A year ago to this day, I wrote an article coming clean. It explained my journey with my mental health as well as the reveal I was bisexual. The positivity, encouragement, and love I received from this article was overwhelming and so incredibly inspiring. It is now, a full year later, I am back with another article and another bomb to drop. But somehow, this one is even more terrifying and complicated than any other I have shared before.
I am asexual.
Now, asexuality is a complicated, misconstrued sexual orientation, and it comes with more uncertainties than identifying as bisexuality did, at least in my experience. Even so, ace feels so right.
I have had friends ask me why asexual, and I guess the only way to explain it is that it just feels like me. It makes sense, really. All the years growing up and not developing crushes like normal, not dating in high school like everyone else, holding out until almost 21 for my first kiss ... these things are not unheard of, but when I break down my own attraction and the way I experience things, asexuality is the buzzword dancing in my head.
Essentially, being asexual means I do not experience sexual attraction, at least not to the same degree or in the same way "normal" people do. Sexuality and attraction are different for everybody, but for asexuals, that sexual attraction pretty much does not exist. I would break down my identity even further like this:
I am asexual and panromantic.
I experience romantic attraction to all sexes, genders, and orientations. I do not experience sexual attraction to them.
I know it can be confusing, but just think of romantic and sexual attraction as two separate entities entirely. When it comes to someone's personality, the way they act and think, the way they treat others and the world, the way we connect — that is where romantic attraction is. That's where love really is, to me at least. When you think of sexual attraction, we get more into the physicalities of it. This does not necessarily mean wanting or having sex itself, but even the "natural" instincts of wanting intimacy, kissing, etc.
Every ace is a little different, but for me, this separation of romantic and sexual attraction goes a little like this: I like being close to the people I have romantic feelings for (cuddling, holding hands, etc.), but anything more than that does not come naturally and has to be cognitively worked through and "experienced" inorganically. Physical touch is different than intimacy, and that line is where my brain and body draw a line that is incredibly difficult to breach. A relationship, for me, is about mental compatibility, seeing how our minds and hearts click, finding ultimate comfort and connection simply by knowing a partner is there.
Discovering this part of me, finally putting a name to the disconnect and bad feelings I had shoved down for years and years — it did not come easily. No, embracing my identity as ace came through heartbreak, through letting go, through a lot of fear and tears.
But it is me. And that is enough.
Learn more about asexuality here!