I have been having a lot of weird feelings about being asexual lately. Feelings of doubt, confusion, isolation.
Part of this has to do with the fact that a few months ago, I ended my relationship with my partner – at least, I ended the aspect of us being partners. Never having been in a relationship or ended a relationship with someone before, I didn’t really know what I was meant to be feeling or doing – and there are very few resources out there on what ending a relationship looks like when it doesn’t fit into the standard romantic-sexual mould, and how to deal with the feelings that I was having. There were certainly times when I felt my ace-ness very acutely. It has not been the smoothest few months, but things are starting to look up again now, which I’m grateful for. If nothing else, my honours thesis did an excellent job at keeping me distracted.
But there have also been other feelings over the past weeks, which I haven’t quite been able to shake. They are surprising, in a way, because I’ve never really gone through longer periods of doubt or uncertainty about my ace identity. And I’ve also been doing quite a lot of reading about sexuality recently – really excellent new(ish) books like Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are and Rachel Hills’ The Sex Myth: the gap between our fantasies and reality – which demonstrates just how diverse and varied human sexuality is. And, on that note, just how far from reality the pre-packaged, media stereotypes of sexuality are. Nonetheless, I’ve still been experiencing all these strange feelings of insecurity about my own sexuality.
It actually wasn’t until I was standing over the sink doing the washing up about an hour ago that I actually realised where those feelings were coming from. Like I said above, I’ve been doing all this reading about how people experience sexuality, and the huge diversity of people’s responses and preferences. Except there’s still no space for me. Even in that huge, expanded, diverse world of sexuality, there is still no room for someone like me, who has no experiences of partnered sexuality, and no drive/interest/mechanisms to gain said experiences.
It’s almost as if the instant you have some sort of sexual attraction or desire or experience – however small, fleeting, or circumstantial – you will gain a place in this growing spectrum of experiences of sexuality. But asexuality? The lack of sexual attraction and/or desire? Still feels exactly as foreign as it was before, when sexuality operated on a few, stereotyped models. I feel like the gap between me, with my complete lack of sexual experiences, and the rest of humanity is growing ever larger. There’s so much room for everyone else now – and I genuinely do think that’s a wonderful and positive thing – but at the same time, I feel like I’m even more apart, even more different. It makes me wonder – if there are so many different ways of experiencing sexual desire, why am I still sitting over here in the corner, not being able to connect to any of it?
I’m sure these feelings won’t last forever – at least I’ve figured out where they’re coming from now. But right now, they do still feel very real. It helps to know that there’s a community I can turn to when I need to. At least there’s a few of us who can be apart together.