
Kate, you need to get a queen or something. What if you have a guy over?
I laughed and informed him that he would be sleeping on the couch like any other overnight guest. Still, he ended up being right–I needed a queen. Not for a lover, but for my cats. Do you have ANY idea how much space cats take up in a bed?? If you’re a cat owner, you definitely know!
Anyways, my life has been so much better ever since I came to understand my identity. I always knew I was somewhere in the Queer spectrum, but never knew quite where. Now, I know. Of course, I still get comments almost EVERY day from people–almost always men. They ask me out or make some kind of comment and I will explain that I’m not interested, that I’m ace. It never fails, I always get some form of:
I bet if you let me f*ck you, you’d start to like it.
YUP. That happens. A few times a week. It will probably always happen, and every time I make sure to react with disgust to make sure they understand that I’m not amused. Still, it doesn’t matter how many times I get gross comments like this–I am totally and utterly content with my status as asexual, and to anyone else out there who is struggling with their own identity, if you are reading this, I hope it somehow helps you! Never let anyone else make you feel inadequate or broken.
If you are feeling depressed, scared, alone, rejected, inadequate, etc–GET HELP. Ask a friend, ask a family member, ask online, seek professional help. Anywhere you can get it, you are not alone!
Helpful Links and Phone Numbers: