Asexuality and Me

For as long as I can remember I have felt different to others in many ways and that includes my sexuality. As a child of ten I was asked in the playground ‘are you a lesbian‘ to which I was uncertain what the meant and on asking my mum that night I was told ‘never mention that word in this house ever again’. It was only as I became a teenager I discovered its meaning and why her religious beliefs had led to the comment she had made, which all these years later have never changed.

In my teens amongst the many things the girls of my year chose to bully me over was my music choice as one they could not understand as I love all sorts of music and not just what was in the charts. I remember the day one asked me ‘which member of Take That do you fancy‘, like it was some great important thing to know, to which I answered ‘none of them‘. This was true I didn’t fancy any of them nor did I fancy any other male celebrity such as Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. They also asked if I was a virgin, which I was but the idea of sex was never something that I thought of and furthermore any signs of male genitalia had me running from biology classrooms to the thought of anything (even a tampon) made me frightened from memories my head did not want to remember. This led to me questioning my sexuality every time the subject was brought up.

By the time I reached university in Aberdeen and saw magazines aimed at teenagers with ‘position of the fortnight‘ in them I still had zero interest in it, if anything it made me want to retreat even more at what might be expected of me. I only ever had a fleeting interest in one guy as we spent so much time studying together and even then never thought of kissing him or more. By the time the year 2000 came round and just before my twenty second birthday arrived I finally kissed someone but he wanted more and tried to rape me twice and then stalked me for three months. The only other experience of note was a blind date a few months later, which when my friend text me just before it with ‘don’t kill me after you’ve met him‘ didn’t exactly fill me with confidence! The date itself was awful as he took me to a pub that he was uncertain even if had a woman’s toilet and had zero mutual interests to talk about!

Five years on and I was about to embark on my PhD in England when I invited a friend to visit for the day and he turned the visit into the start of a long distance relationship. On hindsight there were many warning signs: his visits being restricted to monthly (ironic given his initials were PMS), contact was on his terms through MSN (he destroyed his mobile phone sim card so I wouldn’t text him) to sexual things as forced me to have sex with him and perform oral sex, which I still had zero interest in but wanted to make him happy. This led to other issues of a physical kind in terms of pain due to vulvodynia and discovery of spasms from vaginismus as well as blacking out at times too. He was zero support when trying to explain this to a gynaecologist and when we finally split up nine months later I probably had only ever seen him five times. It was a welcome relief as spent every hour he visited in fear at what he wanted and even at night time I could not sleep for the two days he visited for. Although I was in therapy for other issues with my mental health he certainly added to the issues I had there too. The only other person to show any interest in me over the time I lived in England was a guy I knew online and lets just say I could spot his lies a mile off to the negative energy he gave off told me to run for the hills!

Since then I have returned to live where I grew up in Edinburgh, but it was only when going to Aberdeen to see a friend in concert and stay with a second friend that I had my first kiss with a woman, the friend I was staying with. She identified as bisexual and someone (her or a barman) spiked my drink so my memories of the time are hazy and cannot say that kiss was any better or worse than my previous experiences with men. It no more confirmed for me that I am straight, gay or bi as cannot tell from looking at someone if I find them attractive or not as genuinely is their personality that if I am ever to have any level of attraction it will be from. It was only after this experience I learnt of asexuality and realising that is probably what I identify as – a Grey-A.

Over the nine years since that kiss I have grown to accept, appreciate and love me for who I am. I am now 40 years old and beginning to wonder what the whole relationship thing is really about. I have zero interest in apps or online dating and would rather be introduced to someone through a friend. The kiss in Aberdeen showed me that I cannot classify the gender of a person I would be interested in. My experiences in England have shown me the kind of personality I do not want in a partner and those I do want if I did have one. I still have zero sexual attraction or interest in sex with the idea of looking for to having a partner scares the bejeezus out of me and beginning to wonder as I have often felt that it is something just not meant for me…and perhaps just need to accept that.

© Fi S. J. Brown

I believe in a thing called love

I have always felt we do not pick who we fall in love as it is the person with their quirks and idiosyncrasies, their gender should not matter and we should not judge another for picking someone that is the same as their own. It took me until my mid-30s to accept I am asexual, i.e. I lack sexual attraction to anyone, with zero interest in or desire for sex. Yes, I’m a grey-A as they say, but as most of you know I dislike boxes or labels, they belong on food not people.

The hate some give to another if they say they are gay, lesbian or bi can be considerable, even in areas like the UK and America that are seen as more accepting than others. Some use religion as a reason for this hate, why put your beliefs on another? Believe what you like but when it comes to love does a god or book really define something we all feel and that every songwriter tries tell us afresh from their prospective and redefine for a new generation?

Opponents of gay marriage say it changes what marriage means; what it doesn’t mean that two people that love each other and want to show commitment to each other for the rest of their lives? It breaks down traditional family values is often argued too; how many married in the past as they were unable to be true to who they were and be with the one they loved? Or stuck in an abusive relationship that they could not escape from as would not let them leave them for another?

It is not natural is one that sometimes makes me giggle; have they seen how all animals behave in the wild and not in circuses or zoos? It maybe idealistic to have a child to be raised with their natural father and mother, but with relationships breaking up all the time, isn’t it better a child is loved by two people that love them than two people staying together for the sake of that child? Being a parent is more than being a sperm or an egg to a name on a birth certificate.

So Barry Manilow has admitted he’s gay and been in a relationship for 40 years, should we be shocked or say so what we already knew? It doesn’t matter, to me what is amazing is that he’s managed a relationship that lasted so long particularly one in the entertainment industry that are fake or typify how disposable love seems to be for some these days. Should it matter who our favourite entertainers, be they musicians or actors, have as their partner as it is their business and not ours.

What should it teach us, if anything? Be yourself, be happy, and those that complain it says more about themselves than it does you! This world preaches enough hate, envy, and jealousy these days, can we not have more love, acceptance, and appreciation for others? Love is a rainbow as we’re all different. Believe what you want to believe, but I believe in a thing called love…just listen to the rhythm of my heart!

© Fi S. J. Brown