TomRiddleMeThis

Tips on How to Accept Your Aceness?

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TomRiddleMeThis

Unlike most people, finding out there was a label for how I felt about things didn't make thing 's a lot more positive. Since the last time I've logged in here, Ive noticed that knowing the word "ace" exists has slowly become a cross to bear. I've become stressed by the whole concept. 

 

I started force feeding my eyes porn to try to change how I feel. Being ace isn't something that's easy or comfortable anymore. I was just fine being me before I doing the label. 

 

When I first found the label I was excited. Started a local meetup group. Made flags. Gave talks. The whole 9 yards! It was great. I was a beacon of hope for the other aces around me. 

 

However, after I got into a relationship (that eventually ended) I started to notice how much of a burden being ace felt like. "If I were straight... Or at least a lesbian things would be so much easier" is what became a common thought. 

 

After 3 years of my daily "conversion therapy" attempts... I've decided it's time to give up on wanting to be different/"normal" and try to accept my ace-ness. 

 

Anyone have any tips on where to begin? I don't want to end up traumatizing myself in the other direction and becoming super negative and repulsed about anything sexual as I think that'll have just as poor of an impact on my life as things are now. 

 

However, I don't think I can keep up my efforts in trying to become something that's foreign to me. 

 

Have any of you dealt with something similar? Any of you come out of it the way you hoped? 

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AcornCarvings

a lot of problems I had in accepting being ace were from the fact that sex is so highly prioritized and glamorized by everything around me. 

Honestly though, if you dig deeper into it, people put sex on a pedestal that it is totally undeserving of. I mean, some non-ace people really love sex and it makes them happy and feels euphoric and whatnot, but for a lot of people it is just "ehh, it's nice" and they don't really build their lives around it like it sometimes feels we are told we should. 

 

Being ace can be hard sometimes though, so try to remember to tell yourself that the problem is not with you, it is with all the stupid norms around sex that our society has. It might be easier to be straight, but nothing you can do will force your sexuality to change, and trying will only push you into a more difficult place when it comes to this stuff.

 

idk if that helped at all, but that's what got me to stop trying to change or play through what-ifs in my head.

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Homer
39 minutes ago, TomRiddleMeThis said:

I was just fine being me before I doing the label.

Solution: Drop the "label". You are who you are. It doesn't matter what it's called.

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SkyWorld

I can definitely relate... Unfortunately, I'm still trying to accept my aceness as well.

 

I feel like at the very least, maybe life can be more easy if I was the type of asexual who had at least a low or moderate sex drive. I've also tried watching porn so I could at least feel something, but it literally only bores me and feels like a waste of time. I used to be sex repulsed, but now I'm more indifferent and I feel like that's likely due to testosterone (which one of the effects is an increase in libido, even though I think now it's just really low compared to how it used to be completely non-existent). Maybe things might change, sexuality can be fluid, but I feel like it's more rare than people think. But I also feel like I should accept myself for who I am.

 

I'm trying to remind myself that whether I'm still asexual or not in the future, either is completely fine. I'm not that "close" with the label, but I just feel like it's the most accurate thing to say by my past and present. I just find labels to be helpful when communicating with others who may also share the same experiences, which isn't very often.

 

People often say how relationships can be hard for anyone and everyone, but I feel like it's even harder for those who are LGBTQ+. And people often say that you'll find the person who doesn't mind that about you, whether you're asexual, have a low sex-drive, etc. Well, for me, I just try to accept whatever outcome, deal with what I got, and make the best out of it. Life's too short otherwise.

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Miss Anne Thrope

When I came to realize that I was ace, the moment was bittersweet. Finally, I had found a label that actually felt like me! However, I wished that said label could have been anything else. About half a year later, things became worse for me when my heart was broken, and I fully realized that as an ace, finding a romantic partner would be extremely difficult, and maybe even impossible. This became the catalyst of months of depression and self-hatred. I hated being ace. If I heard someone else talk about how they hated their asexual orientation the way I thought of mine, I would encourage them and try to give them hope. I would completely believe my positive words when aimed at another, but not when aimed at myself.

 

I could not live like that. So I made a mental effort to change.

 

I have had depression several times in the past (and I will likely have it again in the future), and I have a degree in psychology. I've used my personal and educational knowledge to develop coping strategies that help to improve my long term mental state, and I adapted these to address my difficulties with accepting my asexuality. I'll tell you these strategies, and I encourage you to try them. Maybe even adapt them to fit you.

 

1. I corrected negative thoughts.

Whenever I found myself thinking things like "I hate being asexual" I changed them to be more positive. I don't mean thinking things like "I love being asexual!" That would just be lying. Instead, I try to think things like "I don't always like being asexual. It is difficult for me. But it is who I am, and I am strong enough to be me."

Now, the thing about this strategy is you feel kinda stupid doing it at first. You don't always believe your "corrected" thoughts. Sometimes you find that you can't bring yourself to change your thoughts at all. But if you keep at it, like I did, it works. Gradually, I started to think about how I hated being asexual less and less, until that thought stopped popping in my head altogether.

 

2. I took in as much ace positivity as I could.

I was having trouble finding the good things related to being ace, so I sought out ace pride. I started watching Bojack Horseman, because I heard there was (good!) ace representation on that show. I bought a black ring and started wearing it every day. (There were times in which I wanted to take it off and throw away this symbol of a part of me I hated, but I kept it on, because ring or not, I'll always be asexual. Eventually, I stopped wanting to take it off.) I started pinning asexual stuff on Pinterest (I especially like the jokes!) I made myself a little pride flag pin. I bought a couple ace t-shirts. 

Long story short, I surrounded myself with ace pride, and I found it to be catching.

 

3. I focused on other good things in my life.

I'm asexual. I can't change that, and that sucks. But you know what? There are other things in my life that I can change for the better, and putting more importance on those things lessen the importance I put on my ace related problems. 

Last year I set myself a challenge to read 35 books by the end of the year, and to log each book into a journal. Not only did I reach my goal, I filled a notebook for the first time in my life - I've never been able to consistently keep a journal before this challenge! Plus, I read a lot of good books, which I always love doing.

This year, I started writing my first novel, because it's something that I've always wanted to do. I've also made some great progress on my career, which is awesome!

Set yourself an achievable goal, and work hard towards it. Focus more on something that you love that brings meaning and happiness to your life. This could be tackling a reading list, starting a new hobby, building new friendships or strengthening your current ones, starting to exercise and eat better to improve your health, setting up a weekly tradition like movie night with the family, trying to get better at crosswords, trying to build/create something, etc.

Working towards a goal and doing things that feel good is satisfying and great for your mental health. Your asexuality is just one part of who you are. Why not improve and/or celebrate the other parts of you?

 

So, does all this work? Well, I've gone from being depressive and full of self hatred, to being better, to relapsing, to getting better again, to relapsing for a much shorter time, to being good for over a year now. I can't say that I love being asexual, but I definitely don't hate it anymore. There are times in which I don't like it, because it can be difficult. But that's okay - I now know that i am strong enough to face the difficulties, and I have many other good things in my life I can focus on. 

Sometimes, I feel a bit proud to be asexual.

My feelings over my sexual orientation are something that I'm still working on. It's a slow and difficult process, and even though I've come a long way, I still have some more progress to make. I'm working on it.

 

Sorry this is so long. Tl;dr: you're definitely not alone, and yes, it can get better.

 

 

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Next-Level Consciousness

@TomRiddleMeThis Hi. I have had a somewhat similar experience, I think, though not completely related to yours. I don't really want to discuss it, but Ash Hardell has helped with this (one particular video). In this video, I saw many interesting people with different romantic and sexual (and gender, but I don't deem it as relevant to this experience) orientations all over the LGBT+ spectrum. Most weren't ace (I prefer ace-ness for myself than any other sexuality), but it seemed as though they were being true to themselves and proud of their identity, which really helped me more to accept this part of myself that I once called a 'disease' or a 'disorder' or an 'addiction' or something that needed curing, because it seemed as if life would be easier without it (and I still think that, but we all have our own battles we need to bless). This seems like a battle you're enduring, so I would say to bless it, as you could learn valuable life lessons from it if you conquer it. That's what I did with my issue. I hope this helps.

 

Advancing to Omega,

The Angel of Eternity

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Aoi Android

I feel similar to you. When I first found out about asexuality, I initially felt so happy knowing there was a group of people that feel the way I do! But it has been painful knowing that sex and sexual things are so important and valued and exalted in our society and that's something can never genuinely see as important. Even in relationships with people who tell me they don't mind my asexuality, it hasn't relieved the pain. I've spent many nights lamenting that I was born "broken" and couldn't be "normal" and enjoy sexual things like everyone around me, though coming to AVEN forums has lessened the hurt. 

 

I'd be lying to you if I said that I've managed to completely fix the emotional hurt realizing I am asexual, but I have noticed some things that may lessen the hurt. I realized that the most pain for me comes from being in social situations and around people who are just. so. sexual. so. often. So I figured if being around sexuals makes me insecure and sad, then why don't I try being around more asexual people. By doing this, I hope to become so used to being around asexual/aromantic/a-spec people, then maybe I can lessen the hurt and make this the new "normal". I don't ever see myself coming out of this pain-free for as long as I live in a society where sex and sexual things are elevated and exalted, but maybe I can do something to lessen the hurt. Kinda like taking pain medicine when you're achy.

 

I don't want to simply tell you "ACCEPT YOURSELF 100%" because maybe that might not be necessary for your happiness, but I do suggest sitting down and asking yourself what "Asexual" means to you. For some people being asexual is their whole identity, they are asexual first and foremost. For some, it might just be one part of a whole person. For some that may mean total and absolute rejection of all things sexual. For some that just may mean they are fine with or ambivalent to sexual attraction and things. If total acceptance is your goal you can use this to work your way up to being asexual in your own way. Whatever that may be. If your goal is to just stop the emotional hurt, then kinda do what I mentioned earlier and target the scenarios, relationships, etc. that cause you pain and actively target them. You mentioned how much it hurt to use the label Asexual, you could find a way to live your truth and the ways that you are you without that label.

 

I hope I'm making sense here. I think it's good that you came here to at least begin the process of easing the pain you feel.

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LadyOracle
2 hours ago, SkyWorld said:

I feel like at the very least, maybe life can be more easy if I was the type of asexual who had at least a low or moderate sex drive.

The grass is always greener... As an ace with a low sex drive I can tell you that I don't feel it makes my life easier, maybe even the opposite because I have this physical need that I can't satisfy because I hardly ever meet anyone I like enough. And I tend to think it would be easier not having that so I wouldn't have to think about sex and could just look for someone who doesn't want it at all. 

 

We all tend to think others have it easier, and it's probably often untrue and apart from that, even if it is it wouldn't change our situation, so it's a very unhelpful way of thinking about ourselves. 

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LadyOracle
1 hour ago, Aoi Android said:

I realized that the most pain for me comes from being in social situations and around people who are just. so. sexual. so. often.

Why does it hurt? Do they know they're making you uncomfortable? 

 

I've found, by talking about it, that for some people it's difficult to understand me, but they respect it. But one person actually thought he might be asexual too, and another person who has never thought there was anything wrong with him told me that he and his partner only have sex once a month and they're both fine with that, and now they have to do it more often to have a baby and he's really not that into it. Another friend doesn't have a relationship for mental health reasons and just doesn't feel like investing energy in it atm, as far as I know he hasn't had sex in a long time, never talks about it, etc. So not everyone is obsessed with sex and people sometimes seem kind of relieved not to have to seem superinterested in it. The sexual obsession is more a sense of obligation I think, just like everyone wants to be slim and hardly anyone is (so I think they don't really want to, they don't seem to be intrinsically motivated). 

 

It still plays a different role in their lives, but I've found some honest conversations about sex quite helpful. There isn't a homogeneous group of 'normal' people who have sex every day, there's a diverse group of people who feel attraction significantly more often than us, but that doesn't mean their world revolves around it. Most conversations I have are about sports, politics, food, mental health and work. If people around you talk about sex too often, I seriously recommend making new friends. 

 

Also try to see it as something they enjoy, like a hobby, not this 'special thing everyone should like', and be supportive. If you love your friends or family you want them to be happy, and if this makes them happy, great. If they enjoy trips to the jungle or playing with trains, great. I'm not interested in those things either, but I let them talk about it occasionally and enjoy their enthusiasm. As long as they don't expect me to be just as enthusiastic about the subject myself and we have plenty of other things to talk about, I'm not bothered. 

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Aoi Android
3 hours ago, LadyOracle said:

Why does it hurt? Do they know they're making you uncomfortable? 

Insecurity, mental illness, and awareness of the importance of sex/sexual things in the cultures I am a part of. Basically I realize how important these things are and how deeply stewed my surroundings are in it, I notice the benefits of not only being able to experience sexual attraction but notice it is encouraged to share and be vocal about them, realize that I am unable to understand the importance of sex/sexual things and how that inability effects any non-platonic or familial relationship I might have, which turns into a very painful breakdown of me wishing I were "normal"

 

Unfortunately my friends are very sexual people and when I tell them I'm uncomfortable they can't fathom why I'm uncomfortable because it's "just like being thirsty or hungry" , which is why I come here to make some less sexual friends and lessen the social pain.

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Philip027

"If only I were..." statements are made after pretty much any regretful breakup.  Doesn't matter if you're ace or not.  Ask any sexual person, they probably got stories too.

 

Not being ace wouldn't solve your problems, trust me.  Sexuals undergo breakups all the freaking time.  As soon as it's not about sexuality, it'll be about something else.  At some point, you have to just accept that some relationships aren't meant to be.  Constantly wishing that X core immutable aspect of you was different is pointless and frustrating.

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LadyOracle
On 8/8/2018 at 12:47 PM, Aoi Android said:

Unfortunately my friends are very sexual people and when I tell them I'm uncomfortable they can't fathom why I'm uncomfortable because it's "just like being thirsty or hungry" , which is why I come here to make some less sexual friends and lessen the social pain.

They don't necessarily have to understand. They just have to love and respect you enough to not make you want to feel uncomfortable. I hope they do their best around you to make you feel included. If not, I hope you'll find friends who will.

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TomRiddleMeThis

Thank you to everyone who has replied. I appreciate the sympathy, empathy, and willingness to offer some solutions. 

 

Special thanks to @Miss Ann Thrope for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply. I'll start implementing those 'reprogramming' tools. Thanks again for the support. 

 

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levelskid

You are who you are. Nothing's really changed. I treat it as something new I discovered about myself.

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Fluffy Femme Guy
On 8/8/2018 at 5:47 AM, Aoi Android said:

Unfortunately my friends are very sexual people and when I tell them I'm uncomfortable they can't fathom why I'm uncomfortable because it's "just like being thirsty or hungry" , which is why I come here to make some less sexual friends and lessen the social pain.

If they are *true* friends they will accept you for who you are, and will not force their beliefs/ideals on you.

Dont't worry too much about cultural norms either (As much as this is realistically possible, anyway).
Culture is often needlessly the enemy of many benign people and groups.

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JoyEngland

I totally feel where you're coming from. I've been asexual all my life - I'm 50+ now, so I can give you some advice. When I was in my teens I was very aware I didn't have the desire to go our finding boys to snog the way my friends were excited about doing. In my 20s I had no desire to go out to clubs hunting for sex the way my friends did every week. As I was finding myself it was very confusing - I had no lustful desire to fornicate with either males or females, though I did try to stir up that desire in me to try discovering if I were straight or lesbian, but found that neither appealed to me. In those days I felt like a freak in my self and couldn't understand why I was different to everyone else. I felt like an alien on Earth. I also felt like I had no gender, or both genders (though my body is all female). It was a hard time of deep introspection trying to come to terms with the fact I was a misfit at a profound level.

 

However, I did have the desire for loving companionship with a man and have been very fortunate to experience two long relationships that were strongly sexual - but I always found it odd that outside a close loving bond I have zero desire to go out sex hunting and feel very content without it. This puts me firmly  in the class of demiheteroromantic.

 

Since then; for the past 20 years I'd say I've been what I describe as heteroplatonic, which is seeking a close affection with a man without any desire for sex.

 

At the moment you seem to be on the cusp of accepting yourself, which is the stage I was in after what you've been through. I realised that I was fundamentally different from the majority, that I was a misfit and like a different kind of human being in comparison to them. I came to see that how they are and how I am are two different things - they focus on sexual lust and on satisfying that lust and it is the major driving force in their lives that they obsess over; whereas I am the opposite and value companionship, devotion, tenderness and thoughtfulness more highly, plus have no desire to seek sex, nor feel lusty.

 

It was then that I realised I am me, I am unique and have a different kind of quality to my inner being than all those other people. My values are different. I see the world differently. I am more caring and compassionate. I found love for my difference and liked that I was set apart from them as a misfit, and I realised I didn't want to be like them and I didn't want to fit in - and I was contented with that.

 

Yes, it is a difficult life. But sex is not everything - there's far more to life than that, which they do not see or feel. When you come to terms with yourself you'll gradually learn to find things to put your energy into rather than focusing on asexual issues. You can fill your life and time with so much more than they do.

 

One day you may find someone who stirs you sexually, or who understands your ways. But try not to dwell on this; even though its very hard not to - in the meantime try developing yourself and becoming strong within yourself. You don't need approval or permission to be the you that you are. And know you are special and not a fornicator.

 

Finally, when things get tough I have to say turn to Jesus, because since doing that my whole entire view of myself has been positively strengthened and changed by the Holy Spirit working in me and it has helped me more than I could express.

 

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chandrakirti

Aceness is only one aspect of you, so just accept yourself in your entirety and everything else will just fall into place.

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