From the inbox #694

“I grew up in a Christian family my whole life. Everyday I am constantly reminded of God and His love. I was taught how to live the ‘true’ Christian way and to be a ‘respectable’ one.
But as I grew, I was also told to not get into relationships quickly. And of course, I didn’t. Not because I was raised with the mindset.
But because I didn’t /feel/ it.
As a child, I was a huge geek. And therefore silent since everyone around me in school were ‘preppy’. One time, two of my friends dragged me around the school hallways, stalking two of our male classmates. Every time one of the boys would turn, they’d pull me along to hide. I didn’t understand why. So I asked soon enough, “Why are we hiding?”. They gave me a really surprised look, as if I didn’t know something that was obvious. They told me they had a crush on them, and I asked again on why would they hide if they just like them? I mean, we like each other too, then why are we not hiding from each other? That was what I pondered about when I was young, and it was left unanswered until a few years later. I noticed how from every film and book I read or game I play, everyone has their own favorite character, simply because they fell in love with them. For me, although, it was only a matter of the interest of seeing a character struggle and grow that makes them my favorite. Which is then my friends would look at me strangely, because obviously, my reason was a ‘lie’ to them.
Moving on to more years later, I was questioned by a group of girls if I ever gotten into a relationship. I said no, I didn’t. They then asked if I had a crush on someone. I’d always say no, and they would always give me that glance of doubt.

“You’re lying”
“Oh really now? Not even once?”
“What, you’re gay?”

It…. Hurts to feel alienated because of that. Because of how I confused many, I explained my situation. But I always get the same response..

“Stop assuming.”
“Impossible. You’ll find the right one someday.”
“I’m betting 300 bucks you will get married in the future.”
“Pfft, stop being in denial.”

Because of that perception, I grew afraid of even answering such questions. To the point someone talks to me about getting into a relationship, getting married, having a family. I get sick. I feel sick, a churning in my stomach and the spinning of my head. There are times I just breakdown upon the topic.

Because of that. I was always the ‘weird’ one. The liar. I can’t even go up to speak to someone of the opposite gender without people yelling out that I’m interested in them, and that I was lying all the time.

Coming to the age of 16 as well, my parents and family would unknowingly throw me into pressure and anxiety when they say things like:

“When you become a parent..”
“When you marry…”
“Do you have a boyfriend yet?”
“In time, your partner will come..”

I get dizzy. With the only thought being forced to my head by the people around me saying

“If you don’t get a partner, you will suffer a life alone.”

That was the only term that repeated in my head. Again and again.
And I was afraid. Because I had never once taken both sexual and romantic interest on anyone. I don’t feel it at all. And that made me feel abnormal.

One day during my health class in junior high, I knocked down one of my books and fell open. Upon picking it up, I read through the open content.

There were three sexualities listed. I always thought there were only two. And so I read on.

Heterosexual
Homosexual
Asexual

My eyes pinned on the term ‘asexual’. And that’s when I believed I must be under this sexuality. So, when I got home, I decided to search about it. Research about it. Ponder about it. And I was soon introduced to so many other genders and sexualities that I have not even heard of.

I had felt… So relieved. And I am glad I’ve come across people in the same situation as me. It’s good to know I’m not alone, and that I was never abnormal.

I believe this is the way God made me. And to represent an image of what is also ‘human’.

I don’t care anymore on how much the people around me pressure me. Or say that I’m delusional and in the wrong. For someone who does not feel this freedom I have, I give no right for theird words to pierce me once more”

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From the inbox 588

“What’s the difference between a crush and a squish? I’m pretty sure I’m ace and anyway, there’s this girl that I’ve been hanging out with, and I really like her and I’ve been having feelings that are along the lines of ‘I want her to notice me/care about me/be close friends with me’. It’s different to how I feel about my other friends but I’m not sure if it’s a crush or a squish or something else. Thoughts?”

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From the inbox #472

“Hey, I know a non-romantic crush is generally called a squish, but is there a word for non-romantic flirting? Like, I’m actively courting this person’s friendship but I don’t want to date them?”

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From the inbox #463

“‘m starting to have feelings I’ve never had before for someone. I’m asexual and I guess sex repulsed as well, but I think I have a crush on this guy. He hasn’t left my mind since taking to him a few weeks back. I’m afraid it’s doomed to fail though. I’m a guy and he’s gay I think, but I’m afraid he’ll find the asexual thing odd or worse, hate me for it. And what’s odd about this is I don’t know him to much yet, so why do I feel this way? And what do I do about telling my friends. I don’t think they’ll hate me but I’m afraid of that change, and I’m inexplicably afraid that they’ll just assume I’m gay and it’s just this emotional feeling I’ve never felt before. I’m not sure I have any idea what I’m even talking about 😞

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From the inbox #456

“I also had a journey of IDing bisexual at first… so when I was around 12 I had made a really good female friend and by now (17 y/o) we are even closer and get physical sometimes. By then she was pretty stuck in her mother perception of how the world has to be and I introduced her to terms like bisexuality and shocked her as I told her I dreamed about kissing her once. She said it was cool with her as long as o didn’t actually kiss her because she didn’t want to kiss anyone and despite not being stiff any more (I have to pat my own shoulder here, I shocked her enough to get her freaky like me) she hasn’t had any crushes or so on.
So I shoved it back into my mind that i was probably bisexual and only had crushes on guys and her. I was nervous around some dudes, I was excited and seen from my perspective now that was only because NO ONE wanted contact with me except for some Individuums.
As I went on my gender-journey I also started a LDR with a wonderful person who introduced me to practical sex for the first time, even tho I was “used” to smutty fanfictions by the time already.
We were together for over a year as they asked me to finally have sex, I was a virgin, was excited and we had “starting problems”.
I think me being overly excited because of my first relationship and being overwhelmed by the new experiences was why I didn’t realise I didn’t finde them attractive. In that way.
Idk if really never found them sexually appealing but it makes sense and explains why I was extremely shy even after it wasn’t that new to me.
So you see, especially at young age (who am I to judge with my 17 years) you easily confuse sexual and romantic attraction.
I didn’t even know you can split those two up!!
And I only knew about homo-, hetero- and bisexuality at the age of 15 so I figured I must be bi because I felt men and women equally sexy… not at all to be exact.

Asexuality spectrum identities were literally the latest I discovered! I knew about pan, poly, heteroflexible etc. since last year and only discovered the actual definition of asexuality over tumblr recently.
I found out how huge the ace-umbrella actually is and that you can describe so many orientations.
I know that might not be necessary but to me personally it’s a good, a warm feeling to share a flag with other people.
Like… flags always mean you are connected in some way, may it be national or political or from some organisations/clubs. And it’s a good feeling to know I am not alone.

Like (yes, imma huge marvel-cinema-geek) Charles said to Erik “You are not alone.”
It’s good to be not alone and to have a point/person/page to turn to and I wish you all the best and hope you find happiness as you are.
Self-discovering is a journey you might not know when it ends, but every step towards your true self is a good step, a powerful step in the right direction.
And I hope all of you, my ace-spec siblings are safe and warm somewhere over the holidays and for the future we all face.
I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart. ❤️💛💚💙💜

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From the inbox #453

“Okay, so I have a crush on one of my friends, but she has a boyfriend. It also really crushes my spirts because she’s pan, so I might actually have a chance (bigender fam), and her current boyfriend is also ace, so I know that’s not an issue. 😞 What do I do?!”

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From the inbox #450

“My Ace Story (Sorry, this gets pretty long!)

Seeing so many people send in their story made me want to send mine, so hope it’s not wrong of me to do so. There’s nothing particularly sad about it, I think.

So ever since I was around…somewhere between 4 and 7, I knew I never wanted children. Children were a hassle. And I thought sex was super gross (hell I still do) so that kinda took out a crucial piece if I wanted them to be 100% mine. People regarded getting married and having children so highly, I thought I was weird because I never really wanted that.

I felt a little alienated because I never wanted sex and I was always ‘putting off’ dating. In elementary school I was like ‘I’ll get my education, that’s most important’. Middle school was that, amended with waiting until college. Then I got to college, and I realized I didn’t want to at all. Especially because I go to college out of town with thousands of people that don’t live there either, and long distance relationships did not appeal to me.

I was part of the whole ‘no one would ask to date me seriously, they must be joking to mess with me’ club. I got asked by three people, two who were very good friends at the time and one who was a year above me asking me to prom. The first two I was too close to, and the third I thought was a joke, especially since that class saw me as ‘the smart girl scared of bugs’ (separate story). Point is, I was made fun of in that class so I assumed this guy (who I didn’t know very well outside of this class) was asking me as a joke. There wasn’t much he knew of me either. But there was another problem that came from that: I wasn’t…interested in being a date.

I don’t like most social gatherings, whether I know most people there or not. That’s always been true. I didn’t even go to my senior prom (junior prom got taken away my sophomore year because of the juniors so I didn’t have to worry about). But going alone didn’t appeal to me, and the thought of going as a date was a sour thought too. That was one of my first hint that dating wasn’t a thing for me.

Another of my hints came from this crush I had for 2 or 3 years. It was the last crush I ever had, but in the middle of that, a very close friend of mine had a crush on him as well. My mom insisted that it would destroy our then 5+ year friendship (which it didn’t), but I thought it was fine. She ended up confessing for me and her one day in a class the three of us shared that we both had interest in being his girlfriend (I was too shy and this was the only crush I ever even attempted to gain favor with). When she came back and told me that (which is not what I asked her to do), I protested. The reason was because I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. I just wanted him to know I liked him and that was it. Two(?) things had occurred to me at that point: that I had felt the same about every crush I had prior, and that being in a relationship was never my end goal. I thought that was normal up to that point but that was really when I started questioning myself.

Fast forward to sophomore year of college (I believe): I’m standing in line at school to wait for an event. I was talking to a pretty close friend, and while waiting we got on the topic of love lives (which neither of us really had). The things she was saying really sounded like what I had been going through, and she mentioned that she was asexual. Suddenly the years of being confused, feeling weird…made perfect sense. And it was that simple. I’m asexual. It made me feel much better. I was 19 and I finally knew more about myself. I’d been telling myself I was heterosexual because other than not actually wanting to have sex, I did like males. I had no proof to anything contrary. But now I knew.

Fast forward a few months. On a trip either back to school or back home, I’d expressed to my mother how I felt. She was totally fine with me being ace, and said it made perfect sense when I explained it to her. I also expressed disinterest in dating, and she thought she was to blame. She hadn’t had any relationship that ended well since I was born, which included my dad. It had nothing to do with her, it was just…how I felt. She even agreed to me after I explained why I didn’t like dating, that she might be the same. That made me feel better.

Something that made dating more unappealing was a show based on true events called Fatal Attraction. For those don’t know, it’s where relationships end because someone in the relationship gets killed, either by the other partner in the relationship, or someone outside (such as but not limited to an ex) was jealous and took matters into their own hands. As if dating wasn’t already unappealing, it was also SCARY AS HELL. It may be a little risk, but considering my orientation in such a sex-driven society, it was a pretty high risk for me. Especially after hearing how it ends for people who reject interested parties. That cemented how much I didn’t want to date.

Fast forward again to around a month or so ago. I was connecting with more people I knew that I hadn’t known were ace. Knowing more ace people made me feel happier and happier (I make it a point to high five anyone I meet that’s a fellow ace). Then I found out one of my friends is ace/aro. I hadn’t (knowingly) met anyone aromantic, so I finally had a chance to know more about it. So I asked her, and it seemed to resonate with me some, but I was still debating with myself. I hadn’t had a crush since my crush from high school transferred senior year, and that had been just fine with me for the past near 5 years. I had to evaluate with myself, did that mean I wasn’t attracted to people anymore?

I had never wanted to date people. Every time I thought about it, my mind hit a roadblock somewhere. I love hugging but that’s as far as my physical affection ever went and ever wanted to do. I didn’t want to risk someone who wanted sex you know, /killing/ me. I had no goal for it, and I realized that dating had never 100% appealed to me. And I’ve only ever liked people in an aesthetic sense. Platonic relationships are amazing to me. I love having friends (I even have a friend I’m pondering if she’s a platonic soul mate, but I don’t want to tell her at risk of weirding her out. I might just be overthinking it. We’ve still never met in real life.)

So at age 21, I realized I was likely aromantic. For a while, I thought I was lithromantic (Since it’s attraction without desire of having it returned) but after a while I just…didn’t think of anyone past ‘Oh you’re attractive, but I don’t want to date you’. I still think that about anybody. Gender stopped mattering when I was told it’s ok to think anyone’s attractive (You would think I wouldn’t have to be told but when you grow up in a household where homosexuality is frowned upon by the adults, your primary thought is ‘I don’t want to see what happened if I break that unspoken rule’. Hooray Christian upbringing!). Until I find something that makes more sense, that’s what I’ve thought.

Now I’m 22 (yes, my birthday was in that past month) and happily declare I’m ace/aro. If I don’t claim who I am happily, who else will? I’ve got to accept me for me. Sorry this was literally all over the place. It feels nice to tell someone without it being linked back to specifically me. I will continue to live my life as ace/aro, happy to be not-single (I hate the term single, it implies you want that status to change) and happy to be me!”

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From the inbox #423

“Hello everyone. Is it okay if I have a moment of sharing with you even if I don’t get much of a response? I just don’t really have anyone to talk to about it. So, there’s this guy that works at the grocery store I frequent here. I’ve always thought he was pretty cute and fun to look at, but that’s all I thought about it. However, yesterday, he smiled at me for the first time. I know my face turned red after that lol. I kept thinking about his smile all day afterward, and it made me smile. It made my heart beat faster too. I even went as far as thinking of cuddling with him in bed last night. I know how foolish that sounds. I don’t even know the first thing about him. I don’t know his name or if he has a partner already. For all I know, he could be a complete jerk. Though, someone who wears a Santa hat with Yoda ears can’t be all bad, can they? Lol. I think this is the first legitimate crush I’ve ever had before. It feels weird, but it also leaves me feeling down. Being that I’m a sex repulsed asexual, that alone makes me feel it’s already doomed. I feel so stupid for finding my first interest in a complete stranger with whom I’ve only ever shared glances with. I’ve never had a relationship before either, and I don’t think I’d be able to handle one. So, when it comes down to it, I’m just feeling like a hopeless idiot right now, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t even feel brave enough to go back in the store. Lol. I’m such a loser. But if anyone has any advice or their own experiences that they could share, I think that would help me not feel so bad.”

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From the inbox #419

“Hello!
I’m working on a project about different types of attractions. Maybe you guys can help me figure out the difference in a crush and a squish. I mean I know what they are but I’m trying to figure out a simple way to explain a squish to someone who hasn’t had a squish and a crush to someone who hasn’t had a crush.”

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From the inbox #391

“Basically, I’m asexual panromantic, and this guy recently caught my eye, his name is Alex, I fell for him pretty hard, which is completely rare for me because I never fall for anyone, but, it seems my best gal pal did too, and it seems he may be a player, last time I hung out with him we made out and cuddled, but apparently when I left he chilled with my gal pal and kissed her cheek and said he liked her too, I don’t know what to do, this guy isn’t the type that I’d think would do that but I’m honestly kind of heartbroken, please note that my gal pal doesn’t know I made out with him or like him, I just don’t know anymore, any advice?”

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