Gwen /

“a friend of a friend asked me point blank if i was a virgin over the dinner table. we were at a nice restaurant. i’d hung out with him a few times in a group and we got along, but we weren’t close and didn’t share anything intimate with each other. i was mortified. it’s such an outdated and sexist word. i was mortified that a man i barely knew would believe he had the right to know something so personal about my body and what i did with it, and mortified that he’d dropped me into a corner. if i refused to answer he’d assume the answer, and if i answered i would feel ashamed and also angry at myself for being ashamed. i felt undesirable, like the only reason he asked was because he assumed, smugly, that i seemed too ignorant or too ugly to have had sex. when he wouldn’t back down, i told him the truth. he thought he knew something about me then, but he had no idea. as an asexual person, i’ve never had a sexual attraction to someone, and even though i’m sex positive, i’ve never been in a deep enough relationship to consider doing so. i feel bad for people who think that it’s necessary in order to understand relationships or be mature, but i also feel embarrassed about that sometimes, as if, like this man seemed to imply, i was somehow faulty because of this virginity label. i was 21. just months before, i had started going on dates with a close friend of mine. i felt obligated to tell him in the beginning that i was ace—i was protecting myself, from feeling pressured, and from the very likely scenario that i would not develop an attraction to him. he bought a book about asexuality, read it cover to cover, and then brought it to me and encouraged me to borrow it. it was like he wanted me to study myself so i could do better in our relationship. but he didn’t learn very much from the book. he kept saying that i wasn’t trying hard enough to spark an attraction because i didn’t want to hold hands or kiss. he said I couldn’t know i wouldn’t like it until i tried. that’s when i knew we weren’t going to work. people tell asexual folks all the time that they just haven’t tried enough sex to know that they’re normal. i cut it off. lgbtq+ people are stereotyped as being sexually liberated, promiscuous even. i’ve still never slept with anyone, but i don’t care, because i don’t want to. not unless i really love them. it seems like a lot of effort. i just don’t want to be asked about it, because not everyone understands that it is a choice even though my sexuality isn’t.”

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