Question of the Week: October 11th, 2016.

Has anyone guessed or assumed you were asexual without being told? Have you ever correctly guessed someone else was asexual? 

Most people assume I’m straight and then assume I’m bisexual once my gender indifference comes up so this hasn’t happened to me, but every once in a while when I tell someone I’m asexual they say “oh I have a friend I think is asexual.” Usually their guess is based on the friend’s assumed lack of interest in dating (which they then assume means little or no interest in sex). I wonder how often the people they guess are asexual actually identify that way themselves.

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is
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10 Responses to Question of the Week: October 11th, 2016.

  1. Actually, my cousin guessed I was ace a while before even I accepted my own asexuality.
    Usually, when I see someone talking is a way like they’d known clearly how someone else identifies I leave ’em talking alone or leave a hint that it’s not the kind of “gossip” I was expecting.
    I’ve had people thinking I was gay or “at least bi” almost everywhere in my life (except for my family apparently), that’s why I love that fact that I never had to come out to my cousin specifically because he found out by himself; also, a close friend of mine “caught my drift” that I was probably aro (I didn’t know I was quoiromantic back then) without me having to elaborate a conversation about that. These two guys are probably the people with whom I’m the most open to talk about anything in my life.

  2. Writer Ace says:

    I was the one who figured out a former roommate was on the ace spectrum. We were talking about stuff and what she described both matched to some degree what I felt and the definitions I knew. When I talked to her about it/sent her stuff, it matched for her. I don’t know if that counts because I led her to it, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten to it.

  3. Siggy says:

    Often at meetups there are new people who enter the restaurant/cafe, and I can usually tell that they’re ace before they even come up to our table. Although, the major thing that gives it away is that they look lost. 🙂

  4. Victrix says:

    I had a former colleague guess that I was asexual, which was scary as it had been less than 24 hours since I’d told my parents.

  5. Sennkestra says:

    To be honest, I have no idea what people typically read me as at first- that’s one of those things I always wonder but I also have no idea how you even ask about that? Like, on the one hand, I know people often default to straight and I look fairly conventional; on the other hand, I have a rather boyish barber shop haircut and enough rainbow or other LGBTish swag that I’m not surprised if I get read as some form of queer either. (I don’t know that I’ve ever been read as ace first, though, rather than that coming up after people doubt their first assumption).

    (I do know that at least some of my freshman year hallmates thought I was a lesbian, as evidenced by an awkward conversation halfway through the year where one of them came into my room and asked in a hushed voice, “Hey, you’re a lesbian right?…..cue the awkward “well, actually…” speech. I never found out what prompted that question. )

    Actually, in some ways other people did Identify me as “asexual” pretty early on – it’s just that it was as a joke. Back when I was a wee teenager, it was readily apparent to anyone who knew me that I was Not Interested in boys, girls, or anyone else; and in fact my friends and I used to have a running inside joke that I was “asexual” and would just reproduce by mitosis or budding or something. I don’t actually remember who first made that joke, but I don’t think it was me? This was back in the mid to late 2000s, when asexuality-as-orientation wasn’t something that was really well known (especially in high schools), though, so none of us ever heard of it as an identity until much later.

    In fact, by the time asexuality started to get more widely known, I was already loudly out, so a lot of people find out my asexuality on facebook or tumblr or something before they get to the point of having to guess.

    On the other hand, I have had several strangers guess I was ace after seeing hints from my ace flag swag or asexy shirts, so I consider those a good investment. The ring has even worked a few times, albeit mostly at LGBTQ conferences with a high proportion of aces.

  6. I had a friend start sending me links to ace Sherlock fanfiction when I was in undergrad, which is how I learned about asexuality. About a month or two (and a lot of research) later I went to her and was like, wow I really think I could be asexual, how crazy that you recommended those stories to me. Then we had a discussion about how to recognize subtle…and not so subtle…hints, but that’s a whole other story.

  7. queenieofaces says:

    I’ve had a couple of people say that they guessed when I came out, but I think I’m much more likely to ping as nebulously queer than ace. Probably my best story is that I psyched myself up for like 24 hours before coming out to one of my close friends in college and was literally shaking when I told her that I had something important to tell her, I was asexual, and she went, “Uh huh, and?” because she thought that I hadn’t gotten to the important thing yet. Whoops.

    Speaking of people looking confused at meetups, my partner first met me at an ace meetup. She said that she was scanning the restaurant where we were meeting, trying to figure out who there might be ace, and saw me and went, “Oh, definitely her” and then immediately went, “WAIT, NO, I SHOULDN’T STEREOTYPE.” So, apparently, I’m stereotypically ace?

    I have a habit of somehow managing to…collect aces? I came out in college and then like 6 other people in my program house came out as ace in the next year and a half. I came out to a classmate in grad school and she was embarrassed because she didn’t know enough about asexuality, so she did a bunch of research and realized she was also ace. This happens to me…weirdly frequently? (To be fair, I have relatively good queerdar, so I think I tend to gravitate toward people with the vibe, and then people find out about asexuality through me…)

  8. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Being that I do have a lot of rainbow bling, and the rainbow flag is more widely known than the ace flag, the rare highly attentive person reads me as a feminine lesbian instead of straight. However, it’s fascinating how much rainbow bling you can wear while talking about pride events on a regular basis and still be read as straight by somewhat homophobic co-workers.
    No one’s ever guessed correctly, though.

  9. Rachel says:

    Kind of vague for the question, but while my mom hadn’t guessed that I was asexual per se, she was pretty sure that I wasn’t straight WAY before I figured out that I wasn’t. Makes sense (though still hilariously, tragically infuriating), since she, being actually straight, would have recognized my utter lack of interest in boys as indicative of non-straightness way better than I could, having no frame of reference.

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