Question of the Week: May 13th, 2014

Do you feel like you were “late” to realize that you were asexual?  Do you wish you had realized sooner?

I realized I was asexual when I was 20.  I wish I realized sooner, as in earlier in college.  But the lateness of my realization feels like a critical part of my history, and who I am.  If I could, I would not push back my realization more than a few years.

Today’s question is inspired by a post on The Ace Theist about the “delayed realization“.

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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10 Responses to Question of the Week: May 13th, 2014

  1. luvtheheaven says:

    I don’t like that I was 23 years old, had graduated college, and was already in a serious relationship with a guy – the third guy I’d gone on multiple dates with and the first one I ever called my boyfriend – before I really fully considered the fact that I was asexual, and that post of theacetheist’s explains well why I think I was resisting the label so strongly – I knew I was human, I felt “normal” and not “broken”, so I convinced myself I must be sexual. Maybe even demisexual, it’d just take spending more time with my boyfriend to feel sexual attraction, or something. I was desperate to be able to be anything other than asexual, despite full (not gray) asexuality being my truth.

    I first learned of the term and definition around age 20, and I kept it in the back (far back) of my mind… but I never fully let myself consider that it might fit me until it really mattered – until I was in a relationship with a guy who wanted to have sex. I think my life would’ve been different but probably a little less stressful had I realized being a sex-averse (possibly aromantic!) asexual was a possibility all the way back in high school. I wouldn’t have cried at age 18 when I found out my younger brother had beaten me to experiencing his first kiss. I wouldn’t have felt so “behind” – I would’ve realized that no, I actually was different, there was a reason dating wasn’t a top priority for me… and I think it would’ve been comforting then, because I know it is comforting to me now. It has a new share of issues, knowing I’m asexual, of course. I’m not denying that and I’m not saying knowing earlier would’ve been 100% sunshine and happiness, but I think it would’ve at least solved some problems for me.

  2. acetheist says:

    Oh wow, my post inspired the question of the day.

    I didn’t really learn about asexuality until I was 19. Not sure if I would change that if I could, since I really can’t gauge what all the repercussions of that would be, but even when I recognize that, overall, it may have been for the better, it still feels like I was robbed of something.

    So, if nothing else, it’s made me care a lot about making sure ace education gets out there.

  3. Yes! I didn’t have a label for myself until I was 31 (i.e., the term “asexual”) but I was slow even to understand that I was different from others and didn’t fully grasp this until my late teens. I seem to have held the “asexual assumption”[1] and thought that everybody was like me and was not actually interested in sex.

    At the same time, it is hard for me to imagine exactly how things might have gone differently. My teenage years were 1986 to 1992. What was around then that would have helped me to understand myself better? I don’t know how to conceive that.


  4. notunprepared says:

    I was 21 when I found out, and I had already gone through three (failed) relationships by that point, one of which was horrible. If I realised I was ace in high school, I wouldn’tve dated any of those people and broken no hearts. And I wouldn’t have felt the need to compensate for my lack of sexualness by becoming overly sexual in clothing and the way I talked.

  5. I was also 31 when I figured it out. Finding out earlier would have saved me a lot energy wasted on “What’s wrong with me” thoughts. It would’ve been nice to not think I was somewhat broken for all those years…
    However, if it hadn’t taken until I was 31, I probably wouldn’t have bothered setting up a website about it in an effort to spread the word. I would’ve just said “Oh, so that’s what I am” and went about my business.

  6. Victrix says:

    Realising sooner would have saved me a year or so that was pretty emotionally and may have saved some friendships, at the same time though it was thinking that I needed to pursue things that did motivate me to test personal boundaries which I may not have otherwise have done.

  7. Pingback: Asexual question of the week: May 13th 2014 | A journey of baking and love

  8. queenieofaces says:

    I actually found out asexuality existed comparatively early–I was 17–but it took me a really long time to accept that was what I really was, ’cause I didn’t know anyone offline who was asexual, and the communities I was in had enough trouble accepting bisexuality, let alone asexuality. The fact that I wasn’t sure whether I was really asexual or just a late-bloomer/broken meant that some really bad stuff happened, ’cause I couldn’t hold my ground, and other people tried to gaslight me about my identity. So it’s less a question of being late to the realization and more a question of being able to accept the realization.

  9. Sciatrix says:

    I figured it out really early (at 14), but I’m not sure that’s an automatically great outcome, either. Since it was so difficult to actually be out as ace when I was in high school, I got into the habit of being really closed-mouth about my identity and suspicious about people’s reactions. That’s been a hard habit to break as I get older and try to be more open about how I identify and what that means for me. After all, it’s difficult to wash away four or six or eight years’ experience and expectations about how people will react if you try to talk about it.

    Knowing how I identified and also not having successful role models for relationships also messed me up pretty badly for my expectations about recieving social support as an adult, which I mostly dealt with in college. Like Siggy, I wouldn’t change anything about that now–it’s also a really important part of my history–but I feel like there’s this narrative that if only people knew they were ace sooner, they wouldn’t be so messed up about it, or they’d be more comfortable with themselves, or they could have handled it better. And I’m not actually sure that’s the case.

    Really, I think it’s hard for everyone, regardless of whether they have access to a word or not. The identity and the community help–I’m grateful I found out as early as I did!–but the concept alone isn’t a panacea, and just making sure that kids know that asexuality is a Thing from early adolescence isn’t enough to help them deal with those feelings of isolation.

  10. Pingback: Linkspam: May 16th, 2014 | The Asexual Agenda

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