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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Questioning

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Author Topic: Questioning
Member # 55355

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I wrote about this in my introduction post, but I think it belongs here. I am 24, cis female and am questioning my sexual orientation, both what gender(s) I'm attracted to and whether I'm sexual or asexual. I used to identify as lesbian, then bisexual, in my teens. However, I'm not sure whether these attractions were "real", since I have a hard time understanding the concept of attraction and I didn't have sexual feelings/fantasies. My parents claim that my identifying as lesbian/bisexual was a way to make myslef look more "different"than I already am because of the fact that I'm disabled.

Right now I'm in a relationship with a cis man. I don't even know whether I'm "really" attracted to him because of the same reasons I mentioned above. I love my boyfriend for who he is, but I don't desire inteimate contact beyond kissing and hugging much of the time (he claims I do sometimes want sex).

Heather sent me the qrticle "Q Is for Questioning", which I read and found somewhat useful. I identify as questioning for many of the reasons mentioned, but at the same time, I feel I should identify as straight because that's the default (I know...) and I was told so many times that I just want to be different. Also, my boyfriend is not really supportive of my being questioning, probably fearing I won't love him, which is unfounded. I know the article says it's okay to be questioning.

I'm not sure what I want with this post. Maybe just explore things a little and get thoughts from others who are/were questioning.

Posts: 10 | From: Netherlands | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Then let's explore away!

I know that it can be really, incredibly difficult to step away from the expectations and wants of our family, friends, and loved ones, but this is really one of those times when it might help you figure things out to do just that. Because your orientation, whether that is gay or lesbian or bisexual or asexual or something else entirely, is all about you. It has an effect on who you date, sure, but it's about you, first and foremost.

The other thing I want to address is how utterly not cool your parent's comment about disability and orientation is; not cool, but unfortunately all too common. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with disabilities and it was harsh of them to say so. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they probably weren't thinking when they said that, but that kind of stuff really irks me. Being upset by that is absolutely understandable!

You mentioned that your boyfriend says that sometimes you do want sex – really, the only person who can know if you want sex is you. And the only person who can know the amount of sex that you want is you. Neither he nor anybody else has a say in your sex drive. With that said, if you do want sex, that's fine, normal, healthy. If you want sex but not with him that, too, is fine, normal, and healthy. If you only want sex with yourself that's fine, and if you just aren't feeling sexual, at all, in any way, either by yourself or with a partner that is, again, fine. Normal. Healthy. Totally OK.

As Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Asexual and, well, any other letter you want to throw into the alphabet soup of identity can tell you, trying to stay in the closet, or change your identity, just doesn't work. It may sound like it would be easier to “fit” in “normal” society if you were just straight but, well, there's a reason people come out of the closet. There's a reason that people want to express their identities; it's hard to hide, and it doesn't work very well.

It may be hard to acknowledge but if your boyfriend isn't supportive of your search for your identity then it might be time to have a good look at what you are wanting out of that relationship; and if what you want and need is love and support as you continue the lifelong journey of figuring out who you are (which many, many of us DO need in a relationship) then it would be a good idea to open up a conversation with him about that, and figure out if he is somebody who will allow you to fully and safely explore yourself. We can certainly offer some tips on starting those kinds of conversations if you like.

So be nice to yourself; where you are is tricky, and while you are neither alone nor a pioneer in this area it's still a tough place to be. Let yourself relax, and realize that it really is a lifelong journey. You don't have to set a deadline and say “I will know what my sexual orientation is by next Thursday at 8pm.” And even if you DID, it may all change at 8:03 anyway.

Hey folks, my name is Andrew and I was a mod here for awhile a couple years ago. I'll be here for a couple weeks while Heather is out and the site is even more short-staffed than usual

Posts: 441 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 55355

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Thanks for your informative and supportive message.

My boyfriend is usually quite supportive of me in other areas, but he probably hasn't gotten used to the idea that I don't want sex at this point, and may or may not ever want it. I think I'm emotionally/romantically attracted to him for who he is, but not for his gender or sexual characteristics, if that makes sense. I am not 100% sure though, since we made a very rational decision to be in a relationship based on how special we were for each other and not on sexual expectations.

It is a little complicated, in that I have dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder), and I do seem to have alters who want sex. That's why my bf thinks I sometimes want sex; my alters come out and want sex, and I don't remember what happens afterwards. It has nothing to do with him not letting me decide whether I want sex or not. In fact, we've decided that we won't have sex until I've developed better control over my alters. What he does not at this point understand is that I may be asexual and never want sex. I can understand that, given that he is sexual, but it is pretty hard.

Posts: 10 | From: Netherlands | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Hey phoneutria_fera.

I'm not at all knowledgeable about dissociative identity disorder, but are you seeing a therapist or psychologist for it at all? If so, they'd likely be the best person to talk to about this, and how to manage some of your alters wanting sex even though you don't.

As for your boyfriend, it sounds like the two of you might need to have some more discussion around this. If he's never encountered asexuality before then it's understandable that he's having some difficulty with the concept, but he does need to respect your boundaries, and listen when you say that sex is not on the table for the two of you right now (and may never be). If you do have a therapist, it may be helpful to bring them into this conversation.

Your boyfriend might also benefit from doing some reading about asexuality. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) would be a good place to start, particularly in their FAQ section - they have one specifically dealing with relationship questions.

(By the way, I know you have another thread in the "it's all about you" section of the boards discussing this as well - would you like us to close one or the other so we can all keep track of this discussion a little bit more easily? If so, just let me know which one to leave open and I'll do that.)

[ 02-10-2011, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: Karybu ]

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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