Question of the Week: August 21st, 2012

This is the Question of the Week, a way to stimulate conversation.  It occurs every other Tuesday.

If you know what your sexual orientation is, how long have you known?

About Aydan

Aydan is an aromantic asexual biology grad student in the US. She blogs at Confessions of an Ist about asexuality, Christianity, environmentalism, and feminism.
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19 Responses to Question of the Week: August 21st, 2012

  1. Norah says:

    First time commenting here.
    It depends on exactly what you mean. I didn’t discover the term asexuality, and all the nuances about it etc. until a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean that I had no idea about myself and my preferences and what my body does and doesn’t do and react to. So I’ve kind of known what I was for a very long time, even if I did expect to develop some kind of sexuality eventually because it never occurred to me that it might just not happen. But I didn’t consider asexuality my sexual orientation until fairly recently. I don’t remember dates or the passage of time very accurately.

  2. ace-muslim says:

    My sexual orientation is asexual. I’ve had a name for it and conceived of it as a sexual orientation since 2004. However, I knew for much longer that I didn’t experience sexual attraction, it’s just that I thought it was something unique about me and I didn’t know that asexuality existed as a concept, that it was a sexual orientation, and that other people shared it. I’ve known since at least 1991 and probably even longer (I don’t remember a specific “moment of realization” it’s just something I came to know over time) that I am what I now identify as asexual.

  3. I’m asexual, found out bout 4 years ago..or at least found the name for it about 4 years ago via browsing on the internet and finding AVEN. I probably had felt that way for a little bit but just thought maybe I would develop later or something.

  4. Laura says:

    I am asexual and I only realized it this year. I always thought I was straight since I am not sexually attracted to the same sex, without even taking into account that I’m not attracted to the opposite sex either, or any gender. I just always felt kind of… wrong. Like I didn’t care enough about the people I love because I didn’t want to have sex with them. I pretended so hard and for so long that I kind-of ended up believing that I was a sexual person, when I am really not. I feel free now. I don’t have to pretend any longer to fit in with the “heterosexual crowd” I had counted myself to. First I somehow – no idea how – stumbled over AVENwiki’s definition of demisexuality and i had a “this is me!” moment but then… it struck me that I was just pretending to be attracted to the person I love, and that I really wasn’t interested at all, in any one. I browsed the wiki for more but grey-asexuality didn’t really fit either. First I was a little unwilling but then I accepted it and started identifying as asexual.

    • I always thought I was straight since I am not sexually attracted to the same sex, without even taking into account that I’m not attracted to the opposite sex either, or any gender.

      This was me too for a while. Straight’s such an assumption that in the lack of immediate evidence for gay, I just went with the idea that I had to be straight. I’m glad that you’ve found a good feeling from finding out more about yourself.

  5. Sable says:

    I’ve known I was asexual for about a year and a half, which is when I really encountered the concept.

    Before that, I believed I would probably feel whatever everyone meant by lust one day. (My age is in the mid-twenties, so I was older than most people who are not interested in sex, but young enough that this seemed reasonable.) When asked for a sexual identity, I identified as a bisexual, as I felt the same degree of sexual desire for everyone, rather than the variance of desire implied by heterosexual and homosexual.

  6. Seth says:

    I’ve known I’m asexual since I discovered the Wikipedia article on the subject about half a year ago. Before that, I assumed I was heterosexual for a couple reasons, but if pressed, I think I would have said that I didn’t want to be heterosexual. I’ve never tried to be. I’ve never even tried dating anyone. I do identify as demiromantic, but I’ve never considered romantic relationships to be inherently desirable and worth actively seeking. I don’t quite understand that mindset.

  7. linquenolloke says:

    I noticed that I didn’t share my peers’ suddenly-developed interest in the “opposite” gender probably around 11 or 12, but I kind of assumed I would experience a sexual awakening eventually (and dreaded it). When it hadn’t happened by age 15 or 16, I figured (much to my relief) that it probably wasn’t going to happen, and decided (after briefly wondering whether I might be gay) that I must just have a low sex drive. A very, very low sex drive. At age 17 I discovered the term “asexual” (I believe thanks to Wikipedia) and knew immediately that’s what I was. I’m 23 now, so that’s 6 years ago.

    • Seth says:

      I’m always a bit amazed when I hear about aces noticing that something was different about them as early as middle school. I didn’t develop any attraction to the opposite sex, either, but if I saw it in others, I was too antisocial to pay any attention. And then in high school, I actually did develop feelings for someone – feelings which I definitely did not want and resented having – and not only did that confirm my false assumption that I was heterosexual, I was too absorbed in trying to deal with it on my own terms to stop and consider the difference between what I was experiencing and what ‘normal’ people experience. I guess I just never cared enough about trying to fit in for me finding out about asexuality that way to have ever been a possibility.

  8. Eponine says:

    I only found out I’m asexual earlier this year (after discovering AVEN), at the age of 28. For the longest time I assumed I was heterosexual, because 1) I grew up in a relatively conservative culture where not so many people talked about sex openly; 2) I didn’t get into a relationship until 26; 3) I had crushes on guys, so I thought that meant I was straight; 4) I was never repulsed by sex. I never desired sex either, but I assumed I’d want sex once I was in love with someone. Then, when I was actually in a relationship (with a sexual), I thought I just had a low sex drive. It’s good to finally figure out my sexual orientation, although later than many people. 🙂

  9. pianycist says:

    I’m 23 and I have identified as asexual for ten years.

  10. Shiyiya says:

    Less than a year, I believe. It’s pretty recently that I encountered the word for demisexuality. I’d been saying my crushes worked weird for years and years.

  11. nextstepcake says:

    I think for me it wasn’t so much when I knew I was asexual, as when I knew that I wasn’t anything else. I’ve known for a long time that I wasn’t interested – it’s just that earlier on, I just figured that it was an age thing. And that eventually, I would start to be interested. But then I just…never was. I think it was about the middle of high school that I started questioning whether I was just a late bloomer, or if something else was going on – that was when I first discovered asexuality. Still, though I questioned for a long time, it wasn’t at the end of high school (when I was 18) that I finally determined that the “late blooming” I had been expecting wasn’t coming, got tired of waiting, and figured that I really was just asexual. In retrospect, I suppose I always did know what I was, I just didn’t know that it was an actual *thing* and not just a phase I was supposed to grow out of

  12. Almulhida says:

    I have no clue. I thought of myself as aromantic and asexual when I was growing up, though I didn’t have the words for them, I just knew I wasn’t interested since about middle school. But then I fell in love with someone, and realized I’m not aromantic like I used to think. Then I thought I was just a late bloomer and lesbian (it was a gay relationship), but after breaking up I still feel asexual.

    At 26 I feel a little silly for still not knowing. Demisexual fits well enough I guess, but I feel the only honest answer is to say I don’t understand my sexuality in any depth.

  13. I’m asexual and knew it since I was 13, so… 2002, I think. Wow, that makes ten years of knowing I’m asexual. It started out as a joke that someone made about me because I wasn’t expressing a normative amount of interest in “boy talk,” and it just felt right enough that I kept going with it. I also read a book called Spider’s Voice where the main character concluded he felt no sexual interest (though I wouldn’t really qualify this as an asexual character) and I thought, “Yep, that’s me.”

    It was a couple of years, I think, before I knew that other people also used the word asexual. I searched on Fictionpress for the term on a whim and found an essay someone had written, and then found AVEN, which I didn’t take to but browsed a bit. It was later through Livejournal and then WordPress blogs that I really discovered an ace community I could fit in.

    • pianycist says:

      You and I have known we were asexual for roughly the same amount of time and are roughly the same age! I think for us to have realized our lack of sexual attraction so early in life must have been because we were particularly introspective as children/adolescents. In my case, I didn’t have friends that I spent time with outside of school, so I had a lot of free time to read, play video games, and write (I’ve been writing poems since I was 9 and consistent paper-journal entries since I was 14).

  14. Queenie says:

    I’m asexual, and I figured out that I wasn’t straight when I was…15? But it took me another two years to find a word for it (I was identifying as bisexual for a while) and two more after that to start being semi-open about it. But even before I realized I wasn’t straight, I knew that puberty wasn’t doing the same things to me as my friends (I remember complaining to my mum about how unrealistic teen books were; I never thought/acted like that!) starting when I was 11 or so. So I knew I was different for a very long time, even if it took me forever to find a word for it.

  15. Lola says:

    I’m sixteen and I identify as demisexual.
    I’ve always known I was different from everyone else, but I hadn’t actually found the word for it until a week and a half ago.
    So every time I try to describe myself I end up feeling embarrassed.
    why don’t school educate on this shit ajgakhdbafgkdgkjfn

    • When I was in high school, I was shocked (in a good way) that my sociology textbook (published in 2000–before AVEN existed) listed asexuality in a list of sexual orientations, and it was also discussed in my high school’s sociology class by the definition of not experiencing sexual attraction. Progress is slow, but it’s coming.

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