Shanna

I was born into the Mormon church, and from a very young age, lessons began on the requirements of being a “good Mormon girl.” In exchange for my obedience, I was told that I would live with my family on our own planet after the resurrection and judgement. One of the many requirements was getting married in the temple. We sang songs about how we were going to all to the temple and get married. There were so many lessons girls had about this- writing letters to our future husbands, trying on wedding dresses as teenagers, homemaking skills, and much more. At the time, I fully believed everything I was taught, and tried my hardest to follow it all. As long as I had enough faith and followed all the rules, I was guaranteed to get a husband who would promise to be mine, even after death.

I remember as a teenager how easy it was for me to keep the church’s Law of Chastity. I didn’t have sexual fantasies, and I didn’t have any desire to date. I didn’t feel attraction to anyone beyond finding a couple of boys pleasing to look at. I wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend until I was 18 anyways, so it didn’t really bother me. I did think that my classmates were a little overboard with their sexual desires, but I also thought they’d all calm down after high school. Meanwhile, I was constantly praised for being such a chaste, virtuous young lady. I felt like I was on the correct path to getting my forever husband.

My first semester in college was when it all changed. I was making new friends who were constantly questioning why I wasn’t dating. They weren’t mean about it. They cared and felt like they were helping. I was constantly told that everyone feels sexual attraction and that if I just tried it, I’d like it. At the same time, my church was constantly telling me that I needed to get a boyfriend quickly. I was told over lessons that if I didn’t get married in the temple, I wouldn’t go to heaven as my parents’ daughter or my sister’s sibling- I would be a servant to them, while they would be gods. I searched and searched hoping that wasn’t what the official stance of the church was. I cried when I found out that my leadership was correct. Not only that, but I was pressured into going to church with the young single adults at their chapel. I knew that meant that I was being sent to be paired up because something was wrong with me.

I was desperate, feeling broken, and threatened at the thought that I would be nothing to my family in the afterlife. I picked the first guy who looked handsome to me and latched on. I confused aesthetic attraction with sexual attraction because that was the only kind I had felt before. My new boyfriend picked up on my insecurities and used me like a toy. I felt like I hadn’t been faithful enough to God and that I was broken, and that I was being punished for it. His favorite thing was to choke me during sex and call me dirty and filthy. I once had enough courage to tell him that I wasn’t in the mood. He reminded me that if he wasn’t happy, he’d leave. I would be alone, and even if I somehow managed to get another boyfriend, that boyfriend would expect sex too. I put up with it all because I thought that was what I deserved for not being sexual enough.

Eventually, after a pregnancy scare, I left. I felt like if I didn’t feel safe having a child with him, maybe I shouldn’t risk my safety either. I tried a couple of more times and having a boyfriend and even had a friends with benefits deal to try to cure myself, but those didn’t work out.

I had heard the term “asexual” a couple of times after my first boyfriend, but I had sex before, and had been sexually attracted to my friend with benefits for a very short while. I thought that meant that I couldn’t be asexual and didn’t remove my feeling of being completely alone. A very good friend of mine told me to actually research it and see if I fit in somewhere. She sent me to asexuality.org, where I found out that graysexuality was a thing, and part of the ace spectrum. I cried so hard that night. I had found my home. I wasn’t alone. I had a community across the globe that was mine. I didn’t have to have sex or try to cure myself, and many had similar experiences along the way that understood. I hope that people who need to find us are able to. Love to you all.