Anonymous: does the asexual label cover people who feel asexual because gender dysphoria causes them to not want sex (even though they would be interested if they had a different body). if not, is there a word for this?

You know, I was always taught not to answer a question with a question, but sometimes it’s the way I have to do things. So, my question for you:  do you feel like asexual is the best word you have found so far to describe your experience of who you feel sexually attracted to?  Like any other sexuality, asexuality is about attraction, not about willingness to have sex.  If it feels like a term that works for you, then by all means, use it!  Gender dysphoria doesn’t in any way disqualify people from identifying as asexual if they want to, and it is totally possible to feel like your asexuality and your gender identity are related. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Hi, so I am fairly young and I was wondering. Is there too young of an age to be thinking about sexual orientation? Like I am pretty sure I am asexual but to be honest I feel I should give it a few years.

There is no “you must be this tall to ride” for sexuality. Sexual orientations don’t come with NC-17 ratings. If you’re old enough to ask the question, you’re also old enough to decide what the answer is.  We’ve known for a long time now that the average age of first sexual attraction is about 10 years old. So as long as you’re older than that, and I assume you are since you’re on Tumblr, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t settle on an identity that works to describe the way you feel.  Giving it a few years might result in you changing the way you feel, or it might not! That doesn’t change what works or doesn’t work for you today.  Base what labels you use off of that, and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

-Natalie

Anonymous: My best friend is /extremely/ heterosexual, and yesterday when I told her that I /thought/ I was asexual, and she said "You just haven't met the right person." I know for a fact that I'm a demiromantic asexual. How can I make her understand?

I’m so sorry, dear.

Before I get started on an answer, Tumblr user redbeardace (who runs the Asexuality Archive) has been posting a series recently on problematic comments on the HuffPo Asexuality articles, why they’re problematic, and how to respond to them. You might find this post in that series useful.

I don’t want to promise that any of what I’m going to recommend is going to make your friend understand. Some people just don’t want to get us. There’s really nothing you can do about those people, aside from building an elaborate trebuchet to launch cakes at their windows.  It is not always going to be worthwhile to educate people. If your friend continues to say hurtful stuff, it may be best to declare your sexuality an off-limits subject.

When it comes to dealing with this kind of comment, I tend to favor the second option redbeardace gives. My usual line is something like “Well, how do you know you’re [their sexuality]? Maybe you just haven’t met the right [whatever gender is appropriate] yet.”  Their reaction to that will give you clues on how to steer the conversation to how you feel. Specifically, that while sure, it’s possible that your orientation could change, you’re not banking on that. You’re using the words that feel right to you right now. Tomorrow can take care of itself.

-Natalie

Anonymous: I already know I'm ace, but is there a term for not being able to feel romantic attraction for anyone but your partner once you're in a relationship? I used to think this was normal, but apparently not. Would I be considered demiromantic or something else? "Monogamous" seems like a choice, not an orientation.

I really wish that there wasn’t any such conception in society about what “normal” romantic attraction is. There is really no such thing. No two people are going to experience exactly the same kinds of attraction in exactly the same way. So, in a sense, either everybody is normal or nobody is. Don’t be too worried about being normal or not. Just be you.

When it comes down to what, specifically, the best label for you is, it’s all about which one feels right to you, not about which one I think fits you best. I’ve talked previously here about the vastness of the spectrum of romantic orientations (and I’m sure there have been new terms proposed since then that I’m not aware of yet!), and I definitely recommend that you read through that and see if any of the terms I’ve provided resonate with you. The two that I’d most likely direct you towards are demiromantic, like you suggested in your question, and recipromantic, another term on the aromantic spectrum. Demiromantic is usually used to describe someone who only feels romantic attraction after they have formed an emotional connection with someone, where people who use recipromantic define it as only being romantically attracted to someone who is romantically attracted to you.  Essentially, the difference is that for someone who is demiromantic, their attraction is based on their feelings for someone else, while recipromantic people’s attraction is based on someone else’s feelings for them. I think those would be a good place for you to start looking.

I hope this helps, Anon.

-Natalie

Anonymous: First off i don't know if i am asexual but i do have some of the same views i read on Wikipedia but here's my question. I am attracted to the opposite sex but when sexual intercourse crosses my mind all i think is "what's the point in it" andi feel that its just weird or in my mind taboo, so does this mean i am asexual and is it normal to not want to have sex but be in a relationship?

Your orientation is not determined by your opinion on sex. Anyone, of any sexuality, can have any attitude towards having sex, for any reason. You are never required to have sex if you don’t want it.  I don’t really like to define any attitude towards sex as “normal” because there is really no such thing as a “normal” attitude towards sex. What I will say is that your feelings are totally valid and worthy of respect.

I’m always reluctant to define someone as “asexual” or “not asexual”, because my opinion on your sexuality is really not important. I do not have any right to determine what you should and shouldn’t identify as, because your identity is such an intensely personal thing. What I can tell you is that asexual is probably the best label for you if you do not experience sexual attraction at all. If you do experience sexual attraction, then a more accurate label for you would probably be an allosexual identity with the additional descriptor “sex averse” or “sex repulsed” (I personally prefer the latter, as the former is something I’ve commonly seen used synonymously with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder).  I’m not sure from your question what kind of attraction you are experiencing, so I can’t direct you any further than that, but those are the two options that I would look into further in your position.

-Natalie

Anonymous: i had sex with my girlfriend for the first time and when i pulled out i saw that the condom was broken. i know for a fact i did not cum yet but we are both freaking out. what should we do?

Okay. This is really not the sort of question that we usually deal with, but considering the time-sensitive nature, rather than sending you elsewhere, I’m going to help you out.

If you didn’t ejaculate, the chance that your girlfriend could be pregnant is very, very slight. There is conflicting data on whether there is any sperm present at all in pre-ejaculate, however, the possibility still does exist, so you should still take appropriate precautions.

If it is within 72 hours, your girlfriend should take an emergency contraceptive as soon as possible.  I know in the US it is available over the counter, although I can’t say anything about other countries.  Regardless of whether it is in time for that or not, however, she needs to start keeping track, if she does not already, of her period. She should mark down when she had her last period, and if her next one is late, that will be the time should take a home pregnancy test, or go to Planned Parenthood for a more accurate blood test.

This is also a good time to make sure that both of you are STD-free. If either of you have had unprotected sex with other partners, there is the potential that something could have been passed on. If you and/or your girlfriend are under 18 and in the US, Planned Parenthood will do the test while protecting your confidentiality as much as is possible under the laws in your state.

Please tell your girlfriend from me that this is nothing to panic over. It is something that can absolutely be managed. She will be absolutely fine.

-Natalie

survivablyso: Just wanted to share a frustration: girltalk bonding with my cousin and she shared v personal story about her first time. I then MADE UP A FIRST TIME so that she wouldn't feel rejected & also start family gossip. All bc ace isn't a known sexuality.

Oh gosh, dear, I am really sorry. That kind of thing sucks a lot.  I really wish that the world was a different place where you wouldn’t have felt like you needed to do that. Hopefully some day we’ll live in that different world.

-Natalie

ace-purple-panda: I finally feel like I belong! My my whole life has been spent wondering what was wrong... I married, had two kids, then separated. Now I'm so much happier being a single mum, and even happier now I've found the ace community. Are there any others who have tried to fit in for far to long too??

I’m so incredibly glad that you’ve found a place where you belong and feel good, friend! And you’re definitely not alone there. Keep an eye on the notes on this post, I’m betting you’ll find at least a few other people who’ve felt exactly what you’re feeling.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Last year I was talking to one of my friends, and the topic of sexuality came up. I said 'yea, I'm asexual', and explained it. The next day, some other girl came up to me and asked, "are you bisensual? i heard that you were from a friend" i thought that was pretty funny, but i explained it and she understood. :-)

Ahhh the rumor mill. Always a fun time, yeah? I’m glad you got things straightened out, though!

-Natalie

Anonymous: Pt. 1 im sort of scared. I'm quite young, you see, and I'm a female, but I don't know if I'm straight. I mean I love boys. Holding hands with boys. Being with boys. Kissing boys. But I never feel the need to stare at their muscles or junk or anything

it’s the same for girls. I don’t feel the need to stare. But I do fantasize about sex and such things ( only with people I know ) and I’d definitely want to participate in such acts, but.. I never see a stranger and think “i’d love to fuck with them”. It’s weird being with my friends and they’re like “wow look at the package on that one”. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find strangers sexually attractive?? I feel weird

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with not feeling sexual attraction (which is what I’d call that feeling of seeing someone and wanting to have sex with them). There is nothing wrong with only wanting to have sex with someone you know and trust. There is nothing wrong with knowing what you do and don’t want at a young age. You are absolutely perfect exactly the way you are.

Everything you’re describing sounds pretty much exactly like my experience as a young teen. I didn’t really get what everyone else was talking about when it came to people being attractive, or ranking different attributes. It just never clicked for me. That’s one of the things that eventually lead me to decide that I was asexual.  So my advice for you is that you should go do what I did. Read things that other asexual people have written about their experiences. Do a little introspection. It’s very possible that identifying as asexual might be the right choice for you.

-Natalie