“When I was in middle school, I came out as bisexual. I didn’t really know a lot about sexuality or really get how diverse the LGBTQ community truly is. I just figured because I wouldn’t mind what sex my partner was, I was bisexual. I didn’t tell anyone except my friends. My parents don’t support LGBTQ, and I wasn’t close to my siblings when I was younger. All of my friends were wonderful and supported me. A few years after that, several of them would come out to me privately. Maybe I acted as a catalyst for them. I like to think so.
When I was in high school, something hit me: why was everyone obsessed with sex? It had never really occurred to me sex was a huge part of school and everyone around me. One of my friends was very sexually active and would retell her experiences in detail, and I just wouldn’t understand. How could someone want to do all of that with another person, much less find it attractive? Anytime I saw couples making out behind stairways and in hallways, I just wouldn’t understand. How would anyone want to do that? I mean, I had never felt romantic or sexual feelings for anyone around me. When I really thought about it, I honestly thought it was disgusting. I was a mature kid, so I wasn’t just being immature or not understanding how sex worked; I just didn’t feel anything like that about anyone.
I talked to one of my friends, who first told me about asexuality and aromanticism. Essentially, it’s the lack of sexual or romantic attraction for others. It was incredible to hear about it because I had a name for how I felt (or didn’t feel). From then on, I’d just say I was ‘gay’ as a general term. It’s much easier to call yourself that than explain everything, especially when it’s something many people wouldn’t understand. This was such a good moment for me. I wasn’t broken. I wasn’t a freak because I didn’t want to have sex or didn’t feel things for others like that.
I started going to therapy in my later years of high school and this whole thing came up several times. Most sessions, my therapist would ask if I was ‘this way’ because of my parents, who didn’t have a good relationship when I was growing up. I felt so uncomfortable every time she’d ask this because I felt she was invalidating who I was. Instead of me just not being attracted to others, it was because of trauma. She never said I was broken or ‘wrong’ explicitly, but I feel she strongly hinted at it. Most sessions, I just wanted to interrupt her and stop her from canceling my identity, but I never did. I didn’t want to ruin the relationship we’d built, and I don’t like confronting others or conflict.
Once, when I was at work, my lack of attraction came up in a conversation between me and a coworker, who I consider a friend. My manager interrupted, looking very concerned. ‘Wait, what? Are you sure there’s nothing wrong with you?’ My stomach dropped. Another person thought I was broken. Another person in authority, someone I respected and liked, thought there was something wrong with me. I tried to explain it to her, but she wouldn’t listen. ‘You should get that checked out or something,’ she said before going in the back. ‘Get that checked out?’ Was she serious? I had been like this my entire life! That’s like telling someone with black hair to see someone about that or someone who had been in a wheelchair their entire life to go to the doctor and see what they say. It bothered me then, and it still bothers me now.
My roommate, who is a lesbian, says my experience is different from other people who’ve been discriminated in the LGBTQ community. ‘No offense, but you don’t really get it,’ she said when we were having a conversation about sexuality. Seriously? I don’t understand what it’s like to be treated differently because of my sexuality? I wanted to laugh when she said that because she truly had no idea. When you’re asexual, people treat it like a diagnosis, a disease. I’m not trying to invalidate the struggles anyone else in the LGBTQ community goes through, but I perfectly understand what it’s like to be discriminated against, to be treated like a freak, all because I don’t want to have sex or be in a relationship.
Since I was little, I’ve said I never want to get married. When I told people that, they’d laughed and said, ‘Yeah, sure. Let’s see how you feel when you’re older.’ I tell people now and they say, ‘You just haven’t found the right person yet.’ Bullsh*t. People think a person, especially a woman, needs to have a partner to be happy. A person living by themselves could never be truly happy, never feel fulfilled in life. The culture surrounding us is so focused on sex and romance and marriage and having kids, any outliers are just lying to themselves. It’s ridiculous, to be honest. You don’t need to have sex to be happy. You don’t need to want to have sex to be happy. You don’t need a relationship to be content.
I don’t fall in love with people. I’m not sexually attracted to people. The way I see it, I’d rather watch a movie or eat some cake than have sex. I’m not looking for a relationship; I’d rather live alone or with friends than with a partner. I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I don’t need or want people erasing who I am because they think it’s wrong. I don’t want to explain myself every time this comes up or when people I haven’t seen in a while ask if I’ve got a boyfriend yet. I’m tired of it, honestly. I’m not broken. I’m not diseased. I’m not a freak.
I’m me, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ava F. of New York. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here.Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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