If you Googled “am I asexual?” and landed on this article, here’s a little secret: You might be. You also might not be. Asexuality tends to go unnoticed within the LGBTQ+ community, so the fact that you know enough to Google is great.
Some people believe it’s not a valid orientation since it doesn’t involve sexual preferences, while others simply are only used to hearing the “L-G-B-T” part and forget the rest. But if you’re aren’t as familiar with the term you’d like to be, let’s start by addressing what it means to be asexual.
According to The Trevor Project , it’s “little interest in having sex even though most desire emotionally intimate relationships.” This can look like not wanting to masturbate, not kissing, not having sexual feelings, you get it.
But while not being interested in sex and/or feeling out of place in the dating world could be some signs you are asexual, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is different. You’re the only person who can really know how you feel when it comes to sexual attraction, so don’t give labels too much power when they are meant to help foster a sense of community—not make the process even more difficult.
To help show you how there’s no one way to be asexual, we’ve talked to 19 people who have shared their experiences realizing they were asexual and what that has meant for them.
Remember though, regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, your identity is valid. There’s no one-box-fits-all when it comes to being asexual—or any identity for that matter.What’s most important is that you feel comfortable, safe, and empowered in your own skin, and find the love and relationship you want and deserve.
1. “I knew something was different about me when I was about 14, and I kept hearing about the other kids in my class losing their virginity. I didn’t understand why they would they would want to have sex. I had always thought sex was something just for adults, like drinking or cussing. When I was 16, I got my first boyfriend, and I was so in love. But even then, I didn’t want to have sex with him. I just felt like ‘Well we’ve been dating for six months, so I guess this is the next step.’ Then when I was 18-22, those years were filled with one night stands because that’s what my friends were doing, and it’s what the guys I would meet wanted, so I just assumed this is what people did. I didn’t grow up with many friends and I desperately wanted to fit in with the few more I had made as I got older. I heard the term demisexual when I was 22 and it felt like I was seeing the world in brand new colors. Nobody around me knew what that term meant, and I was an oddball when I came out as demisexual, but it felt so liberating to finally have a sense of understanding of myself that I didn’t care. I’m 29 now, a sex positive panromantic asexual, and I’ve never been happier with myself, just being myself.” —Marianne, 29
2. “First inclination was when I did a quiz for the Kinsey scale off a link from Tumblr, and ‘failed’ it with an F, meaning it couldn’t determine where I would fall on the scale. The questions were set in a way that asked if the reason I would not have sex with a person was because of their gender, and all I could think was ‘It wouldn’t be because of that specifically…so no.’ It didn’t give an option to elaborate since it’s just a point and click quiz. That was eight years ago when I was 23. I started learning about asexuality after that and thinking it applied to me when I was 25. When movies, TV, or people around me would talk about sex and how they counted the days since the last time they had it, I couldn’t relate in the slightest and would think ‘Is it really that big of a deal?’ I figured I just had a low libido up until then, which is true, but not for what I thought it was.” —Candice, 31
3. “When I got to college and guys would invite me over late at night to drink and watch movies, I thought that’s genuinely what they wanted, and I didn’t understand why so many of my male “friends” ghosted me. I found the term “asexual” online when I was partway through college and I felt like it described me.” —Anna, 31
4. “I felt confused and lost, then I read an romance novel with an asexual protagonist and it all clicked.” —Rita, 36
5. “I remember I locked myself in my dorm for a week, just sleeping and crying and doing nothing but thinking about how wrong and fucked I felt inside. I had put myself in so many fucked up situations to make myself right, to make myself sexual, but I just hurt myself more and resented myself. I even forgot about it after. I refused to believe I was asexual to the point I forgot I ever thought I was. Until I got into my first long term relationship. He treated me better than any man I had ever met. That’s when, little by little, step by step, I was able to accept and assert myself and my asexuality. I told him a year into our relationship that I was asexual and we broke up. And that was okay with me because I had finally found myself and I was at peace. More at peace than I had been in a long time.”—Laura, 23
6. “I was literally reading a HP fanfic where he was asexual, and it all clicked. The guilty conscience when it was over, the inability to actually get into it, the feeling that I wanted cuddles, but others expected me to go all the way when I didn’t. Biggest one? I had no want to go have sex like all my friends. It made no difference to me except to make me uncomfortable when others talked about it at school.” —Rena, 33
7. “I found out while being in a relationship. I thought [sex] would just naturally happen, so I waited…and waited…and nothing. After a year, I Googled, “I love my boyfriend but don’t want to have sex” and here I am.” —Patrycja, 21
8. “The thing that solidified my identity for me honestly was being on Tumblr and discovering the word “asexual” to begin with. Also realizing there were actually other people like me and I wasn’t alone.” —Madi, 22
9. “I first realized I was different when I was with my high school boyfriend. I wasn’t really interested in sex or anything sexual, while everyone was moving toward those steps of a relationship. When I got to college, I thought I was bisexual because I felt the same way towards guys and girls until I realized I actually felt nothing at all. A quick Tumblr search later and I found asexuality that fit me perfectly. It’s been a difficult journey dating in the sexual world we live in because you never know if the other person is being truthful when they say it won’t bother them. I can’t count the number of people who have told me I should go to a doctor because I’m ‘broken.’ It’s good to be a part of the community to see that others are going through the same thing.” —AJ, 24
10. “I knew something wasn’t adding up when the girls who I got off the bus home from school would say the boy across the road was hot, and they had a full blown crush on him. I felt nothing. Like he looked good by social standards, but I couldn’t feel what having a crush was like.” —Crystal, 24
11. “I always just assumed I would want [sex] eventually when the time was right. But I reflected and realized that the time may never be right. In my last relationship, I was very much in love and we were together for almost two and a half years. Still, the time was never right. Then, I remembered that I heard the term asexual come up back when I was in high school. I decided to look it up. I researched for hours and hours and hours that day. The AVEN website was especially helpful. Everything just sort of clicked. Learning the difference between aesthetic, romantic, sensual, and sexual attraction made everything make sense.” —Kayla, 21
12. “Through self discovery and therapy, I learned that I was on the asexual spectrum. It was a huge slap in the face. I thought of how I had spent my entire sexual life trying to be what everyone told me I should be. I thought back to as far as I could of when the idea of who I ‘should be’ was told to me. The earliest I could remember was watching Bambie as a child. The animals getting lecture by the owl on being ‘twitterpated.’ The girl animals having big eyes, and walking ‘seductively.’ The realization of how society is teaching both boys and girls how they ‘should be’ behaving at such a young age disgusted me—and still does. I wouldn’t have had the sexual life I’ve had. I wouldn’t have had children. I wouldn’t have been sexually abused. I wouldn’t have been in traumatic relationships. Learning I was asexual, at 38 years old, was like starting my life all over again. But this time, I am listening to myself and making decisions for myself.”— Andrea, 38
13. “I always felt weird when growing up, especially as a teenager, because I was never into sex. I always pretended that I could relate when my friends talked about wanting to have sex, but I have literally never desired or even wanted it. I was in a lot of relationships where I thought sex was expected of me due to these conversations with teenage friends, so I would let guys do anything in fear of losing them. Then, a few years ago, I wrote in a forum asking what was wrong with me, and discovered the term ‘asexual.’ I instantly did a lot of research and realized this was who I was.” —Regan, 25
14. I’m 27 and always knew I was ace, but didn’t know there was a word for it until a handful of years ago. Partially because I thought it was the default, at least for girls? I know, super wrong, but I didn’t know any better. I didn’t understand horny subplots in shows, and thought it was like a collective in-joke for entertainment purposes in media until I met more and more people that related to that.” —Alexx, 27
15. “I realized I was ace right before I realized I’m also bisexual. My sexuality is fluid and evolving, as is my sex drive.” —Mary, 22
16. “I never wanted to have sex as a teenager, and the only reason I did at 19 was because I had been with my boyfriend for 8 months and him and the rest of society made it seem like it’s just something we all do with our significant other.” —Victoria, 25
17. “While reading a comic strip online, I really identified with one character. I dug deeper into the comic’s author and that’s where I learned the character was asexual. There were links for asexual resources. Suddenly I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t weird, just queer. It also came with a catchier name, ace! I knew representation in media was important but it never hit me as hard as right then, when it smacked me upside my head.” —Niki, 43
18. “After a pretty yikes relationship, I stopped dating and therefore stopped being physical with people sexually for two years and was like “Wow…I don’t miss it.” And actually I think I have felt better.” —Marissa, 22
Again, these are just experiences of some people on the asexual spectrum. While we hope this article gave you feelings of validation and comfort, if you’re still unsure about whether your asexual or are looking for other resources we’ve gathered some of our favorites: The Asexual Visibility And Education Network (AVEN), GLAAD, The Trevor Project and the Matthew’s Place.
For those looking for a sense of community or wanting to connect with others online, here are some social media pages made specifically for asexual people you can get involved in: Asexual Singles and Asexual ACES.
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