What It Is Like Discovering You’re Asexual At 30

Being Asexual 101

I am not sure if I am sure. You cannot be sure of something about yourself, if you suddenly discover it, after thirty years of existence on earth. After getting used to not knowing for so long, you are shocked that you’re giving a fabricated version of your life a new reality.

Anyhow, the big and the small part of it is that I am (maybe/I am definitely sure) an ‘asexual’ i.e. I belong to the spectrum of ‘asexuality’. That is the only explanation for all the weird things that have happened to me, are happening to me, and have been happening to me for such a long time, as long as my life. Lol.

This is really funny. It is almost as funny as a poor joke, and I cannot stop laughing about it. And yes, I am not going to start from the beginning of this article. I will not be scratching like every aspect of my life and muse upon it. I have done it in my mind, and I guess that suffices.

I am writing this article for two political (very specific) reasons: one, I want to make a few of my friends (people who deeply care about me) know, and secondly, I wish to make those feel comfortable about their existence, who are still going through that phase of life in which they continuously think: “Why don’t I seem to like the idea of a thing which everyone cannot stop talking about?”

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! So, an awareness kind of thing, right? Though honestly, my multiple feelings of relief/peace/understanding/anger make me feel confused, yet I am ready to share my opinions. I recently discovered that I am not alone in this battle. Also, this might be one of the many articles I might end up writing on the issues of ‘asexuality’ from a very personal perspective.

So, why do I think I am asexual, or rather why do I think I might belong to the asexual spectrum?

I don’t know, I think I am not ready to share with people yet, though I am sure sharing it openly is going to help me in some very specific ways. I am in that phase of self-knowing in which I was attacked by a sudden realization and I am still trying to find out (reeling under it), that I belong to the asexual spectrum. I am still trying to learn how things are about me. Especially when this realisation comes at the age of almost 30. This is a big age to finally come to terms with your sexuality. But again, I really didn’t have enough vocabulary to define myself. I was not aware of the theoretical background to classify myself. Like gay/lesbians might have felt when they were being persecuted by the people around once upon a time (and even today in many parts of the world they feel threatened). And yes, I have been persecuted, more than many times in my life, for being who I am.

But again, I cannot act like a victim. My whole life has been spent in trying to fit in a world; i.e. the world around me, it is only recently that I have come to understand that asexuality as a theoretical concept has been here on earth for more than a decade now, which was not ready for me. Not that I tried to find a place for myself. My life has been a struggle to merge into a group of rats when I am a mouse.

My life has been like an alien (who does not feel the need to go to shit) who finds himself on earth and does not know that he is an alien, who considered himself an earthling and is troubled why everyone goes to shit, and why the language is so full of ‘shit’. Like the struggle of the first unacknowledged gays who tried to behave like heterosexual beings, continuously trying, and trying hard. Here are a few things that I’ve tried to comprehend over the years:

  • Using language freely to express (language is not just a medium, it can be a source of our confusion, as well as a solution).
  • Talking with people.
  • Trying to know from them as to ‘how does it feel’, exploring sexuality to know what is it which does not make me one.
  • Reading more and more to find out if I can find a category where I can belong.
  • Acting like a sexual alpha male to see how the reaction of people would be; how I would feel in that position, in the “gaze”, while knowing full well that these are all lies.
  • Talking with psychologists but I feel they are not theoretically equipped to understand me, thus I end up getting misguided opinions from them.
  • Trying to talk about sexual things with my close ones to ‘feel’ that experience. As I have never been part of boy-conversations I still, try to be part of such conversations forcibly to know how does it feel, if at all ‘am I missing out on something?’
  • Trying to find from them, on the pretext that ‘it is for my writing’ and I need to be ‘researching’ more and more.
  • Unable to describe what I really feel because, for me, there is no category of experience which can explain my feelings, so no language for me.
  • Reading erotica and finding that I can ‘only’ write things that are only lewd and not arousing (sexual).
  • And a lot of reading, and doing regrettable things like judging others, especially those close to me, the ones I love because deep down according to my views, they are doing it wrong.
  • And feeling awkward when someone touches me and working hard upon it so that I don’t feel nauseated.
  • Hating going to ‘sexual’ places like pubs and clubs, which are ‘sexual’ in my definition of things.
  • Trying to find generally accepted reasons (by framing in the vocabulary of the world) for my out-of-the-world actions and inclinations.
  • Feeling like an alien at times, and thus ending up always on the fringe of every society, I am a part of. Suffering from a condition of continuously asking: “why can’t they understand me? why are they judging me so much?” And then accepting defeat that: “let them judge me. fuck it.”
  • Loving loneliness to the extent that pushing away those people I love. Enjoying loving them from a distance than being close. Trying hard to ‘heal’ myself by using medicines that cannot heal me.
  • And continuously being judged by others because they do not know who I am, and they do not really have time to really understand how I feel, what I feel especially about my parents and family.
  • Being judged because I am a male, and neo-patriarchy tells us that ‘only’ men are supposed to be domineering and women are ‘always’ victims.
  • And of course: hating my parents because there was nothing like ‘sex education’ in my life.

Perhaps I ended up sharing after all. But I guess it is okay. Now that I have a vocabulary to describe my behaviour, I can claim some authority over myself and my actions, and be culpable for my actions I am going to commit in future. This is not a life-defining moment per se, because there is a lot to understand about myself even now. But it is a significant moment nonetheless.

Anyone who feels any of the above should try to dig a little into the “asexuality spectrum”. There are many YouTube videos and articles to go through and make sense of who you are, or who might be someone you care about.

I suggest the following, for a starter:

  1. https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/asexual-youtubers/#gs.winiyx
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i14YMpKS_CY
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/magnetic-partners/201406/asexuality
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gLNt_CEHUM
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dFkKg7Ly1I

 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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