You always hear stories about how “I knew when I was young”, “I knew that I was different” and maybe that’s true. But for the longest time I didn’t really think it was any different. I thought everyone felt that way. None of my friends thought boys were cute – ew cooties! – and so I just assumed it was the same for them as it was for me. Looking back all the pieces of the puzzle fit, but at the time it felt like they were all from eight different puzzles and no pieces matched.
I would see boys and think nothing of them. Nothing happened. I could tell you if a boy was hot or if they were cute but that was it. I had no desire to want to be with them. It terrified me to think I would have to spend the rest of my life with a man. To have to live day in day out, until I died with someone I didn’t care for like that. But that was “the way that it goes” and so I thought I had to suck it up. Until I was 15, I didn’t really have much idea about same sex relationships. I think I knew that they existed, but I can’t actually confirm that. I don’t remember thinking “oh two girls can be a couple” or “two boys can be a couple” – I think that was some good ole institutionalised heterosexual madness going on. Boys were with girls, and girls were with boys. It wasn’t until high school that I realised it didn’t have to be that way. I was lucky enough to go to a very diverse school. People would tell you it’s a crap school, and while it doesn’t offer a lot of additional subjects, it was a lot better than other schools in my town. I remember seeing my first same sex couple. They were walking around like nothing mattered. I remember thinking that it didn’t have to be the way they say it goes. I didn’t have to marry a man, not if I didn’t want to.
My first girlfriend was a…lets call it lesson. I used her to prove I was attracted to girls, I used her for my own personal security, and she used me too. We were toxic and a horrible combination. For a while I thought that it was because I didn’t like girls, because I was a liar. Turns out I just didn’t like her. And that doesn’t make me straight. It took a lot to realise that. I thought if I didn’t like every single girl then I was straight. But hetero people don’t like every single member of the opposite sex so why should I be held to that standard?
Sexuality and different means of attraction should be taught in schools. Unlike being gay, I did think I was different. I knew from the start. From when I learned what sex was and that people “had” to do it to love each other. I tried so hard to fit in that way. I wanted to enjoy sex. But every time I even thought about it, it made me vomit. It disgusted me. I could never do it sober. Always drunk/other. The feeling, the sound, all of it. I knew something was wrong. All my friends were in love with the idea of it. They wanted it more and more and more. When I had my first french kiss, all I could think about was how disgusting it was. I felt like such a prude. No one else felt like this. The first time I ever heard the term “asexual” I had no idea what it was. I looked it up and I could have cried. It was me. I wasn’t as alone as I believed. I was so mad that I had to learn about it from the internet. Someone should have told us about it in sex-ed. I spent so long thinking I was wrong. That I had been messed up in the womb that I didn’t like sex. I thought I would have to add it to my list of “ways I’m screwed up”. But I don’t. It doesn’t mean I’m screwed up, it doesn’t mean anything. It just means I don’t like sex. And that’s okay. At least I know the person I will end up with won’t like me just for the sex.
I think the difference between being gay and being asexual was that when I was little, I was naive. But when I was at high school – when everyone started having sex – I was more aware of others. I could see that they were not like me, that I was not like them. I knew I was different because I was more aware. I was not young and naive, I was old and wise (as much as a 15 year old is).
This one I knew. From the moment my body started changing. Until then nothing much was different. I could have been a boy, I could have been a girl. I could have been neither. When I started growing boobs, and I was an early bloomer, I cried. It meant I was a woman. It meant that was it. I had to be a woman. I watched a documentary on transgender people, I thought “maybe that’s what this is, maybe I’m transgender”. I didn’t want to be a woman so maybe I was a man…but that wasn’t it either. I was 17 when I learned what the term agender meant. 17. I thought it was just people who were both man and woman. Non-binary. I thought that you had to be one or the other or both. I had no idea you could be neither. But I can. And I am. I call myself her and she, but I am not a woman. Don’t call me that. I’m me. I’m Riley.
When I envision my future, I have a wife, we have a kid, and we are happy. We live on a farm – that’s not too close to town, but close enough. She protects me from all that scares me, and I try to do the same for her. We love each other so much and we are so happy. She doesn’t force me to have sex, she doesn’t care for it so much either. She doesn’t call me a woman, because I’m just Riley. And we have family game night, and couples game night, and we go out to dinner, and we go out to places. I finally see my future relationship as happy. I realise it doesn’t have to be the way I was made to think it did. I don’t have to be unhappily married to a man who makes me have sex. It doesn’t have to be like that at all. I can be happy. I can have my happy ever after, after all.