Ok, I know who I am...now what?

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
Kellam
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Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Kellam » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:20 pm

Up until a few days ago I didn't know what asexuallity was. When I found out, it felt like a weight had been lifted and I jumped up, Thats's Me! I looked back at my life and saw that at the center of all the constant sexual confusion sat my asexual self, quietly waiting to be discovered. I feel such relief and feel better about myself than I have since I was a kid. But, and its a big but, where do I go from here?

What I mean is, do I tell my friends and family? Do I have to come out? It realy only affects my family, telling my folks that I've never been interested, that's why they thought I was gay as a teenager, that they never will get grandkids out of me, is a bit scary. Its true though, always has been. And as I said they always thought that I wasn't straight.

What can I expect reaction wise if I do tell my friends, both straight and gay? Or should I just start emphasising my lack of interest when someone brings up the topic of sex or potential partners?

I guess what I'm asking is, is it worth anouncing myself as an asexual or are diversions like "nah, nope, not feeling it" the easiest path? I've always worked hard to be honest with those that I care about especially and I don't care to go on telling lies. I won't be able to restrain myself, openess is one of my things. (that's why its funny that I hadn't been open with myself about something so crucial!)

Has anyone lost friends that hear they're friends with an asexual when they thought you were gay or straight? Weather or not you professed that identity or they just assumed. I'd been calling myself straight my whole life as an easy way out. Didn't know that what I was was an acceptable option that I wasn't alone. I guess I've always had these fears but now I cant back away. The closet door is locked behind me, there's no going back in.

Any advice?

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Lady Girl
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Lady Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:00 pm

My personal take on this is to tell people if and when you feel comfortable doing so. In my situation it is my husband who is asexual. We were married for 25 years and he was 48 before we discovered this and he identified as such. He has asked me not to tell people and I can respect that.

So yeah, basically I feel like it's a case by case situation.

As for visibility, I have mentioned it if orientation is being discussed and I have the opportunity to say it in a this is how some people identify kind of way...I say that I read about these things and have an interest.

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ParaLLL
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby ParaLLL » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:17 pm

Well, the first thing that's kind of obligatory to state is that there isn't anything you have to do, or are expected to do, or that's even really standard to do; one of the advantages of asexuality being so recently known is that any standards and expectations and stereotypes are barely beginning to exist yet, so you don't have to bother with them.

As for telling your friends and family, I'd say it depends partly on you, and partly on your friends/family. Do you want them to know, or would it bother you if they don't, or would you prefer that they know you're not interested but don't care if they actually know the word 'asexual'? And, how do you think they would react?

Personally, everyone I knew was already very well aware that I had no interest in sex or attraction, so any time I've told anyone it's mostly amounted to 'yep, there's a name for this. Cool. ...Right, so, that's officially established, now back to topics that we care about....' I did have a few people insist that there wasn't/couldn't be any such thing as asexuality, because "it's not evolutionarily advantageous" and "I'm not asexual, I don't think I could be, so no one can be" respectively, and quite a lot of people who are confused about details (mainly, assuming that asexual must also mean aromantic and repulsed), but I tend not to consider those truly bad reactions, and at least they were motivated by ignorance rather than hate. One friend did stop speaking to me after learning I was asexual, but I'm fairly sure that was because she had a crush on me and was disappointed, rather than anything to do with her opinion on asexuality.

Generally, at least in my experience, asexuality seems to encounter a staggering amount of ignorance (understandably, since most people don't know it exists), but not a whole lot of hate. (That might be more of a risk for you; I'm female and always made it very clear I wasn't interested even before I knew what asexuality was, so both male stereotypes and people having thought you were straight might make things more difficult. Asexuality still doesn't seem to attract the level of hate that being gay or bi can, though.)

As for whether it's worth it, that's up to you. I tend to tell everyone I find an opportunity to, but for the sake of visibility; I don't really care if anyone knows my sexuality, just that they know asexuality exists, and I happen to be a convenient example to make the point. But I have had the advantages of really, really liberal friends and family (maybe a quarter of my high school friends were straight, as an example), of never fitting in to begin with so I had no normalcy to lose, and of my sexuality always being very obvious, apart from the label to stick on it. So it really couldn't have gotten much easier for me. It sounds like it'll probably be at least a little harder for you, but also like your family might need the shock of being told to learn that you aren't interested. So it depends on whether you want them to know and how you think they'll react.

If you do want to tell them, you can just tell them, but it seems to be a fairly common tactic for people to first bring up (or have a friend/family member bring up) something like the (A)Sexual documentary, an article or study, or the Wikipedia/AVEN/TVTropes (for the geekiest) page in conversation, and see what reactions asexuality itself gets before actually saying that they're asexual. So if you want to bring it up but aren't sure, that might be a useful option.

Kellam
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Kellam » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:55 pm

Oy, what a relief. Thank you both for your advice. I guess I knew that this is nothing like what a gay person faces, I'd just heard so many rough stories, second and first hand accounts, from gay friends. During all the confused years when the gay question would cycle back around I guess that was the part I feared the most. Being gay didn't seem much different to me than being straight, I live in Massachusetts and my family is wicked liberal. And I get that most people will either not care or not understand. I also know I don't have to do anything, I don't realy want most people to know my sexuallity, its none of their buisness, I'm sure they'd apreciate that. Y'all did help calm me down. i guess I was just feeling so good I wanted to shout it from the mountain top, but I can wait. I'll be seeing my family later this year, I think I may just bide my time. As for losing the friendship of people who wanted to sleep with me, I learned how to deal with those disapointments and losses a long time ago. If all they wanted was sex, they werent a real friend in the first place. I don't want anything from friends but fellowship. Thanks y'all for quelling some fears. I'll settle down eventually. I just get very excited about things quite easily, and being a perfectionist I allways want to get things right first time so sometimes I go overboard over the silliest things. I've been telling a word document about my life all day. I'll just keep doing that. Thanks again.

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ParaLLL
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby ParaLLL » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:43 pm

No problem, we're glad to help!

The worse reactions that asexuality seems to get are variants of 'that doesn't exist/you're kidding yourself' and 'but if you love someone, you have to sleep with them!' Annoying and can be painful, but not the sin/abomination/murderous attacks that being gay can get. And especially if your family's pretty liberal, I think it might take some explaining for them to understand, but you should be okay whatever you decide to do.

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Lady Girl
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Lady Girl » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:35 pm

I totally understand and can relate...being excited and wanting to run with it sounds just like me. It sounds like you've already got a pretty good handle on your feelings, and it's definitely true that regarding most people it's just none of their business. But there will be some you will want to tell at some point...I'm guessing you are going over various scenarios in your mind. I think when the time comes, you'll do just fine, and as ParaLLL said the responses might be annoying, but probably not hateful.

Kellam
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Kellam » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:44 pm

You know I thik you're right. I am in touch with my feelings, for the first time. And yeah, I've been going over absolutely everything. I'm not worried, I have a good inteligent family. One Grandpa who might need a round about explanation, if the subject never comes up I'd be happy. Not to sound grim but he's 95 and I wouldn't want to confuse him so near the end. My other Grandad is gay so I'm set there. Were all close, my folks and my brother and me, so I'm good. I have had a revelatory new year, best one yet. I hope you and ParaLLL have had good one's yourselves! Thanks again, it means alot.

PiF
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby PiF » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:18 pm

Your asexual not a leper with a infectious rash..glad you feel happier about who you think you are though

if all you think you are is asexual then you will run around, make a flag, wear i am asexual t shirts then feel the need to tell every single living being you are asexual

Now, if asexuality is just part of you.... then you are no different from anyone else who is different. You stil pee, have a dump, talk to your friends, shop, spend too much time on the internet, eat food...you get my drift

I am asexual, I don't feel the need to label myself and tell the world, because if that's all i was..I would be a very boring person...and I am far from boring

evening everyone

Lady girl, Nancy... :D Hiya

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KAGU143
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby KAGU143 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:18 am

Hey -- welcome back, PiF!


It's been kinda quiet around here, lately.
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

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Lady Girl
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Lady Girl » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi PiF! It's good to see you. :) No, make that, great to see you. :D

flergalwit
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby flergalwit » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:48 am

(belatedly): welcome back, pif!

Kellam
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Kellam » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:30 pm

wow, ladygirl lead me astray, over to Aven. Now I come back to find hellos have continued . . . even if they are directed elsewhere. I love the asexual community!

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Lady Girl
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Lady Girl » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:09 pm

Aw, I guess I did kinda do that.

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ParaLLL
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby ParaLLL » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:31 pm

It's a very fun community. And, well, as long as AVEN doesn't steal you away entirely, I see no reason for you not to explore.

Kellam
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Kellam » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:03 pm

HA!!

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ParaLLL
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby ParaLLL » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:31 pm

...I assume that is an amused ha?

Kellam
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby Kellam » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:38 pm

Yeah, you made me laugh, just after Ladygirl did. Its exactly what I meant about this community, everyone's so nice I wouldn't intentionally walk away. I get distracted easily, then foccused intensly for a couple weeks, then back again. I'm all over the place. Almost flaky, but if I say I'll be somewhere or do something specific, I can be counted on. I'm sure I can divide my time, I've calmed down alot. I just want to get more involed in the community, and this place was my first step in. Thanks! :)

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ParaLLL
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Re: Ok, I know who I am...now what?

Postby ParaLLL » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:37 am

Yay!

I get distracted way too easily too; not so sure about the intense focus, but distraction definitely happens... I eventually put a bunch of sites in a special bookmarks folder of stuff to check every day. Most of the time I remember... and then end up checking four or five times a day, because I get bored easily.

Really though, talking to you is fun, so... as long as you keep coming back.