Children are inventive. As a kid, what deterred me from my lofty dreams of becoming a doctor were hastily quashed by the thought of having to deliver patients’ newborns by pulling babies out of their throats. But if you had explained to me the concept of sexual identity back then, never in a million years would I have believed you. There were only simple answers to simple questions. Never would I have imagined that I would have to come out once to the world, let alone twice.
The truth is, it’s never been anyone’s business who I choose or don’t choose to sleep with. The very culture of humanity concerning itself with a child’s sexual relations at such a young age has always felt inherently perverse, invasive and predatory to me. In my experience, the only conscious choice I was presented with was not to be gay or not to be gay. It was merely choosing between a facade of social acceptance over my soul.
I was convinced I could reclaim my life if I just came clean and owned up to being the most awful thing my family and peers said that you could be at that time – gay. What should have felt like a personal victory for me instead felt lonely and hollow. But I was starry-eyed and determined to liberate myself from the expectations of everyone else and start living for myself.
For years, I endured the abuse that accompanied the label. I reached out to LGBT+ peer groups, hoping to find others who shared my experience. I thought that by opening up to others and by hearing their stories, that they would resonate with me. And they did, to an extent. But for reasons unknown to me, I still felt alone. In my experience, liberation in the gay community seems to be mainly comprised of deriving sexual gratification from one another. Because everyone knows – if you’re worthy of love, people will want to sleep with you.
It’s not easy to tolerate hate for who you choose to love, so I can understand why gay men are more likely to be promiscuous and to suffer from mental health issues. I know more than anyone that when you internalize shame, you are hungry for validation and a sense of instant intimacy. Many “friends” I made over those formative years tried to sleep with me, or have regular sexual encounters under the guise of “dating“. I was merely an object to numb their pain of feeling sexually oppressed in a society that still shames men who do not conform to “masculine” social constructs. And it was something I wanted no part in.
As time went on, even spent with men I found appealing and came to care for, I’ve never felt a sexual attraction or a desire to be intimate. It became more of an impulse for me; a chore, an appeasement. Because that’s what men want and that’s just what couples do. The textbooks all say it – sex is essential to any healthy relationship. Simple answers to simple questions. For a while, I felt ashamed, broken; dead inside. I felt like it was my fault that I lacked desires that everyone else said that I should have. And I couldn’t counter that shame in the same way that so many other gay men did – with sex. But I still had a sex drive and it felt uncomfortable and confusing to me.
I’ve come to learn that as adults, we are just as inventive as children. Sometimes we tell ourselves lies to get through the day. Sometimes we’re too scared to know the answer, so we refuse to see what is right there in front of us. And I think that’s what I’ve done in the past with my sexuality.
I’m asexual. As with all things in life, we learn and we grow. Sex is confusing. Feelings are complex. Maybe in the future, I’ll find out that I was – (gasp) wrong, and life will continue as it always has. Who knows? It’s all part of the journey. And God knows I never take the path of least resistance.
Lots of love,