From the inbox #503

“I’m a 17-year-old girl and so far I have never experienced any kind of attraction for anyone and I don’t really feel any desire to pursue a relationship with someone. Honestly I don’t mind not feeling attraction to anyone right now, but sometimes I wish I could get those “butterflies” my friends get when they like someone” when they have a crush. Despite not being interested in love, when it comes to fictional stories (in books, series, movies etc.) I absolutely love romance. I like thinking about two characters building a strong bond between them, caring for one another, having sex and so on. I like to imagine it as some sort of “everlasting unconditional love”. But when it comes to real life, I could never picture myself having that, I can’t see myself having that type of bond with someone. Maybe I’m just skeptical, when I think about divorces, break-ups or not genuine relationships it makes me believe that that sort of connection is not possible in real life at all. Perhaps that’s the reason why I like shipping fictional characters, in my mind that love lasts forever.”

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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 #343

“So I’ve been an asexual since early teens (I never knew it was a thing back then but ever since I discovered it I’ve been using that term). My parents don’t understand this at all (I haven’t “come out” to them and even if I did, they just wouldn’t be able to grasp the concept of it) and whilst I respect them and everything they do, they keep telling me that I should look for someone to get married to. The problem is that I’m not interested in guys (which is what they want me to go after), if I had to date anybody, I’d rather it be a girl. Aside from that, I don’t know what I can do to get them away from all of this, I’ve refused and told them no, they would never force me to get married but it’s just so tiring having to deal with it day in and day out. Plus, they would never accept me if I did get with a girl, so my only option is to force myself to like a guy (which there is no chance), or deal with this until I move out. Anyone got any advice on what I can do? (I’m 21 and I do have a part time job as a teacher if anyone wants specific details). Thank you!”

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From the inbox #339

“I’m not sure if I’m the only one but sometimes, I feel like I really do NOT want people around me, naturally, I just want to be alone. I never really wanted marriage or kids or even anyone living with me. I’m almost 20 and my parents would tell me that I haven’t found the right guy yet, Actually, I did find a guy that I was interested in BUT I didn’t like the idea of having those kinds of dreams with him. The thought of those stuff honestly makes me feel uncomfortable, I do not know if this is normal. Am I the only person that feels this way?”

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From the inbox #185

“I am an aro ace who has absolutely zero interest in dating. I have tried it many times before, and every time, I find it to be extremely uncomfortable and hurt the other person instead. My friends all know this, and they all respect me for who I am, but it didn’t stop one of them from developing a crush on me. He told me (after letting it fester for a while) and I made it very clear that I was not open for business and probably never would be.

So you’d think, problem solved, right?

Well, not quite. This little crush he had, it grew into something more. He has told me that he’s had crushes before, but they are nothing like this. This is something else, something strong. And I am NOT RECIPROCATING IN THE LEAST but it is still going. I feel like I’m torturing him just by existing, and we both feel powerless to stop it. He has already contacted Aven, but they didn’t help much (just told him to stop feeling that way which is not helpful in the least) so I thought I’d turn to you guys for help. Any thought would be appreciated!”

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From the inbox #78

“Hi! Sorry to jump this on you. But what does it mean to be bi-romantic asexual? Since I grew up in an orthodox family (not Christian), I always thought I was ashamed of sex, or terrified or grossed out by sex. But I am 23, a virgin, with no intention of sleeping with anyone. I haven’t gone out with people purely because I would have to sleep with them if things got serious. I don’t know if this is because of my sexuality of my ‘opinions’ on it. But the thought of sleeping with someone has always made me very uncomfortable. The idea of asexuality is comforting because it is a spectrum as well. Has anyone experienced this? Can anyone relate? What advice do you have? Thanks in advance <3

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From the inbox #56

“Hi. My name is Betsy and I’m a 21 year old asexual. Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’m aromantic also. The only times I’ve had a boyfriend is when my mom really wants me to, because I don’t want one. I had crushes when I was little, I really like some fictional characters and I know when people are attractive, but I just don’t want a relationship with them. I want children someday, though, and have considered using a surrogate when the time comes. No one in my family seems to really understand, but I just don’t know if I could feel romantic love. What do you guys think?”

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From the inbox #47

TW Sexual abuse

“Hi, how do I know if I’m ace or just suffering from an anxiety disorder/abuse? I’ve been sexually abused when I was younger but I’m over it now.
I don’t date, I don’t wish to date because of the problems involved.
I hardly ever masturbate, but when I do, I feel disgusted.
However, I can spend a lot of time reading erotica or a smut comic. Not porn, that looks like rape to me.
Help please!”

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