Like most communities, we run a spectrum. Some of us come out. It’s timed, planned, rehearsed. Maybe it’s even spontaneous, but we’ve been practicing it in our heads for a while.
Some of us don’t come out so much as we just finally explode. It’s not a planned conversation so much as it’s you sitting on the landing of your stairwell sobbing that you’re asexual and thinking, well, now I actually have to deal with this in the world, in my relationships with other people. It is out, and I can’t cage it up again.
I wasn’t one of those people with a plan, or who practiced in front of the mirror. I’m a sublimator and a secret-keeper. I don’t seek support, I just put things in little boxes that I stack up inside my head, carefully labeled and filed so I know where they are, and heavily sealed so nothing can escape.
But sometimes things wiggle free of their confines, despite my best efforts.
(Souls – whatever those are – may never betray you, but your brain always will. We’re trapped inside these vessels that we both control, and that control us. What a strange paradox we all inhabit.)
I didn’t want to say it out loud because I knew it would cause complications. I knew it would require explanation that I don’t always want to share with just anyone. I know at least one person who was relieved, but I may find others who take it personally or become upset when they realize that I was, essentially, performing.
But I’ve been able to let go what was an immense amount of pressure – not from any specific person, but pressure I put on myself, pressure from a hypersexualized, sex-obsessed society. I’ve let go of the idea that I need to perform, or that there’s something wrong with me. I can let go of the notion that sex is a necessary part of life and relationships and decide what I’m willing to opt into. Embracing the ambivalence I have to sex in general and the absolute revulsion I have toward certain specific acts has actually been quite freeing.
For a long time, I was performing in limited ways that didn’t make me uncomfortable and skirting around things that I didn’t want to do without giving any real explanation as to why – this confused people, and didn’t really make things good for me, either. I lacked the understanding, which is to say, I lacked the language to describe what was happening. I only knew the words “no” and “I don’t want to,” and I had nothing more than that to offer.
At least now I have a sort of menu, if you will, of things I find palatable, and a way to explain why some things will just never be on the table. Hopefully that will help, moving forward. I already feel a profound sense of relief at being able to stop performing.
Asexuality, I’m finding, is the ultimate “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Because it really isn’t the rest of you.
It really, really is me.