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Finding Asexuality

I identify as asexual, as you may or may not have noticed. This means, essentially, that I don’t experience sexual attraction towards anyone. It doesn’t mean that I am anti-sex or a person who shames people for having sex. Nor does it mean that I will never have sex or that I don’t have any sexual thoughts. In fact, asexuality can mean all sorts of things for different people, with the only constant factor being the lack of sexual attraction.

At least, that’s what I understand. Do let me know if I have anything off.

Asexuality isn’t the most well known sexual orientation. It wasn’t until I discovered tumblr that I ever heard the term asexual, along with demisexual and gray-asexual. Right away,it sort of clicked for me. I pretty much thought, “Well, maybe I am asexual.” But I rather dismissed that thought. There were a few reasons, I suppose, that I did. I didn’t want to accept that about myself. For some reason, asexuality had a sort of stigma around it that my already accepted pansexuality did not. I would never judge another person who identified as asexual, of course, but how one perceives and judges themselves is often different as how they perceive and judge others, I’ve found. Not only that, but I fantasized (and still do) about having sex, and I thought that invalidated asexuality for me (It’s doesn’t). Besides all that, I have a rather strong kinky side, and I am rather interested in BDSM. How could I be kinky and still be asexual? Of course, the answer is, I can.

It took a long time to figure out that I am asexual. I talked to someone who was kinky and ace. I followed a lot of asexual themed tumblrs and blogs. I supported asexuality, though I didn’t identify as it at the time. But it was at least a year before I revisited the topic of my own possible asexuality – rather inconveniently right in the middle of my first relationship. I didn’t handle it well, to say the least, but things worked out in the end.

Even then, though, I doubted myself quite a bit. There was no pride, in those firsts few weeks, in being ace. I felt like some kind of freak, like I would never be fulfilled. It didn’t help that the only two people I came out too didn’t exactly have positive reactions. One, my mother, thinks that I am too young to know that I am asexual. Not that she really understood the term. The other, my friend, informed me that sex is amazing, and that my opinion will change once I have it.

Not. Helpful.

This, not surprisingly, made me doubt myself even more. I didn’t know anyone on the asexual spectrum in real life, which was another factor. Mostly, though I was scared. Scared to admit that I wasn’t “normal.” Scared to think that I wasn’t even sure I knew what sexual attraction was.

Somehow, I’m not sure how, I managed to overcome my fear. I still have doubts, and I’m still figuring out aspects of asexuality. But this blog has most certainly helped me, especially since I don’t have anyone to talk to about this sort of thing, and I’m too anxious to approach anyone on the internet. Ah, the troubles of a person with social anxiety. Of course, I’m always up for talking through email or IM if anyone wants to.

In the end, I’m a pretty content, proud asexual, which hasn’t stopped me from being hesitant to come out to people that I know. Not that this is new, I’m really awkward when it come to telling others about my sexual orientation/gender identity. It was bad enough coming out as bisexual… Oh well. I’ll figure something out. In the mean time, I’m happy with the labels I choose to identify myself with.

photo credit: ChaceofSpades via photo pin cc

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Accepting Femininity

I’m considered biologically female. CAFAB, DFAB, AFAB. Whichever acronym suits your fancy. I don’t particularly care when it come to labeling myself, as I don’t find biological sex all that important. I’ve never felt all that feminine, at least when it comes to fitting into what is commonly accepted as feminine behavior. As a child, I was uncomfortable in dresses (I still am – though whether that has more to do with gender or self esteem is still up for debate) and I like to play with boys more than girls. I liked the color blue more than pink – and was fiercely offended when I was told that blue is a “boy color.” But I don’t say this to be a “special snowflake.” I merely want to illustrate what it was like for me to grow older, and learn that I didn’t have to fit into the femme label. Learning that I could wear jeans every day and never put on another pair of heels in my life and not be considered a “freak” was amazing. But still, I felt that something was lacking – that I was lacking.

I was about 16 when I properly discovered feminism on the internet. It was their that I started to learn about important political issues like abortion and same sex marriage in detail. But on all of the feminist sites I visited, I never came across the concept of a person being transgender*, or being a non-binary gender. It wasn’t until my best friend came out to me as a transwoman that I started to learn about it – and I finally heard the word “genderqueer.” As I’m sure many might tell you, finding that a persons biological sex wasn’t the same as gender, and gender couldn’t be determined purely by biological sex was something of a revelation.

So I gladly took the label genderqueer, and I have been more or less content with that ever since. Truth be told, I have seriously considered medically transitioning to male in the past, and I’m definitely not sure that I never will. I’ve been playing around with the label transmasculine lately, and I might adopt it.

But it was a long journey to get here. I used to hate all things feminine – though I would never admit it to anyone. I equated femininity with weakness, not in anyone else, but in myself. And as wrong as I thought this point of view was, I couldn’t shake it. But still, I felt the need to be feminine. I wore makeup every day, I painted my nails. But I was so uncomfortable. It didn’t matter how uncomfortable I was, though. It only mattered how I was seen, and how others judged me.

For some reason, I’m still not sure why, exactly, I was reluctant to accept my own masculinity. Maybe I was afraid of being judged. Maybe I wasn’t sure enough. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready. But whatever it was, I struggle to force myself to be more feminine.

And then, one day, I just didn’t. I didn’t have an amazing revelation, or some long thought process. I was just ready. And I love femme things now.

I don’t wear make up anymore, and I don’t paint my nails (unless I feel like it, of course) but I appreciate it a hell of a lot more. I love looking at pictures of beautifully done make up and nail art, and even watching my friends put on their make up. It’s like an art form.

I was so obsessed with appearing appropriately femme, I couldn’t appreciate femininity properly. I even began to hate it. It was only when I accepted myself as the masculine person that I am that I could take a step back and learn to love it. So now, I try not to limit myself. If something “girly” strikes my fancy, then I’ll go for it. I’m not going to try and be more masculine or more feminine than I feel.

Or at least, I’m going to try.

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Sorry I’m An Introvert

As an introvert, I find myself using a lot of excuses to get out of social situations. Even stooping so low as to use the fact that I get chronic migraines as an excuse not to go out when I don’t feel that I can handle a social situation, which I always feel guilty about. But why? Why do I feel the need to make excuses, or even outright lie, when the explanation is simple enough: I don’t feel like socializing right now.

That is a valid reason, and I know it. For whatever reason, such as you’ve done a lot of socializing during the week and you need some time alone to relax, or if you feel that you just can’t deal with other people at that particular moment. Nothing is wrong with that. But it seems to me that it’s almost an unacceptable excuse in today’s society. How many times have I heard that social events are just something I have to get used to. But why? Isn’t diversity supposedly praised? Shouldn’t the differences between extroverts and introverts be celebrated? In an ideal world, I suppose, it would be.
But, as has been said time and time again, we don’t live in an ideal world. And introverts, and classic traits of introversion, are still looked down upon, even though I think most people don’t even consciously realize it.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tzofia/406306195/
Most of the time, I’d honestly prefer to spend an evening in, curled up with a good book. Or a movie, or the internet. Preferably alone. Why should I be ashamed of that? Why do I feel the need to lie?

I suppose a lot of if comes from the fact that I get pressured to socialize by my family. I’m always told it’s something I’ll have to get used to. Something that’s a part of life.

And I suppose it is a part of life.

But I want to choose.

I should be able to choose when I socialize, and who I socialize with, without being judged or pressured.

So I’ve decided not to apologize anymore.

Now I simply say something like, “Oh, I really don’t know if I can handle going out right now.” Or just, “I really feel like staying in tonight.” And I hope people will be okay with that. I can just imagine being questioned about why, and I can only hope that my explanation of introversion will be enough.

It has been something of a life changing experience, going through that transformation of self-acceptance about my introversion. Even though I always knew I was introverted, and I was never ashamed, there was always pressure to change. And I let that pressure affect me and influence me for a long time. I didn’t just wake up wake up one day and become independent. It was a slow process, but I suppose the biggest factor was the change in my anxiety. As my view of the world became clearer, I realized how messed up parts of my life were.

Changing wasn’t easy. There was a lot of doubt about myself, and about whether being introverted was okay for me. And I came to the realization that I need to take care of myself first and foremost, otherwise, how am I suppose to do anything for anyone else?

And I’m so far from perfect. I still let my family influence me so much, I think. And I’m still to worried about others judging me because of my introverted traits.

But I’m on the way.

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Introversion and Asexuality

Lately, I’ve been musing on how my being introverted may have influenced the development of my sexual identity, or asexual identity as it were. I don’t believe that my being introverted caused my asexuality, nor vice versa. However, I believe that they influence each other, and the fact that I was introverted kept me from realizing that I was asexual for quite some time.

I’m certain that my social anxiety played no small part in this as well, however, the thing about social anxiety disorder is it’s not that you don’t want to socialize for whatever reason, but that you are afraid to socialize. I knew I was introverted because I was completely content with not socializing a lot.

The Asexual Flag

So, as a teenager I wanted to date, and I wanted a boyfriend (and, increasingly, a girlfriend) mostly because I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to feel like I was worth something. And I believed that sex was naturally a part of a relationship, so if I wanted to be “normal,” I would have sex. And that seemed okay, even if it wasn’t ideal. I’ve always been very sex positive. Even if I found the idea of having sex somewhat… unappealing, I still thought that sex should be something that people should be open and educated about.

Of course, as a teenager I never did date. I only recently had my first boyfriend at the end of last year for about 3 months, and he was absolutely wonderful. I don’t regret our relationship, in fact, I look back on it fondly. But, and this has nothing to do with him, I realized that sexual relationships weren’t right for me.

Even before that, I had been toying with the idea that I was demisexual, gray-asexual or asexual. When I first heard the term, it felt kind of right for me. But I wasn’t ready to accept that about myself yet. Which is okay, there’s no rush to label oneself. I preferred to think it over for a while before finally, after a year, deciding that I was gray-asexual. Now, some months later, I’m fairly sure I’m simply asexual. Not that I believe that was somehow my denying my asexuality or some such nonsense. It was just my personal journey.

Now that I’ve come to the realization that I am ace, I wonder if the fact that it took me so long to realize and accept is due to the fact that I am introverted. Since I naturally prefer to be along quite a lot of the time, maybe that was why a relationship and/or sex was unappealing. Or maybe it was because I’m shy, or anxious.

But that was me either in denial or over thinking things, I’m not sure which.

Introversion, defined as preferring to spend time with oneself rather than with others, to put it simply, had me thinking that I didn’t want to have sex because I didn’t want to spend time with people, or because I’m uncomfortable in social situation. Which is a load of bunk. I didn’t, and don’t, want to have sex because I’m asexual.

But it makes me wonder. Have any other introverted people experienced something similar? How many people are pretending they aren’t asexual, or refuse to accept it, or are even ashamed of it? Is there any relation between introversion and asexuality?

I don’t suppose I’ll ever know for sure.

Read More About Asexuality:

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Thanks, Psychology Today

Seven Things Extroverts Should Know About Introverts (and Vice Versa)


This article was drawn to my attention both my my therapist, and google alerts.


It seems to be a rather informative article, something that gives introverts and extraverts a bit of a stronger clue about each other. So here is what I think about it. My personal reactions and experiences relating to each Thing That Extraverts Should Know About Introverts.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjl/5444690994/

1) We don’t need alone time because we don’t like you. We need alone time because we need alone time. Don’t take it personally.

Absolutely true, and something I think a lot of extraverts, at least extraverts that I interact with, don’t seem to quite understand. Just because I don’t want to go out, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong, or that I don’t like a particular person. On the other hand, this is something I’ve had difficulty with personally. I still don’t feel comfortable telling friends and family that I just need alone time, preferring to think up excuses.

2) We aren’t judging anyone when we sit quietly. We’re just sitting quietly, probably enjoying watching extroverts in action.

Yes. So many times I get asked “why are you being so quiet?” And the truthful answer is both because I don’t feel like talking at that particular moment, and because I prefer to observe others conversation, saying something only when I find it meaningful to the conversation. Again, though, I have a problem telling people just that. I prefer to just shrug my shoulders, and possibly force myself to start talking.

3) If we say we’re having fun, we’re having fun, even though it might not look that way to you.

Please, please believe me when I say I’m having fun. And when I say yes, I’m fine. And stop asking me if everything’s alright just because I’m quiet. I’m enjoying myself. (Or I’m not, and I really would prefer that to be private, thank you very much.)

4) If we leave early, it’s not because we’re party poopers. We’re just pooped. Socializing takes a lot out of us.

The biggest thing that happens to me in relation to number four is the fact that I often carpool. Therefore, it is not up to me when I can depart a situation in which I’m socializing. This leads to lots of stress, and more recovery time than would be normally necessary.

But yes, I quite agree that socializing is simply exhausting.

5) If you want to hear what we have to say, give us time to say it. We don’t fight to be heard over other people. We just clam up.

Oh yes. I don’t want to talk on top of other people. I really don’t see the point in it. And, of course, this often leads to me being not heard at all, since others are so eager to let their opinions be known.

6) We’re not lonely, we’re choosy. And we’re loyal to friends who don’t try to make us over into extroverts.

Uh-huh. I suppose I’m choosy about what social events I go to, because why would I waste spoons on things that aren’t important to me? I try to reserve my socialization for things that are important. And I try to spend time with people who I’m comfortable around.

7) Anything but the telephone.

Haha, yes. I hate talking on the phone, especially to people I don’t know well. But I’m getting more used to it, since I have to. The only thing I hate more than talking on the phone is texting.

So, that’s that. A wonderful article, all in all, encouraging Introverts and Extraverts to understand and appreciate each other.

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An Introduction to Introversion

What is an introvert, anyway? And what’s the difference between introversion and extraversion?

Well, wikipedia makes it pretty simple, but I don’t think there’s any real concrete definitions of the two traits. I’ve seen so many different ideas, it’s hard to pin it down. But there seems to be at least some agreement. The thing that I’ve seen most commonly attributed to each is that introverts need to be alone to “recharge,” and extraverts need to socialize to do the same.

This seems to be extremely accurate, based purely on my own experience as an introvert. I, personally, do need time alone to recharge after social occasions. It’s as if I need to recuperate, as I’ve said many times.

Extraverted people, as I understand, require just the opposite. Of course, I’m no authority on extraverts.

Wikipedia tells us that

Introversion is “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life”.

And

Extraversion is “the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self”.

Which is pretty much the same, I suppose.

It goes on to list a whole bunch of extraverted and introverted traits. The accuracy of those may or may not be based on stereotypical views, I can’t say, not having much experience with the extraverted mental process, or, indeed, other introverts.

If I were asked to explain the differences in the simplest way I could, I would say only that extraverted people prefer to spend time with others, while introverted people prefer to be alone.

From my own experience, I have found that I tend to be more quiet then my peers, perhaps because I think more before I speak, and prefer to listen. This seems to be a trait shared by many or most introverts. I’ve also found that I don’t get lonely easily. I can spend time alone, for a long time, without getting that dreadful feeling of loneliness. I can entertain myself easily, without getting bored. I read more for pleasure and information than my peers. In school, I was told that I needed to be more assertive. Again, this seems to be quite common among introverts.

Why is there such a stigma against introversion, though? Even if people claim that introversion and extraversion are equal (which, of course, they are), traits that are commonly seen as introverted are often seen as traits that need to be fixed in some way. For example, quite people need to learn to “speak up.” Or another example, grades are often based partially on class participation. 


But what if a quiet person simply needs more time to gather their thoughts? Or even just prefers to listen? How about the introvert in class who collects their thoughts, but by the time they are ready to speak, someone else has expressed an almost identical opinion, or the time for discussion has passed? I can’t say how many time those scenarios have happened in my life.

So, as introverts, we are pressured to change ourselves to fit standards of an extraverted society. And I’m certain that many introverts do attempt to do just that. But why should we? Why should I have to change the way I think, or the way I behave, when introversion is just as valid, and just as valuable.

Hopefully with the way things are going, that might change. For example, I’m currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, a book that I understand is very popular. So hopefully we can look forward to a world that begins to praise introversion as much as extraversion.