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drbyisdemi

The process of questioning

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drbyisdemi

Hello,

I was in the process of writing a different, much longer post about how I was questioning my sexual and romantic orientations, which I've been doing for a while. And while explaining my reasoning for why I thought I might be one orientation, I realized that I was describing someone who was demisexual panromantic. I've literally just figured this out so I'm feeling pretty happy and relieved about the whole thing.

I'm lucky in that I have a lot of friends and a boyfriend who are very supportive in the whole process. I was able to talk to them about how I was feeling, and what I was thinking, and they encouraged me to be patient, and sent me links to helpful resources, and just listened to me and threw back ideas. They were really supportive and I'm so grateful.

But it made me wonder what other people's experiences were with the process of questioning and discovering their own sexual and romantic identities? How were they the same as mine, and how are they different?

(I didn't know where exactly to post this, so I'm hoping this is good!)

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scarletlatitude

It's fine to post it here. :)

I figured out that I'm asexual leaning demisexual (I just go with gray-asexual to make it easier) after I read an article about a man and his wife who are asexual. I've since lost the article, but it linked to AVEN, and poof here I am. Reading what that man wrote just made so much sense to me. I was like yes, this is me. There are other people like me.

I figured out that I'm sapiosexual after finding that word and seeing it's definition, and I will defend sapiosexuality as a real thing until my dying day. (It means that you are not sexually attracted to someone until you perceive them to be intelligent.)

I don't know what the heck my romantic orientation is. I feel like I'm aromantic. I might be demi-romantic (I think I just made up a word) because I could be romantic if it were with the right person. Otherwise, eww, no, go away.

I'm glad that you have figured yourself out. It is a great feeling when you "know" what you are. :)

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Ruqiah

I have settled on the label of "asexual" for sexual orientation but I still haven't figured out my romantic orientation and have just started questioning my gender.

The process:

Sexual Orientation : I always knew I was different, in that I did not desire sex and I never thought about it like allosexuals seem to. The idea of my peers engaging in sex before marraige grossed me out a bit, but at the same time, it was their problem, not mine. I didn't want any of it. One of my first classes in University was a psychology class, and the professor discussed sexual orientation quite a bit. That's when it hit me that I really was an odd duck in this regard. She made it seem like that sex was required for healthy relaionships and as stress relief. This hit me like an unwelcome brick, because I did not, and still do not believe this to be true for myself. Typing "people who don't want sex" and "people who don't self pleasure" opened up a whole nother world to me and brought me to AVEN. This was three years ago.

Romantic Orientation : I'm still trying to figure this out. I never had an interest in other people's relationships. I would see people get upset over breakups, or at rough spots in their relationaships, an this quite frankly baffled me. My thought to them was always "but you can still be friends" and this somehow offended. Or was not an option to them. It HAD to be love, or nothing, and this confused the heck out of me. I always identified as heterosexual, as the default. People would always assume that I was a lesbian, though, so even then, I had clearly shown no interest myself in others romantically. And as a general rule, in high school, if you did not seem straight, you must be gay. I still would claim to be straight, though, because I didn't know about asexuality (actually, sex never registered in my mind at all), and to avoid the stigma of being gay. Since I discovered my sexual orientation, I am now more free to explore my romantic. As it stands, this is how it is :

I don't know what I am. I could see myself in a relationshp with a male, but as an independent person. They live their life, I live mine and I don't really have to see them or talk to them, unless I or they need support. However, I feel threatened by males. I've been sexually harassed, and frankly do not trust them. I generally like females more and am more comfortable around them (I've even caught myself flirting innocently with them. I don't realise til much later, though), but I do not see myself in a relationship with them. I also get bored with people extremally easily, so any interest I may have in them fades, and the same would apply to an actual relationship. Thus, I identify currently as aroflux. Some people do not believe this to be a legitimate orientation, so I am still questioning. I do want to say, though, the idea of having a monogomous queer platonic relationship is appealing to me.

Gender Identity : I am biologically female, but have always considered my personality to be stereotypically male. I identified as cisfemale, but mainly because it was the default. I'd call myself "manly" and dress in a more masculine way, but still called myself cisfemale. Currently, I do not experience dysphoria and don't care if I am misgendered (I usually am now). I do feel a little happier if I am gendered with male pronouns, but I do not know what this means yet. I've started looking into dressing in a more gender ambiguous way. I have not identified whether it's because of my frustration with the selection of female clothing, or if I actually want to appear more as a male. I currently still default to cisfemale, but this feels wrong and I have not found anything better to label myself as. Genderflux, mayyybe. Or androgynous, but this does not explain why I prefer male pronouns but do not experience dysphoria over having a female body.

I hope this helps, OP. I was a bit confused as to what you wanted. xD

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Akira Jumps

I actually started out thinking I was a female heteroromantic grayasexual. All I knew was that I had never felt sexually attracted to anyone in my life. As time went on and I learned more and more about sexualities and gender identities, I realized the only reason I thought I was heteroromantic was because I was expected to be - because I was female and we live in a heteronormative society. After much self inspection, I came to the decision that I was possibly demiromantic but not towards any specific gender.

Even further down the road, I began identifying as agender after an AVEN user related how I feel about gender - ambiguous at best - to the term. I looked up more and realized this fitted me. While I still use the pronouns 'she', it's only because I don't prefer 'they' and I'm not really a 'he' either. Though, I wouldn't mind if someone called me 'he' or 'they' either.

Even further along I stopped identifying as graysexual and moved to asexual, because while I never know if I will someone sexually attractive, I've never come across one. Around that same time I identified as aromantic for basically the same reason.

I guess my answer would this: sometimes you know who and what you are, other times it's a process. For me it was female het-romantic gray-ace to agender aro ace. It's different for everyone.

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drbyisdemi

Hey guys, thanks! I realize now that I didn't really explain specifically my whole questioning process.

Sexual orientation: I had always assumed that when people had one night stands, there was some sort of romantic attraction there, and they secretly wanted a relationship, regardless of gender. I had heard of asexuality when I was around 16 from a Laci Green video, but I didn't feel it applied to me. When I went to college at 18, I met two friends who are on the asexuality spectrum (one ace, one demi). They told me about their orientations and I realized that I thought demisexual was everyone's experience. It was this realization that when people had said "Wow, they're sexy," that they would actually be willing to have sex with that person. So that's when I realized that there was not only a distinct different between me and other people, that there was a name for it.

Romantic orientation: I learned about being pansexual/panromantic from a pansexual friend whom I met at the same time as the two friends above. I had always just assumed I was straight, and continued doing so for the most part for the past two years. I kissed a girl in middle school, but I wasn't really attracted to her, and I unfortunately held a lot of personal bias at the time that prevented me from even being willing to explore my sexuality. I didn't even start questioning it until I was at a party. I'm in a long distance relationship and was missing my boyfriend a lot, but I saw two girls making out, and I realized that I would do that. I just had a moment where I realized that if my boyfriend was any gender other than what he is, I would still be romantically attracted to him and sexually attracted to him. So that kind of launched me into questioning for the past month, where I basically wasn't sure if that was the case or if I was just thinking that because it had been so long since I had seen him. I also wasn't sure what label exactly fit, until when I was writing a post and just thought "demisexual panromantic." And this wave of relief washed over me and I just knew that that was it.

Knight of Hell: It frustrates me when people claim that someone else's orientation is invalid. If your life is more fulfilled, and if you are a happier and healthier person because you identify with a particular label, then that identifier is perfectly valid, in my eyes. Just because it is not my personal experience does not mean that it does not exist. Also, I've heard of demi-romantic, it's definitely a thing!

Ruqiah: I'm sorry you had that experience with your professor. I'd like to think that she just hadn't heard about asexuality yet and so just hadn't thought about it or considered it. And as I said above, if aroflux is the term that you are currently most comfortable using to describe who you are, then that is legitimate.

I also get bored with people extremally easily, so any interest I may have in them fades,

That sounds like fraysexual, except in a romantic sense. Have you ever looked into that?

And yes, that helped! I'm just interested in other people's experiences :)

Akira Jumps: I feel that I initially identified as heteroromantic for the same reason: that is what was expected of me. I just hope that society will one day move away from that assumption.

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Devil Kisses

Sexual orientation: When I was a kid I didn't have any crushes on boys. That didn't make me feel weird because I was a kid and I expected to like boys later on. I had some aesthetic and romantic feelings for girls, but I thought it was just feelings of friendship. This went on until I was twelve and realized that the other girls were starting to like guys for real. I was starting to get stronger feelings for girls and no real feelings for guys. I was terrified of being gay. I convinced myself I was a late-bloomer for a while.

When I was fourteen I started to be okay with the idea of being gay. I wasn't entirely sure I was gay, but I identified that way because I somewhat liked girls and didn't seem to like guys. I eventually tried to come out. It didn't go well because people kept asking me if I was sure. When I examined my feelings more it seemed like I didn't feel attraction to any gender the same way most people did. That made me discover asexuality. Since I'm pretty OCD-ish I kept obsessing about whether I'm gay, bi, going through a phase or asexual.

Right now I identify as the more sexual end of gray asexuality. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with asexuality, but I'm open to the possibility of having hormone or mental health issues that make me feel asexual. Mainly because I really love the idea of having a sexual relationship, but I only seem to feel sexual attraction a few times a year. I feel like I'm missing out.

The rest of the time I feel very vague feelings and attractions. I often can't tell if I'm attracted to someone or not. I get a lot of anxiety about this. Especially around guys. I don't want to like guys, but I sometimes seem to get feelings for them. I don't know if those feelings would be considered attraction.

Romantic: It's pretty similar for me. I know I'm not demisexual because I've experienced sexual attraction to girls I don't know. When I was identifying as bisexual I considered identifying as homoromatic bisexual. That label didn't stick because it just didn't feel right. I still kind of identify as homoromatic because I don't remember getting warm and fuzzy feelings for guys.

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Fosty_The_Snowman

Sexual orientation: I had always considered myself heterosexual through my childhood and most of my teenage years. It was in a church youth group that I first found out about asexuality. We were talking about lust and stuff, and I just thought it odd that I had never really had any problem with that. I had always been attracted to girls, but sex itself was just disgusting to me. A friend from the group suggested that I might be asexual, and I shirked it off, assuring him that I was not. I did some research, and started to embrace the idea that he may have been right. Then another good friend of mine came out as ace, and his experiences were surprisingly similar to my own. The final straw came when my ex girlfriend asked me if I was asexual. Oddly enough, or not, we ended the relationship because the physical contact was uncomfortable, among other things.

After that, I did a lot more research, and became pretty well sure I was asexual. Meeting more people in college only sealed the deal, as a co-ed environment after an all male education is a great way to test how you really feel. Another ace friend there introduced me to Aven, and that's where I am today.

Romantic Orientation: I have always been heteroromantic. There's really no question on that one.

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ghoul

I basicly never thought I was cishet.. And as I learned new terms I went for them.

Like when I was young I always thought I was biromantic, then panromantic, then I realised with experience that romance wasn't my thing and I've come to identify as aromantic. (I probably thought I was other things in-between)

With sexuality I originaly thought I was bisexual.. And then I thought pansexual seemed to fit more? And then I identified as demi-pansexual.. But I realised romance and emotional connection wasn't required.. It's just something that happened so I came to identify as greysexual and then grey-asexual (that one is really just about wording).

With gender I don't really have a memory of one, but I think I've always been girl-leanient.. And then in my teens I discovered I might be non-binary.. And I think gender might be the only thing fluent for me? Because over time I've went between non-binary and woman.

I actually have started writing a log about this, because I wanna keep track of things like this because it's very interesting? Within this autumn already I've dropped and adapted new terms, and changed wording. Like saying grey-asexual instead of greysexual, or genderqueer instead of neutrois.. Just small things.. After being exploring gender and sexuality for maybe 6-7 years.

Something to note: I've never identified as questioning or undecided. I've always had lables. And I think all past perspectives are equaly as valid for me personaly.

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LemonLetters

Sexual Orientation: I always assumed I was heterosexual and just wasn't into sex because as a teenager I said "don't wanna do that" and so I didn't. Then recently I started to take notice of how people talked about it (mostly on TV or movies bc I don't talk about sex with people really), and I felt like I couldn't relate to the feeling they seemed to be having. Actually, right beofre I discovered asexuality I saw that new Aziz Anzari show, Master of None, on Netflix. I love him from Parks and Rec, so I started the first episode. And the first scene is him sleeping with this girl--the condom breaks, they go to the drug store to get Plan B, he talks about how he ususally masturbates before he has sex because of "needing it" or something (i don't remember), she leaves... and I'm sitting there like, GOD what a hassle, why do people inconvenience themselves like that?! I think the most helpful thing has been to just listen to people's experiences and feelings and compare myself to that.

I am still questioning, but whatever i decide, I think the most helpful thing has been to consider the different types of attractions and desires as seperate things, so that I can continue forward without assuming that just because I am romantically attracted to someone means that I SHOULD feel the desire to have sex with them. I just don't know yet :)

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Red_Willow

I'm in the process of questioning right now, so this thread is very relevant. Thank you for posting, it's really good to read other people's journeys. I don't have a lot of people I can talk to about this while I'm working it out.

Right now I consider myself gray-ace, and possibly gray-aro (though the term doesn't quite fit). I've realized over time that while yes, I sometimes have sexual desire, it's not the majority of the time and seems to be linked to very specific situations.

Once upon a time I thought I was a heterosexual cis girl. One by one those things turned out to not be true. First I was attracted to girls as well as boys in high school, then also non-binary people in college, followed by a lack of interest in sex outside of specific parameters after college (still figuring out what those parameters are), followed by realizing I was non-binary over the past year, and most recently realizing that my interest in relationships isn't exactly related to sex or romance. I have and continue to experience physical attraction to people of all genders, but my desire to act on it has mostly gone away.

So, now I'm a queer (something-romantic, maybe) gray-asexual, gender fluid person. It's been pretty strange figuring out the gender fluid part and gray-a parts at the same time. How much does it intersect? How much of what I'm currently experiencing is due to adjusting to my newly understood gender?

I love my closest friends very much and would like them to be life partners of a sort, though not romantically or sexually. I'm not sure I have an actual distinction between someone being one of my best friends and having (what I consider) a romantic connection with the person. That lack of distinction is part of why it took me a while to figure out that I wasn't straight, and also why I spent some time identifying as polyamorous, a label which has stopped feeling correct.

I want to find a life partner with whom to raise adopted children. General culture says that means having a romantic and sexual relationship with said life partner, and for a long time I thought I needed to find that. Now I'm more and more seriously considering co-parenting, with sexuality not being a part of the picture.

It's all pretty overwhelming. I am so glad forums like this exist. It helps to know I'm not alone in figuring this all out and questioning long-held ideas about who I am and how I work.

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