Question of the Week: May 20th, 2014

How has your identity expanded and changed over time?

When I first started identifying as asexual, I identified as clearly aromantic asexual and indifferent about sex. At the time I also felt identity was more private than I do now, and had actually not intended to talk about it with anyone, ever. …you can all see how that one turned out.

Now, I’ve become less sure about romantic orientation as a concept and at the same time identified a gender bias in the way I form close relationships. I’m less likely to frame the kinds of relationships I always wanted as friendships–in part because of learning that most other people didn’t seem to be thinking of things the same way I was–and much less likely to frame things as either romantic or not romantic. I suspect I’m much closer to the ‘repulsed’ side of things than I originally thought I was. And I’m way less prickly about my gender expression than I used to be.

About Sciatrix

Sciatrix is an American graduate student studying ecology, evolution and behavior. She identifies as asexual and has mostly given up trying to sort out the whole romance thing for now. She has previously blogged about asexuality at Writing From Factor X. In her free time, she trains in canine agility and knits oddly cabled hats.
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8 Responses to Question of the Week: May 20th, 2014

  1. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    I went from “mistrustful heterosexual” to heteroromantic ace to grace, bordering on aro ace. Means, I experience those limerence feelings, rarely, and have no interest in acting on them.
    As to my gender expression, I went from somewhat generic feminine to femme, with an aside of a more masculine presentation whenever I feel like it. I still get read as heterosexual. However, I refuse to go full time butch just so people have an easier time identifying me as queer-ish.

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    I spent nearly seventeen years thinking I was straight, then realised I might be in love with my best friend, so assumed I was gay, then figured out I had absolutely no interest in sex or even kissing, so after thinking a lot about it for a while (and experimenting with a relationship), I eventually decided on homoromantic asexual. But mostly I go with “queer”. It’s easier and I don’t like being in a little box.

    As for gender identity and presentation, I tend towards androgyny despite identifying as female because I like to baffle people into seeing me as a person rather than as either gender. Not sure how well it works. I’m working on that.

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    I went from assuming I was straight until I was in my 20s to hoping I was straight as I began to start dating a few guys… to realizing how well asexuality fit me but hoping I would turn out to be demisexual or something… to finally identifying as a heteroromantic asexual and embracing the identity. But then, after that… I realized I might be more panromantic… or aromantic… and I have since settled on using the term wtfromantic, but my asexuality is very solid. My romantic orientation… I still don’t know about.

  4. My experience in myself and how I relate to sexuality and relationships has remained stable for as long as I can remember. It’s only recently that I’ve discovered labels for the various elements of this (asexual, aromantic, etc) but once I find the right label, that doesn’t change. So the thing for me is exploring more what it means through learning from others’ experiences that are similar to mine.

  5. I went from asexual to gray-ace back to primarily asexual with a secondary identity as demisexual, and I think that the shifts in identity for me represent different understandings of my experiences, rather than distinct changes in my experiences.

  6. I feel a whole lot more comfortable with my sorta-aceness and my queerness now. I think I went through *all* the possible identities to get there, though.

    Although ‘aromantic’ was the only clear-cut label I had, and I am actually in the throws of my first limerence, which is like ‘woah. I didn’t know that my mid-twenties were going to spring that up on me from nowhere.’ And I’d been buying into Sciatrix’s theory that romantic orientation is basically about the beginning of relationships and limerence, which would make me… homoromantic? (with a sample size of one?). So it looks like my identity still isn’t static. (My relationship to my sexuality now is to basically grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy seeing what I am next week)

  7. queenieofaces says:

    I’ve gotten both more and less repulsed over time. More personally repulsed, less generally repulsed (i.e. repulsed by other people talking about sex, talking about sex in the abstract, etc.), I guess I could say. I think that’s been a combination of realizing asexuality was an option (when you realized that you don’t HAVE to have sex, talking about sex becomes a lot less terrifying) and unfortunate life circumstances, though.

    I think really the only aspect of my identity that’s ever been in any flux is my romantic orientation, that’s just a question of the endless “bi or pan?” game. Which, at this point, I’ve opted out of and am just going for “queer.” And even then it’s just been a question of words, not of my orientation actually changing.

    • luvtheheaven says:

      Oh I too have not changed, just my understanding of my own experiences has, as multiple people here have mentioned. I don’t think I ever was heterosexual despite identifying as such into my 20s, for instance. I was always asexual.

      And I think I too can relate to being both more and less repulsed (or really, I prefer the term ‘”averse”) over time, basically. Sex probably made me more uncomfortable to think about as a vague notion when I was younger.

      But for me, when I essentially tried some sexual stuff with my boyfriend for the first time, it wasn’t so bad, it wasn’t as scary as I feared it might be… it was kinda interesting for me because it was new.

      The second time it was worse for me, it just… made me feel bad for being asexual and I decided I never wanted to get naked with anyone ever again. So I’d say that was me becoming more sex-averse over time and with new experiences.

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