Tag Archives: education

No Sexual Orientation? It’s Possible: Asexuality

I actually feel some compassion for the LGBT community. It’s a dirty little secret of mine; my religion taught me it was an act condemnable by God, but what the LGBT community is going through socially does provoke me a bit- since I’m filling shoes similar to theirs.

I never understood why men were so obsessed with breasts (and being a 30A was no fun when I discovered this) or why my girlfriends swooned when they walked past a Calvin Klein billboard. What society called attractive looked the same to me as what society called ratchet- it all looked like people. When I heard that people had sexual fantasies about their crushes… something didn’t sound right.

Of course I have a crush. He’s been my best guy friend since 7th grade, and he reminds me of the things that I still haven’t realized I forgot about yet. He is such a genius and I could talk to him all day if my teachers let me (my biology teacher smartly placed us at opposite ends of the room). But… I never had a sexual fantasy about him. Or any of my crushes, for that matter. They were more of, “I’d like to get to know you more, be close to you…”

I was surfing the internet like a typical person armed with a computer since I was on a writing high (it’s when you found a muse and can write obsessively for days and even weeks). I discovered a website where people submit their secrets anonymously. I cracked up at some of them and was thought-provoked at others. Boom! I somehow landed at PostSecret’s Twitter feed, and there weren’t as many secrets as I wish there were. Every fourth or fifth Tweet was a secret, but in between them, there were news stories. One caught my eye: Asexuality.

It led to this website: http://www.asexuality.org/home/

After reading some info, asexuality is described as an orientation where a person doesn’t experience sexual attraction. No, not celibacy or abstinence were a person does have sexual attraction but chooses not to act on it until a certain time (usually marriage). The person can look at somebody and think, “Oh, she’s cute,” but not, “I want to hook up with her,” and have sexual fantasies.

There are different kinds of asexuals. An asexual is an asexual as long as the person doesn’t have sexual attraction upon first meeting someone.

The things you need to keep in mind about asexuals is there are people who are interested in a romantic connection and those who aren’t. Romantic connection as in getting to know someone, hugging, kissing, holding hands, yay! romance! But no sex. A sexual person can be a bit confused about asexuals since romance and sex are very, very intertwined in their lives.

Suppose you’re a straight man on an island. Or woman. Or whatever. You have your sexual orientation, but everybody else on the island has the contradictory sexual orientation. You’re straight, they’re gay. They’re gay, you’re straight. You’re bi, they’re asexual. Life sucks. You’re not interested in the other people’s way of sex. You want to have sex the way your sexual orientation asks for. You’re a straight dude on an island with gay men, the men are off hooking up, that sucks because you want a girl and you’re not interested in gay sex.

That’s kind of what it is in asexuals. Everyone is talking about sex, obsessing about sex, having sex, but you’re just not interested. This doesn’t mean you’re low libido. You’re still a straight dude on a gay man island (theoretically). You have a sex drive, you want to connect with someone. Asexuals want a different connection with people that isn’t sexual.

I advise you to check out the website for a shorter explanation about different kinds of asexuals, because while I can explain it, it will stretch out forever and AVEN (organization behind the website) just has a thing for keeping things short and sweet.

But some clicks happened to me when I visited the website. I was like, AHA! So that’s what it is. That’s why I never had a sexual fantasy about my crushes.

I called up my best friend who was openly bi. She must’ve known something about being different sexually, coming out, etc. I didn’t know if asexuality was exactly for me. I was a confused mess. I knew asexuality made sense to me, that it was something I experience on a daily basis, but at the same time, why me? It’s estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the UK are asexual. I’m in the US, but why me? I was becoming more and more unable to form a romantic relationship. Religious, vegetarian, having a personality type that only took 4% of the world, and now, what? Asexual? Who was going to put up with a meal dilemma 3 times a day and no sex?

I texted her, and at first, she didn’t understand. After some explanation, she told me it was a phase. That 15 was too young to know for sure, that I was a virgin and there was no way to tell until I tried, and so on.

I’m very disheartened. She talked to me about her sexual orientation being difficult, how people treated her differently, and so on. And she simply turned around and did the same thing to me. I wish people would be aware of asexuality and learn to accept it as a sexual orientation also. The LGBT community has considerable progress in this aspect, and the asexual community has much to learn from them.

After some late nights staying up and crying until the wee hours of the morning, after prayer, after a lot and a lot of research, I know I can’t deny being asexual, but I don’t know how I’m going to admit it in the first place to my loved ones. I don’t even know how people would respond, who should I tell and who I shouldn’t. How to explain, how to stay tough. But it’s progress I have to make. I might as well get it over now then face frustration later on because I let it slide under the mat.

I have a small plan. I want my family to know first before everyone else. So I came up with a fake story, and I’m going to present it the same way I tell my real stories to my mother. I always say, “Today at school, this person blah blah blah blah. Can you believe it?” She gives me her input and some life lesson, every day after coming home from school. Sometimes, on long car rides, she’d ask me, “And what happened to that girl that did such and such?” Maybe I could simply say, “This girl told me she was asexual. She says it’s blah blah blah. What do you think?” Maybe I could get her input from a safe distance.

Maybe I could present the story the same way to my friends. See their eyes, see their expressions. I’ll look at them, find them beautiful, but not sexually. Not that way.

My Unrelated Other Self

My geometry grades have been going down the drain recently (and the 29-year-old high schooler isn’t necessarily helping ((If you’re wondering who I’m talking about, I’m talking about my geometry teacher. I mentioned him in my First Day of School post.))) so I’ve been going after Google search after Google search for some help.

I’ve read some articles in Time before (Nerd Alert!) about Khan Academy and the founder’s vision to transform the education system all over the world. He’s pretty darn ambitious. YouTube videos that sound so natural with his easy-going voice, a website that is like the accurate version of Wikipedia (free!), but actually useful, and graduating from Harvard and being an intellectual hoss.

Halfway through one of his YouTube videos, my ADHD spoke up and asked me, “GOSH, what’s his name? Is he Morgan Freedman’s cousin or something?”

And of course, me, not being perturbed by hearing “voices” in my head, replied right back, “I dunno. Let’s ask Google!”

ADHD and I were instantly blown away. His name is Salman Khan. ADHD and my name was supposed to be Salma, but my dad misspelled it when he registered me as an alive baby. He had a crush on Salma Hayek, but that’s beside the point. I got stuck with Selma instead. I was planned. My name was not. And ADHD is a good speller.

But then it gets weirder. Just like his name was off by one letter from mine, his birthday is a day off from mine. October 11th. My birthday is October 10th. By now, ADHD is taunting my OCD side, which usually likes to hang in the corner of my mind until it sees that a picture frame is crooked.

“Heeeey! OCD! He’s off by one!” ADHD called out. OCD started cussing out ADHD, in alphabetical order.

Then it gets even weirder that I’m starting to doubt if this was coincidence. His parents come from different countries, and he was born in America. He might be racially confused like me.

My mother comes from Mexico, which then made me born in the U.S.

Then ADHD goes, “You’re kind of a good impromptu speaker.”

“True. I hope I sound like him, too. Calm, relaxed, cool, collected.”

“It’s calm, cool, and collected. Stupid.” OCD chimes in.

So he’s probably my unrelated other self. We have some weird, too-similar qualities. Maybe he’s my adult parallel. I always wondered how my life would be if I were born a man (since I am a feminist and I do ponder at gender issues pretty often). I guess I’ll let Salman Khan answer that for me. I would’ve gone to MIT and Harvard, changed education in a positive way, given a TED talk, married some girl (I don’t feel like researching her), and teach knuckleheads school things and save their lives for a while until they find something else to not “get”.

So thank you, parallel unrelated self. You’re pretty awesome.