Asexuality is having low or no desire for sexual activity or having limited or no sexual attraction. For the past year, I thought that I may be ace, which is a shortened word for asexual, but it never felt right. As someone who likes to know everything, having a part of my identity being nameless frustrates me. I’ve done so much research and still don’t have a name to put to what I feel. Learning to accept that not everything can be perfect, that not everything can have a name, has been a struggle, but by talking to friends and using Google religiously, I feel more settled and comfortable with myself.
Many sexualities are spectrums, asexuality included. Everyone experiences it differently, some see sex as a negative thing while others see sex as a positive activity that they simply don’t want to partake in. Others may want sex but only with people they are already in a strong relationship with (demisexual) or others may see it in a totally unique way. Some people feel like they may be asexual in some way but don’t relate to the definition. In that case, they may use the gray-sexual definition. It’s also possible that no sexuality feels right, that no definition describes your feelings and emotions, which is 100% okay but can be frustrating. While some people don’t like labels, others feel like they’re a necessity. Personally, labels help me feel secure and like I belong in the LGBTQ+ community, which is why not having one for some of my emotions is causing me minor distress.
Along with being somewhere on the asexual spectrum, I also identify as pansexual, which to me is the attraction to people regardless of gender. But pansexual doesn’t describe all of me. I feel emotional attraction, but no physical attraction. Sexual attraction is still up in the air but I want to have sex. As far as I can tell, there is no word for not experiencing physical, and maybe sexual, attraction while still liking sex. If someone were to ask me, I would say I am gray-sexual, but it doesn’t resonate with me as pansexual does. I feel like something is wrong with me because the existence of a label means other people feel the way I do. The lack of a label makes me feel alone, lost. I know some people relish not using labels, but I am not one of those people. I like things in neat, little boxes with all the contents labeled, including myself. I feel like I am a group of boxes that have their belongings in the wrong spots or even in other boxes. It’s taken talking to friends and numerous therapy sessions to get my boxes semi-organized.
Sexuality can be hard to talk about with others. It feels so personal that sharing it can be challenging. However, the most important piece of advice I can give is to find a support system. Find people you trust that you can talk with about what you are going through and are able to help you if you are struggling. They can be family members, close friends, or even total strangers who are willing to lend an ear. One resource that I have found particularly helpful is an app called Lyftly. This app allows you to make posts for other users to see. You can stay anonymous or show your name. What I like about it is it allows you to get your thoughts and feelings out into the air without the worry of being judged. Sometimes people offer advice or just let you know that you are not alone. You can also make journal entries that only you can see so you can keep track of your thoughts throughout the day. Research has also been a big help to me. Reading about all the different sexualities out there not only helped me find myself but made me more knowledgeable about my community. Knowledge is never a bad thing to have, and it can help yourself or others who may be going through a similar situation.
Self-reflection can be hard. Finding yourself can be hard. But, it’s getting through the hard things that make everything better. Knowing who you are, being confident with yourself and your identity is a powerful feeling, but it takes time. You’re not expected to know everything about yourself as a teenager; it’s normal to be an adult and to have no clue who you are. What is important is that you are taking time for yourself- time to think and reflect. If you are happy with who you are at that moment, that's all that matters.
I hope you have an amazing day!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.