The Answers (for Now) - Asher
When did you start to question your sexual orientation? What in particular made that question arise?
A few years ago (in my late twenties!) I was in a relationship with someone where we had very different sex drives, namely that hers was so much higher than mine and I felt like I just couldn't keep up. It wasn't a healthy relationship, in retrospect, but it really started me down the path of thinking that I was asexual. I didn't feel sexually attracted to her, and while I wasn't sex adverse, I wasn't feeling that spark of attraction to anyone, least of all her.
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When (if ever) did that question resolve itself?
Eventually, I realized that the relationship was unhealthy. That the high demand for sexual intimacy, and resulting pouting when I didn't want to have sex, was not a place anyone should be in! Once I removed myself from this relationship, I realized the questioning arose from the constant pressure to have sex. The more she wanted it, the less I was interested.
How would you describe your sexual orientation as you understand it now?
I label myself queer, but the label bisexual is also correct. I would not identify as anywhere on the asexual spectrum at this point in my life.
How do/did you feel about being questioning? Positive? Negative? Something else entirely?
Questioning my sexuality was a pretty scary event. I don't want to say it was positive or negative, just very overwhelming.
What is or was the most confusing? When you thought "maybe I'm [x]," what made you feel unsure or second-guess yourself?
I was 13 when I came out as bisexual, and to find myself at 27 wondering if I was biromantic and not sexual at all confused me. I kept asking if I had been lying to myself in the past, or if it was just a natural change. Logically, I knew that sexuality was fluid and could shift and change over a life, I was just so startled that it was happening to me!
Was there a defining moment that clarified things for you, or did you come to a more gradual realization?
It was a pretty defining moment. My ex and I were polyamourous and both had other partners. At the time, I was also in a long distance relationship and so I wasn't entirely sure if there was going to be any sexual chemistry. We (the long distance partner and I) both talked about it in depth, since this partner (now my spouse) is demisexual. And then I saw them face to face and the spark was 100% there, and has remained so.
Did you talk to other people about being questioning, or compare notes with other people of an orientation you thought you might be?
I did! I reached out to several of my friends who are asexual and asked them how they came to their understanding of their sexuality. Because I enjoyed sex, but was just lacking the sexual attraction to people, I wasn't sure I was "allowed" to call myself asexual. Having a several people share different experiences, from being sex repulsed, to actively having sex while still being asexual, really set me at mind that there would be room for me if I chose to identify that way.
What would you say to past-questioning-you if you could send a message back in time?
I would grab myself by the shoulders and tell myself you're allowed to change. You're allowed to use labels that feel right against your skin. I would give myself permission to explore and try on a label to see how it fit.