Saturday, 13 June 2015

Asexuality: What is it & My Coming Out story.


So over the past 21 years of my life, I've always known that I was different. And I thought it was in a bad way, turns out I didn't find out about this until a couple of weeks ago.
Hello, my name is Eilidh, I'm 21, I live in Scotland, I'm a music student and I am a biromantic asexual. 
Now most of you will probably be thinking, 'What the fuck is that, is that another way of saying you're bisexual?!' No, not quite. So this post is going to talk about asexuality, what it is and the wide spectrum of the sexuality, then I'm going to tell you my story, in the hope it helps someone out there who's struggling. I also made a YouTube video just talking about asexuality in general, using similar points.

These links are extremely useful to fellow asexuals or if you're wanting to know more about it. Most of the information in this post has been sourced from these websites. The last link was the one I used to show my close friends and my parents, and I think it's an incredible page to get the point across.
http://www.asexualityarchive.com/
http://www.asexualityarchive.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/AsexualityABriefIntroduction.pdf
http://www.asexuality.org/en/
http://www.whatisasexuality.com/
http://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Asexual-People
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaifqSq93kM
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHAv1g2JODsrkUKfHh1nAwQ
http://www.asexualityarchive.com/a-parents-guide-to-asexuality/

So what is asexuality?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality, but instead of being sexually attracted to men or women, asexual people are sexually attracted to no one. This doesn't mean we all hate sex or avoid it, it just means we don’t find people sexually attractive. There's a wide spectrum with asexuality so you can find out what works for you and that was a great comfort for me.

You can be asexual even if:
You think someone is good looking:
It's possible to think that someone is cute or beautiful without being sexually attracted to them, in the same way it's possible to think a puppy is cute or a painting is beautiful.
You're dating or married:
Romantic attraction is separate from sexual attraction. Many asexuals are interested in relationships, even if they're not interested in sex.
You have children or want children:
Sexual orientation has no bearing on a person's fertility or whether or not they want to have kids.
You've fallen in love:
Love and sex are not the same thing. Being in love with someone doesn't necessarily mean you're interested in sex, as well.
You get aroused:
Getting "wet" is just your body doing what it's supposed to do. Getting aroused doesn't have to mean you're sexually attracted to someone or something.
You masturbate:
I masturbate, big deal. It's a great stress reliever and it feels great but I'm not necessarily thinking about someone when I do it.
You look at porn or read erotica:
Some asexuals look at porn and may even find it arousing. Some asexuals read erotica. This does not require sexual attraction.
You've had sex:
Having sex doesn't mean you can't be asexual. Some aces are curious. Some aces think it's what they're supposed to do.
You haven't done any of those things:
Some asexuals are aromantic, meaning they don't experience romantic attraction. Some asexuals don't masturbate. Some asexuals never want to have sex.

Types of Romantic Orientation
Aromantic:
A romantic orientation characterised by a persistent lack of romantic attraction toward any gender.
Biromantic:
A person who is romantically attracted to members of two different sexes or genders. Biromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons, including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners.
Celibacy:
Not participating in sexual activity (often specifically partnered sexual activity) for any reason, not necessarily because of a personal choice.
Demiromantic:
A demiromantic does not experience romantic attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.
Heteroromantic:
A romantic orientation characterised by romantic attraction to the opposite gender.
Homoromantic:
A romantic orientation characterised by romantic attraction to the same gender.
Lithromantic:
Someone who experiences romantic attraction, but does not desire reciprocation.
Panromantic:
A romantic orientation characterised by romantic attraction to any gender.
Romantic Attraction:
A sense of “I would like to be involved in a romantic relationship with that person”. (Please note that “romantic” in this context does not necessarily mean flowers and sunsets on the beach and candlelit dinners.)

My Story (Coming Out)
Guess I always knew throughout my life that something wasn't quite right from the get go.
Throughout high school, I was the fat, single 'friend' who never truly got accepted for just being me, I was always with a group of 'friends' who were all in relationships, all into boys and that just didn't appeal to me. I grew up in a small town where no-one really had much faith in me, apart from my family of course who are incredible. But I've always felt that I was different to other people who want relationships, money, employment, I wanted to have this sense of adventure and independence.
Living in a world where you watch all the films and TV programmes, you hear from your family and friends that you HAVE to be in a relationship, you HAVE to have sex to be in love with your partner, you HAVE to like sex to be accepted. That fucking terrified me and for ages I thought I was a freak because I was the only one in my group of friends that could honestly say I could live without sex and a partner. But I felt the pressure that one day, I HAVE to have sex or find someone as it's one of the many goals you must achieve in your life, fair enough it's how you're brought into the world but the way people can have sex with anyone at anytime scared me.
I have social anxiety which means that having to trust someone is a great effort, I only have a couple of people I trust to be myself with. You constantly feel like people judge you for the smallest things, don't like you, laugh at you or stare at you almost like you have horns growing out of your head. You have to live with these thoughts every single day, which isn't easy.
I grew up to having many gay role models, especially in terms of music which is what I study at university, being Elton John, David Bowie and of course my guardian angel, Mr Freddie Mercury. Also, I watched Doctor Who and Torchwood during the Russell T Davies' era, being openly gay himself, creating Captain Jack Harkness who was bisexual and introducing various homosexual/homoromantic relationships, it was educational for me in so many ways. So I knew about homosexuality from a young age and accepted it from the start. When I started university, I began watching Kaelyn and Lucy's videos and fell in love with their special bond. I then subscribed to other gay couples such as Will and RJ & Katy and Eilis and felt more of a connection with homoromantic relationships as supposed to heteroromantic. I was watching several coming out stories and related to people's insecurities and admired their bravery as it helps so many other people who are going through similar situations.
People should be with who they love, regardless of the gender of their partner.  
I never tell people I have feelings for them because everytime I do fall for someone, I lose them. And for ages I thought what I truly felt couldn't possibly be love if I didn't want to have sex with them.
I've fallen in love with two people, both male, in my life where I actually told them how I felt and both of them turned me down in different ways. One completely broke my heart and took away my confidence, the other is still my best friend today and gave me the confidence to find out who I was and to truly be me because of his own bravery.
I have had many romantic crushes on women too, albeit secret and if I do think about it, if I had to have sex with a partner, I would be more comfortable with a woman than I would be with a man. On my Facebook, it does say that I'm interested in both men and woman but before I never made it a big deal, so nobody asked, I just thought they assumed.
One thing though I can connect with all of these people I have fallen for, I don't want to have sex with them. I have never been sexually attracted to them, I don't picture myself having sex with them whatsoever and I wouldn't dare to ask that from them. Because I hate relationships, I hate romance and closeness, I've had rare cases where people were close to me and it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, even the thought of performing sexual acts myself scares me. I may make innuendos and dirty jokes sometimes in conversation as you do with friends, I'm often known to having a 'dirty mind' at times, but the reality is, I can't picture myself in these particular scenarios. I feel like I would be the worst partner ever because I'm not sexy, I don't see myself as attractive and I'm a mess deep down inside. I'm a misfit to this society where you're instantly judged for being a virgin at the age of 21.
To be both biromantic and asexual may seem like it's a tough concept for most people to fully comprehend. You do hear people say that bisexual/biromantic and asexual people don't really exist and they're just scared of committing to one person. We don't know what we want and we shouldn't come out as we're not actually gay or we're afraid to admit that we actually are gay. That we don't want to have relationships or have kids or settle down. That's not the case at all. Accept people for who they are, unless they murder, attack or rape people.
All we want is to be accepted and for people to listen.
May 16th 2015, that was the day I discovered and finally accepted that I was a biromantic asexual. I was looking up things on Google, found the asexuality forum, read a bunch of different posts and suddenly took in a deep breath. When I exhaled, I thought to myself, I'm asexual. I'm a biromantic asexual. I hate how people put strict labels on each other and I hate restricting myself into some box that you can't seem to change but this term seemed to explain how I currently feel in a way for others to understand. I soon told my two best friends, who I adore, the truth and they were nothing short but incredible. I never thought I would be so lucky after shutting myself from pretty much everyone to have two amazing people in my life who love me no matter what. After telling them, I wanted to keep things hush hush for the time being, it took me so long to finally think to myself, 'You're ok. You're not a freak.' that I wanted to relish in this discovered hidden truth. But after a while, it started to eat away at me, especially when I was with my family.
I decided on the 4th of June to let my mum and dad know about this, with the parents guide to asexuality, it seemed to be the best way to tell them. So the next morning, before going to work, I sent them the message on FB messenger on my phone as I didn't have internet in my new flat at the time. Mum texted me that evening to say it was my business and no-one else's, but it was a shame I didn't tell them face to face. She said dad was very quiet in response and that worried me, the last thing I wanted was to hurt anyone for just being me. I took it hard, beat up myself inside about it and got upset, my best friend who's now my flatmate told me that I worry too much and that everything would be fine. I hope they're not going to make this a big deal as I never made my sexuality a big deal before but it was almost as if I was a different person when I saw them and I had to lie to keep them happy. It does take a while to get your own head around this, hell, it took me 21 years. You may have seen several coming out videos where parents are instantly loving and supportive to their son and daughter, you have to remember they're human too. They will have questions, they do get hurt, they will have pictured you having a heterosexual partner, having a family and growing old with them. But at the end of the day, they should still love you no matter what. Try not to be disheartened if it takes a while for them to comprehend everything as coming out is a difficult thing for everyone that has to do it.
In the world around 1% of the population identify themselves as asexual but that doesn't mean there's more people out there. There could be a young teenage boy or girl sitting in their group of friends who are in sexual relationships, having conversations about sex and they feel broken and alone because they don't see people in the same way. Sounds cliche and may seem stupid to hear, but I want you to know if you're going through a similar situation that you're not alone. Coming out as asexual is just as scary as coming out as gay, bisexual, transgender, you name it.
It's the 21st century and people shouldn't be afraid to be who they really are.