Hannah /

“Once, a friend told me that everyone masturbated except if they were asexual. I think she was trying to be inclusive. But ace people can and do masturbate. It was hard for me to discover that I’m ace; it’s easier to know that you have something than that something is missing. It’s as though you are defined by that lack—as if you are that lack. Growing up, I never felt that “when you feel it” magic I was supposed to. I had summer flings where my friends seemed more invested than I did, and I remember thinking “THIS is what the hype is about?” the first time I kissed someone. I spent most of my life trying and praying to develop an attraction–so that I had an answer to girlhood games about boys, so that I was normal. Pride is supposed to be liberating: love who you want. I wanted to love, period, but started to think that if I couldn’t do it in a sexual way, something was wrong with me. We are grouped with very offensive stereotypes toward other communities. We are told we are disabled, ugly, abused, or inexperienced and that is why we claim asexuality, as a refuge from our inability or undesirability. When I came out, my parents stopped asking about my love life, as if they too assumed it would always be nonexistent. I learned that even the queer community sometimes excludes us or does not consider our identities valid. Through all this I have struggled to decide whether to try to disprove the asexual myth by performing as experienced, able bodied, beautiful—as I can, or whether to ignore that gaze and live as is, and as a member of my community. But I’m not very self confident. I have never had a successful dating experience. Last year I fell for a girl for the first time, and I was ecstatic. Because I knew it was possible. It wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t, though. There are many ways of being attracted to someone and of loving them, and many ways to be not alone. I started going by queer. I continue to put a lot of effort into my close friends. I made a profile on a dating app, and when I move out of state I’m going to try it out.”

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