I think I'm asexual but my family thinks I'm gay. (Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez)
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I'm not really sure what my question is, but here's my situation. I'm 21 and haven't seriously dated anyone — not even in 6th grade when it seemed like what all the kids were doing — just to do. I haven't lost my virginity and have only been on three dates, never making it to a second one with the same guy.
A couple of years back, both of my sisters asked if I was gay, and, honestly, I told them “no.”
I may not be strongly attracted to guys, but I'm not attracted to girls either.
For a while, I thought there would be some point when I was attracted to a guy, and everything would happen, but a month or two ago I read an article on possible asexuality signs, and I fit most of them.
I don't realize when people flirt with me or when people say I flirt back. I find nude pictures to be unappealing and almost...unrealistic? Penises just don't seem proportional — or the right color. I don't get casual sexual jokes, and while I can think of sex in a book/character way, I really can't imagine it if/when I'm involved. Kissing (when I tried it on my first date when I was 19) just seems slimy and unhygienic.
My aunt has also implied that it's okay if I'm gay, and when I told her that I've been on some dates with guys, it seemed like it got around to my extended family. They might all be wondering about me.
I've never been entirely comfortable labeling myself — I’m just me, and that's all I really want to be — but I feel anxious when my family starts questioning me (I tend to forget sexuality is actually a non-fictional thing other than when mine is questioned).
I don't think my family would shun me if I talked to them, but I don't really want to "come out.” I haven't really been closeted. I just never started being sexual.
I don't want my (lack of) sexuality to be a thing. Why should it be when it's nonexistent?
I don't really want a support group or people to talk to, because I don't feel like I need support. I'm not really struggling with my sexuality or feeling anxious. I just am, and I'm okay with that.
There wasn't really a question there, but do you have any advice for me?
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As with any discussion about gender identity or sexual orientation, the only person who can determine your sexuality is you. From what you said in your email, it sounds like asexuality is what resonates with you.
Let’s address the family stuff first. If you are not ready to talk about your sexuality with them, that’s okay. You can tell them that. You can set a boundary that they not discuss your sexuality with each other or ask you questions. If and when you are ready to do so, you will speak to them about it.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation about your sexuality.
Not even your family. That said, it seems your family is likely to be supportive of you, and I think you’d be safe to discuss this with them. I know for myself when I was able to talk openly with my family about “my stuff” (my addiction and depression), it made me feel closer to them. And that was a good thing.
You said that you don’t want any support. But, I think you do. Although you said you don’t feel anxious about your sexuality, you mentioned that when your family questions you, you feel anxious.
I think that writing to me for advice was a means of reaching out for some support.
Not because you are struggling, but because it might feel good to have conversations with people who identify the same way you do. Having the support of the asexual community doesn’t mean that you are struggling with your sexuality.
So, I want to suggest that you explore some of the resources I am going to list below. We all want to feel less alone. Even you!
- AVEN – The Asexual Visibility and Education Network
- The Trevor Project’s Asexuality 101
- The Asexual Story Project
- Asexuality: A Brief Introduction
- What Is Asexuality?
- Asexual Awareness Week
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I'm not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I've gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendship, depression, sex, consent, what I’m reading, Calcite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo