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Freedom Requires Wings FRW The #1 QUILTBAG opinion blog on the web. We aim to open minds and help the queer community. News, blogs, video, worldwide suicide prevention and more. Worldwide

Peeking Out of the Asexual Closet

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Today, I want to talk about coming out. Specifically, coming out as asexual. As I’ve mentioned before, I have only come out to a select few people, mostly close friends, and only one person in my family. For a while, it didn’t really matter to me whether or not people knew I was asexual. In general, it doesn’t affect my day-to-day interactions with most people (other than my husband, of course). But as time goes on, I feel more and more strongly the desire to come out to the rest of my friends and family. I’ve always been honest to a fault, and it feels like I am lying to everyone by this glaring omission. The problem is, it’s not something that comes up organically in conversation. In order to come out to most of these people, I will have to actually start a conversation for the sole purpose of telling them that I am asexual. As of yet, I haven’t figured out a way to do this that isn’t completely awkward. I also haven’t really worked up the courage to try.

I’ve had friends try to boost my confidence by telling me that it’s just like if I were coming out as gay. NOT TRUE! Sex, for the majority of the population, is a basic need, along the same lines as food to eat or air to breathe. Evolutionarily speaking, sex is necessary to the survival of the species. So it’s one thing to tell, for example, your parents that you are sexually attracted to a different gender than they are. It’s quite another to tell them that you don’t experience sexual attraction at all. In the one case, they can still find a way to relate to you, because even though it’s directed towards a different gender, you still want to have sex. In the other case, it’s almost like you don’t belong in the species. It’s counter to evolutionary survival, and not only that, how can someone who needs sex relate to someone who doesn’t? I worry that my mom will think that she’s failed as a mom somehow, for me to end up this way. Obviously, I know that’s not how it works, and I know that logically she knows that too, but I still worry that she’ll FEEL that way, and I don’t want to be the cause of her feeling like she’s failed as a mother (which isn’t true at all!). In the past, when the topic of sex has come up (and while I haven’t told my mom that I’m asexual, she does know that I haven’t had sex), I’ve asked her why she’s so eager for me to have sex, and she’s responded with comments along the lines of, “I just don’t want you to miss out,” or “because it feels good, and I want you to have that.” So I’m very hesitant to tell her that I’m asexual, even though I’m pretty sure she already knows (moms are perceptive like that), because I don’t know if she’ll be able to relate to me at all anymore.

And this is just the struggle I’ve had in deciding whether to come out to my own mother. It gets even more complicated when I think about coming out to people outside of my immediate family.

If my mother-in-law wasn’t my husband’s mother, I think she’d be a perfect person to come out to. She’s an out lesbian who’s always been extremely vocal (including on public forums online) in her support of LGBTQ rights and advocacy. I think she would LOVE to know that I’m writing for this blog. And I think she’d enjoy reading my posts, as well as others. The problem is, because my husband is her son, I worry that she might react as his mother first, and all that other stuff second. That her fierce “mother bear” instincts will kick in, and she’ll be mad at me for not fulfilling her son’s needs, or something to that effect. The end result of all this is that I’ve been debating whether or not to come out to her for about three weeks (ever since I started writing for the blog). I’ve almost worked up the nerve to try a couple of times, but inevitably, I chickened out before I even started the conversation.

And she’s just one example. There are so many people – family, friends, even acquaintances – with whom I’d love to share my contributions to this blog. I think they would greatly enjoy reading it, and also be thrilled that I was out there, doing my part to contribute to and support the LGBTQ community. However, in order to share the blog with them, I would have to come out to them first. I briefly considered coming out by way of sending them a link to the blog, but my sister cautioned me against that, saying that it may come as a shock to some people, and they’d rather hear it from me directly than find out through a blog. I recognize the truth in that, so the dilemma remains.

I say all of this mostly as a way of processing my own struggle, but also, to hopefully let other closeted or semi-closeted asexuals (and others who identify anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, too) know that you’re not alone in your struggles. Hopefully someday soon, I’ll work up the courage to come out to the rest of the world. And when I do, I’ll be sure to report back on the results. For now, though, I’m still working on it. And even though it sometimes makes me frustrated with myself, I think it’s okay to not be ready. Coming out is something that each individual has to do on his or her own timetable, and clearly, it’s not my time yet. I really hope that I get there soon, though. Living with such a big secret is just not for me.
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