Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I don't think my brain likes tranquility.

Good news! I think I have the lapse under control at long last.

Bad news! My brain's being an overanalytical gitwizard instead.

It thinks I need to question my sexuality again. It thinks I need to question my sexuality because, well, people are always saying that depression and low self-esteem can cause sexual repression, and I have a background in both those things. It thinks I need to question my sexuality because, y'know, can I be so certain that the feelings I had during my relationship weren't really just because Adam was the wrong person for me? It thinks I need to question my sexuality because there's, like, some bloke on the internet who identified as ace at my age but suddenly developed sexual feelings at 21, and ohmigosh, what if I turn out to be the same?

It's fucking ridiculous.

Maybe this is fairly standard with asexuality. It is, after all, characterised by an absence of something, and therefore that little bit harder to nail down. There's a lot more misinformation around it, too. For one thing, the popular definition of asexuality is generally speaking a lot narrower than the asexual definition of asexuality, and it's sometimes hard not to let that have an effect. No matter how much you know it's OK to be asexual and want a relationship, if just as many people around you are telling you it's not, it can be difficult not to start calling things into question. It's also a lot harder to brush off 'you're just a late bloomer' type comments because logically, there's no real way you can be certain that's not the case. There are people in this world who feel nothing until their late teens or early twenties. Can you be sure identifying as ace before your eighteenth birthday isn't jumping the gun?

Mostly though, I think my worries are down to me. I know my mind. It attaches to the slightest uncertainty like a pitbull terrier and not let go until every microscopic shred of doubt is erased completely. Letting things alone to sort themselves out in time isn't something I've ever been very good at, and if I have any reason to doubt my sexuality, I'll triple and quadruple and octuple check, trying to bully myself into feeling sexual attraction in order to prove, yet again, that I don't have it.

I think my background is the big issue here. I have been bullied in my life, and from the age of about ten, some of the boys decided that the best way to bully me would be by sarcastically asking me out and feeling me up, the intention being making the idea that anyone could possibly be attracted to me completely ludicrous. In my mid teens, I got what I now strongly believe to be depression, which lowers sex drive.

Sometimes I wonder whether I internalised the bullying so much I walled up my sexual attraction as a response, and then had it depleted further by depression. All this depite the fact that:

A) Although it's never talked about, sexual bullying is more or less the go-to method for boys to bully girls. Every girl I know who has been bullied has been bullied in this manner at some stage, and none of them are asexual. They're all straight, or bi.

B) the bullying wasn't fun, but iit wasn't anywhere near serious enough to cause me to wall up parts of myself. I never got anything worse than a grope, and they were more annoying than anything else. I had a grand total of one legitimately horrible moment when I was around thirteen, but I think I was already questioning my sexuality by then.

C) I did internalise the bullying and begin to feel that I was a repulsive human being who would never have a relationship or sex. I panicked over this when I was around fifteen, seriously. But when I took a step backwards, I realised that the only reason for my panic was that I, in my depressive state, had managed to conflate 'having a boyfriend' and 'having sex' with 'being an adult'. I saw sex and relationships as rites of passage I had to go through in order to truly grow up. Once I realised this, I reassessed my motives, and realised that my screwed up associations were the only reason I had ever wanted sex in the first place. Without those associations, the appeal was... a minor curiosity to see what the fuss was about at some stage, but no more. I didn't want it. I had no desire for it. For the first time in a couple of years, I began to consider asexuality.

D) I haven't stopped considering asexuality since. In fact, it's been default.

E) If the bullying and depression made me wall up my sexual attraction... why do I still have romantic attraction? And why didn't I start to feel attracted to people again after getting into a serious relationship, proving the bullies wrong?

F) In mid year eleven, my depression decreased a lot, and since then most of my life has been either free or almost free of depression. And guess what? I have not, at any point, spontaneously developed sexual attraction.

Then, if you add to that:

G) I first came across the term 'asexual' when I was about twelve, and applied it to myself almost straight away. How I knew I don't know, as I wasn't even through puberty then, but I did. Before anything that could cause sexual repression had happened, I was questioning and leaning towards ace.

H) I dropped the 'asexual' label for a few years, but came back to it when I realised how much i didn't do and didn't want. I didn't have crushes. I had never searched for porn. Anything involving swapping body fluids seemed more awkward and yuck than anything else. If I hadn't known the word 'asexual', I would have been very confused from here on in.

I) As a child, I remember hearing my friends talk about boys they fancied. I, who didn't do this, told myself that it was OK to have crushes, and tried to force some. I latched onto any feeling, from mild affection for a person to hero-worship to actual romantic attraction (although I didn't know the word for it then) and called it a crush, honestly believing I was feeling the same as other people did. On reflection... it really wasn't.

J) Speaking of romantic attraction, the concept of it always existed in my mind. I knew romantic love and sexual attraction weren't the same, and I still sometimes struggle to understand why so many people are unable to mentally separate the two. The concept of physical attraction as separate also makes perfect sense to me, and in my experience that's something many sexual people get confused about.

K) 'Those' months with 'those' associations aside, when I imagined myself in a relationship, I didn't imagine sex. That hasn't changed.

L) My romantic attraction has no relation to the appearance of the person.

M) My relationship. Being in a relationship with a straight guy tends to make you realise just how ace you are.

N) I could easily go the rest of my life without sex. In fact, right now it's what I'd prefer.

O) Oh, and sexual attraction? I don't have it. I do seem to have little flickers of physical attraction, though, which I think is where some of the confusion stems from. I think I keep worrying if what I think is physical attraction is actually sexual, and using it to back up my insecurities. The more I think about it, the more I realise it's a load of bollocks.

Most importantly, though, is that I'm not willing to be an incomplete person until I'm twenty-five, refusing to give my orientation a name just on the offchance I one day turn out to have been wrong about it. Some people can postpone things like that, I can't. If in ten years time I find myself straight, or bi, or whatever... well, I'll cross that bridge then. Right now, and in all honesty most likely for good, I'm asexual, and that's all that has to matter.

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Day 9 – What genre of music do you dislike?: 

Country: Rap: Rn'B: Bubblegum pop. Yeah, stereotypical, I know. Mind you, outside that, I'm fairly versatile and listen to stuff from many different genres. I'm not one of those people who glues herself to one sub-subgenre of music and looks down on anyone who dares listen to to anything else. Oh, and I do also have a dislike for screamo, and that particular brand of Death Metal where it's just cookie monster vocals for five minutes. Cookie Monster vocals are fine in small doses, but if they're going throughout a whole song, I find it a bit annoying. 

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