Monday, October 11, 2010

Why I Came Out

In honor of Coming Out Day, I'm blogging about why I came out as an asexual.

Asexual: one who does not experience sexual attraction.
Demisexual: one who is an asexual, but can become sexually attracted to a romantic/other kind of emotional partner (much to their surprise in some cases, I should add)
Grasexual: one who falls somewhere in the gray area between asexual and nonasexual.

Those are some pretty "standard" definitions, but people will define these things in ways that they need to, and that's perfect too.

I'd love to say that I came out after serious processing on the necessity of being "out," but I didn't. Not originally. I came out on accident, on the day of the Women's Studies Colloquium at PSU. K and I were talking about gender variation and their presentation on the lesbian "bro." I had asked them during this presentation about androgyny, and since they admitted to knowing nothing about that, we ended up chatting briefly after the presentation. I mentioned that most of what I knew about androgynous people came from my conversations with asexuals on the internet. "Are you asexual?" they asked me. I sighed, and said, "Not exactly. I'm demisexual," and went on to grudgingly explain what that was. I didn't want to come out, I wasn't ready to, but the question came up and I would rather not lie to anyone, ever.

After that I came out alternately as demisexual or asexual. It's harder to come out as demisexual, because although people have a hard time seeing asexuality as an orientation, it's pretty much impossible to convince people that demisexuality is an orientation and not a choice one makes about the conditions they've set in place for having sex with someone.  Eventually I stopped identifying as demisexual because it wasn't a good fit. Asexual is a better fit for me. Grasexual is even more precise, but asexual is a good umbrella term for what my orientation is.

Anyway, after I came out to K I started coming out to a lot of people by choice. I decided that asexual visibility and education was important to me. I have felt a kind of loneliness and despair for most of my life which is in great part related to my sexual orienation, and the only way I can see to relieve the pain is by sharing openly and honestly who I am. Until recently, I never knew anyone had experiences like mine and I believed there was something terribly, horribly wrong with me. Depression is prevalent among asexuals (from what I've heard), and I experienced it for over a decade. If I can reach even one other person who knows that they are like me and thought they were alone, I'll feel like coming out was worth it.

1 comment:

  1. "Demisexual: one who is an asexual, but can become sexually attracted to a romantic partner (much to their surprise, I should add)"

    I found this interesting, I've never seen this written before, I definitly identify with this, I don't have sexual feelings unless they're directed emotionally at someone... but I thought it was normal, well perhaps not completely normal, but at least common?