I've told various parts of my personal "story" before, on the podcast and in the chatroom, but I've never put it all in one place before now.
I first discovered the concept of asexuality back in March 2014. I was searching the internet for an explanation as to why sex didn't interest me. When googling the difference between celibacy and asexuality, I found AVEN. Reading other people's stories on there, everything sort of clicked into place. I wasn't the only one who didn't want sex with anyone, it felt great.
A few weeks later I told a few close friends. The reactions varied, from the ones who found it strange, but totally accepted everything and wanted to know more to the ones who were completely dismissive and gave me all of the clichés about how I just hadn't met the right person yet, and shouldn't knock it until I tried it.
Over the next few months I got closer to people online, something I'd never done before, and made a lot of great friends. In the summer of 2015 I was convinced by the wonderful Helen to attend my second Ace Meetup, in Bristol. While there, I met Robin, Thom and Steve. We became friends and started spending time together, at Ace Meetups and as friends.
I'm quite close with both of my parents, my mum lives near me here and my dad was living in Bristol until recently. When they'd ask me what I'd been doing lately, I didn't lie to them, but I didn't tell them the whole truth either. I'd say I'd been with friends in Bristol, or was going to London with friends. What I didn't say is that it wasn't the people they assumed it was.
After a while, I decided that enough was enough. My parents and I never talked about sex, or anything related to it, so I hadn't mentioned it previously. I felt like I was lying to them by not telling them the truth. This was shortly after Robin's article was published in the Telegraph. I showed this article to both of my parents, my mum in person and my dad via text, and explained that for the most part, I felt the same way Robin did. The reactions were different, but both were supportive in their own way, and they both accepted what I was saying, even if they didn't fully understand. My mum was mainly hurt that I hadn't told her sooner.
In June, I travelled to America and met with a few people that I'd met online through AVEN. We'd been friends for around two years at this point, but it was still really weird (in a good way) meeting these people face-to-face. I spent just under 24 hours in New York City before flying down to Florida for a week. In New York I met LilKimchii and we spent my time in the city sightseeing before I flew down to Florida to meet Serran and two other AVEN friends who you wouldn't recognise. The whole trip was fantastic and I had an amazing time.
Shortly after I got back, I was in London with the entire Pieces Of Ace team. They asked about the trip, and I told them all about it in more detail than I have here. Later that day, Helen and I were chatting and she asked how I'd got on with Kim. She had noticed that I talked about Kim differently to how I did the others that I'd met, something that I hadn't been doing consciously. It was only when somebody else pointed it out that I realised I liked her a lot, more than just as a friend.
I eventually plucked up the courage to tell Kim how I felt, and she revealed that she felt the same. After some late night discussions we decided that we'd give the relationship a chance. The Atlantic Ocean was a huge inconvenience, but since neither of us wanted sex it didn't make it totally impossible.
We arranged to go on holiday together, and booked a week in Iceland in November. In discussing and planning the trip, as well as more general conversations, we concluded that we were both fine with not having sex, but would both be willing to if the other wanted to. For me, this had never happened before. I'd had a previous relationship, but had never had sex, and wouldn't have wanted to, but for the first time I'd met someone with whom I'd be willing to give it a go.
November arrived, and we had a fantastic time. I'll spare the details, but we both had serious reason to question the label "asexual" following the trip. I'm not saying that anybody who enjoys sex can't be asexual, but I really started to question whether it was the right label for me. I'd always been of the opinion that I'd try it if my partner wanted to, whereas now it was something I actually wanted. Don't get me wrong, if Kim hadn't enjoyed it, it wouldn't bother me never having sex again, but in my personal opinion desiring sex for the sake of ones own self is not asexual.
Remembering my mum's reaction to me coming out, I decided against trying to keep anything from her. The conversation kind of came up, and with plenty of words, but without any direct explicit statement, I let her know that I didn't feel asexual was the best label for me. She didn't really say much, but seemed to take it well. I also told a few close friends, though not all of those to whom I'd originally come out as asexual to. Reactions were positive, yet I still felt bad.
All of the people who said it was just a phase, that I hadn't met the right person yet, that I shouldn't knock it until I tried it, had they been right? It felt, and to some extent still feels, like they had. I haven't told my dad yet, or the rest of my friends, because of this. I feel like I lied to them, even though I definitely meant what I said at the time.
So I guess now I'm in a situation where I'm debating whether or not to "come back in", for want of a nicer term. This post is kind of a long and rambling way of doing that to all of you, maybe as a sort trial run, I don't know. I had this conversation a few weeks back with Robin, who summed it up very nicely with "sexuality is fluid". Things change, people change, and the way we describe ourselves changes. I have a lower sex drive than most people I know, and I'd be totally fine not having sex, and there's probably labels out there for that, but for now, I'm just me. Hi.
Wow thanks for sharing your story Splat :) I can relate to quite a lot of your story! I was unsure of my label after I entered a sexual relationship too but I still think asexual is the best fit for me. I can enjoy the things me and my partner do but honestly I'd rather not. Also I still don't find people sexually attractive and I'm not sexually attracted to my partner...I was definitely drawn to him when I met him but not sexually.
Yes, thanks for sharing. I think it's very brave of you!
Splatacus wrote:I'm just me.
I'm just me.
This, I think, is the most important thing. Some people say that labels pigeonhole you, but labels are just the words we use to describe how we feel. Figuring ourselves out, understanding ourselves better, can take time and sometimes that means the words we use to describe ourselves change. We're still the same people, just with a better understanding of ourselves, and that can only be a good thing.