This is the first year that I am celebrating Ace Week since coming out to myself and my family. When I say that I came out to myself this year, I had quite a journey getting to this point. Asexuality was a ‘new’ concept to me up until recently, when a loved one asked me what I knew about it (and the entire umbrella). Suddenly, it was like my eyes had been opened for the first time – my feelings around ‘sex’ and ‘sexual relationships’ no longer seemed ‘strange’ when I read about how others identified themselves.
I guess it’s important to note that we live in a sexualised world. “Banter” is seen as commonplace everywhere. “Sex sells” is a regular mantra from advertisers. When you say “I want a romantic relationship, but NOT a sexual one” (for whatever reason), people often look at you like you’ve grown another head.
Having the language to explain my understanding of relationships and attraction made a huge difference to my general wellbeing. Suddenly, I was able to seperate “sexual attraction” and “romantic attraction”. I realised that persevering with sex at times was painful, scary and traumatic. But not all sexual experiences were like that either.
Like all sexualities, there is a spectrum and nuance. I’m lucky that in my recent relationships (both romantic and platonic), I have many understanding people in my life. It has meant that I have been fully accepted for who I am and how I identify.