Trigger Warnings: probably none
I’m not sure how well my story fits here, because I am really, incredibly lucky in a lot of ways. I have never been sexually abused. I am white. I am cisgender. I am more or less middle class, with two university degrees and a non-crippling amount of personal debt. The issues I have with anxiety and depression do not interfere with my daily functions. I live in Canada. I have been in a stable, loving relationship with the same person (of the opposite gender) for 13 years. I can pass as “normal” very easily. I have a lot to be thankful for.
But here I am, at age 28, discovering that I might be asexual.
Asexuality (or greysexuality) had never really occurred to me as a possibility, mostly because it was never mentioned when I was growing up. But the more I read about it, the more I identify with the terms. I don’t think I have ever really experienced sexual attraction – I’ve certainly looked at a number of girls and boys and thought “Wow, that is a stunningly attractive individual”, but never “and I’d like to hop into bed with them”. I’d always identified myself as bisexual on surveys, since I am equally capable of finding people of any gender attractive, but that attraction never really extends past “I would like to look at you for a while”. My current partner is the only person I’ve ever had a relationship with, and I would have been happy to keep it at a friendship level if he hadn’t wanted to escalate things. I followed his lead almost completely as far as sexual relations go, although I did initiate our first experience with oral sex because I’d overheard someone commenting on a different relationship that not having done it was weird.
I do engage in regular sexual activity, which is another part of the reason I’d never considered asexuality as a label that fit me. It’s an important part of the relationship, making sure that my partner feels desired and loved. He is a wonderful person and I like to make him happy, and sex is one tool to achieve that end. I would be perfectly happy to go the rest of my life without doing anything sexual, but that would cause a lot of tension in my relationship, so I keep doing sexual things. It’s a compromise I’m willing to make. My partner would be horrified if he found out that sex with him was about on par with doing laundry – I don’t mind doing it, and sometimes I even enjoy it, but it falls into the “maintenance” category and not the “recreation” category.
Another way in which I’m lucky is that I don’t mind being “in the closet”. I love my partner, and although I’d prefer not to have sexual relations most of the time, I don’t mind doing it for mutual benefit – when he’s happy, it’s easier for me to be happy too. I’m quite certain that he would react badly to my revelation, so I don’t mind keeping it to myself… well, between myself and you, anonymous internet people. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in my experience.