I have been putting off writing this post essentially the entire time this blog has been in existence, as this is a topic very close to my heart and I have so, so much to say, more than can be properly conveyed in a single post. The Carnival of Aces for June was hosted by Dating While Ace and dealt with the spectrum of asexuality. One prompt was religious beliefs and experiences as a gray or demi person. Generally speaking, I don’t feel the need to specifically address my place on the asexual spectrum. When first coming to terms with my asexuality, finding a specific place on the spectrum and gluing myself there felt overwhelming, and so I decided not to do it and simply go with saying that I am asexual, which is true – I do not experience direction sexual attraction to anyone, ever. However, I do have a libido and experience arousal that is typically weak, but at times I imagine it is almost on par with what allosexuals experience. Having been raised in a relatively strict Christian household, it was hammered into the my head at home and at church that sex was only something for a man and a woman in the context of marriage, and that it was wrong to even *think* about the act if had to do with anyone but your spouse, and that even included between fictional characters. This type of restriction has caused me a lot of shame, and I’ve thought at many times that unless I kept my frustrating libido on a short, short leash (meaning, deny its existence) I was unworthy of God. When I was fifteen, I was tormented with the desire to fit in, namely to fit into the heterosexual box that society had stuffed me into. I had the incredibly messed up thought that if only I had a boyfriend I was madly attracted to, the depression I had been experiencing for the past two years would be magically cured and I would finally find myself acceptable. So, I read all the erotica I could get my hands on, dabbled in writing it – major clue that I was ace, after a certain point I found it boring and gross – and watched all the movies rated R for sexual content that the internet had to offer for free – yet another clue that I was ace, I never watched pornography in the midst of this because watching real people have real sex was always just too repulsive a thought to me. I was spiritually dead at this point in my life, though I went to church every Sunday with my parents and would tell anyone who asked that I was a Christian. The truth was, I was suppressing some major anger at God over how out of control my life felt, and self harm and attempting to make myself heterosexual were how I was dealing with it. At the back of my head, there was always a bit of guilt and more than a little shame. Looking back, I find it very interesting how closely linked self harm and trying to force heterosexuality on myself were. I identified as straight up until I was eighteen, and I began questioning between the ages of sixteen and seventeen, but even before, I think I knew deep down that there was something different about me, and just as I cut and verbally abused myself every time I was alone in my room and felt like crying – which was much of the time – trying to mold and exaggerate my tiny piece of sexuality became a form of self flagellation. Thank fully, I finally went to therapy and unlearned many of my self destructive behaviors, as well as self soothing techniques that I think will be helpful to me for the rest of my life. While self harm was a big topic in my sessions, I never brought up my feelings of inadequacy in regards to my sexuality, and the things I had done to try and change that. I think I was sixteen the first time I realized that, truly, I didn’t care all that much about sex. I wasn’t repulsed, but I personally had absolutely no desire to engage in it. It was when I was seventeen that I started to think I might be ace, but the imagine of an asexual in my head was a person repulsed by sex who had no desire for anything but strictly platonic relationships with people. To prove my straightness to myself, one night I decided I was going to fantasize about a real person for once. I chose an incredibly charismatic, aesthetically appealing guy from my drama class who 98% of the girls in the class had a crush on – the only girls who weren’t enthralled with him were only interested in other girls. As soon as I imagined the two of us naked and about to go at it, my mind recoiled. It was then that I became one huge ball of confusion in regards to my orientation. Questioning my straightness was what brought me back to God, after so many years of religion and shame. I remember when I was young, I listened to my pastor say that religion was manmade, a set of rules and regulations that served as an exhausting treadmill to run away from sin and toward God, but that when Jesus died on the cross he erased the need for it – that he was the bridge to a relationship with God, and that the way to live a righteous life was to walk with eyes turned upward and ears open. A relationship with God through Jesus was the way to eternal life, and the way to make life on earth worth while. That way of thinking made more sense to me as I got older, and I learned what it truly was to have a relationship with God – to thank Him for beautiful sunsets, to ask Him to be my joy in the midst of dark days, to ask Him to go before me into each day and fill me with His peace that surpasses understanding. My exploring my sexuality helped me find a relationship with Him, in the end. I remember sitting on my seldom used trampoline under the stars, my mind whirling with questions and all the information I had scoured the internet for an asexuality and silently asking my God if I was asexual. Everything inside me was silent for a moment, and then I was flooded with peace, surety, and quite voice saying that I was made this way, and it was nothing to stress over. I asked prayed the same prayer and continued receiving the same answer, and so I began rejoicing. I felt free, everything suddenly made sense. I still felt shame over the bizarre, unattached arousal I experienced, and continued to for quite some time, until one day I prayed a prayer of repentance and was met with not an angry deity ready to smite me, but a loving parent welcoming me into loving arms, saying this was a part of who I am, and that as long as I walk with Him and don’t let my thoughts consume me, I will be perfectly fine. I will admit, this God given part of me is an incredibly annoying, confusing part as nine out of ten times I am romantically attracted to woman and nine out of ten times my pesky libido is awakened by something having to do with a straight couple – though this may just have to do with the ratio of representation that same sex couples receive in media.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t ashamed of the more complex aspects of my sexuality, but where religion shames and shackles, my Jesus, my God, set me free. Sadly, the same church that taught me the difference between God and religion has slowly shifted into a place that is piling on religion to justify prejudices, and I no longer feel welcome there. It is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced, but I am slowly in the process of leaving the church I have attended since I was seven years old. Where man brings judgment and exclusion, my God brings healing and acceptance. As long as He holds my hand, I need nothing else.
I suppose the term that best describes my irritating assurances of disconnected arousal is aegosexuality, which is synonymous with autochorissexuality. The below link will provide more info if you’re interested:
Well, that was therapeutic and much, much longer than I thought it would be. This was a difficult topic to wirte about, but I’m extremely happy I did, though I know the vulnerability hangout will kick in as soon as I click publish. Oh well, if it provides comfort to one person who has gone or is going through something similar, it’s worth it.
Thanks for reading, until next time,
Keep on Aceing It!