I recently had sex for the first time.
For those of you who know me, you may be saying WOAH WOAH WOAH. Annette, I thought that was something you didn’t want to ever do!
And I was saying that too!
I honestly believed I would never had sex. I mean, I had never experienced sexual attraction, and I was pretty firm in the thought that I would never have sex.
And I was ok with that! I was perfectly content to go through my life like that.
But then I met my girlfriend, Vicki.
I didn’t have sexual attraction at first, but I totally had a lot of romantic attraction towards her, which is really unusual for me. I don’t really get crushes very often or very strongly, but this one was very intense.
And after like a month of dating, I realized I was feeling sexual attraction!
As you might imagine, this was pretty strange for me. For the first time in my life, I finally realized what all these other people had been going on about!
Of course, my identity wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind while all this was happening. But then after we had sex and I started blogging about it, people started asking questions (people get very nosy all of a sudden when they think you’re invalidating your identity) and I realized…
This probably meant I wasn’t asexual any more!
As someone who has basically identified as asexual ever since I was 14, this was a bit jarring for me.
How could this one experience (though repeated many times since) change what I had been feeling my entire life?
I mean most people I’ve spoken to who identify as allosexual have sexual attraction rather frequently, towards people they may not even know that well. I definitely didn’t feel comfortable calling myself allosexual. It just contradicted every other experience I’d had in my life.
However, I also didn’t feel comfortable identifying as asexual. I mean, I’d felt sexual attraction, and I continue to feel it towards my girlfriend. That’s pretty contradictory to the usual definition of asexuality.
So I felt stuck in this weird middle place between allosexual and asexual. And worse, I felt as if I had lied to people. For so long I’d been a big advocate talking about how someone could be in love without having sex, how asexuality was legitimate and not just a phase, and how I was perfectly happy not having sex for my whole life! Then, here I was as an asexual experiencing sexual attraction and very happily having sex.
And I felt a great sadness too, since I felt like community-less once more.
For a while after I began identifying as a lesbian, I felt a great disconnect from the lesbian community. A big part of being a lesbian, it seemed, was being actually sexually attracted to women.
Then, I found the asexual community, and I felt like many of their struggles and issues were also mine. I felt like I had found a place and people to whom I could legitimately relate to. Even after experiencing sexual attraction, I still felt like I related to many of the problems aces have.
Furthermore, I felt pressure from all around me to fit in. I kept getting asks on tumblr asking me about my sexuality, friends kept bothering me, asking me if I was still asexual, and even my girlfriend was a bit confused as to my sexual identity. And so was I! I was stuck in this strange in-between place. Not quite allosexual, but still not quite asexual. Another person might just say ‘to Hell with labels!’ However, I’ve always been the sort of person who needed a name to my experiences. Therefore, I’ve decided to begin identifying as gray-A; not really either, but just in between. I’ve found comfort in this identification, and I feel it gives me a lot of room to grow and develop.
Who knows, someday I might turn full on allosexual. Sexuality is fluid, after all! But, for now, I’m comfortable with this label.
Annette, thank you for this lovely and somewhat challenging post! I think it’s something a lot of asexual people must think about – whether it’s fearing that it will happen to them, or wishing it, being open to it. The whole being asexual and then being attracted to someone is definitely something I have mixed feelings about. I guess I found your post simultaneously affirming and a little scary, because having to rethink your identity can be a full-on experience. And when your identity is basically defined by not feeling something instead of feeling something, there’s always that element of ‘what if one day…’ that most people, mainly heterosexual people, don’t have to think about.
On the other hand, it’s really lovely to see these changes being thought out and talked about, and really not being made a big deal of. Identities that allow for development and change are perhaps the most useful ones. In the end, feeling comfortable is all that matters! Being ace has definitely been a huge source of comfort for me. 🙂
I think your case is prototypical of demisexuality.
I thought of that, too, Isaac, but then I wondered — how do you decide if it’s demisexuality or a change from asexuality to gray-asexuality if it’s only happened with one person? Annette said that she doesn’t get crushes often and they usually aren’t intense, so probably none of her previous crushes would have been intense enough to get her sexual attraction going, if she’s demisexual. I guess the only way to decide which word to use is whichever one feels best at the moment. Sounds like gray-a feels best for her right now.
Very nice ! Your paper makes me think a lot about sexual fluidity and how the idea of sexual fluidity contradicts some of our most fundamental assumptions about sexual identity and orientation.
Pingback: How Important is Terminology? | The Asexual Agenda
After reading Sciatrix’s post about terminology, it occurred to me that you may be able to help, Annette. As someone who never felt sexual attraction until suddenly you did, you may be able to explain what it feels like (if it’s not too personal, of course). This could be very useful for those of us who have never felt it.
Pingback: Manga Bookshelf | It Came from the Sinosphere: Full Count
Pingback: I am not your dirty secret | The Asexual Agenda
I believe you may be demisexual, which means you are attracted to someone sexually only after you have an emotional connection with that person.
You… can’t really say that. See this post.