I Am Not Strange… I’m Ace!

My advice

Don't be afraid. You're not alone and you're not weird! If you're questioning being Asexual reach out to the online community of aces for support - the ace community physically surrounding you may seem very small, but we all co-exist together. Asexuality is a spectrum and what someone else may experience isn't going to be the exact same as what you do. You can have a fulfilling life being ace and there are going to be so many people that don't get it - but there will also be so many that do.

My recommendations

AVEN- Asexual Visibility and Education Network Facebook Sounds Fake But Okay Podcast Ace 101 Transcending Boundaries guide

I believe that we live in a hyper-sexualised world. As a young girl in primary school I would be teasingly asked by my relatives if the boys I was friends with were my ‘boyfriends’. When my baby teeth started to fall out, I’d be asked if a boy had kissed them out. In the later stages of primary school, I was teased by my friends because one of the boys ‘liked’ me. I was labelled weird because I didn’t react in a way that was expected.

When I reached high school, the boys I was friends with suddenly didn’t want to be friends anymore. As high school continued, the multimedia we were being exposed to began to include romance and sexualisation of people. I was peer pressured into shaving my legs at 15 because ‘boys didn’t find hairy legs sexy.’ Again, I was labelled as weird because I didn’t notice the same things as my friends. They wanted to talk about boys and kissing and sex. I just didn’t care.

I didn’t think my reaction was strange. I just assumed that this pre-written script that seemed to be put in place for everyone would be what eventually happened for me. It would just be later. Everyone I spoke to would say, ‘you’re a late bloomer,’ ‘you just haven’t found the right boy yet,’ or ‘wait until you’re older.’ I believed them.

A friend came out to me as bisexual at 16. This was it. It wasn’t boys I was into, it could be girls! I thought about it and concluded that I felt the same way about girls as I did about boys. Indifferent. In the later years of high school at ages 17 and 18, I began to examine what seemed to be an absence of attraction more fully. Up until that point I had had a few crushes, but they centered more around the fact that I wanted to hang out with them rather than engage with them in a physical sense. I wanted to fit in at university – everyone said that university was full of romance and sex and I had to be prepared.

Romance didn’t seem so bad. The hand holding, having someone to talk to, the dates. In fact, it actually sounded quite nice when I thought about it. I got the opportunity to test drive this new way of thinking. A friend asked me out. We had two dates, texted and called each other. Then broke up. There was nothing there, physically at least. I wasn’t upset by it, but it had been nice having a person. I liked the idea of a relationship, but not so much the physicality of one.

Everyone said that Freshers week was full of partying and making out. Going in with an open mind and an open-heart, thinking that I would reinvent myself and not shy away at the fact that the touching of other people didn’t interest me. In the whole of Freshers’ week; I made loads of friends, went out loads, drank loads and made out with one person. It was nice, but nothing special.

Then I stumbled across the term Asexual. I was procrastinating on the internet and fell down a rabbit hole. It was a big LGBT+ Flag master post (because at this stage I had kind of figured that I could have feelings about anyone on the gender spectrum). It clicked instantly, I spent hours reading blogs, stories and watching YouTube videos. I was Asexual or Ace. There was no doubt in my mind. It matched perfectly my experience and how I felt.

Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others or a low to absent desire for sexual activity. Asexuality is an intrinsic part of who a person is, like any other sexual orientation. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as other non-ace people and are capable of forming meaningful relationships.

It finally made sense. Now, having graduated from my undergrad and undertaking an MA, I fully understand who I am and what I want. It’s far from easy. There are days I wake up and hate the fact that I’m Ace. Other days I love the fact that I’m Ace, I love in a different way and that is just as valid. But I am always Proud with a capital P.