I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about coming out, especially as a cis-gendered straight person. Even though I’ve known and identified as asexual for a few years, in my mind I still saw it as “I’m still attracted to men, thus socially acceptable, so what’s the point?” But I’ve talked to a lot of my queer friends who’ve encouraged me that being ace is still an important part of the queer community, and you know I’m a sucker for a good “representation matters” story.
As I thought about being ace and coming out more, I started paying attention to the ways that I had to explain asexuality to people. My go-to is thinking of it as a mixing board where each type of attraction is a volume control. I started thinking of the different terms I’ve been hearing about attraction (sexual, romantic, aesthetic, etc) in new ways and wished I’d always had this kind of vocabulary to explain myself and how I felt. So that’s the main reason I decided to actually “come out” today, or as I actually did it, “make a lengthy social media post in a desperate grab for likes from my peers.”
It’s National Coming Out Day and I wanted to kinda elaborate where I fall into that (mostly because I’m sad that I pitched this personal essay and no one took me up on it.) So the tldr: the best way to describe me *at the moment* is asexual queer romantic.
The FULL description is—
“Attraction” means a lot of things, and each one is a spectrum; or as I think of it, Attraction is a mixing board like what you see in recording studios and each little thing is a volume control. There’s a lot of different kinds (ask and I’ll send you info!) but for me there are three: sexual, romantic, and aesthetic.
Sexual (my score 0-1): What you think it is, pretty much—sex. And other physical manifestations 😑 So for me, sex (or even small stuff like general physical nearness) just freaks me out. This was a big one for me to put together, hence why I identify as ace first and foremost.
Romantic (my score 6-7): The emotional side of things, the kdrama, nicholas sparks stuff. I get crushes on people and would Potentially maybe like to be in a relationship (someday???) 🤷🏻♀️ The “queer romantic” part is new(!) for me in that I might have Very Recently realized that maybe I feel this way for certain not-men too. If a straight line is 180 degrees, I’m at about 150 rn.
Aesthetic (my score 10000001+): It’s the way you’re drawn to how certain people look and I REALLY LIKE PRETTY PEOPLE, GENDER KNOWS NO BOUNDS. It’s like 75% of the reason why I like kpop. Crazy Rich Asians was just alarm bells in my head the whole time. Gemma Chan??? Chris Pang?? 😍So there are times when I’ll see someone and think “wow i love them” but it’s really “wow i just want to look at them.”
SO all of that is to say I easily notice cute people, and would maybe want to date them, but I never want to sleep with them.
Anyways, I wanted to explain this so people who might not be familiar with all the terminology might be able to articulate how they feel a little easier. Learning these terms and gray areas existed changed everything because I finally had the words to explain how I felt. If you have any questions, ask! 🖤💜❤️
PS: resources and articles that I’ve found over the years that have really helped:
“Asexual and Happy,” an essay from the New York Time’s Modern Love.
“The Invisible Orientation,”by Julie Sondra Decker; this book is a go-to in the ace community, and one of my personal faves as a reference and guide.
“Asexual, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation,” a guide/ list of terms form the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
“Aesthetic attraction and being on the asexual spectrum,” an essay from Archer Magazine.
“5 Affirmations for Asexual People Struggling with Self-Acceptance,” a helpful read from Everyday Feminism.
“Here’s What It Means When Your Romantic and Sexual Orientations Are Different,” another one from Everyday Feminism.