The Joy and Fear of Knowing Your Sexual Identity

I first found out that I was demisexual in 2015. Well “found out” is relative. I wasn’t really attracted to anyone in my near vicinity. While out shopping, my best friend would quickly spot attractive people and comment along the lines of, “Handsome, right?”

And I would just be, “Hm.” It wasn’t negative, just slightly positive. Actually, it was neutral, non-committal. I couldn’t really tell what features I was attracted to. The thought of sex with a random person or even an acquaintance would turn my stomach and make the bile rise up in my throat. The thought of being in a relationship with someone I just didn’t feel anything for elicited the same reaction in me. I’d even have goosebumps.

People around didn’t understand this reaction. If someone was courting me, why wouldn’t I just say “Yes”? Uh, because I don’t feel anything towards that person? It’s not hate or dislike. It’s just not love or like either. It’s indifference. I just didn’t feel any romantic attraction.

My friends jokingly called me a “robot”. I went with it. I certainly didn’t see it as negative or an insult… until I accidentally stumbled upon AVEN on asexuality.org.

AVEN: A Haven for Asexuals

(or for those who would rather have cake than sex)

AVEN stands for Asexual Visibility and Education Network. It’s a website and forum for people who identify in the asexual spectrum (or people who are in a relationship with or curious about asexuality).

Like any normal millennial, I consulted Google about my being a robot. I came upon a post on Reddit. The poster described the same things I’ve been experiencing! In the comments section, one of the most common response was to check out AVEN. I went there and an entire world opened up to me. These were people who understood. Finally, I felt like I was able to understand myself better.

A few years after, I’m still part of AVEN and yes, I’m still in the asexual spectrum. I think I’m demisexual – someone who experiences sexual attraction to someone with whom he/they/she/ has developed emotional intimacy. While I finally had that part figured out, I was less sure about romantic attraction.

Romantic Attraction vs. Sexual Attraction

Life is not black and white. There are several colors in between. Sexual attraction doesn’t equate to romantic attraction. This is something I struggled with initially. I tried to explain this to my friends but it just confused them so I just stopped since I wasn’t even sure what I was blathering on about anyway.

I always knew that I was attracted to guys/men in general. If I were to imagine dating someone, it would be a guy. Usually. But another part of me also imagined being with a girl.

Now, this wasn’t just seeing pictures of a girl and thinking, “Wow, she’s hot!” or “She is so darn pretty!” (Although I’ve done that, too.) It was more, “Can I imagine myself being in a relationship with this girl?” Like, the whole nine yards – kissing her, holding her hand, and being in love with her? If she breaks my heart, will I swear off all girls?

I spent many nights and months wondering about this because the answer was always, “Yes, I imagine myself being with her, kissing her, holding her hand, giving her flowers, making her smile, and just being in love.”

The idea would make my heart burst with joy.

But it would also scare me.

Because if it were true – if I were attracted to girls, too, I would have to hide it.

I won’t kid myself into thinking that my parents would accept me in the blink of an eye. My dad’s homophobic (no, not violent, just the usual “God only made a man and a woman; marriage is only for men and women, etc.”), and I think my mom will cry and think I’ve been brainwashed by all the stuff I read and watch. My friends will be more accepting, I’m sure, but some will probably be wary of me. I probably won’t even get a job if I came out.

All these fears kept me from telling myself the truth: that I was bi-romantic. That I could develop a romantic attraction to a boy or a girl.

I told myself before that this was all hypothetical. I told myself that I was just lying because anyway I would get married to a guy, right?

Well, the truth is I was scared. Despite my “Fuck what they think, this is my life” attitude, I still do care what they think. I care what my family will say, what my relatives will think. I love them and I want to spend time with them. I’m afraid of being disowned, of losing that love.

I’m afraid.

Music Makes You Braver

It’s funny, though. I’ve never voiced these thoughts aloud. I never wrote them down for fear that they might be real. It’s been eating me up. I kept telling myself that I shouldn’t think about it, that I should put it out of my mind.

And then I listened to songs from Two Steps From Hell. Their music is amazing. Usually, you can hear them as background music for epic movies, games, or trailers, and their tagline is, “Music makes you braver.” Well, it certainly gave me the courage to admit to myself what I was and what I felt.

I never really felt that “bisexual” was the term for me because I felt like I was pretending. I’ve never been in a relationship before so what did I know? I read articles and went to forums where people asked the same questions I was asking myself. Some preferred the term “bicurious”, but it didn’t feel right. I was still hesitant with “bisexual” because I was firmly in the asexual spectrum. The one that stood out to me, though, the one that called out to me, that seemed right to me was “biromantic”.

The feeling was unbelievable. When I first said that word aloud, it was like someone just lifted a ton of bricks off my chest. It was like I could breathe better now.

I’m not out to my immediate family and friends. In fact, the only one who knows is you, dear reader. But there’s something about being able to admit it – to be able to say it to yourself.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to tell the people around me – the people I care about, but for now, it’s as if another piece of the puzzle has fit into place. It’s like I’m understanding myself more. And I’m also understanding how other people who have come out – and who haven’t come out – really feel.

It’s not as easy as the books and movies make it seem. They end at a particular scene, but in real life, the repercussions of coming out could extend to months and years. There might not even be a reconciliation in the end. That’s what I’m afraid of. I’m not as brave or courageous as I’d like to be, but this is step one. And I’m doing it for me.

Biromantic Asexual Combo Flag by Pride-Flags on Deviant Art

Biromantic Asexual Combo Flag by Pride-Flags on Deviant Art.

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