From a young age I’ve always known that I wasn’t “normal.” I never really had the same kind of crushes as my friends (always fictional characters and never really the actors that played them); I never really thought of people as “hot” or any other adjective usually associated with human aesthetics. I just never really got it. Why were my friends so preoccupied with these thoughts and I couldn’t care less about them? Sure, I thought people were cute and I can appreciate someone for their aesthetics, but I never understood “hot,” “bangable,” or any other manner of adjectives that people tended to use when talking about conventionally attractive people. While my friends were busy with their girlfriends or boyfriends, I kind of felt like I was being left out because I didn’t have those same feelings or want a relationship like that.
I didn’t understand at the time why I was the way that I am. Why I didn’t have the same feelings as my classmates. Why all my crushes were fictional. I had one boyfriend in 11th grade, but he lived four hours away and I really only saw him when he was in my hometown for college auditions and college orientations. (He was a year older than me and we met at summer band camp.) It didn’t last because I found out he cheated on me with a few other girls back home from some other friends who went to school with him. By the time I hit college I had only been in the one relationship. I had a few “flings” with a couple guys my freshman year, but nothing more than cuddles and smooches happened. Which I was absolutely fine with. I found that I quite like smooching. None of the guys ever pressured me in to doing anything more and our arrangement worked out well. That is until I actually got into my first college relationship.
It was 2013, the fall semester of my second year of college. I was coming off of a stalker situation (a story for another time) and I was a little shaken. Trying to find myself outside of that friendship-gone-wrong. That’s when I started talking to my now ex. He was super sweet, kind, and considerate in the beginning. But then he wasn’t. I started noticing that he would always get jealous when I would talk to my other male friends in the music department and he would always ask who I was texting when we were together. He would guilt me into hanging out with him when he knew I was studying or hanging out with other friends or practicing. If we would get into an argument about something he would always twist my words and make me feel like it was my fault in the first place. He’d say racist stuff and when I’d call him out on it he would turn it around on me and get mad. Same when he said misogynistic stuff and I called him out on it. That should have been a sign, but I kept ignoring it. Not only did he say that stuff, he was an alcoholic and while he never touched me when he was drunk, I was always afraid that he might. He wasn’t the most pleasant drunk. Going into the relationship he knew that I didn’t want kids and that sex wasn’t in the cards for us; I was very up front about that. He told me he was fine with it. Turns out that wasn’t the case. Over the course of the year and three months that we were dating he continuously tried pushing me to do things that I didn’t want to do. No matter how many times I told him no. It finally got to the point that I was just done. Absolutely and completely finished with his mental and emotional abuse. For the whole last month and a half or so that we were “together” I did everything I could to avoid him. I was tired of how he was making me feel. Like everything was my fault and that I didn’t matter. During this time I did a lot of soul searching and discovered a really important fact about myself: my sexuality.
I’m not 100% sure how I came to figure out exactly what my sexuality is, but ever since I can remember I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. (Refer to the first two paragraphs above.) Thanks to a tumblr post (I either searched for or happened across on my dashboard) and a little Wikipedia search, I was finally able to put a word to my sexuality (or lack thereof): asexual.
Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction towards people. It’s also what the A in LGBTQIA+ stands for (not ally). Looking back, it all makes sense. The reason why I’ve never been preoccupied with sex like my classmates. The reason I’ve never thought people were “hot.” I finally had a word for how I knew myself to be in my bone and at my deepest core.
When I told my ex this information, he went off. He was already mad that I hadn’t been spending time with him. He was mad that I was telling him that information. He was mad that I wasn’t sexually attracted to him. Which really sealed the deal that we weren’t meant to be. I kept hoping that things would get better between us and that maybe things would change, but I knew in my heart that I needed out. It was beyond toxic.
We finally had our break up talk the night before we were supposed to leave for our state’s music educator’s association convention. It was a lengthy talk and I really didn’t want to have it; I hate confrontation and I tend to shut down in emotional situations. I started by writing my feelings down on paper but when I finally met up with him all that went out the window. He told me a lot of things that threw me. One of those things being that the summer before (summer of 2014) he contemplated breaking up. He then proceeded to tell me that he also contemplated asking me to marry him. My head was spinning through most of that talk. I told him that I would have said no if he’d have asked me. There’s no way that I could have married him. Especially not after he told me that he was determined to change my mind about sex and that he wanted kids. I’ve known since I was three years old that I didn’t want kids. I’m not quite sure how long it went on for, but it was quite a while. I forced myself to say what was on my mind and how I felt instead of just keeping it all shut inside like I usually did. It was a rough talk. Afterwards, I avoided him at all costs around campus. Which was extremely difficult because we were in the same department, band, and he was getting out of class when I was getting out of community band. Every time I would see him I’d spiral into a panic attack. My anxiety was worse than it had ever been. Worst last few years of college ever.
That being said, I’m extremely thankful that that relationship ended and regardless of how bad it was, I can’t say I’m not thankful that it happened. It helped me realize that I’m worth fighting for and that I don’t need a man or anyone to define me. A quote that helped me through that really traumatic time is “I know my value.” which is the shortened version of Peggy Carter’s quote “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.” from Marvel’s Agent Carter, a spin-off of Captain America and Agents of SHIELD. This quote, and my best friend, are the only two things that managed to help me through the lowest point of my college career.
Just like any other sexual orientation, I didn’t choose to be this way; I’ve always been asexual. No there’s nothing “wrong” with me; No I’m not “broken.” I’m just Katelyn. The same Katelyn that I’ve always been.
Some frequently asked questions:
- “But you’re in a relationship… What does that mean?” Yes, I am in a relationship. Sexual attraction and romantic attraction are two completely different things. Sometimes your sexual attraction and romantic attraction will line up, but that’s not always the case. For me, I may have a lack of sexual attraction, but I do have romantic attractions. That being said, I identify as a panromantic asexual (meaning: I don’t care what’s in your pants, I just don’t want to see it).
- “You’ve only dated men. How do you know that you’re pan?” I may have only dated cis men, but I know that I would be open to a relationship with anyone as long as we clicked and they weren’t a complete jerk.
- “You’ve never had sex before, so how do you know that you’re asexual?” How do heterosexual folks know that they’re heterosexual when they haven’t had sex? I’ve known since I was three years old that I didn’t want kids. I also have tokophobia – the pathological fear of pregnancy. Which is probably why I’m as sex repulsed as I am, but I just didn’t realize there was an actual word for it until this past year.
- “Doesn’t your partner resent you for withholding sex?” We do our own thing. It’s not conventional, but we’re perfectly okay with what we have. Plus, after my last relationship, I wouldn’t be with someone who doesn’t fully accept me for who I am. My partner and I work. We’ll have been together four years at the beginning of next month.
There’s so much more I haven’t covered regarding my asexuality, like my thoughts on the LGBTQ+ community and how I feel I fit in, and how I’m treated as an asexual. But that’s for another blog post.
TL;DR: Katelyn is a panromantic asexual who gets heart feelings, not pants feelings.