As you may be aware, this week has been asexuality awareness week. If you’re now asking yourself what that is, well I’ve made you aware – now go and find out more, there is so much info on the internet (maybe start with AVEN). I am asexual, and there is lots that I could, have, or hopefully will write about it, but today I’m going to focus on one thing which has been happening recently in my life.
I mentioned in my last post that I had asked someone out on a date. This was quite a big deal for me, as I’ve never really done the dating thing before – I’ve had two fairly long term relationships, but both times they’ve been someone I saw every day at school/ college, so by the time we got together we knew each other very well and skipped straight to the relationship. But I went on a few dates with this guy, and I’ll admit there were some fairly awkward moments, but I think that’s inevitable, and in general it was going well.
But I did have a slight problem, in that all the time when I was seeing him I had it hanging over me that at some point I was going to have to talk to him about my asexuality. This is something that most people don’t have to deal with – coming out to someone they’re dating and telling them that they will probably never have sex (I realise this isn’t the case for all asexuals, but it is for me). I didn’t know how to bring it up, or what to say – what if he didn’t understand what it is? I’m still not really comfortable going into great detail about it, and I think neither of us are people who find it easy to talk about meaningful, personal things like that. And it’s so hard to know when to bring it up – too soon and you might scare someone off, too late and they might think they’re getting some action when you genuinely just want to watch Netflix with them. I also hadn’t done this before; my previous boyfriends had been before I realised I was ace and I just said I wasn’t ready for sex.
In this case though, that problem was partially solved for me as the situation with this person and the number of mutual friends we have required us to have the ‘where is this going’ conversation earlier than I might otherwise have done. I felt like I couldn’t really get into the right way of feeling to potentially have a relationship without having first told him that I’m ace, more for my benefit than his really. I laid some groundwork by getting a friend to casually bring up asexuality awareness week when he was around, to ensure that he (and other friends) knew what it’s all about. And then when I met up with him this week we had a conversation, and I told him.
I was so nervous, it had become a really massive thing in my head. Over the past year I had become so convinced that it was going to be very hard to ever find someone willing to date me once I told them that, and I could sort of cope with that while it was in the abstract, but now here was this real person who I really liked, and I had no idea how he was going to respond to what I had to tell him. What if he just left? What is he said it was fine then changed his mind? What if he was annoyed with me for not telling him sooner? But, after a very long pause of me trying to speak and no words coming out, I did it. And his response was ‘I know, I heard you talking about it at that party’ (which, by the way, was just before I asked him out in the first place). We had a bit of a chat about it and, while I’m not quite sure what we decided about whether we are now in a relationship or still just seeing each other, at least that is all sorted out, and it is such a relief to have it out there. As he said ‘It’s good to be straight with each other about these things. Or rather, not.’
This isn’t meant to be a story with a proper message or information in. These things happen differently to everyone, so I’m not going to generalise my situation to other people. But I think this is a topic where there are a lot of misconceptions and confusions, so the more different, real stories that are out there, the better. I know I was desperate to hear of asexuals who had success in dating, so I hope my experience can encourage other people.
Whether or not you are ace, I wish you a happy asexuality awareness week, and hope things are going well for everyone.