Last year I wrote an article entitled “Gay, Straight, Or In Between: The Honest Truth About My Sexual Orientation.” The piece focused on my confused feelings about sexuality, and in it I hinted at the possibility of being asexual, which is something I’ve continued to question in the following months. I haven’t been with anyone romantically or sexually since publishing that post, and for the most part I have enjoyed the freedoms associated with being completely abstinent and single. Focusing my mental energy on personal pursuits rather than sex or dating has been very rewarding and clarifying.

I would be lying, however, if I said that that my path toward self-discovery has been any easy one. In many ways I feel like I’m back where I started when I first came out as gay. I can’t stop thinking about the time my mom told me she was afraid that I wouldn’t get to have a normal life because of my sexual orientation. She was afraid that people would treat me poorly because I was different, and the reality is that I have been treated poorly at times. Being a minority is scary and difficult, and it’s nearly impossible not to internalize the negative feelings that stem from being different. When I first came out I spent a lot of time thinking about how being gay would make my life harder. I thought about how I couldn’t have children naturally, about how my children could get bullied for having a gay parent, and how there would always be people who hated me just for being me. At some point, I got over most of those negative feelings, but now that I am less secure in my sexual identity I can feel them resurfacing.

The reality is that sex is a driving force for humanity. Most people believe true happiness is finding your soulmate, getting married, and settling down with kids. It’s scary and alienating to feel like that’s something you can never have. When I identified as fully gay I could dream of finding someone and settling down in a world that was slowly coming around to a new idea of normal.

Things aren’t that easy for someone who is asexual though. I know most people need to be sexually satisfied, and I’m not naive enough to expect someone to want to stick around if they’re sexual needs aren’t being satisfied. Imagine trying to enter relationships with people and having to tell them that you will never view them sexually or desire them sexually. Odds are if you’re reading this you’d run away from that situation in a second. It’s terrifying to think that I’ll end up alone because I can’t offer what most people need at a fundamental level; it’s terrifying to think there’s something not right with me.

I am not fully identifying as asexual because I don’t know for sure who I am or what I really want. Self-discovery takes time. It’s possible that I’m going through a phase and that one day I’ll want to have sex or be in a relationship. I’m not interested in getting married or settling down anytime soon, so I don’t think my sexual feelings are something that need to be addressed right now.

As a twenty-something, I have so many other things to worry about to focus on my sexual orientation. I’m not writing this article because I want to depress people or reveal the inner turmoil within me; I’m writing it because I feel like there are people out there who feel alone and invisible in the ways that I do. Some people are fully comfortable in their sexual identity, but not all of us are, and so many things people take for granted are things other people struggle with on a daily basis. I know I have so much more to offer than just sex or romance, but at times I do feel out of place. I’m not entirely sure how to get over those feelings. I have time to figure it out though.

Anyways, this article was super depressing, so let’s end with a quote:

‘Sex is interesting, but it’s not totally important. I mean it’s not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.”- Charles Bukowski