This is my submission for the Carnival of Aces topic for the month of March 2014. The topic is “Interactions with Others”. I hope I at least kind of replied to the topic in an appropriate way? 😛
(Note for some context: I’m 24-years-old and at the moment identifying as a wtfromantic asexual young woman.)
Ever since I started seriously considering the idea that I might truly be asexual, many more of my conversations with my dad and my brother, who are my closest “friends” in the world, started to become about the topics of both sexuality and asexuality. That is one fairly obvious way my interactions with a couple of specific other people have changed. It’s only natural for me to talk about a topic that has been on my mind a lot with them. In fact, my asexuality actually changed nothing in terms of my relationships with my dad and with my brother. 😛 Because, per usual, we are comfortable talking about anything and everything with each other. Which is wonderful. Every once in a while they’ll bring up my asexuality or asexuality in general on their own now. I feel happy and accepted in their company, as I always have.
But for everyone else… it has maybe changed my interactions with them! I have come out as asexual to pretty much everyone who matters to me, to some degree or another. I made a post on Facebook explaining that I’d broken up with my boyfriend over my asexuality, and including a few links and trying to explain what asexuality was to any of my real life acquaintances on Facebook who happened to read it. I am open on tumblr and twitter and YouTube and even on my fanfiction.net profile lol so all of my online friends/acquaintances might now know.
My uncle died about a month or so after I’d officially declared myself asexual, and when I was spending time with his widowed wife (my aunt) for a few days preceding the funeral, her best friend was over at the house too. This woman who I had never met before was very nice, and very talkative. She kept making comments to me about “one day when you have a husband” and this made me much more uncomfortable than it ever had in my entire pre-asexual identifying history. Because now I realized that I didn’t really plan to have a husband. I think I must have been squirming a little. Being a little too quiet in reaction to some of those comments. Because eventually she basically asked me if I was a lesbian. 😛 I awkwardly and hesitantly came out as asexual for the first time really “in person”. Everyone else I had come out to online. It was hard to talk about my asexuality with a stranger who I was afraid might not understand. She was… somewhere between the unwanted sympathizer and the unwanted therapist as outlined in anagnori’s wonderful post, being nice but really not understanding me at all. My aunt also was in the room listening to our conversation but not commenting at all. I wasn’t ever sure if she’d read my Facebook post, but now she had heard me come out. I then complained about my aunt’s friend’s reaction to my asexuality in a car ride a couple of hours later (a car ride with my dad and my 16-year-old cousin). I wasn’t really sure what my cousin knew or didn’t know, but I spoke of it openly in front of him as a way of maybe hoping he’d have something to say.
In general, most of the people who I am sure know I am asexual – my brother’s girlfriend, two of my cousins, two of my aunts, my grandmother, my closest old friends from high school – I think I have now made things really awkward for myself, to a small degree lol. We all can still interact the same as we could before… except… I think now everyone is afraid to bring up anything remotely related to sex or relationships around me. And even if they’re not and I’m just imagining it… the thing is *I* would really love to talk about it. Especially to my Mormon friend who is getting married in a month at age 23. She had no problem waiting to have sex until this marriage of hers, and she’s pretty “old” to still be unmarried by Mormon standards… and I suspect she may be on the asexual spectrum because of her attitudes but I am afraid to bring up this kind of taboo subject of “sex” including in the frame of asexuality with her. I am afraid even with my secular friends and family. I think about my asexuality and I’m way more curious now than I ever was before about how they all experience sexual attraction and sexual desire. When I get close to bringing it up, I chicken-out. And I think for me, at the moment, as someone who’s only been officially asexual for about 5 months, this results in me finding myself internally having silent struggles with myself around people who I used to feel a little more comfortable talking about anything/everything with. I mean, maybe not everything.
I’ve always felt similarly about discussing my abusive and mentally ill mother with them – even with people like my aunts and uncles who are actually my mother’s siblings! It’s this thing where I’d love to be able to talk to them for hours about this one subject, preferably one-on-one, and really hash everything out, so that they don’t pity me in ways they shouldn’t, or judge me, or do all sorts of things that result in them not actually understanding where I’m coming from.
But my asexuality has heightened this, because I want to talk about it quite badly. With my mother, a lot of the time I’m quite happy forgetting about her existing. People close to me do know enough, too. I think I have not been able to talk about my mother enough with them, but actually I have been able to talk about her more than I ever have been able to talk about my asexuality. But I want to spread awareness and understanding.
I sort of suspect that for years all of these people in my life have been judging my lack of romantic relationships as evidence that I was a closeted lesbian or… making some other incorrect assumption about me. I want, quite badly, to finally rectify their misconceptions because now I finally actually have something to say on the subject. But I feel like it’s never the “right time” to bring up something so personal – I’m usually seeing these people in settings where it’s just not quite appropriate – and so I end up just keeping it all to myself and letting myself squirm. Hopefully one day this will change and I’ll get the chance to properly express myself to many more of the people who I so desperately want to.