Relationships were always a thing that I never fully understood. It did not help that I was autistic, meaning my understanding of social norms was always going to be different, but I never fully understood what was seen as acceptable in some ways.
For myself, I have only ever had 3 crushes in my life, all of which were people who I was friends with before and felt a deep emotional connection. Initially, I did not think much of it until the start of this year, when I heard the term asexuality.
Asexuality refers to having a limited or no sexual attraction. This can fall under the asexual spectrum, such as those who want an emotional connection (Demisexuality) to those who rarely feel it, or only feel it in certain circumstances, (Grey-Asexuality), as well as those who only like sex when it is disconnected from themselves (Aegosexuality).
I thought to myself it was not strange I had never had a girlfriend, even when I was twenty-one. I told myself that I was “Taking my time and wanting to focus on school and college” or not having a type, let alone sexual experiences.
When hearing others talk about their partners, how many people they’ve kissed, or anything in romance, I felt like an alien to the conversation and that I could not relate in any way.
Pressure to conform
It created a sense that I almost felt that I needed a relationship, and only recently I have come to accept that you do not need to “do it” or even need to be in a relationship with a partner to have a fulfilling life. It does not mean you cannot make friends or even close friends. For me, having close meaningful friendships is all I need to feel supported socially.
For myself, I learned about the term asexual in January, but it took time to first research what it was, but then even accept myself as being asexual. It was more of a shock to me that I was not just demisexual, but also demiromantic. My experiences connected with what the term meant, in only feeling romance when you have an emotional connection with someone, which is part of the aromantic spectrum. While this is similar to asexuality in terms of romance, not all people who are asexual are aromantic, and this applies the opposite way too.
I was fortunate as well to have a close friend who supported me in embracing my ace identity. I started to wear my “ace” pin publicly in my daily life too. Knowing that very few people are aware of what ace is, while making me nervous, also made me want to share my experiences to spread awareness.
You are not broken
I want to highlight that there are ace people. They make up 1% of the population, and just because you don’t feel sexual attraction does not mean you are broken. You deserve to be supported and not invalidated for what you truly feel.
I do hope that asexual representation does improve to more than just cartoon characters in comedy shows. I hope asexuality can be seen in daily life and be accepted. The A in LGBTQIA does not just stand for “Ally,” and never should, as you would then be removing people who are asexual, aromantic, and agender.
To conclude, for those I know – Hi there. I’m Ross, I’m 22 and I am on the asexual spectrum.