This guest post was originally written by Anonymous for the Carnival of Aces.
Let me preface this post by saying that I have told my immediate family, my three closest friends in the meatspace, two of my closest friends in the virtual space, one other friend, and two friends/acquaintances (with whom it came up in context), that I am asexual. I told different people for different reasons. My friends who know I am asexual are very helpful in having discussions with me about our society’s sexual and romantic norms, and these discussions help me try to understand things that would otherwise be a blank. My family, on the other hand, I was apprehensive about telling, but I was afraid their feelings would be hurt if they later discovered I had been positively identifying as asexual for some time. In retrospect, that might not have been the best reason, but their reactions were net positive, and now I can have helpful discussions with them, as well. I have, therefore, experience with telling people that I am asexual.
Now, I am in an odd position where the people closest to me know I am asexual, but the vast majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis do not. Offhand, I can think of at least two friends who might be either surprised, or hurt that I have told other people but not them; I can think of conversations that have gone oddly because the other participants assumed I had a working knowledge of sexual attraction and/or entered into society’s sexual and romantic norms, where I did not choose to enlighten them. This prompts the question, why haven’t I told my friends, and why don’t I explain to make conversations simpler?
There are multiple reasons. Sometimes, I worry that my friends’ reaction would make me think less of them, and would damage our bond for a while. Sometimes I’m just tired of explaining. The biggest reason, though, is usually apathy. I’ve told all the people to whom it really matters to me to tell, and now my sexual orientation has settled into the status of being just another fact about me that not everyone knows, like the fact that I’m a dancer or a scientist. Beyond that, I get annoyed at the idea that just because I am different from most of the population, I should feel the need to go around telling people so. My sexual orientation is just as much, if not more, part of my private identity as my public identity, and I like to keep private things private. I’m not ashamed of them, but they’re not everyone’s business, either.
I’m not going to lie to anyone, but neither am I necessarily going to tell them I’m asexual unless directly questioned or unless conversations are impossible to detangle otherwise. The longer I seem “normal,” the more normal asexuality will seem when I eventually am discovered as asexual; the less of a deal I make about it, the less likely other people are to see asexuality as something huge, something problematic, something pitied… or so I hope, anyway.
This is a position of privilege, I realize. I’m not homoromantic or biromantic, so I usually pass as heterosexual; I don’t live in a community where my lack of heteroromantic attachment has raised any eyebrows or put me in any danger. I’m neither trans nor genderqueer, so my gender identity, which is often perceived in tandem with one’s sexual orientation, is not under scrutiny. I am not saying the way I have publicized my asexuality, or my reasons for doing so, are good for or applicable to anyone else; I simply want to present another way of looking at the concept of “coming out.”