Steve October 14, 2021

Yes, I’m asexual. No, I don’t want any more tone-deaf questions or advice about it

I’m Malvika, and I began to understand and embrace my asexuality in my early twenties.

Giphy / Via

Surrounded by the conservatism of Indian society where topics of sex, sexuality, and intimacy was often left unaddressed, coming out is something I approach with sensitivity; by picking the right people and right circumstances to broach the subject. With those that matter most, my immediate family and closest friends, I’m out and proud, while with older relatives and more conservative friends, I hold my tongue.

To be accepted by loved ones makes me feel grateful, and with those I haven’t come out to yet I am understanding of their personal sentiments or their lack of awareness.

However, what does grind on my patience are the tone-deaf questions asked not with the intent of understanding asexuality, but trying to find reasons to fit me in a box that I’ve made clear I don’t fit into. Here are some of the questions and pieces of unsolicited advice I’ve received over the years, and why they need to stop!

“How do you know you’re asexual if you’ve never tried it before?”

Giphy / Via

I’ve been asked this question several times by well-meaning friends who have made it their life’s mission to see me have a romantic relationship. To anyone asking I’d like to say, please stop asking. Being asexual isn’t something I woke up deciding to try being out of the blue, it’s who I’ve always been and I don’t need to try to know what I identify as.

“Why? Did something bad happen to you?”

Now, I understand the concern and intention behind the question, but why does trauma have to be the only answer to my sexual aversion? This isn’t to discount the pain of those who may have suffered abuse or bad experiences with intimacy undeservingly, but that isn’t always the reason. So, no a traumatic experience with sex and intimacy didn’t make me asexual – in fact nothing made my asexuality, I simply am and that should be enough of an explanation. 

“You’re lying! Of course, you’ve been attracted to someone atleast once – haven’t you?”

Giphy / Via

Believe it or not, I haven’t been sexually attracted to anyone. EVER. That’s what got me questioning and consequently understanding my sexuality. Curiosity to know more about the subject I get, but utter disbelief of something I consider part of my identity is not something I want to be on the receiving end of. 

“But I want to see you in love! You’d be so cute in a relationship.”

Asexual Pride on Tumblr / Via

Okay, so in my case maybe you will see me in a relationship because I’m panromantic ace. But, for those aro-ace folks out there, a relationship is truly of no interest. You might be a friend or a family member who wants the best for them, so no matter how cute you think seeing them in love will be – if you really want what’s best for them, then let them be and accept them as they are!

“You’ll need company/ someone to look after you in your old age.”

Whether this refers to marriage and kids or just the companionship of a partner, needing someone in your old age shouldn’t be the reason for any relationship. Especially if it’s not something someone wants. Some people – maybe asexual or not – just happy single, it’s a choice only they should make. Your opinion is fine, but don’t force it on someone else.

“Don’t tell people about your asexuality so openly. What if they judge you?”

Giphy / Via

This is something I had to personally hear from a genuinely concerned relative who has since accepted that I am proud of my identity regardless of any judgement. In my case there was love behind the question, and in other cases there may not be. Either way, it can be hurtful to hear from someone you trust that being open about an aspect of yourself maybe met with judgement. So don’t make anyone second guess their decision to love every part of themselves.

Join BuzzFeed as we celebrate National Coming Out Day from Oct. 11–15. You can explore more coming out and queer content over on our LGBTQ page.

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