Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
I’m in my mid-twenties now and have no real desire to relive my teen years, however I will if it means lending some support to others who may have had the same “issues” I had growing up being an anomalous teenager completely disinterested in sex.
I remember when I was growing up I was physically an “early bloomer,” requiring a bra before I even got out of gradeschool. Logically speaking my mind should have followed at almost the same pace and I should have found myself in the chaotic and emotional world of teenage dating a few years later, but that’s not what happened.
I had a best friend at the time, another girl my age who I grew up with, and when she hit puberty it was like a giant neon light started to flash above her head. She started wearing make-up and getting all mushy and stupid around boys and that was her favorite thing to do was cruise around looking for attractive boys. Initially I thought she was the nutty one. I couldn’t understand any reason why she’d be acting so insanely but not long after she started to feel amorous so did almost all our female peers. Suddenly I was the odd one out, and the one routinely being considered as a freak by my peers. Of course there was always the sweet few people who would say, “Just because she doesn’t want to join our games that’s OK. She’s fine! Just let her be!” but I knew inside they were wondering.
My mother just thought I was a late bloomer. I had heard the term before but never associated it with sexuality. Only later did I realize there are late bloomers out there… some finding their own sexuality in their twenties, or even as late as their forties. For awhile I was complacent with this idea but something still struck me as strange about it. My best friend didn’t believe I was a late bloomer. She thought I was hiding something, keeping a secret for some odd reason. She theorized I was a lesbian. I did defy gender norms, but this wasn’t an inclination to my burgeoning lesbian nature, it was more my own personal rebellion against something I found insipid and pointless. So much of gender is based on sexuality that I found no particular desire to follow suit and start prancing around in mini skirts and mascara. My other good friend at the time, a boy, also hit puberty like a freight train. He didn’t believe I was a late bloomer or a lesbian. He just thought I was playing hard to get (and was I ever! I stopped talking to him and gave him a cool decade or so to just chill.) In my teen years I was actually nauseated at the idea of sex… with anyone… male or female. The idea of all those mingling body fluids and the pure mechanics of it all just made me want to retch on the floor. Since then I learned that this is why you’re not supposed to actually think about these things. This is how people end up being germaphobes! I stopped.
I realized at the time I was being speculated upon by everyone around me and in an attempt to cover my own uneasiness with that I started to act, to pretend to be someone I was not. The only people I knew in history who flaunted asexuality as a good thing was English Victorian women. I’m American and was born in the 1980’s, there was nothing English or Victorian about me except perhaps my genes. Either way I started to dress primly and properly, femininely but not overtly sexually. I started to show great manner and class. I think this just proved to confuse and piss off the people around me. I didn’t stop this charade until I was into my twenties, by that time I had grown to hate the whole thing and every aspect of it and reverted back to my more natural rebellious self.
In the meanwhile people continued to make theories about me, now they were trying out pop psychology on me. Something horrible must have happened to me to make me act this way! But that wasn’t true either. Though I have immense sympathy for victims of sordid pasts I am not one of them. I wasn’t religious either so no one could blame religion for my apparently odd behavior, though that was brought up too. “You just don’t want to have sex because you see it as shameful! Sinful! A guilty act!” That couldn’t be farther from the truth… Just because I never partook didn’t mean I was passing judgments on others. I never did.
As I grew I had a few encounters, mostly innocent, but none I particularly enjoyed all that much. I started to learn everything I could about sex in history, religion, and science. It was my way of trying to make sense of it all. I can now rattle off all sorts of interesting trivia but little good that did! Though I was on the right track as I stumbled upon my own truth. It was called asexuality.
Suddenly, in my late teens and early twenties I had a word to claim as my own but it was more than that, it was a history and others who were like me. According to recent sexual studies up to 2% of the population (both women and men) could be asexual. It just isn’t being studied in specific but there are people out there who keep popping up in the studies and fitting none of the usual categories. Not only are there asexual people but breeders of domestic animals will tell you that every once in a while they’ll come across an animal that for whatever reason won’t do the hanky panky. Usually these are perfect animals their owners badly want to breed. The first of these animals to be scientifically recorded were probably sheep where up to 3% of their population showed no desire to breed for no apparent reason. Their hormones were studied and were shown to be at normal levels. This was great news for me, as that was yet another theory floating around my sphere of existence, was that I was somehow hormonally challenged.
With this knowledge I found others, like AVEN, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, who had message boards loaded with others of all ages with the same issues. It was a comforting thing indeed! And I learned something none of the science articles or anything else could have told me. I was normal! 100% normal! What was natural to me was indeed natural to nature. I wasn’t breaking any rules, I wasn’t a freak or an anomaly. I was… me. And not only was I me I was educated and ready to tackle this world. I have since learned that asexuality means so very little in the grand scheme of things. I have gone on to have deep fulfilling platonic relationships with a number of individuals, something I never though would be possible. I’m happy in life and though mostly everyone I meet still makes theories about me I have found people who are accepting, and those who aren’t I have ceased to care about. There was a time in this world that homosexuality was “against nature” as well as intersexuality. We’ve found out through studying the animal kingdom that we’re actually the freaks, trying to fit everyone in a gender binary of male or female, and finding heterosexuality to be the only correct state of being. Now we know there are millions of species of animals who beg to differ as well as a whole plethora of unique humans.
I know the future is bright and I want any young asexuals to know that. We’re at a time where we’re starting to be recognized, just like the lesbians and gays of the past. 20/20 even had a special segment on us not so long ago. Asexual has started to be seen as an option in some sex studies, right next to heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. It’s a refreshing change.
In the end I just want to tell any young asexuals that you are normal and that you are supported. Don’t ever let anyone cow you into thinking otherwise or doing anything you don’t want to do. And if at some point in time you change that’s fine too. It sometimes happens. Neither is better than the other as far as a state of being. So relax! Be happy and make the best of it. And try not to dwell. Since I have learned to accept myself as who I am without thinking too much about it I have found that nauseous knee-jerk reaction has gone away. Sex still isn’t my cup of tea but at least now I don’t act like an eight year old in my replies to it, “Ewwwwwe, that is so gross!” has morphed into an eloquent, “Meh…”
For More Asexuality Articles by Theophanes
- Dispelling Common Myths about Asexuality
- The Upside of Asexuality
- A Misanthropic Asexual's Veiws on Dating
- Not Everyone Wants Kids
Also of interest
- A Teenage Hypocrite's Speech on Teen Life
Are you an intelligent teenager who feels that all your peers are insipid cookie cutter images of each other? Come, sit down, and read a speech that will let you know that you are not alone.
More from this Author:
Catching Marbles - A New England based travel blog
Tales from the Birdello - For all homesteading and farming matters
Deranged Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind - For funny personal anecdotes
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on August 15, 2014:
Usually not, no. Thank you for being understanding. :)
Hezekiah from Japan on August 15, 2014:
I have a cousin like this, I never understood it when I was younger. I just though that he was gay at first but that's not the case is it?
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on July 26, 2014:
You're welcome. :)
Guest on July 26, 2014:
Thank you for this.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on March 09, 2014:
Well, I wouldn't say "not normal," I'd say different. This world takes all kinds after all. :) (And up 1 or 2 percent of the population at any given moment may be experiencing the same things. That's a lot of people!)
I am very happy this could serve some comfort. Thank you for posting and letting me know it is doing some good. There is definitely a community out there who are willing to accept you for who you are. Best wishes.
JJ on March 08, 2014:
I relate to your experience so much that I got pretty emotional whilst reading it. I just recently realized that I'm asexual and that it's normal. After all these years of feeling like an absolute freak and of my peers treating me as such, I finally know that there is an accepting community of people who are like me. Thank you for this article.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on October 22, 2013:
@anvarner - I am happy you stopped by if this has helped at all. There's actually a lot of people out there... and no, moms are moms, she'll probably never stop getting that question. People just like to talk - and things that aren't easily put into a box are... uncomfortable topics for most. Just be proud to be the enigma you are. Not everyone belongs in the box!
@NatalieDucks - Welcome to the community! You'd be surprised how large a community it is and I hope you never give up hope. 65 is far from the end of days, there may yet be someone out there. You are right though - the internet has afforded everyone, especially the younger generations, an unparalleled opportunity to find each other and gather. In this case that's a wonderful thing - in cases of cannibals seeking out willing dinner, not so much. ;)
Thank you for commenting! And for anyone who is still reading, even in the comment section! Go you!
NatalieDucks on October 21, 2013:
I'm 65 and never knew that my lack of interest in sex was anything but wildly abnormal. I always wanted a partner, but since sex couldn't be part of the deal, it just wasn't possible. Nowadays, I think young people who are forming a community on the internet have a better chance. I would love to be loved; I just don't want to have sex. Glad you folks are around! :-)
Ashton Varner from Alabama on June 05, 2013:
I've always felt somewhat asexual and have been learning more about it. This hub was very helpful! It's amazing to read something from someone else that I have been feeling for years. I'm still waiting for the day when my mother quits getting the question: "Do you think maybe she's a lesbian?"
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 15, 2013:
There very well could be a genetic component to asexuality. I don't believe I am the only one in my family either, though I have no proof.
Here's hoping your daughter finds happiness in whatever she decides to do. :)
painterpyro on May 15, 2013:
I knew about asexuality for years. I have several cousins on one side of my family that seem to be asexual. They have not dated, are not married and seem to show no urges to be in a "relationship". My daughter is the same way. At this time she is in a platonic heterosexual relationship that I have encouraged her. The reasoning is that not only is she asexual but she doesn't seem to care if she has friendships either. I just don't want her lonely so if she never has sex I don't care as long as she has friends to count on when I am not available.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on December 28, 2012:
You are welcome Mel.
Mel on December 27, 2012:
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 16, 2012:
I am so sorry to hear that bullying is so common for teens that are slow bloomers or genuine asexuals. I wish for all of you this wasn't the case, though I remember it too vividly myself. I grew up in a small town full of distrust and whispering. It's not easy and sometimes it's not even safe. I was stalked home at 2AM in the morning once. I was walking home minding my own business and a car full of rowdy teenage boys decided it'd be fun to drive by me 30 times yelling "dyke!" before driving right into my path, daring me to play chicken with them. All that because of a short haircut I was wearing. The abuse and bullying that comes to gay and asexual youths has to stop. We live in a big world. There is a place for all of us to be.
Also Kira, you are wise beyond your years. Yes love and sex are two very different things. Always remember that, no matter how you turn out later in life.
Thank you all for commenting, you've all been real eye openers.
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on April 12, 2012:
Theophanes, I can understand that, because it's so easy to be misunderstood in this sex-crazed society. Although I'm married and far from asexual, our society seems to have no sexual boundaries, and even married women are propositioned. I've never been comfortable being hugged or kissed by even relatives unless I am very close to them emotionally. This is something aunts I was meeting for the first time never seemed to understand, although I'm sure many children feel this way. Now some fathers are afraid to hug their daughters for fear of being misunderstood. With so few boundaries, it's hard to even know what another woman might be thinking if she hugs me. I've been surprised to learn the orientations of some of my close female friends.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 12, 2012:
To answer that bluntly... I'm not overly thrilled when people touch me, no. The reason is simple. Often time asexual people are confused as to what constitutes touch and what constitutes something that could be more. It's a gray area problem that often proves to completely baffle us. None of us want to be seen as being flirtatious or easy or anything like that so instead of welcoming touch many of us avoid it like the plague in order to halt any miscommunication that may occur. When I was younger I'd tense up whenever anyone even tapped me on the shoulder. I was an avid avoider of hugs. Now I am older, a little more relaxed, I can better deal with these things, though you won't ever see me initiating a touch unless it's a handshake. I have a boyfriend now for the first time in my life and he's the only person I feel comfortable being that close to. I guess because I know where he stands. He gets ferociously cuddled. Guess I'm making up for lost time! Even so I'm not going to be hugging anyone else anytime soon! Thanks for dropping by and commenting, hope I was of help.
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on April 12, 2012:
Thanks for an informative article. I am curious about one thing, though. Are you comfortable with physical expressions of just plain human affection, such as hugs when friends are down or in saying hello and goodbye, that are not really sexual? Not all touching has to be sexual in nature. Even babies need it to thrive.
Bona on March 14, 2012:
To most of you commenting, the 13-15 year olds- your probably not asexual, I'm 16, went through the same stages as you did. I never liked anyone, never liked them touching me and iv had a blissful childhood. I'm older now, and iv had a boyfriend. I figured out that I dislike stupidity, my ex wasn't smart, but I was curious about the entire touchy thing. And turns out I loved it. I guess I'm a late bloomer, and turns out - I'm very curious about this entire sex and emotion thing. So chill out, you probably arnt and if you are, then my friend (26)is asexual and she's living the life - apparently taking attraction outta the equation and it's amazing. No one judged her either, or gave her a hard time.
Hannah on February 26, 2012:
I'm only fifteen but, I'm lost. I have never had a crush and I haven't dated much. I don't have friends that chase boys but I do have a cousin like that. The thought of sex doesn't repulse me, it just doesn't interest me. I've been labeling myself as asexual for a couple years now. I feel a lot like you did.
arusho from University Place, Wa. on January 07, 2012:
Awesome article, you are a great writer! I agree with everything you said and applaud your courageousness! Everyone is completely and intricately different, down to the last molecule.
Ace on September 22, 2011:
I'm 13 and I think I'm asexual as well. I do like boys and I sometimes think of boys as cute, but when anyone brings up sex in a "would you rather" type of game, I just think "ew." I would probably like kissing, I would probably like cuddling, but that's as far as it would go.
Kira on July 07, 2011:
I'm only 13 but I hate the idea of sex, how can people use the word love so casually? love is not sex, the oppisite of love is hate, so why don't we just use hate casually? My parents say I think about it too much, but I know! I'm no idiot. I'm not religious either. I hate the idea of sex, something so sacred should be saved for special occasions, not just on the second date, it makes me feel as the world is full of, well, you get the point. It makes me so angry. My family says that I'm just confused and that when I grow up I'll want to have sex, but I WON'T. I wish people would disrgard my age and pay attention to my maturity instead. I feel insecure and weird, my family doesn't help. I don't want sex or anything like that, not just because of my age, but because I honestly think that love is not sex. I want to love.
I am also homo-romantic, no-one belives me.
Hannah on March 19, 2011:
I always thought there was something wrong with me. I'm fourteen and asexual, and people used to make fun of me saying I was "scared of boys." After a while they called me a lesbian. One nasty girl in my school told everyone I had been raped when I was young. This article really made me realize that I'm not the only person who feels like this when it comes to... you know.
Olive Ellis on March 18, 2011:
I really enjoyed reading this article.You have opened my eyes to something I never knew before - asexuality. I am glad you have accepted yourself for who you are - just another normal person. Keep sharing and I will be following.
MJC on February 19, 2011:
Great Hub. I can relate, sort of. I did not engage in sexual activity or have any desire to, but became involved with someone when I was 41 years old. Got married at 45. Now divorced and back to not dating at all. I have a full life and do not miss anything. Now for the clincher: I was probably the most sought after girl in the class in high school and was considered the best looking. Every guy was crazy about me. I just did not want to become involved. It seemed totally alien to me. I put on a good front, but didn't understand those around me.
One time I was napping with a bf when I was 16. My mother expressed concern that I might get pregnant or something. It seemed so weird to me. She plead with me, "You're only human!" I snapped back, "I AM NOT HUMAN!" Makes me laugh now to think about, but really, I did not feel human according to everything I observed in others, and I managed to hold off those who wanted to become sexually involved. You just feel like you are on another planet sometimes. You don't relate to sitcoms or most of what is on TV.
I always thought is was my father's use of profanity, a constant barrage of vulgarity at my mother. It just made me go "Yuck!" from the time I was a small child. There was battery and there were threats of murder, and "Watch your mother die!!" as he held her over a table with a knife at her throat. I had no use for men, and realize my perception was deeply affected by this childhood of trauma. I can see now that trauma does not have to necessarily be an element in asexuality. I like your take.
pretty-girl on February 16, 2011:
Well, I'm very young I'm only 13 but I can relate all friends think I'm a total freak. Thairs this guy at my school,some girls call him the hottest guy in school. So he asked me out and I said,he said 'why your single right',me 'ya I am,I am not that into you'. After that everyone called me gay but I wasn't and when best friend asked 'are you gay' I said 'No I just dont think he is that..... good looking....' then she said 'but he is so sexy' me 'I dont like that word' friend 'what? sex?' me 'ya' friend 'Why?' me 'I have never wanted to have sex with anyone or even kiss or makeout' friend 'thats weird......... so like what are you then' me 'I am asexual' friend '......... oh...'. After that she never talked to me and stayed away from me, so did everyone else in school they still do and this happened last year.
christina on January 05, 2011:
you have expressed perfectly, the way my teen years went. thank you. im comforted to finally discover, in my twenties, that i am not alone and that there is an identity to what i am.
Ana on December 29, 2010:
Anaya M. Baker from North Carolina on November 18, 2010:
Thanks for sharing! You've really opened my eyes to something I wasn't aware of before...
I'd even venture to say that some people who do identify with a hetero or homo sexual orientation go through asexual phases from time to time. I've personally always felt that when its not there, I don't miss it, and even couldn't care less about it. It always seemed to me that its kind of a waste of time worrying about the sex and intimacy that you are NOT having. And like you, I had zero interest in boys in high school, didn't have my first kiss until college. For me it was more of a shyness issue, but I think that was my first lesson in not coveting sexuality and intimacy when you are not involved in that sort of relationship. There are so many outlets and sources of pleasure and intimacy in life, sex is just one on a long list.
nms from Cochin on September 04, 2010:
You have chosen a rare subject. Very good hub
Lala on July 12, 2010:
I can totally relate to you. I felt like such a freak and everyone just didn't understand my lack of interest in sex. It's been hard for all of us, but I guess we'll still make it through in this crazy world.
jay-tee-eff on July 06, 2010:
One of my best friends from college is and has been asexual. She's one of the most unbelievably awesome people I know. She's had a rough time of it as well - mostly confronting her stalkers and kicking their ass, metaphorically speaking - but has never been afraid or ashamed of who she is. In all honesty, she's been a great role model and mentor.
I couldn't agree more with what you said: there are people out there who don't give a crap about what your sexuality is, or isn't, and love you for it all the same.
RemmieRat4ever on July 05, 2010:
I believe my sister was asexual. She is now turning 20 and is a little more open, seeing as she has no problem kissing her boyfriend now.
Holly_Franny from Chicago on April 06, 2010:
Thanks for covering the topic of asexuality! There are just too few of us out there! :)
De Greek from UK on March 29, 2010:
What a clever, eloquent, lucid child you are. My very best wishes for a happy life as you desire it to be. :-)