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Greygirl13

Curious about older asexuals and their views of 'coming out."

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Greygirl13

I'm curious about the experiences older aces have had "coming out."  Specifically to their kids, friends and even on social media.  

I think I find it such a foreign thing to me because I've felt asexual for a very long time. It hasn't had a massive impact on my life beyond dodging the typical dating, relationship, etc questions. It's always just been who I was. 

 I'm thinking a lot more on it now because I see a lot of myself in my own kid, and I want her to know that it's ok. That she doesn't have to be or act in a way that society tells her to. I tried it for a while (it's how I ended up with her after all) but I've been so much more comfortable and content in my own skin since I gave that up. 

What are your thoughts?

Edited by Greygirl13
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Homer

I think that the best way to make it seem okay is to not make a big deal about it. Make sure that she feels comfortable talking to you when something is up and you're good. If someone told me that "you know, if X happens, that's totally okay, too", it'd strike me as suspicious and maybe not as okay as you're trying to tell me. I'd also stay away from bringing "society" into this, but that's my personal view based on observing how some blurry thing named "society" gets blamed for all kinds of stuff.

 

That being said, I have got no experience in "coming out", simply because I never "went in". I'm pretty outspoken about my spare time activities, which mostly consist of football travels :D people are free to make of that what they will. It's just how I roll :)

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Dreamsexual

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toujours

I'm 39, and came out as asexual at 29.

 

I regret ever doing it. I wish I could turn back time and keep my asexuality to myself.

 

I did not know what I was doing, I did not know what I wanted, I had zero experience in relationships, asexual or otherwise. Coming out felt great, as I felt like I had found other people like me, and I was able to understand and make sense of myself. But truth is, I could have gotten all that without publicly coming out. 

 

I came out with a blog post, which I Twitted and posted on Facebook. That brought a LOT, and I mean, A LOT of misunderstanding, including people asking me if I was still physically a woman, or thinking I was a prude who campaigned against sex. In social medial, there is no way you can possibly explain a complex argument. So, unfortunately, for a number of people, no matter how much I tried to explain, I must have appeared to have lost my mind.

 

I just hope now that everyone has completely forgotten about it, 10 years later. Really.

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Sally

I think that most people past 30, or certainly 40, aren't bothered anymore by people asking what their orientation is, and people that age don't think it's that important to announce it.  

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Someone Else

I'm in my late 40's and have never needed to have a "coming out."  It surprised me when asexual sites started popping up, with people talking about "how to come out."  I didn't even know it was a thing.  I can't imagine parents  bursting into a bedroom and go, "ah ha!  I caught you, not having sex!"  the way they might in a sexual situation with teens.  
I can't picture friends going, "You aren't talking about sex, I don't like you anymore."  Not very good friends... I've certainly never known anyone who would do that out of the blue.
So, I never thought about it.  There's a lot of things I don't necessarily like, that my friends or family might like, like certain foods or whatever, and I don't need to announce it.  The youths of today must have a very different culture, because I agree with Sally, people past a certain age don't really seem to talk about it.  
Hell, my male friends don't even want to know anything about my sex life, and they're not going to talk about theirs.  I'd be weirded out if a guy or sibling, or my mom, asked me anything like, "how much sex are you having? Isn't it really fun?  I have sex all the time!  Tell me about your sexual experiences!".  Yeah, I can't imagine anything like that.  It's not brought up. 

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Whore*of*Mensa

I know what you mean, about not wanting your child to have the same ideas about relationships and sex imposed on them as you did when you were younger. 

 

I think that setting an example of being happy single is a good start. I always told my daughter I'm just happy on my own. And she accepted that. And then when we were talking about another one of her friends who is gay, and other stuff in general, I just slipped in 'you can also be asexual' just to see if she'd heard of it - and she had. I'm happy that she knows all of the currently available options and understands there would be no pressure from me to conform or not conform to any of them. I think coming out might be too much pressure, but being openly supportive of all orientations is probably a good way to go. 

 

 

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atpeacewithmyself

My views on coming out...well I realized that I was asexual in my 20's. but there wasn't a name for it. I'm now in my 40's. Since I didn't have a name for it I had to describe how I felt rather than give it a one-word name. Everyone around me knows how I feel but they reject my descriptions. They say things like "you just haven't met the right guy". or "I know you really well. you really do want to be in a relationship." or "you're just trying to make yourself feel better for not being in a relationship". So coming out with a label just isn't important. I can't get anyone to believe me anyways. 

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Balance

The only coming out I've done is on Aven. If I was considering dating someone I would tell them but that hasn't happened in years.

 

When I was dating I didn't know about the term Ace so I couldn't really talk about it, and at that time I probably thought I wouldn't have sex before marriage anyway so, it never came up. (Not religious, just avoiding pregnancy, disease) Who knows, maybe they thought I didn't care about them but I did.

 

I've never talked about this to friends other than saying, no, still not dating anyone. And most of the time I wasn't dating anyone so maybe they gave up on me about relationships. No clue. I obviously never had kids but I think any parent, or friend, should suggest Ace as an option, maybe those kids won't waste years of their life not knowing what to call it, or how to talk about it, or even consider Aceness.

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Zagadka

I simply don't see the need, benefit, or any other reason to come out. Most of my friends I've known for many years. They know me and my lack of a love life. I'm content just keeping on keeping on.

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Linda60

Once asexuality is more understood in the larger world things will be different.  I always knew I was asexual.  I had a very late puberty whereas my sisters, older and younger, did not.  I think that was my own personal marker (you don't have to have a late puberty to be asexual).  Right now, if you "come out" you are likely to have to do a lot of tutoring and have people deny your reality which makes things worse for you.  I struggled with trying to be very sexual to cover up my asexuality.  I wasted many years doing that, apologizing for who I was, and I'm mad about that.  My aromantic asexual orientation is a huge part of who I am, just like heterosexuality and homosexuality is a huge part of others' lives.  To really know me, as a person, you need to know my orientation.  So, I told my sons, in case they share my orientation, so they can accept themselves, and not go through decades of therapy as I did and be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizoid personality disorder, Asperger's, etc.  I don't have any of those things.  To "have" anything (and one doesn't "have" asexuality, they are asexual) that only 1% of the world's population shares automatically places you in a minority status, so that can be difficult.  When you look to movies, books, groups, etc. for comfort, or to see someone like yourself, you are likely to find little.  I am hoping asexuals start writing good books, being in good movies, talking intelligently about their experience, because we absolutely are ignored, marginalized, mistreated, and diagnosed with things we do not have.  It is a healthy mature state, not in need of fixing.  Having said all that, "coming out," can be tricky.  I have not "come out" to my six siblings because I don't feel like engaging in hours of explaining myself and what asexuality is.  To your children, I think it is essential that you come out.  They probably already know, they just lack the proper vocabulary to help them understand.  If you help them understand you, you help them understand themselves, and their future (or current) children.

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Astraios

Hi, I've only recently heard of the definition Asexual. I'm 53. I have always felt that I was different but developed an almost secret dream that I would eventually meet someone who by some miracle of chance  would somehow release some desire in me. It sounds and feels pathetic now. I almost hate myself for not being 'normal.'

When I first heard the word Asexual and joined AVEN I felt relieved. As time has gone on the old problems have resurfaced. My problem is accepting myself. It's less about being incapable and more about the way I am. Any desire I feel is so fleeting but I'm still aware of an aesthetic appreciation that somehow demands a response in a socially conventional way. I feel as though I'm neither one thing or another. I have been in long term relationships with sexual Women and as they have neared their end and the insults started flying, been asked outright if I was gay (I'm not saying for a moment that there's anything wrong with that) in fact I have offered prayers to a God I don't believe in that if being gay would help me feel some genuine attraction then please let me be gay. The other insult was an inference that I spent too much time in the bathroom! How could I have explained something that I was unaware of. There have even been highly embarrassing examinations by medical professionals at the request of my then partners to find out why that part 'just didn't work.'

The crux of this is- that I am Asexual and theres nothing I can do about it. I just don't like it at the moment. In other ways if I had a close friend I would tell them. Partly for the opportunity to talk openly about how I feel and also to get a realistic, less subjective view. Who knows, reconciliation may still be possible. So may peace. I'm certainly fed up feeling like some excuse, or that somehow I've fallen short. I hope this makes some sense and isn't completely in or under the wrong heading. 

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Skycaptain

Astraios, welcome to AVEN 🎂 🎂 

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Astraios
10 hours ago, Sleighcaptain said:

Astraios, welcome to AVEN 🎂 🎂 

Thanks Sleighcaptain. Cake. Mmm nice.

Edited by Astraios
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Dances With Cats

I'm 51 and I've only recently started coming out as asexual. The reason I waited so long--I knew about asexuality and felt it applied to me in my 30s--is because I was afraid my asexuality was "because of" something, like childhood trauma. Now, at this age, I'm fully aware that my asexuality has nothing to do with my childhood (after years of therapy) and I'm content with being ace.

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will123

I only came out as asexual to a close male friend in 2017. Since then I've only told about half a dozen other friends, one other male, the rest female, younger and middle aged. 

 

They have either commented on my 'singleness' in the past or we've been friends for a very long time and (in the case of the female friends) 'nothing' ever happened between us. I have no interest in coming out to my family (I'm single and childless), let alone telling the world. In the case of my family there is already enough drama surrounding it and they aren't exactly LGBT-friendly...

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Catpaws

I'm waffling now on the idea of coming out.

 

When I first came to the realization about myself, all I wanted to do was just to shout it at everyone I knew, along the lines of "you guys, I've realized this amazing self-affirming component of myself". I came out to a couple of internet friends. I then immediately ran into the "wait, what's that?" problem  and had to spend time explaining the orientation (the irony was, the person who asked self-identified as Demi, lol).

 

Now that I'm realizing that coming out will be a series of long conversations and potentially intrusive questions about my sexuality I'm less eager to come out, and my opinion of those who have done so has increased immensely. I think at this point, if someone asks me directly, I'll be honest but I'm not going to bother volunteering any information.

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will123
46 minutes ago, Catpaws said:

I'm waffling now on the idea of coming out.

 

When I first came to the realization about myself, all I wanted to do was just to shout it at everyone I knew, along the lines of "you guys, I've realized this amazing self-affirming component of myself". I came out to a couple of internet friends. I then immediately ran into the "wait, what's that?" problem  and had to spend time explaining the orientation (the irony was, the person who asked self-identified as Demi, lol).

 

Now that I'm realizing that coming out will be a series of long conversations and potentially intrusive questions about my sexuality I'm less eager to come out, and my opinion of those who have done so has increased immensely. I think at this point, if someone asks me directly, I'll be honest but I'm not going to bother volunteering any information.

None of the people I've told were aware of asexuality (one had a niece who was a lesbian). Yes there were a few questions, but I was prepared to explain during my 'coming out' what asexuality was and the reasons (a couple of life experiences) why I identified as asexual. Nothing too intrusive on their part and maybe a bit TMI on mine (for which I apologized). No more than ten minutes of the conversation. 

 

I will say that for me the actual 'coming out' was easier than the lead up and trying to bring it up in conversation. Once I started the discussion, I find it easy to talk about.

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anisotrophic
On 11/20/2019 at 11:28 AM, More*of*Wenceslas said:

I know what you mean, about not wanting your child to have the same ideas about relationships and sex imposed on them as you did when you were younger. 

 

I think that setting an example of being happy single is a good start. I always told my daughter I'm just happy on my own. And she accepted that. And then when we were talking about another one of her friends who is gay, and other stuff in general, I just slipped in 'you can also be asexual' just to see if she'd heard of it - and she had. I'm happy that she knows all of the currently available options and understands there would be no pressure from me to conform or not conform to any of them. I think coming out might be too much pressure, but being openly supportive of all orientations is probably a good way to go. 

 

 

Our kids are too young to understand, but I like this approach. I think it can make sense to tell certain adults -- someone close to me came out privately, and it helped explain why they didn't have a partner & hadn't since college (now in their late 30s), it saves them from future years of me worrying and asking about whether they are dating, etc. ;)

 

I think it's likely our kids will be aware that we welcome all orientations & gender identity, given my own transition -- and I think that's enough, for kids. They're exposed to asexuality as a concept much more than older folks were.

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Andrea KF

People stopped asking long before I learned aboaut asexuality. I got no reason to come out as long as nobody asks me the direct question.

 

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will123

Came out to a former high school classmate on Wednesday during our annual Christmas coffee meet up. We've known each other since Grade 10 way back in '76. She 'found' me online about 20 years ago and we've kept in touch ever since.

 

She was fine with it, but didn't see why I had to tell her. My sexuality was never on her mind. I just told her I had reasons. I didn't get into details but felt that my lack of mentioning 'family' she may have thought I was hiding something.

 

She did comment that perhaps asexuality is more prevalent than we think. She said that she has a few long term friends that as far as she knew that never had a partner nor dated.

Edited by will123
Add 'never had'
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Diana DeLuna

I just wish that I knew more enlightened people to come out to. There's no point in coming out to family who will just say, "We know you've never been attracted to anyone nor been in a relationship. You're the spinster aunt. We have one in every generation."

 

If I tried to tell them I just found out asexuality is a valid LGBT+ orientation (When did this happen, anyway????), they would straight-out laugh, "Now the spinster aunt wants her own orientation? Haha!" And then they'd start mocking liberals. (I'm the only ace but also the only progressive person in my family.) The earth has blown up around me, and nobody in my life actually cares.

 

I wish I were young and had woke friends.

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will123

@IvoryBill Of the seven people I'm out to, only one is in their 20s. The test are in their 50s.

 

None were aware of asexuality but were very positive in their reaction and understanding in my decision to identify as asexual.

 

Three of them I have known since I was a teenager.

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dancingeologist

I'm out about being aro/ace to family and Friends. I came out in part because I heard from my brother that guessing if I was gay, straight or bisexual was a common discussion topic in my family when I wasn't around, so figured I'd let them know they were all wrong. I also feel like visibility is important so I post articles on facebook, have discussions with friends, am part of the queer community, etc because I feel like the more people are "out" the more aware and normalized being asexual will become. I certainly wish I would have known it was an orientation sooner as it would have lead me to less confusion about not fitting any of the sexual orientations I had heard of.

 

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Nowhere Girl

I prefer to be out as asexual. To each their own, just don't treat people who consider coming out important as if they were immature or whatever.

I'm sex-averse and therefore I would be uncomfortable with an assumption that I could be sexually active. So I'm out.

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Tanwen

I'm in my 70s so people assume I'm alone because of my age - pertly true. I've told a coupe of people but hwo do you explain 'asexuality' to someone who isn't when WE can't come up with a definitive explanation, and there are so many subdivisions.

 

I find it easier to quote Shakespeare "Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither" 

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daveb
16 hours ago, Blitzentan said:

but how do you explain 'asexuality' to someone who isn't

I tell them what it means for me.

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will123
8 hours ago, daveb said:

I tell them what it means for me.

Same here Dave. Make it as simple as possible.

 

"I'm not attracted sexually to females, or males". End of story.

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KathyHoh
On 11/27/2019 at 2:08 PM, Linda60 said:

Once asexuality is more understood in the larger world things will be different.  I always knew I was asexual.  I had a very late puberty whereas my sisters, older and younger, did not.  I think that was my own personal marker (you don't have to have a late puberty to be asexual).  Right now, if you "come out" you are likely to have to do a lot of tutoring and have people deny your reality which makes things worse for you.  I struggled with trying to be very sexual to cover up my asexuality.  I wasted many years doing that, apologizing for who I was, and I'm mad about that.  My aromantic asexual orientation is a huge part of who I am, just like heterosexuality and homosexuality is a huge part of others' lives.  To really know me, as a person, you need to know my orientation.  So, I told my sons, in case they share my orientation, so they can accept themselves, and not go through decades of therapy as I did and be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizoid personality disorder, Asperger's, etc.  I don't have any of those things.  To "have" anything (and one doesn't "have" asexuality, they are asexual) that only 1% of the world's population shares automatically places you in a minority status, so that can be difficult.  When you look to movies, books, groups, etc. for comfort, or to see someone like yourself, you are likely to find little.  I am hoping asexuals start writing good books, being in good movies, talking intelligently about their experience, because we absolutely are ignored, marginalized, mistreated, and diagnosed with things we do not have.  It is a healthy mature state, not in need of fixing.  Having said all that, "coming out," can be tricky.  I have not "come out" to my six siblings because I don't feel like engaging in hours of explaining myself and what asexuality is.  To your children, I think it is essential that you come out.  They probably already know, they just lack the proper vocabulary to help them understand.  If you help them understand you, you help them understand themselves, and their future (or current) children.

One of my to do lists before I die is to write a novel with lots of asexual characters. Hope to find time one day. 

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Linda60

Or even just one, well written, well developed asexual character.  Even just that would be refreshing, especially if the character likes themselves and is interested and engaged in life, a healthy human being who accepts themselves without apology. ☺️

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