There was a time a few years ago, when my workplace blocked AVEN. This was very inconvenient because I was trying to do activist-y things like responding to messages and e-mailing links to people, but it had to wait until I got home. I mean, I know that browsing sexually explicit websites is technically against our internet policy, but it’s not like I’m reading it for erotic pleasure!
Looking further back, I was in an entirely different place. I remember furtively looking at AVEN only when I was alone in the room. I was embarrassed, okay? Not just about being asexual, but being an asexual who was reading a lot of discussions about sex.
I was a bit sexually conservative, not in my political views towards sex, but because I didn’t really want to hear about it or talk about it. This wasn’t a matter of sexual repulsion, and in fact I had problems with non-explicit discussion of masturbation or even stuff like aesthetic attraction. Just the general topic of sexual orientation, to me was embarrassing and uncomfortable. It went against “who I was”.
“Who I was” was shaped by the fact that I grew up ace without really knowing it. People around me would talk about sexuality, and I didn’t really react. Clearly because I was just the kind of person who would be the eye of the sexual storm. Either I had more self-control, or maybe I just didn’t cave to peer pressure. (Because that’s why people talk about sex, right? Peer pressure?)
In retrospect it seems obvious that I didn’t react because I just couldn’t relate.
So by the time I started identifying as ace, most of my friends didn’t talk much about sex or relationships. And those friends that did talk about it, I was not accustomed to interacting with them on the topic.
This was a serious problem. I was dealing with a lot of issues at the time, and I needed to read those AVEN forums, and I needed to talk to people. I could maybe deal with the discomfort of browsing the forums, but I had a total block on talking to friends. In fact, most of the first people I came out to were not friends at all, but people I had recently met.
That’s why the queer student group was really important to me at the time. I needed people to talk to, people I didn’t know very well, and people who talked about sex a lot. Usually these are precisely the reasons aces hesitate to participate in queer groups–because they don’t know anyone and there’s too much sex talk. But for me, that was what I needed.
It’s a paradox, not wanting to talk about sexuality, but needing to talk about it. Has anyone here had similar experiences?