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The Closet Question


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Poll: The Closet Question: (82 member(s) have cast votes)

Is it a generally a good idea to "come out of the closet" about your asexuality?

  1. Yes, it is usually a good idea. (23 votes [28.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.05%

  2. No, it is usually a poor idea. (3 votes [3.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.66%

  3. It is too situational to generalize. (56 votes [68.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 68.29%

Do the benefits of "coming out" outweigh the drawbacks?

  1. Yes, they usually do. (27 votes [32.93%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.93%

  2. No, they usually do not. (8 votes [9.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.76%

  3. It is too situational to generalize. (47 votes [57.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 57.32%

Do people even need to know?

  1. Yes, people should know about your asexuality. (16 votes [19.51%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.51%

  2. No, people should not know about your asexuality. (5 votes [6.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.10%

  3. Yes, but only those dearest to you. (23 votes [28.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.05%

  4. No, especially those dearest to you. (1 votes [1.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.22%

  5. It is too situational to generalize. (37 votes [45.12%])

    Percentage of vote: 45.12%

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#1 Parachronism

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 07:30 AM

Hello AVENians,

I have a question or two for you, some that I am sure many of you have posed to yourselves at some time or another: Is "coming out of the closet" generally a good idea? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, and do people even need to know?

Yes, they are very general questions, and they vary highly by situation, I am sure. Still, though, I can't help but wonder what the ramifications of "coming out" might be. You see, I am a sixteen-year-old male, and I have recently discovered that I am, in fact, asexual. For the longest time, I was rather confused about my sexual orientation. By age fourteen, I noticed that I was not as attracted to girls (of any race or age) as any of the other guys I had known. In addition, I figured out that I had a physical attraction to men, so I decided that perhaps I was homosexual, which surprised me because I did not identify at all with the gay community or gay culture. Something felt wrong, though: despite the fact that I was physically attracted to men, the idea of actually having sex with them was... unappealing, to say the least. At that point, I began to think there was something psychologically amiss with me -- after all, how many sixteen-year-old boys do you know who are averse to the idea of sex? I began to almost jokingly think of myself as asexual (in a scientific sense, because I did not know that there was an asexual community), but I never truly thought that there could be such a thing.

One day, however, I found myself Wikipedia surfing when I was brought to an article about heterosexuality, and there, in the index sidebar, I saw a peculiar entry titled "Asexuality." As I read it, I shook my head in disbelief because the words on the page related almost exactly to how I felt, and I knew in a heartbeat that this was precisely what I was: an asexual. After clicking on a few of the links at the bottom of the article, I was led here, and I was delighted to find a community of people who shared the same feelings as me.

The thing is, I have told nobody about this personal revelation: not my parents, siblings, or best friends. Furthermore, I am not even sure if it is a good idea to do so. Of course, it is not because I fear that no one will ever love me if I tell them that would make me hesitant. I have kind and loving parents, and my friends are generally rather open-minded when it comes to new ideas. However, I am still unsure whether I should tell them or not. I mean, my parents may be kind and loving, but they are also somewhat closed minded when it comes to things they are not familiar with. For example, I don't think they would have responded well if I had told them I was homosexual (a concept they are familiar with). I can't really imagine how they would respond to asexuality, something I am positive they have never heard of before (something I dub the "Asexuwhat?" reaction). I fear that they would not take me seriously, thinking that I would be simply trying to rattle them like some stereotypical, angsty teen, or they would dismiss it as "just a phase," "you don't know until you try it," or "he's just a late bloomer." Besides, they didn't react particularly well to me telling them that I was an atheist, as they are Christian and have trouble understanding the concept of atheism. What then could they understand as firmly rooted heterosexuals?

Multiple times I have hinted to my asexuality, most significantly by the fact that I have never once had a girlfriend (or boyfriend), nor have I shown any uneasiness about the prospect of never getting married or having children when asked about the matter. Despite all the allusions I've purposely or accidentally given them, I still feel averse to the idea of telling my parents about my asexuality, especially while I am under their roof. Again, it's not because I fear they would hate me, but they would definitely look at me differently, and I don't know how well I would like that.

So this is why I ask the questions above. Currently, I am still in a state of indecision about whom I should tell, if anyone at all. I can't even decide if it's a good idea to "come out" at all, given the sheer amount of ignorance and track record of poor responses from people who don't know about asexuality. Until then, I will go about my business as usual as a presumed heterosexual (though I rarely do anything to support this assumption), even though the idea of being thought of something I am truly not disappoints me somewhat. Again, I know they are very general questions, and I assume I will mostly be getting the "it's too situational" response, but I wanted to see responses of those who have been through this before and have a few more years under their belt than I.

Lastly, I would like to say how elated that I am to have found the AVEN forums and a group of open-minded, accepting people who understand precisely where I am coming from -- I haven't had such serendipity in ages! Thank you so very much for reading. ^_^
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#2 articvibe

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 08:59 AM

Firstly hi ^^ welcome to Aven
Tottaly understand what you were saying about the whole realisation thing lol they really ought to inject asexuality into sexual education these days would solve alot of problems.

well as far as im concerned your going to have to come out of the closet at one point or another the only reason i voted situational is because of two reasons one i think it all comes down to timing rushing into it may or may not be that good of an idea and dropping subtle hints like youve been doing is probably a good way to build your loved ones up to it. Secondly as anyone who has read the reactions to your asexuality threads (really entertaining read)knows some people express very negative reactions when you reveal that little bit of your selves therefore i would be very carefull "who" u chosse to come out to in the end.

and as to the benifits it really depends on the reactions that the people have who you come out to saddly somepeople are just not worth the effort or the time and wheither or not they need to know really depends on you as a person, how much u chosse to let asexuality define you as a person or if it meerly describes how you chosse to conduct your private life which is PRIVATE

something like that anyway....

#3 annwyl_cariad

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:59 PM

I've taken the approach to coming out where I drop hints about it. Like, if someone asks me what I think of that guy over there, I shrug and say, "Meh, I'm kind of the wrong person to ask," and don't elaborate unless they ask me to. If it comes up in conversation (which happens surprisingly often, actually) I refer to being asexual as though it's no big deal, and as though this is something everyone already knows about me. Treating it lightly has minimized negative reactions, I find. On the one hand it's nice to have people know that I'm asexual, but on the other I wouldn't just come straight out to someone out of the blue, no matter how close we are. I'd want it to be something that flows from the situation.

Now, I haven't explicitly told the 'rents yet. Same as yours, they're fairly closed-minded Christian folks, bless their hearts. But whenever they make a reference to my close guy friend as a potential boyfriend, I sort of make a face (although I am sort of romantically drawn to him...but that's not the point). Whenever we talk about marriage or kids in my future, I insist that it's not something that's important to me. When I do tell them, I want them to be prepared for the idea. Although to be honest, being 21 and never having had a romantic partner, nor been terribly interested in getting one, I think they probably are starting to get the idea through their firmly heterosexual heads. I don't worry that they might not love me anymore, that's kind of silly knowing them, but they will probably be pretty unhappy about the "probably no grandkids from me" thing. XD

I think coming out as ace is interesting because it's essentially giving the world an insight into your bedroom. For a heteroromantic ace, at least, their relationships wouldn't look any different to "normal" hetero relationships on the outside. For an aromantic ace, they'd probably be assumed heterosexual their whole lives otherwise. So it's kind of a tricky situation.

I dunno if this will help at all, but I hope it does.

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#4 Apollo

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:53 PM

To me, coming out is not worth much of anything. I have only told one person, a friend, and she was basically "oh, that's cool," and hasn't said anything about it since. I don't really think coming out has any benefits. Maybe people will know "The Real You" better? That seems kind of... eh.

BUT, coming out can have lots of negative effects. People think you're being immature--"late bloomer" thing--or else they think you're somehow joking or confused or messed up. If they really believe you and understand it, it shouldn't change anything. They're still going to pity you for not having a mate, even if you don't want one, etc.

I guess if someone was really confused about some aspect of you relating to your asexuality, then it would be useful to tell them. But besides that, I really don't think coming out is necessary. If you're gay you need to "prepare them" for you having a same-sex mate, but for what do asexuals need to prepare people? There's really no point in coming out, the way I look at it. It's not like I'm hiding my asexuality; it's just not a big enough deal to go around sharing it with people.

#5 Starred

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 03:12 PM

Welcome to AVEN

As for the questions in the poll... I personally dislike the idea that to be anything other than the heterosexual norm has this whole "coming out" idea tagged onto it. I take my sexuality just like the next person: a heterosexual doesn't go around explaining "I've identified as heterosexual" just as I do not go around saying "I've identified as asexual." If someone does pose a question about my relationships/lack thereof, I just clarify my sexuality like any person.

While I don't think you meant to draw up this question isolating asexuality like it does, it's important to try to break from this mode of thinking that heterosexuality is "normal" and everything else has an "ab" on its hip.

I'm glad to hear, though, that you were able to find this community and hopefully all the answers you were/are looking for.

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#6 Sciatrix

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 03:43 PM

For me, it's kind of difficult to hide from my close friends and family that I have absolutely no interest in romantic relationships as well as sexual ones, especially since I'm 19 and at an age that most people are dating at. So I'm out to my friends as asexual, which means (among other things) that I'm not constantly being bothered to say who I think is hot or talk about my nonexistent crushes.

My family's a bit different. My approach there was to not formally come out or anything, but to when questioned about my crushes, whether I think a guy on TV is hot, etc. to tell the truth and to say "no, I'm not interested in anyone" or "no, I'm not interested." After five years of that and a couple of attempts on their part to ask whether I was gay or trans and let me know that they would be fine if I was, I think they've finally gotten the point. Annoyance averted.

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#7 sonofzeal

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 03:46 PM

The tipping factor for me is that being public about it helps raise visibility, and every boost to visibility brings us closer to the day when it's something we all know about and take for granted. As it stands, lives get ruined as people enter marriages thinking that'll help them become sexual, and often react with confusion and pain when it doesn't. Not that sexual/asexual relationships can't work, but knowing what's going on beforehand is key, and for that we need visibility. So whether or not "coming out" helps your lot in life (and it might, actually), it certainly helps the lot of others around you in some small way.
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#8 Parachronism

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 05:29 PM

Welcome to AVEN

As for the questions in the poll... I personally dislike the idea that to be anything other than the heterosexual norm has this whole "coming out" idea tagged onto it. I take my sexuality just like the next person: a heterosexual doesn't go around explaining "I've identified as heterosexual" just as I do not go around saying "I've identified as asexual." If someone does pose a question about my relationships/lack thereof, I just clarify my sexuality like any person.

While I don't think you meant to draw up this question isolating asexuality like it does, it's important to try to break from this mode of thinking that heterosexuality is "normal" and everything else has an "ab" on its hip.

I'm glad to hear, though, that you were able to find this community and hopefully all the answers you were/are looking for.


I'm sorry. I never like exacerbating such close-minded, myopic views such as heterosexuality being the only "correct" orientation, and I apologize for doing so. I suppose I just get frustrated that those in the heterosexual majority (or any majority, religious or otherwise) assume that their numbers directly correlates to the degree of their verisimilitude and the rest be damned. There's no changing of human nature, sadly. :(
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#9 Gotanks0407

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 05:53 PM

btw i love your avatar i could sit and watch it for hours, i think i have watched for atleast one already.

but i figured out my asexuality in the same exact way you did, and i find this most disturbing this was the only way i was going to find out that i am asexual.

and i also replied to them as situational, and like stated above it should really only be revealed if you are getting annoyed about your romantic or sexual partners, or lack there of. and if you decide to disclose, it seems alot of people have alot of question and dont every expect them to understand it either. just do it when it feels right i guess.
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#10 AVENCakes

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 07:22 PM

I'm not closeted, I'm fully open about my orientation. That doens't mean I run around shouting that I'm asexual- I only bring it up when it comes up- but I don't hide it, either. That doens't work for everyone, though.

I agree that I don't like that you have to come out as non-hetero, so I don't see it as coming out so much as clarifying a misunderstanding, if there was one.

#11 bitterforsweet

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 06:16 AM

There is power in numbers. How can they ever understand us if they don't know who we are?
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#12 kt8

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 09:16 AM

It's situational, for sure. It depends on how you think that person is going to react and if you're comfortable with it. For instance, I told my dad, but not my mom because I know my mom would freak out about it, whereas my dad did what I expected him to do... which was to kind of accept/ignore it. I can tell certain friends easily, but find it harder to tell my closest friend because I'm not sure how she would react. Things like that.
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#13 KeevaCaereni

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:10 PM

I've come out to my mam, dad and one of my best friends, as in, I've explicitly said I'm ace. For everyone else I just say I'm not interested if they ask. I want to tell people, especially my other best friend, but it doesn't feel like something I have to make a big deal out of; it just is.

I frankly can't be arsed explaining the concept to everyone who asks me about my sexuality, but I think I might in future, because visibility is important, and the more I explain, the less I have to in future. :D
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#14 mad_scientist

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 04:27 AM

There are too many variables to give general answers.

I'm completely out and have no hesitation in admitting or explaining my sexuality as appropriate. This is because I am both a forceful person (so if people do disagree with me they don't do it loudly to my face, making it rather easier to avoid conflict) and I live in a reasonably open-minded area with good friends. I consider locking the closet behind myself to be a form of activism -- a lot of people I speak to have never heard of asexuality before, so after speaking to me they can be more supporting if anybody else they know comes out (or if they're not supportive, the other person's claim has slightly more weight behind it with the "I'm not alone" factor), and occasionally I'll find another possible asexual, or somebody who may know one, and point them to AVEN.

But that's just me. Some people aren't in accepting environments, or don't like to talk about sexuality, or don't appreciate a part of who they are being turned into a form of activism (I'm kinda sick of being "the asexual friend" myself, in some circles). So, you know, whatever works.

don't take this the wrong way, but reading your post kind of makes me want to punch you in face.


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#15 Kimmy

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:45 PM

I think it's too situational most of the time, also. Like I've come to realize my asexuality recently and reading this topic made me kind of think about the possibilities of whether or not to come out and how...and in my case I don't really feel a great need to come out about being ace since I'm hetero-romantic and most people around me probably just see me as straight, it doesn't feel like quite as big of a deal. Just the fact that I like guys emotionally but don't want to get physical with them seems a little more personal to just go start telling people like my family. But I plan to just show my asexuality more and not feel the need to blend in as a sexual, and if anyone wants to know, I'll tell 'em. Doesn't have to be breaking news or secret.

Just take your time and let things stew, play around with the possibilities in your head until you know what you're comfortable with. :)
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#16 ily

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 11:38 PM

I don't think people need to know about your specific asexuality, however, they do need to know about the concept. Of course, it's easiest to tell people about the concept if you can relate it to yourself-- and people will infer anyway. If we don't tell people about asexuality, then it will always be difficult to be asexual and nothing will change for the people who come after us. Maybe that sounds extreme, but I feel like as the first generation of people to be "out" asexuals, we have the power to influence how asexuality is perceived in the future.

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#17 Luvdisc

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:27 AM

I think it's nice for people to know that we are out there, and if for whatever reason that person is asexual themselves, that would be pretty amazing for them to here. But, you shouldn't go around shouting it to the world. Not because it would be bad, it's just not necessary, I guess. It just depends, if someone asks or not.
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#18 Marvin

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 03:27 AM

It depends on the situation, really. Most of the time I don't really see the point (my family, for example, still don't have a clue), but then I somewhat dislike the idea of labeling. I'd rather just say I was 'mostly disinterested', but people seem less willing to take that seriously than if there's a fancy sounding word for it.

I'm not sure I ever particularly 'came out'. There was quite a bit of discussion around sexuality among people I knew a few months after I first 'discovered' (read: took seriously) the term, and it ended up being mentioned and applied during the course of that. I've never particularly felt the urge to shout about it. There's a box on my Facebook profile, but beyond that.. Other people tend to do it for me, really.
I'm more often than not happy to talk about it. It's useful in that sense, I suppose. Offering the potential to educate is always a good thing. Being open about it is also, I think, quite useful in that I tend less to end up misleading people. I can only think of.. 2 awkward misunderstandings since I first started being more open about it, compared with quite a lot prior to doing so.

#19 Adahn

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 01:33 PM

I came out the day I learned such a term existed. At the time I'd been having a bit of friction with a couple of my housemates when I was living in halls about my sexuality, especially regarding a female friend of mine. Yaddayadda long story, coming out as ace shut them up on THAT topic, but I'm not so sure it was a good plan. While there was (and to some extent still is) a fair bit of disbelief and ridicule, I can easily take that in my stride. My warning's more for if you ever intend to get romantically involved with people. I've received a fair bit of bile and anger from several people about my involvement with people, essentially being labelled a charlatan by some. If you do intend to come out, I'd advise you make sure it's clear what you're coming out AS. Personally these days I don't actively identify as asexual publically to avoid this problem, but in some cases the damage has already been done. Be careful.
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#20 PiF

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:08 PM

Not song long ago I posted a thread around the topic of visibility of Asexuals and how can we blame the ignorance of others if we cannot even tell those close to us... it got heated

I understand that for many disclosing thier true self (I hate with a vengance the term coming out) is difficult and certianly those that have posted explained how it went from "truly suprised me" to " I had to leave home"

I don't personally walk around with a t shirt claiming to be the missing link, a superior human, someone with a higher intelllect etc because I am Asexual.

I told my work colleagues when they tried setting me up with another work colleague. Usual first responses elequently put by a aussie I worked with.."so your a poof mate?" man I did laugh then some of the others ran with the poof feeling for a while..I kept my usual manner and did not make a thing about it..within a few days individuals did try and make comment about it and I was open and informative.. I did explain it too my market though and that is key

to my Family.. this bit sounded harder as how do you tell your ex wife and your daughter you don't like, wan't or need sex... hellooooo you have a daughter lol.

my ex wife always knew that i did not like sex and it would almost always be her that initiated it she knew it wasn't a top priority for me and having met her at 12 and married by 21 by the time we divorced at 35 we had fallen into a comfortable pattern of limited sex SO for her it did not seem a suprise

My daughter who is sexually active as is her fiance at first thought it was a phase (god when did the child become the parent) but never judged me and now think's it's great as she pointed out..."apart from mum you always had a crap taste in women"

my blood familly very much the same really and my close friends did the usual piss take that friends do in a way that your best friends do and I knew then I was accepted

since then it has taken a huge (this cannot be explained until it happens to you) weight off my shoulders and I hope one day many will be able to do so in a positive way

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#21 Amcan

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 07:52 PM

It depends enitely on the situation and the people you know.

Only you know if it is the right thing to do.
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#22 AceOfCurls

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 03:35 AM

If I moved away from my hometown where no one knows me than I might be completely open about my asexuality because I know that it won't circle around to people that I hadn't told yet or get lost in a rumor mill plus I don't think people would care as much.

As of right now I don't tell anyone.

#23 In_Omnia_Paratus

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 03:54 AM

I think it's necessary to come out when you are attempting a relationship, it's something a potential partner should be aware of immediately, it's only fair.
and I think it's important for you to have friends who know because sometimes the sex stuff (like jokes or party games or whatever) just gets way too stressful.
parents...I guess if they were trying to arrange a marriage for you or something... or they kept nagging you for grandkids you should probably let them get used to the idea they aren't getting any.

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#24 AceOfCurls

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:23 PM

When I'm attempting a relationship that's the last thing I want to tell my potential partner on a first date. 0.o

#25 PiF

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:28 PM

I understand the reluctance of some to disclose thier Asexuality

But not disclosing it when a relationship is a possibility sit's uncomfortable with me

I just see more and more post's in relationships with sexuals asking for help with comments like " we had good sex at the beginning but then they have gone off it and after years together they tell me they are asexual"

if you care for the person then you should be honest as without it you are playing a game where the other party does not know the rules

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#26 AceOfCurls

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:50 PM

Oh I'll tell them when I care about them (i'm actually not sure how the use of "care" is being used), but since relationships start out so shallow in the beginning I don't think it's a bad choice to wait until we mutually care about each other.

#27 Blerdivor

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:59 PM

If it isn't important to the convo, then I don't say a thing.
I'm kind of a bitch like that

#28 chrysalide

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 02:53 AM

It is situational, but generally I think that the more we say about asexuality, the more it's going to be recognized as a legitimate sexual identity. That said, I still believe it's a personal choice to come out or not.

#29 cochran1985

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 04:09 AM

to me coming out the closet wouldn't be worth it unless i was in a solid relationship with a fellow asexual because then people could see im happy with them and the life im living and also i'd generally feel more at ease telling them should the reaction be less then positive having my partner with me

as it stands i am single and although at 24 years of age my family are aware i have never had a 'proper' girlfriend because i have never brought anyone home to meet them and i just assume they think im just waiting for the right person (which i am) and will marry and have kids at some point (well i doubt that part) friends and people i work with have partners but nobody really puts there nose in my business thankfully so i have never been set up or overlay queried about my life

i know there might be a time i have to 'come out' if im approaching 30/40 and still single, i would imagine rumours would spread im gay and where i work rumours spread pretty quickly but even then i might only tell people whom's opinion matters to me because i can cope with moronic babbling about me life because it save me having to explain asexuality and see the confused look on peoples faces and then have to repeat myself

all in all i guess i will tell people if i have to because its my life and right now im pretty happy with it and am not seeking acceptance, so it comes down to a personal choice of course i would like to think my family/friends would at least do their best in accepting it and i dont really worry about the reaction but i guess we must all realise like other people with different orientations who have come out it could seriously affect things which is why i would prefer to be in a stable asexual relationship before sharing with anyone

i'm not sure if this early english morning ramble/babbling will help anyone who is struggling with coming out but its here to read anyway haha
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#30 aloha

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 05:01 AM

it really is situational, but i don't think you have to tell your parents if you don't want to. assuming that my parents are similar to yours, it isn't that they care so much that you aren't interested in sex as that you have a label besides heterosexual. if i told my parents that i didn't intend to marry, that'd probably just say "that's nice, just make sure you have lots of friends there for you," whereas if i told them i was asexual, they'd be a lot more negative. so at least giving your orientation a name to your parents, in my opinion, is unnecessary and counterproductive unless you feel you need support/advice from them.

if you date, i think you have some responsibility to let them know that you are asexual, since it'll affect the relationship, but other than that, i don't think you need to tell people unless you want to.




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