I’m not sure if I’m asexual or if I’m just a virgin.
Since I’ve never had sex, it’s difficult for me to determine whether I experience sexual attraction at all. How does one distinguish sexual attraction from plain old regular attraction? Or maybe you’re not supposed to be able to distinguish them? In that case, I’m almost certain I’ve rarely experienced sexual attraction. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t know what I’m missing. Maybe once I’ve had it once I’ll all of a sudden want to jump everyone’s bones, you know to make up for lost time. I’ll be a maniac! …Because I’m sure that happens. In all seriousness, I doubt it’ll happen that way for me. I’ve never been a sexual person (obviously), and I don’t see that changing if and when I actually do have sex, but does that make me asexual?
I have only just barely exposed myself to the concept of asexuality, but in my understanding it is the lack of sexual attraction. You can be physically, emotionally, romantically attracted to someone, but generally you’re not interested in sex, at least not as the ultimate act of intimacy. Sometimes that attraction may manifest in the act of having sex, and sometimes not. Some asexual folks may have sex on a semi-regular basis; some may not have it at all. Like everything in this big queer world, asexuality lies on a spectrum. Anyway, for a few months I’ve been wondering if the term applies to me. My sister wisely advised me not to get too “bogged down with ontological worries of but now who/what am I? just let it happen.” Words to live by, for sure, but it is so hard to do in practice. She also asked me, when I expressed my doubts, if I had ever been sexually attracted to someone. She is also a virgin, and so I chuckled, “Well, have YOU?” She said yes, of course she had. That made me really think, had I ever been sexually attracted to someone? The fact that I couldn’t immediately give a definitive answer speaks volumes, I think.
Had I ever really been sexually attracted to someone? I thought back to all the crushes I’d had in the past. None of them were really sexually driven. And the few hookups I’d had were even less so. That alone doesn’t necessarily make me asexual, but I guess I’m thinking more of asexuality as a lack of sexual attraction, not a lack of the actual act of having sex. So for me, I may end up having sex and it may be great, but until that happens, my interactions with people I am potentially attracted to are generally not sexually driven. But again, is that just because I am a virgin who, by society’s standards, is older than is typical? The bottom line is that I’ve been wondering if maybe the whole time I thought I was just a prude or inexperienced, I really was just asexual.
I also feel a bit ridiculous because for a while before this I identified as pansexual. To go from pansexual to being asexual seems a little silly, almost like a 180. “Pan-” means “all” and “a-”means “non” or “lack of,” so linguistically I went from being attracted to all people, to being attracted to no one. That is not totally accurate, but it doesn’t make me feel any less foolish. The way I understand it, pansexuality is more about attraction, be it sexual, romantic, emotional, while asexuality is specifically about sexual attraction. Using those definitions, it’s possible to be both pansexual and asexual, even though it sounds impossible.