So what’s it like to be friends with someone who is Asexual? (And, just to be fair, I am speaking about me as a person, not making comments about Aces as a whole).
Anyone who has ever actually met me will tell you right off the bat that I’m different. Different how? “I don’t know. Just different.” I am many contradictions. For all that I live in a hierarchical world of rules, I tend to not do what I’m told, but I also have one of the stronger senses of ethical reasoning. For all that I keep mostly to myself, I’m actually one of the most generous, big-hearted people I know. I’d like to think that being friends with me is pretty neat.
A lot of my friends and the people I interact with are married. I’m pretty sure I’m friends with them for who they are, but I think that most of them being married is actually really balancing for me in a lot of ways. There’s no confusion about wanting to hook up or be anything other than friends or people who join each other for a meal every now and then. This concept seems a lot less clear to the spouses of my friends. It’s more frustrating for me because whoever I’m hanging out with knows beyond any doubt that I seek out their company because I enjoy hanging out with them, but if their spouse happens to be the same sex as me, their spouse tends to go into all sorts of weird, jealous behavior. While I do understand where the spouse is coming from, usually the miscommunication happens because the spouse has never met me. Once they do, things usually clarify that I really am disinterested in sexual relations. So while I don’t exactly go around telling people who I’m Ace, it’s apparently very obvious in the way I conduct myself that sexual relations have no value to me.
It used to be that people would meet me and assume that I was/am gay. And my coworkers still might think that because I never talk about it. I discourage them very vocally from discussing anything relating to sex, physical attractiveness, or other things that I feel have no place in a professional work environment, but I really don’t think they realize that’s my view on all sexual innuendos. They probably think I’m gay because I always stop them from talking about how hot they find certain chicks by talking about males in the same shallow and derogatory fashion in which they constantly discuss females, but my comments never come out sounding as though I’m doing anything other than working to make them uncomfortable (which works). Asexuality is something that appears to be such a foreign concept to so many people that I often either don’t purposefully tell people that I’m Asexual or I even wind up giving up on attempting to explain what it means to those people I do tell.
I witnessed an online genre fiction discussion today wherein the suggestion was made that perhaps all genre stories should have some sort of romantic element because a lot of fanfiction has a lot of romantic stories, which means the readers aren’t getting the romance they want, even out of their action-adventure or space-horror novels. I tried to articulate that there are people out there who don’t want or need sexual or romantic interests in their stories. Sometimes, you really do just want to see giant robots fighting giant monsters. But Asexuality is still a cloak of invisibility.
What’s it like to be Asexual?
It means that when I have a super rough day, I want to play Super MarioKart or watch hilarious movies. It means that I value people for who they are and not what they look like or their perceived attractiveness. It means that I’ll kidnap extremely handsome athletic jock-types and force them to get burgers, chat over frozen yogurt, browse used bookstores, and watch animated movies with me. And once all that is done, I will expect a friendly hug and I will continue on my way.
It means that I am more comfortable around people who will never hit on me.
It means that I get to be grateful to everyone in my life. I get to say, “Thank you” and never have to justify it.
It means that I get to be honest with all the people in my life and to express how much each and every one of them means to me and how much I love them. It means that I get to actually tell people, “I love you” and completely mean it without any need for anything other than their continued presence in my life.
But it also means that I have different levels of love in my life, just like anyone else. I love all my friends and family, but I am also capable of stronger, deeper, break-your-soul love. Just because I have no interest in sexual relationships does not mean that I lack the capability to fall in love. So I guess the hard part about being Ace and loving everyone is that someone I love as a part of me might not see themselves as special because I love everyone.
But overall? I’d say being friends with an Asexual like me is actually a really fantastic thing 🙂